Week 7: Check out the Assistive Technology Database

Looking to learn more about assistive technology that can help you with your daily tasks? Check out the new Assistive Technology Database on the Assistive Technology: Features and Resources page of the Access Services website. 

In this database you can search for apps to help you with productivity, schoolwork, note-taking, accessibility, and more.   

Additionally, if you are interested in getting more personalized help with finding tools that fit your needs, schedule an appointment with Grace Cipressi, Bryn Mawr College’s assistive technology specialist. 

Contact the Help Desk with questions: help@brynmawr.edu or 610-526-7440.

Week 6: Document Converter

Have you ever come across an inaccessible document that you couldn’t use a text-to-speech program on? If you ever encounter this, the Document Converter is an excellent tool to help you make your document accessible so you can read it. 

Besides making files accessible, the document converter allows you to convert files from one file format to another. It also lets you apply Beeline Reader coloring onto your documents! 

To use the Document Converter, simply go to the Document Converter page on the Bryn Mawr College website. This Ask Athena article provides instructions on how to use the Document Converter. 

Contact the Help Desk with questions: help@brynmawr.edu or 610-526-7440.

Week 5: Grammarly

Grammarly is a tool that helps correct spelling and grammar mistakes in your writing. Unlike other spelling and grammar tools that are exclusive to the program they are built in, Grammarly works among a variety of social media, email, and document platforms.  

Grammarly goes beyond a typical spell checker by also checking your writing for tone of voice and misused words. 

Visit the Grammarly website to start enhancing your writing today! 

Contact the Help Desk with questions: help@brynmawr.edu or 610-526-7440.

Week 4: Beeline Reader

Beeline Reader is a unique tool that transforms the appearance of your text so it has an ombre color gradient. The gradual blending of colors sweeps your eye across the text, making the task of reading less taxing. Because your brain doesn’t have to focus as much on the task of reading, it frees up focus to be spent on comprehending what you are reading. 

There are a variety of color themes you can choose from.  You can also use Beeline Reader to change the size and line spacing of text as well as apply the Dyslexie font to your text. Beeline Reader offers a focus mode that allows you to blur out distracting advertisements and links on the page you are reading. 

Beeline Reader can be used on websites as well as PDFs. If you want to use Beeline Reader for PDF, you must also download the Beeline Reader PDF Viewer. 

Beeline Reader is available for free to members of the Bryn Mawr College community. Follow the instructions in this Ask Athena article to get started with using Beeline Reader today. 

Contact the Help Desk with questions: help@brynmawr.edu or 610-526-7440.

Week 3: Immersive Reader

Immersive Reader is a fantastic reading tool that Microsoft has implemented into many of its products. Check out this link to see the updated list of which Microsoft products have Immersive Reader. 

Immersive Reader allows you to modify the way text appears as well as provides tools to help increase understanding. You can choose the font, size, and spacing of text, as well as what background color you would like the text to be on. You can also change the text so that you can see the words broken up by syllables or labeled by parts of speech. Additionally, Immersive Reader has a feature that allows you to only see one or three lines of text at a time to help you focus. 

If you are having trouble comprehending the text, Immersive Reader has some tools to help. Using the picture dictionary feature you can click on a word and an image of what the word means will appear. You can also use the translation feature to translate words one by one or to translate the entire text into a different language.  All of the grammar features of Immersive Reader are still available when you translate text to a different language. 

Lastly, Immersive Reader will read text aloud to you in a natural sounding voice. Depending on what language your text is in, you will have an option of either or both a male and female voice. You can adjust the speed of the voice as necessary.  

Use this Ask Athena article to learn more about using Immersive Reader. 

Contact the Help Desk with questions: help@brynmawr.edu or 610-526-7440.

Week 2: Natural Reader

Natural Reader is a tool you can use to have content on your computer read aloud to you.  As the name implies, Natural Reader provides natural sounding voices, compared to the robotic sounding voices which are sometimes found in text-to-speech programs. You can select a voice from a variety of free and paid options, as well as voices that can read in different accents and languages. Additionally, you can choose how fast or slow the voice reads aloud. 

Natural Reader Google Chrome extension: This extension allows you to listen to web pages and emails aloud. Simply open the extension and click the play button to begin listening. If you would like to start at a particular place in the text, highlight that sentence and then click play so it will read from that point forward. 

Natural Reader Online Reader: This tool allows you to upload files, including .doc, .pdf, and .ppt, and have the content of those files read aloud. You can also increase the font size and convert the text into Dyslexie font so that it is easier to read.  

Lastly, both the extension and online reader allow you to download an MP3 recording of the text being read aloud in the voice of your choice so that you can listen to your reading on the go. 

Contact the Help Desk with questions: help@brynmawr.edu or 610-526-7440.

Week 1: Welcome to Keep Calm and Use Assistive Technology!

What is assistive technology? Assistive technology is any tool that helps you do what you want to do. There are many different categories of assistive technology, but for this semester we will focus on tools that help in educational and professional settings. 

This November we will host a digital escape room where participants will use assistive technology to solve clues. To get ready for this challenge (and shave some minutes off your escape room time), follow these blog posts each week to learn about the assistive technology tools you will have to use in the escape room. 

For this first week we will focus on Helperbird, which is an academic support tool available for free to all Bryn Mawr College community members.  

Helperbird is a Google Chrome extension that offers support for reading, comprehension, researching, and writing. In particular, Helperbird can help you as you read PDFs and websites for school and work.   

To get access to Helperbird and to learn all about the features available, read this Ask Athena article about getting started with Helperbird. 

Contact the Help Desk with questions: help@brynmawr.edu or 610-526-7440.

New Accessibility Resources and Learning Opportunities

Check out the new Accessibility Best Practices guide. This step-by-step guide helps you vet the materials and practices you use for accessibility.

Have questions about accessibility or assistive technology?

      • Stop by during Accessibility Office Hours every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 12-1 pm to have your questions answered.
      • Check out Assistive Technology Talk on Fridays at 2pm for workshops all about tools and tips to reach your goals this year!
      • Faculty and staff are invited to our Lunch and Learn program for bite-size tips on how to make your class more accessible: every other Monday from 12-12:30.
      • Watch the Daily Digest for details and zoom links!

Last but not least, the escape room is back! This semester’s game is called Keep Calm and Use Assistive Technology. Keep an on the LITS blog posts starting next week to learn ways to shave minutes off your team’s time this November.  Are you up for the challenge?