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Assistive Technology

It is SUNY Potsdam’s commitment to offer services and accommodation, on an individual basis, for qualifying students with documented disabilities. SUNY Potsdam offers testing accommodation and has access to various assistive technologies for student support.

Assistive Technology is any product, device, or system that enhances a student’s ability to learn or provides a student with disabilities the ability to learn.

Assistive technologies for qualifying students:

Bookshare makes reading easier. People with dyslexia, blindness, cerebral palsy, and other reading barriers can customize their experience to suit their learning style and find virtually any book they need for school, work, or the joy of reading.

Glean is a virtual notetaking software with accessibility features, recorded audio notes, and interactive information guides to enhance note-taking skills.

Notetaking Training:

Smart Pen
Livescribe Pen is a Smart Pen that captures everything you write and everything that is spoken. The pen has a camera that takes pictures of the notes as you write them on the special Livescribe paper. The built-in microphone records what is being said during note taking.

Smart Pen Training:

C-Pen Reader is a portable device that reads text aloud with English, Spanish, or French digital voices. Multi-dictionary options available for quick search of unfamiliar vocabulary.

Kurzweil’s speech-to-text functions allow students to dictate papers, presentations, and notes. Potsdam offers Kurzweil 3000 in the Office of Accommodative Services in Sisson111.

Kurzweil 3000 is an educational and assistive technology providing text to speech reading, writing and study support. It has been shown to help students with:

  • learning disabilities such as dyslexia
  • dysgraphia
  • those who require reading intervention
  • students struggling with reading comprehension and English Language Learners (ELL)students struggling with reading comprehension and English Language Learners (ELL)

Kurzweil 3000 runs as a desktop application on Mac or Windows and has a web-based service called "Firefly", an iOS app, and a Chrome extension for reading the web.

Kurzweil 3000 Instructional Videos

Assistive technologies for ALL students:

3D printing is available at SUNY Potsdam’s Makerspace in the Lougheed Commons Library. Print papers, projects, and class materials upon request. The 3-D Printing Makerspace has:

  • 2- Ultimaker 2+ 3D printers
  • 2- Matter & Form 3D scanners
  • 2- Computer workstations for 3D design

VitalSource Bookshelf (Online Textbook)
VitalSource is a way for students to purchase textbooks for courses that are available on the Online Textbook website. VitalSource provides highlighting tools, search options, read aloud features, and the ability to download text for reading on the go!

  • Study Tool: highlighting & adding note feature, you can also copy a sentence to add to paper or study guide
  • Read Aloud: Students can pick rate, pitch, volume, and type of voice when using the read aloud option!
  • Video highlighting capabilities

Dyslexia Supports

Colorblind-Dalton is software allowing people with various kinds of color blindness (color vision deficiency) to see more colors.

Dyslexia Reader
Dyslexia reader settings test is multi-lingual text software that improves reading and comprehension through changing font and settings to personalize text.

The Flesky app increases keyboard or text input system size to 14% the normal size increase on the QWERTY keyboard. The keyboard features a powerful word prediction system and autocorrect system editing capabilities. Flesky is free to use and may assist low-vision users who do need to look at the screen to type.

Helperbird provides features like dyslexia fonts, change the font & background color, text to speech with natural voices, overlays, dyslexia rulers, immersive reader, reader mode, and much more to tailor the web to your needs.

Mercury Reader
Mercury Reader has a clutter-free reading experience, customizable themes, and even Send to Kindle options for reading.

OpenDyslexic Font for Chrome
Open-Dyslexic is an open-source font created to increase readability for readers with dyslexia. This extension overrides all fonts on web pages with the OpenDyslexic font, and formats pages to be more easily readable.

Speechify is designed to help people with dyslexia, ADHD, Low vision acuity, concussions, and other reading disabilities listen to the text on any webpage.

Accessibility Apps by Apple contains a comprehensive list of iOS compatible apps ranging from communication apps to home accessibility apps to ensure everyone has access to the internet from their Apple devices.

Dyslexia Keyboard
The Dyslexia Keyboard app can replace the standard keyboard on iPhones and iPads and is designed to help those with dyslexia catch spelling errors, homophone mistakes, and grammatical issues. The Dyslexia Keyboard also uses predictive text to speed up the process of typing and can provide audio feedback with a speech reading option. While the app is quite expensive, the value it can offer is worth considering. View it on the iOS App store.

The Flesky app increases keyboard or text input system size to 14% the normal size increase on the QWERTY keyboard. The keyboard features a powerful word prediction system and autocorrect system editing capabilities. Flesky is free to use and may assist low-vision users who do need to look at the screen to type.

Noted is transcription software free to download with in-app purchases to bring audio and notes together.

Screen Reader
Voiceover is a visual accessibility feature that allows you to operate your Mac or any Apple product (MacOS, iOS) using just your keyboard while having items on the screen read out to you. Comes complete with training so that you can learn to use it to its fullest. This programming is already built into your System Preferences so it is free, and no download needed!

Scriptation is an Emmy winning PDF annotation app for film, television, and video industries. The app benefits production with a digital transfer service of annotations, notes, and markups to new script revisions. 

Seeing Al
Seeing Al is designed for the low vision community, Seeing Al describes people, text, and objects. The app will describe a color, read handwriting aloud, identify currency and even recognize people. Use your iOS device to take a picture of text and render as instant text to speech or convert it via OCR

The ASL App
The ASL App is an app to help learn and communicate with American Sign Language. The ASL App is designed to help you learn a new visual language in a way that is easy, intuitive, and well-paced. There is a search index (when you need to know a sign right away), slow-motion option, info (tips), and a favorites folder to store frequently used terms.

