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Free Software for Students

Many of our students have full access to screen reading software in their school, but they do not have access to their computer at home. Does this scenario sound familiar? Now your students can have their own screen reading software at home on a USB drive.

One of the software programs is open-source, which to some people means free, when in fact that is not how it is defined. "Open source software is the shared intellectual property of all developers and users and, thanks to the collaboration, achieves a higher level of quality than software produced using conventional means. "
(http://www.directimaging.com/).

The opensource screen reader is NVDA, which stands for NonVisual Display Access. Being opensource, the speech engine available for use is not as advanced as commercial screen reading software, but that is also improving with each revision. Download NVDA here: www.nvda-project.org.

The next screen reading software available for free is System Access Mobile. The company, Serotek., has made this commercial software available for K-12 students. System Access Mobile is downloaded and then loaded on a USB thumb drive. There is a special type of USB drive required, but that is addressed in the instructions. This USB drive will work on any Windows computer without needing adminstative rights. Go to Serotek's website and look for the KK-12 link, this will take you to an online form with instructions. The website is: www.serotek.com.
Now get busy letting students have equal access to computers!

Sharon Nichols
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Outreach Technology Consultant
Single Switch Software
Braille Music Resources

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