Adaptive Technology for Reading & Writing

Learn more about tools and software that can help with reading and writing! If you have any questions about the adaptive technology on this page, email us at adaptivetech@pdx.edu.

To learn more about our most recommended tools, software, and apps on this page, you can attend our Adaptive Technology for Reading & Writing Workshop. You can find more information about the workshop and our workshop schedule on the DRC Workshop web page. Instead of attending our Adaptive Technology for Reading & Writing Workshop at one of the scheduled times, you can choose to watch a recorded version of the workshop below:

Adaptive Technology for Reading & Writing for Windows Users

Adaptive Technology for Reading & Writing for Mac Users

Adaptive Technology for Reading

These tools can help read your text out loud and enable your device's built-in accessibility settings to make your reading experience as smooth as possible.

Text-to-Speech Technology

This technology will read electronic documents out loud for you, and people with many kinds of disabilities and experiences with reading can benefit from these tools.

  • Kurzweil 3000
    • Kurzweil is a text-to-speech software that will read your course materials out loud to you. It can convert image PDFs into accessible PDFs, allowing you to highlight and take notes on your documents as you read them in the program.
    • Cost: Free for checkout to eligible, degree-seeking DRC students. For personal copies, please refer to the Kurzweil for Higher Education web page for pricing.
    • Compatibility: Mac, Windows, iOS
    • Availability: Kurzweil accounts are available to eligible students for checkout through the DRC. If you have an active Kurzweil account, you can access it on all campus lab computers or download it on a personal Windows or Mac device via the Kurzweil website.
    • Support: You can find help with using Kurzweil via our Kurzweil Guide or through Kurzweil Academy's How-To Videos.  You can find additional help through your personal Kurzweil 3000 account under the 'Help' tab.
  • Voice Dream Reader
    • Voice Dream Reader is a text-to-speech mobile application that reads accessible documents out loud and also allows you to take notes on and highlight the document.
    • Cost: Please refer to the Voice Dream Reader web page for pricing.
    • Compatibility: Android, iOS
    • Availability: You can download and purchase Voice Dream Reader on any personal Android or iOS device via the Google Play store or the App Store.
    • Support: You can find help using Voice Dream Reader via the Voice Dream Reader FAQ webpage
  • NaturalReader
    • NaturalReader is a text-to-speech mobile app that reads accessible documents out loud.
    • Cost: Please refer to the NaturalReader webpage for pricing.
    • Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
    • Availability: You can purchase and download NaturalReader on any personal Android, Windows, Macintosh OS, or iOS device.
    • Support: You can find help using NaturalReader through the NaturalReader Video Help menu on the NaturalReader website.
  • ReadAloud
    • ReadAloud is a text-to-speech application that reads accessible documents, web pages, or copied/pasted text out loud and includes customizable visual features.
    • Cost: Please refer to the subscription tab in the ReadAloud application for pricing.
    • Compatibility: Windows
    • Availability: You can download ReadAloud and purchase a premium subscription on any personal Windows device that has Windows 10.
    • Support: You can find help with ReadAloud by visiting the Help tab in the ReadAloud application.
  • Snap&Read
  • Central Access Reader (CAR)

Magnification Technology

This technology can help you enlarge computer displays and printed material while maintaining clarity.

