Assistive Technology

The Library offers a range of services and specialist assistive technology which includes equipment and software to aid study. The Library aims to offer facilities suitable to all users, taking into account the specific needs of users with disabilities or dyslexia.

Assistive Technology desktop computers are located in each of the Library’s three study carrels rooms. Study carrels can be reserved in advance, therefore students may need to enquire about availability. Assistive Technology laptop or netbook computers may also be borrowed (by registered Library users) throughout the day between 9am and 4.30pm, within the college only.

An Assistive Technology computer will have the following (Disability and Dyslexia Access) software:

Dragon NaturallySpeaking (Versions 10 and 11)

Dragon NaturallySpeaking is speech recognition software that gives students the ability to produce assignments, reports and other documents by talking to a computer. Students will be able to dictate rather than type therefore helping turn their ideas into text at the speed of thought. Thus students can accomplish more work faster - up to three times faster than typing. Every time an individual uses Dragon and corrects their recognition errors, the software updates their user profile to enable better recognition accuracy over time.

The Library has two versions of Dragon software on its Assistive Technology computers. Dragon 11 which uses up-to-date technology is more accurate out of the box and “learns” better than previous versions (meaning students will not only find it much easier to use, but they should require much less practice to get used to it compared to Dragon 10). Students can also use Dragon to transcribe audio files recorded on a digital voice recorder into a text document.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking Version 11 instruction manual

Dragon NaturallySpeaking Version 10 instruction manual

• ClaroRead (Version 5)

ClaroRead is a text to speech software program which speaks back text as it is typed, allowing a student to check and proof-read their work quickly and easily. Text can be spoken at any point by highlighting individual sections of text and pressing the play button.

Other features of ClaroRead include:

Being able to read back menus, button text and any text displayed on the computer screen.

Having the ability to make audio files from text documents for listening to on a computer or a portable audio player.

Being able to convert handouts, photocopies and books into word documents.

Allowing PDF files to be edited and converted MS Word documents.

A text to speech word checking feature which combines homophone dictionary, thesaurus, reference dictionary and spellchecker.

Echoes text dictated using Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech recognition software.

• Ginger

Ginger is a contextual spelling and grammar checker which corrects text in Microsoft Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc. Ginger’s spelling checker corrects typos, phonetic mistakes, severe spelling mistakes, and misused words based on the context of a sentence. While its grammer checker detects and corrects errors in categories such as verb tenses, prepositions, adjective/adverb usage, and more.

• Inspiration

Inspiration is mind mapping software which can be used for visual mapping, outlining, writing and making presentations. It is a visual thinking and learning tool which lets students brainstorm their ideas, structure their thoughts, plan and organize written work and information, and create visual diagrams or mind maps. You can then use the content you’ve developed in your visual diagrams or mind maps and transfer your work into a word processor, helping you create an assignment or presentation that conveys your ideas clearly and demonstrates your understanding and knowledge.

Inspiration instruction manual

• ClaroView

ClaroView is a software program which acts as an ‘overlay’ on a computer screen. It allows you to change the colour of the computer screen and vary the tint level, therefore giving you a better view of the computer screen.

• ScreenRuler

ScreenRuler is a software application which allows part of the computer screen to be highlighted and magnified in a horizontal band. It acts as a reading bar and can assist anyone with viewing and concentrating on text or objects. The 'strip' or 'ruler' across the screen can magnify and change contrast, as well as be able to 'grey' or 'dim' the background.

• ClaroCapture (Version 2)

ClaroCapture is a study skills tool which is designed to capture text, references images and other information from different locations and place them into a “ClaroCapture project”, which can then be used in prepation for writing assignments.


Other Assistive Technology equipment available includes:

• Digital voice recorders (Dictaphones)

Digital voice recorders are available to make recordings of lectures, seminars, etc. But you may need to seek permission from the tutor before making recordings in class. Recorders can be connected to a computer with a USB lead, therefore you can transfer your recordings to a computer and convert them to MP3 files using the software supplied. Most of the Library’s digital voice recorders are placed under the category of standard loans, thus just like Library books students may take recorders home.


The Library has two different scanners available for use by students. The Library’s main scanner, a Plustek OpticBook 3600 is linked to the Computer Number 5. It can be used to scan books, documents, images, etc into different formats such as text documents or image files. For instructions on how to use the Plustek OpticBook 3600 scanner click here.

The Library’s second scanner, the ReadEasy is an Assistive Technology item found in Study Carrel 3. The ReadEasy is a combined desktop computer and scanning device for the visually impaired, designed primarily as a text to speech reading machine. The ReadEasy reads aloud anything printed by simply placing it onto its scanner and pressing the scan button on the attached keypad. It can also be used to scan and convert books and document into plain text or MP3 audio files, which can be saved onto a USB memory stick (or an MP3 player). Click here for the ReadEasy instruction manual.

Please refer to the Library Rules and Regulations for information and guidance about scanning, copying and copyright.

Large LCD monitors with some desktop computers

Large letter and high contrast special needs keyboards

Task Lights

• Magnifying sheet

Cassette Tape recorders

YMCA George Williams College in partnership with Canterbury Christchurch University is committed to enabling disabled and dyslexic students to participate as fully as possible in all aspects of the College’s academic programmes and the wider student experience, including the social aspects of being a student in Higher Education. Click on the following links for information regarding additional learning support and support for disabled students.

Students can book a Library tutorial with a librarian and an I.T. or Assistive Technology tutorial with either a librarian, or a tutor. Mini-tutorials are also held in the Library throughout the year during lunchtimes. Other examples of additional Library support for disabled or dyslexic users include extended loans, assistance in the library to obtain provision of information in audio, large print, braille or other alternative formats.

The College will aim to ensure that disabled students have equal access to all student support services in partnership with Canterbury Christchurch University and that these services are provided in such a way that the needs of disabled students are met.


Last modified: Monday, 16 July 2012, 8:40 AM