Assistive technology and apps

  • 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 Brookes' computers and through Google apps.

    Networked at Brookes

    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.

    Text to speech software

    Offers a wide range range of tools that will help you in the reading, research and writing process including having your work or text read to you, screen tinting, advanced spell checking and making it possible to edit and listen to “inaccessible” PDFs. 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.

    To access text to speech, use Apps Anywhere.


    claroreadGives a floating toolbar, from which you can use Scan to open PDFs you have downloaded and select sections of text to export into Word to use in your notes. Extras includes screen tinting or screen ruler for reading. To modify the voice used to read text go to Settings.  


    There are online training videos to tell you more about the features.

    TextHelp Read and Write 11 Gold

    Also offers a predictive text option, verb checker and even picture dictionary. Some of the features are highlighted below but we recommend spending time exploring for yourself.



    dictionaryDictionary: Three dictionaries in one (basic, advanced, and web). Offers definitions and alternative words.

    picturedictionaryPicture Dictionary: Type in a word and this will give you a picture definition! It even allows you to insert the picture into your text.

    speechmakerSpeech-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.

    Writing features


    spellchekSpellcheck: An advanced level spell checker, offering not only corrections but example sentences to help you ensure you are using words correctly.

    wordpredictionWord 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.

    soundslikeSounds-like: Work through the confusion of words that sound similar with this clever homophone-checker.

    verbcheckerVerb-Checker: No video for this one but this easy-to use tool will help you ensure that you are using English verbs correctly. 

    Inspiration mindmapping

    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.

    To access Inspiration on a pooled Brookes computer, go to Apps anywhere:


    Then start typing Inspiration until the app logo appears and you can launch it:


    Google apps

    You can do much more with your University Google account than just send and receive emails:

    googlehangoutsGoogle Meet 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.

    googledriveGoogle Drive allows organisation and storage of files accessible from anywhere using your University email.

    googledocsGoogle 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.

    LucidchartLucidchart Diagrams is a visual communication tool that can create mind maps,flow charts and other useful diagrams.

    googletranslateTranslate: Does exactly what you expect!

    To find out more about what is available, go to the Assistive Technology page, where you can find drop-in times and make appointments at Headington and other campuses.