  • Magnifier and Magnification Gestures
    • Magnifier and Magnification Gestures enlarge what you view on your Windows or Android device’s screen.
    • Cost: Free via any Windows or Android device
    • Compatibility: Windows, Android
    • Availability: You can use Magnifier in campus labs at each of the Windows workstations, or you can use it on any personal Windows device. You can use Magnification Gestures on any personal Android device.
    • Support: You can find help with using Magnifier through Microsoft's Magnifier Help web page. You can find help with using Magnification Gestures on the Android Accessibility Help web page.
  • Zoom
    • Zoom enlarges what you view on your Mac or iOS device's screen.
    • Cost: Free via any Mac or iOS device
    • Compatibility: Mac, iOS
    • Availability: You can use Zoom in campus labs at each of the Mac workstations. You can also use Zoom on any personal Mac or iOS device.
    • Support: You can find help with using Zoom in the macOS User Guide or the iPhone User Guide.
  • Magnifying Glass (Hover Zoom)
    • Magnifying Glass (Hover Zoom) is a Chrome extension that magnifies a circular portion of a web page like a magnifying glass would. The magnifier works on embedded documents in D2L.
    • Cost: Free
    • Compatibility: Chrome web extension (Chrome web browser)
    • Availability: You can use Magnifying Glass online via the Chrome extension.
    • Support: You can find help with using Magnifying Glass on the Magnifying Glass website.
  • Zoom for Google Chrome
    • Zoom for Google Chrome is a Chrome extension that makes it easy to magnify an entire web page with a slider feature.
    • Cost: Free
    • Compatibility: Chrome web extension (Chrome web browser)
    • Availability: You can use Magnifying Glass online via the Chrome extension.
    • Support: You can find help with using Zoom for Google Chrome on the Stefan vd Support webpage
  • Snow 7
    • Snow 7 is a handheld video magnifier that has visual customization features.
    • Cost: Free for checkout to eligible, degree-seeking DRC students. For personal devices, please refer to the Zoomax USA website for pricing.
    • Availability: Eligible students can check out the Snow 7 through the DRC front desk. A limited number are available.
    • Support: You can find help with using the Snow 7 through the Snow 7 User Manual.

Screen Reading Technology

This technology is mostly used by people with low vision or blindness. You can use this to read everything that is displayed on a computer or mobile screen out loud.

  • NVDA
    • NVDA provides spoken feedback as you navigate your device.
    • Cost: Free
    • Compatibility: Windows
    • Availability: You can find NVDA in campus labs at each of the accessible workstations. It is also available for download on any personal Windows device on the NV Access website.
    • Support: You can find help with using NVDA through the NVDA User Guide. The Oregon Commission for the Blind may also provide one-on-one training. For more information, please schedule an appointment with an Access Counselor and Consultant by calling 503-725-4150 or emailing drc@pdx.edu.
  • JAWS
    • JAWS provides spoken and Braille feedback as you use your device. It allows you to navigate the Internet, write a document, and read emails, among many other things.
    • Cost: Please refer to the Freedom Scientific JAWS webpage for pricing.
    • Compatibility: Windows
    • Availability: You can use JAWS in campus labs at each of the accessible Windows workstations. You can also purchase it on the Freedom Scientific website.
    • Support: You can find help with using JAWS through the JAWS Training web page. The Oregon Commission for the Blind may also provide one-on-one training. For more information, please schedule an appointment with an Access Counselor and Consultant by calling 503-725-4150 or emailing drc@pdx.edu.
  • Google TalkBack
    • Google TalkBack gives you spoken and vibration feedback as you use your device.
    • Cost: Free via any Android device
    • Compatibility: Android
    • Availability: You can download Google TalkBack on any personal Android device via the Google Play store.
    • Support: You can find help with using Google TalkBack on the TalkBack Getting Started web page.
  • VoiceOver
    • VoiceOver provides spoken feedback as you navigate your Mac or iOS device.
    • Cost: Free via any Mac or iOS device
    • Compatibility: Mac, iOS
    • Availability: You can use VoiceOver in campus labs at each of the Mac workstations. You can also use it on any personal Mac or iOS device.
    • Support: You can find help with using VoiceOver via the VoiceOver User Guide. The Oregon Commission for the Blind may also provide one-on-one training. For more information, please schedule an appointment with an Access Counselor and Consultant by calling 503-725-4150 or emailing drc@pdx.edu.

Adaptive Technology for Writing

These tools can help you use your voice to type and control your devices, as well as help organize your thoughts with mind mapping and brainstorming software.

Speech Recognition Technology

This technology can convert your speech into typed text. It can be useful for people with many disabilities and experiences with writing.

