Technology Spotlight: Free and Cheap Assistive Technology!

Laptop, books, and phone

Laptop, books, and phone

Here are some suggestions from Disability Services for free and cheap assistive technology!

Notes Plus (App)
By: Viet Tran

  • Most Noteworthy Function: Note taking services
  • Estimated Value: $10.00
  • Available from ITunes
  • Compatibility: Requires iOS 7.0 or later. Compatible with iPad.
  • Selected as Top 100 World’s Greatest Apps 2014 – Business Insider’s App 100 (
  • Watch the demonstration
  • View the app

Notability (App)
By: Ginger Labs

  • Most Noteworthy Function: Note taking services
  • Estimated Value: $5.99
  • Available from ITunes
  • Compatibility: Requires iOS 7.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus.
  • Apple Editors’ Choice on iPad, iPhone, and Mac! Apple’s Mac App of The Year!
  • See the demonstration of 4.1
  • View the app

Splashtop 2 Remote Desktop – Personal
By: Splashtop Inc.

  • Most Noteworthy Function: Access your laptop from anywhere. (Great for online students).
  • Estimated Value: $4.99
  • Available from ITunes and GooglePlay
  • Compatibility: Requires iOS 5.0 or later. Compatible with iPad.
  • See the demonstration
  • View the app

Read&Write for iPad
By Texthelp Ltd.

  • Most Noteworthy Function: Read Aloud software
  • *Note: Also available in different versions for non-apple users. See the seller’s channel below.
  • Estimated Value: Free
  • Available from ITunes
  • Compatibility: Requires iOS 8.0 or later. Compatible with iPad.
  • Boost confidence and attainment for students with dyslexia or English language learners who struggle with reading and writing.
  • Seller’s channel on YouTube
  • View the app



eTextbooks from Barnes and Noble Bookstore. Yuzu makes it happen!

Written by Kayla Earley, Lab Facilitator

If you prefer eTextbooks, you may know that your Barnes & Noble campus bookstore has access to many of your required books in alternative format. The code you purchase from the bookstore is usually used with Yuzu, an online partner with Barnes & Noble. You can use Yuzu online or download the app onto your personal computer or tablet! Yuzu also has special features so you can highlight and take notes right on the page!

Be proactive and ask the bookstore about eTextbooks for the upcoming semester. For more information about Books in Alternative Format and Assistive Technology at CPCC please visit the Disability Services website.

Get financial help for assistive technology!

Hand on mouse

Hand on mouse

Written by Kayla Earley, Lab Facilitator Disability Services

Disability Services at CPCC is happy to provide students with assistive technology on all of CPCC’S campuses. However, we recognize that sometimes students need access to assistive technology outside of school, especially after students have completed their education at CPCC. The good news is, students do not have to fund assistive technology on their own. There is financial help available!

Visit the North Carolina Assistive Technology Program website to find information about funding scholarships, purchase of technology/devices for students with hearing and visual difficulties, and more.

In addition, you can purchase used assistive technology devices through the North Carolina Assistive Technology Exchange Post.

Interested in learning about FREE assistive technology? Here are some helpful resources for free software.

Please keep in mind that CPCC Disability Services is not responsible for mishaps that may occur when downloading free software.


NaturalReader is a Text to Speech software with natural sounding voices. This easy to use software can convert any written text such as MS Word, Webpage, PDF files, and Emails into spoken words. NaturalReader can also convert any written text into audio files such as MP3 or WAV for your CD player or iPod.

Windows Eyes

Windows Eyes is free read aloud software for individuals who are blind, visually impaired, or print disabled. Available in multiple languages.


SpeakIt is free downloadable software used with Google Chrome. SpeakIt uses text-to-speech technology to read selected text in over 50 languages.


NonVisual Desktop Access, or NVDA, is a free, downloadable screen reader that converts text to speech. NVDA is available in our Disability Services Testing Center, but students may also wish to download this free software onto their personal computers or onto a USB drive, which allows students to use NVDA with virtually any computer.

Have questions about assistive technology at CPCC? Visit our website for more information!


Technology Spotlight: “SpeakIt” Free Download, Website Reader

Written by Alysia Leak, Lab Facilitator Disability Services

If you are looking for a webpage reader, check out “SpeakIt,” a FREE download that is offered through Google Chrome. This works similar to Natural Reader in that you select the text and then the program reads it. Google Chrome will read the text that is highlighted in the webpage. Click here to find the download.

CPCC Disability Services is not responsible for any electronic malfunctions, damages, viruses, incompatibilities, or any other adverse effects created by this software.


Technology Spotlight-New app and website for e-books

Using technology in education is becoming more and more common among students and instructors. E-books or books in alternative format are a common accommodation for students at CPCC. Here are some new resources that may be helpful when locating an electronic version of a book:


This app allows for textbook retrieval from multiple devices. It is used by the CPCC bookstore and can be used with financial aid.


This website is an option for students who do not use financial aid. It keeps a library of rental books that the student can access until the book rental expires. Some books have “unlimited” rentals.

If you are approved to receive books in alternative format/e-books and are having difficulty locating an electronic version of your book, please contact Alysia Leak in AssistiveTechnology and your Disability Counselor for more assistance.



Technology Spotlight-Notetaking App for iPhone/iPad “Notability”

Taking good notes is vital to a student’s academic success in college. There is an app available through iTunes called Notability (by Ginger Labs) that takes your notes to a whole new level! This app has many valuable features, including audio recording capability, drawing options, importing files, and audio playback at various speeds. Currently, it is available on iTunes at the cost of $2.99. Not a bad price for what it can do! It is rated at 4.5 stars for version 5.21. Click here to view the full description and screen shots of this app. Now is a good time to test it out as you prepare for your next semester of classes!

Apps for College Students: Use technology to improve your school performance!

Do you have trouble keeping up with your school schedule, assignments, and exams? Does stress significantly affect your mood and behavior? Do you need techonlogy to help you learn? What if you could get help from your mobile device for all these issues? You can! Here is a list of apps that we recommend to help you stay on track:

For ogranization:

Istudiez Pro – Great Organizer for Iphone users! Features: schedule planner, grades, assignment review, and interactive calendar. http://istudentpro.com

Class Buddy – Same features as Istudiez Pro for Android users.

Evernote – Take notes, sync with laptop, and even record audio files. Share notes easily through Facebook and Twitter integration. iPhone and Android.

For stress:

Breathe2Relax: Stress management tool for your smart phone. Record your stress levels, do guided breathing exercises, and get feedback on your progress. Great app for test anxiety!

T2 Mood Tracker:  Monitor and track your emotional health. The app records a range of emotions for anxiety, depression, head injury, stress, posttraumatic stress and a user’s general well-being.

 For auditory learners:

Voice Reading: Voice Reading is a simple and intuitive app for read aloud text. Using the Android share feature you can send any data from other apps to Voice Reading.