Assistive technology tools are designed to help those with disabilities not only do homework but also succeed in school. Generally speaking, assistive technology tools can be used to perform different types of tasks and can be separated into three types:
- Tools that provide reading and writing support
- Tools that provide vision support
- Tools that provide speech support
The most common type of assistive technology tool is a screen reader. Screen readers read both text on the computer and images on the computer aloud. This allows students who may have visual impairments, dyslexia, or other learning disabilities to efficiently complete their reading assignments.
In addition to screen readers, another type of assistive technology tool is a magnification tool or screen magnifier. Magnification tools enlarge text on a screen for students who may have low vision or are blind.
Finally, speech recognition tools are powerful assistive technology tools as they allow students with physical disabilities who cannot type by hand to speak into their computer and have it transcribe what they say into written documents such as essays or research papers.
Visual Learning Tools
Here are a few of the most useful resources for visual learners:
- Highlight and annotate important quotes from your textbook. This can help you make sense of complicated passages and also serve as a reference if you’re writing papers or need to remember important concepts.
- Create mind maps to organize information when doing more creative work, like essays or projects that require the synthesis of multiple sources.
- Use flowcharts and diagrams to explain ideas or processes in a way that’s easy to understand, especially when it comes to complex science topics. Tools are available, which are great for creating these graphic organizers.
- For more advanced students, create graphs and presentations that illustrate concepts in an easily digestible way—and then take it one step further with an infographic! The possibilities are endless!
Online Tutoring Apps and Sites
Online tutoring apps and sites like sweetstudy.com are an easy, convenient alternative to meeting with a tutor in person. They’re also a bit cheaper, which can be helpful if you have a lot of subjects you need help with.
However, depending on your needs and personality, you may find that an in-person tutor is more effective for you than online tutoring. For example, if you like having one-on-one time with your tutor to ask questions and go over difficult concepts in detail, online tutoring might not be the best choice for you.
Also, since online tutors usually aren’t teachers or professors at your school, they may not know the specifics of how the class or exam works—so attending study groups or review sessions put on by your professor is still essential.
If you want to be successful in your academic career, it’s important that you master the art of note-taking. Whether it’s in a lecture hall or tutorial setting, as long as you are learning new material, there is value to writing things down; studies have shown that students who write their notes by hand score higher on assessments and exams than those who don’t write anything at all.
However, what type of notes should you take? In general, notes taken using an outline format are better than verbatim notes because they force you to summarize what was said. They allow for a more efficient review later. If a textbook and accompanying images can be used to supplement the ideas being taught, even better!
But what if you want an easy way to keep up with your classwork without a bunch of handwritten pages weighing down your backpack? Fortunately, there are apps available that will help make taking notes more efficient and enjoyable.
They work similarly: just type or speak into them whatever information or ideas you wish to save from the class session, then organize those notes into different folders depending on the subject matter covered—just like organizing physical files into folders in a filing cabinet!
In order for these tools to work most effectively for review purposes, later on, try inserting images into your typed-out outlines from time to time so that certain points will stand out in your mind when it comes time for exam studying. Furthermore, try color-coding your topics so that they’re easy to skim over when reviewing the material at a later date.
Organization Apps and Task Management Software
Homework organization apps can help you stay on top of your class schedule, remember important due dates, and keep track of all the materials you’ll use for assignments. Here are some ways to make the most of them.
Consider using a calendar app like Google Calendar or iCal. Calendars serve as great visual reminders of what you have going on in any given week or month. You can set up alerts for different tasks when they’re coming up and even set recurring events based on your recurring classes.
For example, suppose you always have calculus class every Monday and Wednesday at 3:00 pm. In that case, you can use an app like Google Calendar to create a repeating event that automatically appears in your feed every time the date rolls around so that it is always on your mind and never forgotten.
Use a to-do list app to prioritize tasks by importance or urgency. What’s due tomorrow? What’s due next week? What’s most important? Knowing the answers will help you focus your efforts where they’re needed most. That way, you’re not distracted by other less pressing things on your plate.
Communication Tools for Group Projects
Whether you’re in the same room or on opposite sides of the world, communication is paramount when you’re working as a team. You need to be able to share files and resources easily, brainstorm together, and give feedback quickly. Luckily, technology has made this easier than ever before. Below are some tools that are especially useful for group projects:
Google Docs: This tool allows you to work on a document at the same time as other people in your group. It keeps track of changes that everyone makes so that everyone can see what their teammates have contributed at any time.
Google Hangouts: A video conferencing tool that works seamlessly with Google documents, so you can chat about the project in one window and see what your teammates are doing in the other window. You can also host meetings without video if you prefer not to turn on your webcam.
Skype: The granddaddy of video chat tools; still reliable after all these years! Its screen-sharing capabilities are especially helpful for group projects.
Slack: Organize your team’s conversations and files all in one place with Slack; it integrates with lots of other software products like Dropbox and Trello (see below). Perfect for keeping everything related to a project accessible in one spot!
Trello: Trello allows you to organize things into lists (like “To do,” “Doing,” “Done”), which is incredibly helpful when you have multiple parts that go into completing an assignment
What’s the first image that comes to mind when you hear the word “technology”? Probably a sleek tablet, laptop, or smartphone of some kind. If you’re like many other people in your generation and me, technology is something that you use often; we rely on it for so many aspects of our lives.
It’s no surprise that most of us are well aware of how helpful technology can be for studying and performing classroom tasks. But technology can’t do all the work for you; its purpose ultimately is to make your life easier by giving you access to more resources than ever before.