You will find numerous apps and examples of assistive software throughout the A-Z of study skills. This page, however, draws attention to what is freely available on pooled Brookes' computers and through Google apps.
Brookes has a text-to-speech software package, textHELP (also called Read&Write Gold) and mindmapping software (Inspiration) on pooled computers. They are especially useful for international and dyslexic students but can be also be helpful for any student.
TextHelp (or Read & Write 11) offers a wide range range of tools that will help you in the writing and research process including advanced spell checking and a clever predictive text option, verb checker and even picture dictionary. It allows you to save written assignments as audio files or insert audio messages into Word documents, has highlighting features, screen masking and much more. Some of the features are highlighted below but we recommend spending time exploring for yourself.
Dictionary: Three dictionaries in one (basic, advanced, and web). Offers definitions and alternative words.
Picture Dictionary: Type in a word and this will give you a picture definition! It even allows you to insert the picture into your text.
Speech-maker: Allows you to turn writing into sound files, with different voice options. The feature that allows you to slow down or speed up speech is particularly useful.
Spellcheck: An advanced level spell checker, offering not only corrections but example sentences to help you ensure you are using words correctly.
Word Prediction: Not only does this suggest what the next word in your assignment might be, it also offers definitions and helps identify words that are easily confused.
Sounds-like: Work through the confusion of words that sound similar with this clever homophone-checker.
Verb-Checker: No video for this one but this easy-to- use tool will help you ensure that you are using English verbs correctly. Highly recommended by students in the past, present and future!
Inspiration mindmapping software is really useful at the planning stage of your assignment, or for preparing a poster presentation. You can turn your mindmaps into linear notes and a word document.
Inspiration is available in all pooled computer rooms at Brookes.
You can do much more with your University Google account than just send and receive emails:
Google Hangouts is a way of communicating with others virtually. Up to 25 people can join in the same video conference and you can easily share your screen with others. Great for working on group projects when getting together in-person proves difficult.
Google Drive allows organisation and storage of files accessible from anywhere using your University email.
Google Docs is an online word processing package. Files can be shared so that multiple authors can work on a document simultaneously (great for group projects). Click on tools and you will find a dictation option if you prefer speaking to writing.
Lucidchart Diagrams is a visual communication tool that can create mind maps,flow charts and other useful diagrams.
Translate: Does exactly what you expect!
From the explosion of free software, we list a few sources you may find useful: