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General Learning Disability Resources
Assistive Technology Resources
Digital recorders generally provide higher quality lecture recordings that cell phones or older tape recorders. When selecting a digital recorder, DSPS recommends considering the following features:
Noise cancellation (removes background noise and the 'hiss' common with older tape recorders)
Voice-activated recording (records only when there is sound which reduces the recording size)
Variable speed playback (slow down important portions or quickly move through less important portions)
Folders (separately store recordings from each of your classes)
Indexing (bookmark important portions of the recording for quick access)
A-B repeat (specify portions of a recording you want to play back repeatedly--useful for memorization)
Headphone jack (allows private playback in public spaces such as libraries)
USB connectivity (transfer recordings to your computer)
Long battery life (100+ hours) or support for rechargeable batteries
Lots of storage space (4+GB) or support for additional storage (e.g. micro SD slot)
Calendar search (allows you to locate recordings by browsing a visual calendar)
Compatibility with speech recognition tools (allows you to convert voice recordings into text documents)
The following digital recorders provide all of the important features listed above and are widely available at both online (e.g. Amazon) and local stores (e.g. Staples, Office Depot, Target).
Helpful tips for using digital recorders
Take advantage of the variable playback speed to efficiently review recordings.
Use the indexing feature to quickly navigate to important portions of the lecture.
Make sure that the recorder is set to the correct 'scene' mode (typically 'Lecture' or 'Conference' for classes and 'Dictation' for personal notes).
If recordings are too quiet or too loud, try adjusting the microphone sensitivity setting.
Always carry extra batteries.
Consider purchasing a protective case for your recorder.
Programs for Low Cost Internet, Mobile Plans, and Digital Literacy:
Kurzweil Education provides a variety of technology solutions that support student learning including:
Kurzweil 3000, a full-featured program that supports, reading, writing, and organizing information
Kurzweil 3000/firefly, a limited-feature version of Kurzweil that runs in a web browser (or as an app for iOS devices) and offers basic highlighting and text-to-speech support
Kurzweil 1000 a full-featured program that supports reading and writing for students with low vision or who are blind
TextAloud (Windows only), a powerful, easy-to-use commercial tool for converting text into audio files
Balabolka (Windows only), a free, easy-to-use tool for converting text into audio files
Mind Mapping/Notetaking Tools
Inspiration (Windows/Mac), a full-featured, commercial mind-mapping tool used by many colleges and universities
Blumind (Windows only), a free mind-mapping tool with a more limited range of features
Freeplane (Windows/Mac), another free mind-mapping tool with many features but a somewhat more complex user interface
Speech Recognition Tools