We encourage students to explore a variety of resources that are available to help you access academic materials. Folsom Lake College provides students with access to a variety of assistive software and hardware on campus. Remember that some of these accommodations require that you have been provided specific accommodations by DSPS. View the Accessibility & Digital Security Guide for more information.
Canvas is the online learning portal for Folsom Lake College. Some students with disabilities will encounter challenges navigating the web portal. If you're finding that reading, navigating, and understanding content within Canvas is difficult, please make an appointment with the Assistive Technology Specialist. DSPS recommends that students utilize NVDA, a free screen reader, to navigate through Canvas and access their academic content.
Assistive Software and Hardware
Kurzweil 3000 is a document reader that students can now access from school workstations, their personal computers, as well as their mobile devices. Students who wish to utilize Kurzweil for their studies should contact the DSPS office and schedule an appointment with the Assistive Technology Specialist.
Kurzweil3000: The Basics part 1 (opening documents, navigating, note-taking)
Creating Study Guides in Kurzweil 3000
JAWS is a commercial screen reader that allows users with little or no sight to navigate a desktop computer effectively. JAWS supports a wide variety of peripheral hardware for braille and has support for a large number of other proprietary programs like iTunes, Microsoft Office, and others.
Dragon Home is a powerful speech to text tool that is available to students at various workstations throughout the campuses. Using a microphone, students are able to input text using only their voice. As a student uses dragon more frequently, the program will accustom itself to a user's voice to increase accuracy. This software is incredibly useful to students who have limited fine motor control or other conditions that make typing difficult. To schedule a training appointment, please inquire with the DSPS office.
DSPS offers pens for checkout and training on their use. For more information please contact the Assistive Technology Specialist. The livescribe pen records the notes you write and can also record lectures simultaneously. The pen uses a special notebook that allows the user to playback a lecture by selecting notes that were taken at a specific point in time. For example, if your professor says, "We will now discuss economics in Chile" you could write down "Economics:Chile". To play back the specific segment, all you need to do is "click" on the words "Economics:Chile" and the lecture will play back from that point.
The Pocketalker PRO system is an assistive device that aids student who find it difficult to hear a lecturer or teacher during class. The Pocketalker transmits audio directly from a microphone worn by the speaker to the headphones of a student listener.
Some students may prefer a direct audio connection to their instructor or communication partner. A personal FM receiver and transmitter combination allows a student to listen directly to an instructor's voice without amplifying any background noise. The speaker wears a microphone which transmits to the listener's device, allowing the listener to sit anywhere in the room and still hear a speaker loud and clear.
DSPS is capable of producing embossed documents for those students who have a visual impairment. A student with accommodations from DSPS can request documents to be printed using the embossing printer, which creates a document in Braille.
Learning Ally is a very versatile tool for those individuals who find reading text based material difficult. Learning Ally allows you to access audio recordings of textbooks and novels for use in academic programs. If you are interested in using Learning Ally in your studies, please contact Assistive Technology Specialist.
Moon Reader is a feature-rich mobile-based text-to-speech document reader for Android devices. Moon Reader allows the user to highlight and annotate documents, as well as read documents aloud to the user.
Voice Dream Reader is feature-rich mobile screen reader. Voice Dream Reader has a polished professional GUI and will read aloud almost anything that you throw at it.
Dragon Anywhere is a simple and straightforward speech-to-text program. This application is useful if you find it difficult to compose messages on mobile phone with your hands.
Evernote is an incredibly versatile and useful note-taking tool for any student and can be used on computers and mobile devices interchangeably. Use Evernote to record voice memos, notes, photographs, and web pages. Evernote will sync your notes to every device, so you can take it wherever you go.
Free PC and Mac Software
Central Access Reader is an open source document reader that has been developed by the Central Washington University. Highly recommended for students struggling to read and comprehend printed text.
Natural Reader is a document reader that has both free and premium versions. This basic application (free version) will read documents aloud on your desktop computer, but lacks the full functionality of the premium paid version. Very basic, but useful nonetheless.
Balabolka is a powerful document toolkit for producing audio files from text and contains many useful tools for text extraction and other tasks. Good at handling large processing jobs and also works with all SAPI voices.
NVDA (NonVisual Desktop Access) is a free screen reader developed for the blind, similar to JAWS. This open source software is a powerful screen reader that has many different voice options and features. NVDA runs in the background and reads aloud any text on the screen. NVDA is controlled by simple keyboard shortcuts and is also capable of producing braille on braille output devices.
Voice Note is a free extension for Google Chrome that will translate speech to text on the fly. The voice recognition is quite accurate and utilizes a predictive text formula to guess what your were trying to say when words are not recognized completely. Overall this is a very useful and small program that is ideal for students with physical impairments or slow typers.
ChromeVox is a free screen reader that brings the speed, simplicity, and security of Chromebooks to visually-impaired users. ChromeVox comes pre-installed on Chromebooks so there’s nothing you have to do besides turn it on.
Speakit is an extension to Google Chrome that allows a user to have text on the page read aloud. Simple controls make this useful for Canvas, online research, email, or social media.