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Technology Toolbox Assistive Technology

Least restrictive - use what is available first.

Accessible Book Collection



CAST Strategy Tutor







Learning Ally  new!

Low Vision Tools

Microsoft Word

Microsoft PowerPoint

Natural Reader

Online OCR free!


Strategy Tutor

UDL Editions


See also: Massachusetts DESE Assistive Technology Resources

@yourlibrary Assistive Technology ikeepbookmarks


Accessible Book Collection 

A non-profit corporation whose primary mission is to provide high interest/low reading level digital text to qualified persons with disabilities.
 Waltham Public Schools has subscribed for each school.   

Teachers who are using Accessible Book Collections must fill out an application and send it to the district Special Education Office, attention Kathy Horrigan.   The 1 page application is here: http://tiny.cc/abook (scroll to page 2) and can easily be filled out on a computer and then printed.

fzlibrary  fzlearn 
maclibrary maclearn
nelibrary  nelearn
pllibrary  pllearn
stlibrary  stlearn
whlibrary whlearn
kelibrary kelearn
mcdlibrary mcdlearn
hslibrary hslearn


For membership click here.

Bookshare.org works closely with schools, educational agencies, libraries and other nonprofit organizations to provide accessible electronic books to individuals with qualifying disabilities. 

The quote below should accompany all purchase orders for textbooks so that the textbooks will then be available to (only) students on IEP plans with a visual disability or a learning disability.  The available books will then be available digitally in Kurzweil.  These books are available at https://www.bookshare.org/ .  The district is responsible for uploading a list of students who should have access to the content.

"By agreeing to deliver the materials marked with "NIMAS" on this contract or purchase order, the publisher agrees to submit a valid NIMAS file set to the NIMAC at the American Printing House for the Blind, Inc. (APH). Should the vendor be a distributor of the materials and not the publisher, the distributor agrees to immediately notify the publisher of its obligation to submit NIMAS file sets of the purchased products to the NIMAC. This is page ___ of ___ of this contract or purchase order."

See also: http://www.doe.mass.edu/edtech/assistive/nimas.html 

Bookshare Video Tutorials
Bookshare - Waltham Public Schools


A shared CD is available in all elementary school libraries. Use Software Request form to have it installed on your classroom computer.) 

Resources for teachers using Boardmaker

Boardmaker Share - share thousands of ready-made Boardmaker activities and connect with the people who use them.

Boardmaker Training 1st two videos are open; others require a paid subscription to Atomic Learning

CAST Strategy Tutor

A free online tool to support students and teachers doing reading and research on the Internet, ages 10 and up. Strategy Tutor helps students read, research, collect and understand information. For teachers, Strategy Tutor provides a way to create web-based lessons embedded with research-based, highly effective learning strategy and vocabulary supports. Requires Firefox - contact the Help Desk.

Clicker 5 

 (limited installations as per Special Education department)

Resources for teachers using Clicker
Atomic Learning - 1st two videos are open; others require a paid subscription
Clicker 5 Tutorials - download Word or Adobe pdf versions
Clicker 5 Wiki - lots of free resources, links and ideas.


(as requested - use Software Request form) Co-Writer is a word prediction tool. See Don Johnston website.  Kurzweil also provides word predication and is our more up-date software.

Inspiration and Kidspiration 

(all computers K-12)   Two computer-based graphic organizers that integrate visual mapping with outlining to help students comprehend concepts and information. The diagram view is used to create and modify concept maps, idea maps, webs and other graphical organizers, while the outline view helps users quickly prioritize and rearrange ideas. Inspiration license include Teacher Take Home Privileges that allow teachers to install Inspiration on their home computers for lesson planning and preparation. Take home copies (teachers only) are available in each Library. Kurzweil also provides graphic organizers and is our more up-date software.

Inspiration Tutorial - Atomic Learning 
Inspiration Tutorial - Learning Electric

Ideas for integrating Inspiration and Kidspiration into curriculum areas:

Inspiration Tutorial - Learning Electric  




IntelliTools Classroom Suite 

(PreK-5 SPED classrooms - contact Marcia Delaney for building reading, writing and math skills.)

Classroom Suite Activity Exchange provides hundreds of activities,  New features include:

  • Upload your activities directly to the Activity Exchange
  • Add comments to activities
  • Communicate with other authors and activity developers via the exchange
  • Track the most popular activities

Kurzweil 3000 Version 12  

(All computer images going forward 9/1/11)  Contact the Help Desk (5485) with your computer numbers to have Kurzweil 3000 Version 12 client installed. See also: Kurzweil Implementation and Training.  Home installations.

Learning Ally  audiobooks for students with print disabilities   new! 

Print disability requirements:  all students who use Learning Ally’s books must have a learning disability, visual impairment or other physical disability which limits their ability to effectively read standard print.  Go to Massachusetts Learning Ally  to view short videos on Learning Ally, how to listen to audiobooks on a PC/MAC and Apple iOS device.

QuickGuide Adobe pdf document

What do I need to do to listen to an audiobook?

What is a print disability?

Who is a certifier?  - an expert in the field (e.g. SPED, medicine).  Typically general education teachers, library teachers, instructional technology specialists, guidance counselors, principals, etc. are not qualified certifiers (unless they have that specific expertise in addition to their role.)

Low Vision tools  Recording from the Blind and Dyslexic - Level 2 membership - contact Special Education office (Marcia Delaney)

Microsoft Word  (all computers K-12)

 Sound: insert>object>wave sound
 High Contrast screen for low vision: (left)shift>alt>printscreen

Microsoft PowerPoint 

(All computers K-12)  PowerPoint slides read aloud: PowerTalk http://fullmeasure.co.uk/powertalk/)

Microsoft Internet Explorer and Read Please

(all computers K-12 - prior to FY11) Read Please is a free text-to-speech plug-in for IE. http://www.readplease.com/  Kurzweil also provides read aloud using web browsers.

Natural Reader

(all future computers K-12 as of 10/3/11)  Natural Reader is a free text-to-speech.  Plug-in bars are provided in Internet Explorer, Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook, so you can listen to online news, e-mails, e-books, documents, and PDF files. NaturalReader also has the ability to convert any written text into an MP3 or WAV audio file, so you can listen later (e.g. with an iPod).  Kurzweil also provides read aloud using web browsers or any digital content that is opened in Kurzweil.

Online OCR

Free Optical Character Recognition software (without installation on your computer). Recognize text and characters from PDF scanned documents (including multipage files), photographs and digital camera captured images. Free Online OCR service supports 32 recognition languages. Convert scanned PDF to Word, Txt, Rtf Extract text from image (JPG, JPEG, BMP, TIFF, GIF) and convert into editable Word, Text, Excel, PDF, Html output formats. Converted documents look exactly like the original - tables, columns and graphics

UDL Editions by CAST

UDL Editions take advantage of the flexibility of digital media to reach and engage all learners. Leveled supports and the Texthelp Toolbar balance challenge and support for each learner. Ages 10 and up.  Watch video about UDL.

Write OutLoud (Don Johnston) 

(all labs and as requested grades K-12)

Write Out-Loud is a talking word processor that supports students to increase writing quantity and improve writing quality through purposeful supports. See also WriteOutloud website. Note: Teachers should also request AT&T Natural Voices to be installed.  Kurzweil also provides read aloud word processing.

See also:


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