  • Google Voice Typing
    • Google Voice Typing allows you to speak instead of type on Google Docs. It will convert your speech into typed text.
    • Cost: Free for any Google account user
    • Compatibility: Android, iOS, web browser-based
    • Availability: You can use Google Voice Typing online in Google Docs by clicking on the Tools menu. You can also use Voice Typing on a mobile device by downloading the Gboard Google Keyboard app via the Google Play store or the App Store.
    • Support: You can find help with using Google Voice Typing on the Google Doc Editor's Help Center.
  • Otter.ai
    • Otter.ai records audio and converts the spoken words into text in real-time. You can add text notes and pictures to your transcription.
    • Cost: Free for the basic version. Please refer to the Otter.ai website for Premium version pricing.
    • Compatibility: Android, iOS
    • Availability: You can download Otter.ai on any personal Android or iOS device via the Google Play store or the App Store.
    • Support: You can find help with using Otter.ai on the Otter.ai Help Center web page.
  • Mac Voice Control
    • Dictation allows you to navigate your Mac device by using your voice. It also has a dictation feature that enables you to speak and it will convert your speech into typed text.
    • Cost: Free via any Mac device
    • Compatibility: Mac
    • Availability: You can use Voice Control in campus labs at each of the Mac workstations. You can also use it on any personal Mac device.
    • Support: You can find help with using Voice Control on the Use Voice Control on your Mac web page.
  • Windows Speech Recognition
    • Speech Recognition allows you to navigate your Windows device by using your voice. It also enables you to speak and it will convert your speech into typed text.
    • Cost: Free via any Windows device
    • Compatibility: Windows
    • Availability: You can use Speech Recognition in campus labs at each of the Windows workstations or on any personal Windows device.
    • Support: You can find help with using Speech Recognition on the Use Voice Recognition in Windows web page.
  • Dragon 
    • Dragon is a speech recognition software that allows you to speak instead of type. You can use commands to navigate your computer and it also can convert your spoken words into text that you can use for papers, assignments, or emails.
    • Cost: Please refer to the Nuance Dragon web page for pricing.
    • Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
    • Availability: You can use Dragon on one of the Broadway lab computers or on one of the accessible Windows laptops that you can check out through the Millar Library Circulation Desk. You can also purchase and download it on any personal Windows or Mac device. For use on Android or iOS devices, you can purchase and download the Dragon Anywhere app via the Google Play store or the App Store.
    • Support: You can find help using Dragon NaturallySpeaking through Nuance Technology’s Product Support web page.

Brainstorming and Mind Mapping Tools

Brainstorming and mind mapping tools allow you to organize your  thoughts visually and spatially in preparation for writing a project or paper.

  • Kurzweil 3000
    • Kurzweil is a text-to-speech software that you can use for note-taking. It also contains word processing software and a brainstorm feature. The brainstorm feature allows you to create a visual mind map to structure ideas and information, then convert it into an outline. 
    • Cost: Free for checkout to eligible, degree-seeking DRC students. For personal copies, please refer to the Kurzweil for Higher Education web page for pricing.
    • Compatibility: Mac, Windows, iOS
    • Availability: Kurzweil accounts are available to eligible students for checkout through the DRC. If you have an active Kurzweil account, you can access it on all campus lab computers or download it on a personal Windows or Mac device via the Kurzweil website.
    • Support: You can find help with using Kurzweil via the Kurzweil How To Videos and Kurzweil Product Guides. You can find additional help through your personal Kurzweil 3000 account under the 'Help' tab.
  • SimpleMind
    • SimpleMind is a mind mapping tool that allows you to create a visual mind map to structure ideas and information.
    • Cost: Free for the basic version on mobile devices. Please refer to the SimpleMind website for Pro version pricing.
    • Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
    • Availability: You can download SimpleMind on your mobile device via the Google Play store or the App store. You can also purchase or download it for your Windows or Mac device via the SimpleMind website.
    • Support: You can find help with using Simplemind via the SimpleMind Support webpage.

 


If you are a student or instructor with questions about Adaptive Technology for Reading & Writing, please contact the Adaptive Technology team.

Adaptive Technology Specialist
Email: adaptivetech@pdx.edu
Phone: 503-725-9119

Check our home page for hours and Virtual Front Desk information.