  • Optelec Clearview 300 is a low-vision magnifier available at SUNY Potsdam’s Lougheed Commons Library for any student to enlarge any product placed below the magnification device.
  • Zoomax Snow 12 is a portable electronic video magnifier that delivers true visual independence for people with low vision. With Snow 12, you can more easily read, write, look at objects or even perform full-page content scanning with OCR text-to-speech. Available at the front desk at the Crane Library in Schuette Hall.


Dictate (voice to type)
Dictate is now part of Microsoft Office 365. Microsoft Office 365 is part of SUNY Potsdam campus. You can access this software when logging into your email.

Tips for using this tool at Potsdam:

  • Get content written down without needing to type
  • Useful for quickly getting down ideas to polish later
  • Write emails or documents with your voice to get a break from typing.

Help & how to get started:

  • Go to Home tab select Dictate.
  • Click the Dictate button
  • When the microphone icon changes to show a red dot and you hear a sound you can begin dictating, the dictated words appear as text on screen.
  • Click the microphone icon again when you have finished dictating.

Cost: Free

Diction Feature for Mac users

Help & how to get started:

  • Hit the function key (FN) twice and wait for a microphone to appear
  • When the microphone icon appears you can start speaking

Watch Mac Speech to Text video for more information and helpful shortcuts.

Immersive Reader
Immersive Reader is a program built into MS word. Complete with life like voices and the ability to change text font, spacing, color, line focus and speed of speech this program is great for rereading papers or to listen to assignments.

Readme turns texts into lifelike speech. Readme can read aloud the content of web pages, pdfs, and eBooks. This text to speech extension delivers natural human speech in more than 40 languages.

Voice in Voice Typing
Voice In Voice Typing is a program that allows users to use your voice to type in any textbook on any website.. From dictating emails, tweeting your thoughts, or learning pronunciations, Voice In makes it easy to type your messages quickly and efficiently using the power of your voice. Learn more about voice in voice typing.

Watson Speech to Text
Watson Speech to Text is a service that converts the human voice into the written word. The service uses deep-learning AI to apply knowledge of grammar, language structure, and the composition of audio and voice signals to accurately transcribe human speech. There is a limited free-version or paid version in which the student would incur the cost.

Cold Turkey
The Cold Turkey free software (Windows/Mac) blocks distracting websites with a timer to ‘go cold turkey’ from them to prevent distractions during working hours. The pro version (one-time fee of $39) blocks apps, provides whitelisting, break intervals, and Frozen Turkey features.


Focus Booster
Focus Booster (Online, Windows/Mac) uses a Pomodoro Timer to help you stay on task when working. The Pomodoro Method (25 mins work/5 mins break) maximizes work sessions and allows you to track your time more efficiently. The free version offers basic Pomodoro timer accessibility. The Pro version ($54.89 annually) offers time management across clientele, projects, and offers unlimited time tracking for productivity reporting.


Just Read
Just Read is a Chrome extension for distraction free reading. It offers a free version with a customizable platform, distraction-free and ad-free reading, and auto-run abilities. The Premium version ($12 annually) offers shared Just Read formatted pages, customizable scrollbars with auto-scroll functionality, gradient text lines for improved readability, and domain-specific content selectors.


MyHomework Student Planner
MyHomework Student Planner is a clean interface planning app that helps reduce anxiety and maintain focus on assignments that are due. The free app features include tracking classes and homework, tests, and assignments.


Notion is a oone-stop-shop for organizational planning to keep track of all of your daily tasks and schedules. It includes customizable pages or prefabricated organizing templates. Notion pages can be shared with others for collaboration or team planning.


Page Eraser
Page Eraser is a free Chrome extension that erases unwanted parts of a web page to minimize distractions. The extension can be toggled on and off to use as a study tool.

AudioNote 2

  • AudioNote 2 allows you to type notes, write notes, record audio while taking notes, organize notes, pick the paper and pen, annotate PDF PowerPoints, and more.
  • Product page for AudioNote2. Available in the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, and Windows Store.
  • Support can be found at



  • GoodNotes allows you to type notes, write notes with a finger or stylus, sort notes, search handwritten notes, convert handwriting into text, pick the paper and pen used, annotate PDFs and PowerPoints, and insert web content, video, images, media, clip art, etc.
  • Product page for GoodNotes. Available for purchase in the iOS and Mac App Stores.
  • A product review of GoodNotes and Notability is available at
  • Support for GoodNotes can be found at

Grammarly - Check your writing for spelling and grammar errors in real time.


  • Grammarly is a plugin for Microsoft Office or the Google Chrome web browser
  • It will highlight mistakes in your writing in real time and offer suggestions
  • Will explain the errors it finds to develop your writing skills​

Tips for using this tool at Potsdam:

  • Use to check the spelling and grammar of content you write on the web (email, social media articles) or in Microsoft Office programs (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)

Help & how to get started:

  • ​Search for 'Grammarly' in the Chrome Web Store
  • Download the Microsoft plug in  for free

Cost: Grammarly is free by default

Note: The free version will correct the most common errors. For more detailed corrections you can upgrade to a premium plan for a monthly cost.


Hemingway - Help with making your writing clear and readable.


  • Type or paste text onto the Hemingway website 
  • The tool will highlight sentences that are hard to read and suggest simpler alternatives

Tips for using this tool at Potsdam:

  • ​​​Improve the clarity of your written documents, research papers and assignments

Help & how to get started:

Cost: Hemingway is free to use on the web

You can download a desktop app to use on the go for $19.99



Otter AI
Otter AI is an audio recording transcription software that records volume and simultaneously types out meeting notes in real-time. There is a limited free-version or paid version in which the student would incur the cost.

Transcription Training:

Squid Notes