New tools and apps are making learning easier than ever for students with learning disabilities. Summer is the perfect time to see how these can benefit your student before facing the pressures of a new school year.
As an online tutoring company that works one on one with students with learning disabilities, we want to help parents of LD students become more aware of the educational help that these games and tools apps can provide.
In a previous blog entry, we looked at 3 Apple IOS apps particularly helpful for LD students. This time, we look at 3 Android apps. These apps are not necessarily unique but are the ones we feel are among the best in their class for LD students.
Android applications are available in the Google Play store.
1. VoxDox by Root Applications
VoxDox is a text to speech application designed to take your text input and turn it into spoken words. We believe that it can very helpful for students with dyslexia, visual processing disorders and any student who is reading below grade level.
Text can be typed or copy-pasted directly into the app, imported from PDF or Word formats, or the application can read web pages directly from a browser on an URL or website. Interestingly, users can also use a camera image import function, which takes the picture of a text page from a students phone and converts it automatically. Users can also save audio and choose to ignore text that’s irrelevant to them.
VoxDox has a wide range of ebook support, including EPUB,PRC, MOBI and MBP format, and can create an audiobook from both e-books and normal text books. Root Applications also gives users free access to a decent collection of audio books.
The programs speech is customizable, letting users choose from a variety of natural sounding voices, and lets them slow down the program’s reading speed to make comprehension easier. Audio can also be saved for offline use and an advanced editor feature allows students to ignore text they feel is irrelevant or non-informative.
Particularly useful is the app’s ability to share and collaborate on projects and papers with other people. it is relatively easy to share and collaborate on papers and projects with the people that that your student chooses.
As with most apps, unfortunately, VoxDox’s free version is limited to 500 pages (with 5 extra pages per day after that) and full of ads, which can be annoying and distracting. The full version isn’t that expensive, however, but come in a variety of packages that differ based on how many pages a user can convert per month.
The layout of the app, while professional and clean, might be difficult for students to get used to at first and could be made easier to use. Finally, while the app supports over 20 languages, we found that sometimes translation errors occurred or were simply awkwardly pronounced.
As a text to speech translation app, however, we find that VoxDox is quite well done and would be a great asset to students with reading difficulties.
Price: Varies – up to $13.99 for the Android Gold lifetime purchase
Great for Students With: Dyslexia, visual processing disorders
2. HomeWork by Klwinkle
HomeWork is a versatile scheduling app that is designed to help students kids keep track of their schedules, test dates and homework due dates.
The app splits up the types of events users can keep track of, providing separate buttons for Homework, Exams, Lessons/class schedule, Timetables, Holidays and more.
By splitting these up into different screens, the software makes it simpler for kids to categorize and keep track of the various different schoolwork or events that they have coming up. Users simply click on a tab and input the relevant information (such as subject and deadline) into a series of form fields and the app does the rest. When deadlines approach, you can be notified by a friendly chime, ringer or discrete vibration.
HomeWork has a number of features that make it great for students with learning disabilities. Its main menu is clearly marked with large icons, is cleanly designed and easy to navigate. It has a backup and restore function that allows users to save their schedules to other devices, sync with Google Calendar, and it can even email them.
By separating the various types of school work into their own little sections, the app takes a lot of the work out of creating a schedule, making it easy for those who have a hard time keeping up with scheduling systems. Finally, the app also comes with a pretty extensive help file, in case users get lost with some of the functions.
One downside is that the various different menus might get confusing at times, and some care is still needed by the user to properly organize their work (not accidentally marking an exam as homework, for example). Similarly, creating a class schedule may be a bit tricky if your student has A/B or alternating schedules in school.
Overall, however, we feel that this software is clean, simple, easy to use and makes creating a comprehensive school schedule easy, especially for those who are still getting into the habit of making them.
Great for Students With: ADD, ADHD, any disabilities that affect organization and planning.
3. Speech to Text TTS by FSM Software
Speech to Text is an app designed to convert speech into written text, making it a great app for students who have difficulties taking notes in class, particularly those with attention difficulties or auditory processing disorders.
The app uses your device to pick up speech and, through a sophisticated algorithm, converts it into written text. That text can then be copied to a clipboard to paste in a document or sent out via email for later storage and printing. The app also supports sending translations out via SMS and popular social media messaging systems, such as Skype and WhatsApp.
The app supports a number of languages other than English, including French and Spanish, which can help students studying a foreign language. It also allows users to search the captured text on the internet, letting students explore concepts in greater depth or look up word definitions online.
There are some downsides to this app. The free version is loaded with ads, which can be distracting and annoying at times (although the full version is only $3). Another issue is that today’s speech to text translation technology is still limited and so the app can occasionally mistranslate complex sentences and phrases .
Overall, Speech to Text TTS is an easy to use, inexpensive, relatively accurate speech to text application that can really help those who have difficulties taking notes or following along in class.
Price: Free to $3
Great for Students With: Students with auditory processing disorder, ADHD/ADD.