[Athen] Replacing Assistive Tech Products

Deborah Armstrong armstrongdeborah at fhda.edu
Mon Apr 13 11:33:23 PDT 2020

The voice recognition in Windows 10 is just OK. Takes much more practice to speak in ways it understands but it can be done. Remember that Windows-H starts dictation in a text field and it’s more accurate than the built-in voice recognition because it sends the recording out to a Microsoft server like siri.

I agree that the free products aren’t as good. But for some students a simple interface is better. Balabolka free in Windows 10 is all some but not all students need for TTS and the free One-Core voices in Windows 10 are pretty darn good.

I have students who use the free Capti and like it as well. Alsostudents who learned Natural Reader orRead Please in high school and won’t use anything else. Windows Edge and Adobe acrobat will also automatically read outloud but without any frills like highlighting.

I personally like TextAloud (low-cost) and I think visually it is easier to learn than Balabolka though not everyone agrees --
Balabolka is easier to use with magnification because it has standard menus.
I really don’t think they should cancel K3000 or TextHelp completely but perhaps buy licenses just for folks who will actually use and benefit from those programs. Some students don’t use all the fancy features anyway, and others definitely depend on them.

From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu> On Behalf Of Robert Spangler
Sent: Monday, April 13, 2020 8:43 AM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: [Athen] Replacing Assistive Tech Products

Hello everyone:

Unfortunately, as a result of recent events, our leadership at UD is asking which AT products are we able to cancel for the 2020-21 academic year. I am writing here to seek suggestions for free or lower-cost alternatives. These products include:
Read and Write - I know that there are free text-to-speech alternatives available. Can anyone recommend some for me to try? What would I lose from Read and Write if I decided to opt for a free or low-cost solution?

Dragon - This one I feel will be harder to replace, but I'm looking for opinions. I've already begun teaching my Mac students how to use the built-in Mac Dictation, which is pretty good. Also, Nuance no longer supports MacOS. Windows is a problem, however. Last time I checked, Windows dictation didn't even come close to being as accurate as Dragon. So again, any thoughts on this are welcome.


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Robert Spangler
Disability Services Technical Support Specialist
rspangler1 at udayton.edu<mailto:rspangler1 at udayton.edu>
Office of Learning Resources (OLR) - RL 023
Ryan C. Harris Learning & Teaching Center (LTC)
University of Dayton | 300 College Park | Dayton, Ohio 45469-1302
Phone: 937-229-2066
Fax: 937-229-3270
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