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Five apps that help students with low vision in the classroom

Five iOS an dAndroid apps that help students with low vision in the classroom.

During my senior year of high school, I was selected as one of three students to give a presentation on educational technology to my school district, with a special focus on assistive technology and apps that help students with low vision in the classroom. Even though I gave this presentation back in 2015, I’m still using all of these apps in college and beyond, and continue to recommend them today. Here is a list of five apps that help students with low vision in the classroom that I recommended many years ago and that was one of my original blog posts in 2016.

Notability

I was introduced to the Notability app by the educational technology specialist at my second high school, and it was an instant game changer for completing science labs and assignments. I find it easier to carry my iPad around the classroom compared to a laptop, and Notability allows me to edit and annotate Word and PDF copies of assignments downloaded from the class website or a shared folder with my teacher, giving me options to type, draw, dictate, or write answers on assignments using a stylus or finger. I found it easier to write answers for my chemistry assignments with Notability on my iPad compared to a computer, because I could adjust the viewing angle under the bifocal lens of my glasses more easily and use different colored ink to label different sections of equations.

The Notability app is free, though there is a paid subscription available as well, and available for iOS devices.

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myScript Calculator

The myScript calculator application is one of the first accessible calculator applications I ever tried out and is probably my most-used calculator option. Instead of having a user input values using a keyboard or by pressing on-screen buttons, myScript allows users to draw or write out equations using a stylus or their finger, and displays the answer in large print, and is also a viable option for students with dysgraphia. This is the calculator app that was approved for use on my personal iPad for Virginia’s Standards of Learning (SOL) standardized exams, as well as for the SAT and ACT exams. The myScript Calculator costs $2.99 and is available for iOS and Android devices.

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PicsArt

I’ve been using PicsArt for years now, as it is a free photo editing software with multiple features and editing capabilities for manipulating images. I prefer to use it on my iPad over computer-based photo editing applications, because I can align the screen under the bifocal lens in my glasses and more effectively use magnification tools to enlarge the different buttons on the screen. PicsArt does not require an account to use, but the free version of the app does have some ads, which can be turned off by turning off the device’s wifi connection.

Some examples of ways I’ve used PicsArt in the classroom include:

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Clarisketch

Clarisketch is a free Android and Chrome OS app that allows users to create their own short tutorial videos (up to two minutes in length) by taking a picture or background and drawing on top of it while speaking. After creating their Clarisketch, users can share a link to their final product, which can be opened in any web browser and does not require a Clarisketch account.

Clarisketch is free and available on Android only, though I have also linked the similar Shadow Puppet app.

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Amazon Kindle

I use the Amazon Kindle app for all of my textbooks because of the large text sizes and because a lot of my books have built-in support for text-to-speech, which can be used with the Amazon Echo Dot/Amazon Alexa. Users don’t have to purchase content from Amazon in order to read it in the Kindle app- I email files to my Kindle by sending an email with no subject line and the supported file attached.

To find your Send to Kindle email address, go to Manage Your Content & Devices> Preferences > Personal Document Settings.

Related links

More apps that I wish I had access to as a high school student with low vision in the classroom

By Veronica Lewis/Veronica With Four Eyes, www.veroniiiica.com

Post updated July 2023; original post published December 2015

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