Digital tools to enhance your studies

The start of the academic year is the perfect time to try out new ways of working. In this post, we will cover three accessibility tools available at City, and how they can help anyone that thinks and learns in a different way. Simply log into AppsAnywhere and search for ‘Read&Write’ and ‘MindGenius’ or open Microsoft Office 365 if you want to start experimenting. 

Grasp the written word – Read&Write

Edit: As well as catching pesky punctuation and grammar errors, the software has a predictive text function that will finish hard to spell words before you have to. 

Listen: Have Word documents, PDFs or webpages read out to you in a choice of several voices. Best of all, it can play back what you have written so you can get a feel of how it sounds.

Learn on the go: Convert text to an MP3 file and listen to it whilst you are on the tube or rushing to a lecture. This is perfect for anyone that wants to get ahead in memorizing their course content. 

Reduce eye strain: You can tint your screen and add ruler lines to make reading easier.

Step-by-step videos on the features of Read&Write can be found at Texthelp.

Visualize your ideas – MindGenius

Work as a group: Brainstorm as a team and let your ideas bounce off one another. You can also add more detailed notes to your entries and get more on the page than you ever could with a classic whiteboard and pen. 

Plan: MindGenius can be used to map out the ideas of your project and see how they fit together. If you feel that one concept would be better placed elsewhere, or maybe you want to make it the larger focus of your work, simply move it to another position in your map. 

Break down complex processes: Some concepts are easier to understand in a diagram, whether you want to lay out your family tree, a series of biochemical reactions, or all the exemptions of copyright law.

Find out more by going to the MindGenius website.

Make use of built-in tech

Focus Assist: Available in Windows, you can become immersed in your work by removing notifications and unnecessary clutter from your screen. These features can also be automated according to the time of day and what you are doing, allowing your virtual workspace to become somewhere you can relax when you get back from the library. 

Dictate: Let your speech be turned in text and get a rest from typing in Word and OneNote. 

Immersive Reader: Found across many of Microsoft’s applications, you can have text read aloud and tint your screen to avoid those end-of-day headaches. What’s more, letter spacing can also be changed to improve readability. 

Please refer to our accessibility guide for more details on the features of the Microsoft Office Suite. As always, our Accessibility Librarian, Jessica Wykes, can be contacted if you want to find other ways the library can support your specific learning style and needs.

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