Writing tips


A common barrier facing students who find using assistive technology useful is how to implement these strategies when given paper-based tasks to complete.

In a previous post – ‘Yes you scan‘ – the Claro ScanPen app was proposed as a way of using text-to-speech support when reading from printed material, letting you use your phone to take a photo of printed text, then select what you want read with your finger, and hear it spoken straight back to you.

What about when you need to write on a printed worksheet or form though. If you struggle with writing legibly or with spelling, losing the support you get when typing work can cause significant challenges, and despite the plethora of technology surrounding us, there are still many situations in which a form needs to be filled by hand.

However, there is a solution. SnapType is an IOS and Android app which lets the user take a picture of a worksheet or form using the phone or tablet’s camera, or import a document from email, photo library or Google Drive. You can then tap anywhere on the screen to start typing in text. Instant support with handwriting and spelling at your finger tips. You can also use your finger to draw lines and zoom in for easier reading.

Sound good? Check it out at http://www.snaptypeapp.com/

Happy Phrase

A really quick tip for anyone studying at University who may be struggling with the sort of academic writing style that you need to master to get the top marks in yours essays. If that sounds familiar, have a look at the Academic Phrasebank set up by John Morley at the University of Manchester. This offers a wealth of support with academic writing by providing sample phrases to use, along with advice on what to include in the different sections of your writing (introductions, conclusions etc).

So, not sure about how to define one the key terms in your essay? How about ‘The term ‘X’ was introduced by Smith in her …‘ or ‘Historically, the term ‘X’ has been used to describe …‘ or ‘It is necessary here to clarify exactly what is meant by …

These are just a tiny example of hundreds of phrases you can use and adapt to suit your need. And, no need to worry about plagiarism – as the site explains; ‘The items in the Academic Phrasebank are mostly content neutral and generic in nature; in using them, therefore, you are not stealing other people’s ideas and this does not constitute plagiarism.’

Happy phrase!