Assistive Technology

The Baker Center has cutting edge software and hardware which is designed to help students with various needs. Some of our assistive technology is available to all students and some is available only to students with specific disability access plans.

This page is designed to make you aware of what sort of programs we have that might help you with your particular learning need.

If you feel that a particular program or other assistive technology would help you, our staff will spend time helping you understand how to use it.

We are happy to help and hope you will take advantage of our services and our technology!

Available Technologies

Premier AT

Premier Assistive Technology has created a wide assortment of tools that make your computer read to you, and the best part is, the software is free to all Tompkins Cortland students. Stop by the Baker Center and pick up the information. Then, download the software to your own computer. Have your computer read your favorite web page, Email, homework, or even read a book. There is even a program that will let you convert your documents into audio files so you can listen to them on your iPod! These tools are also great for proofreading and editing your homework.

Students can scan reading materials in the library, using Premier's Scanning software. This material can be read using Premier's software on any college machine or using Premier's software at home.

Check out Premier's software at

Live Scribe Smart Pen

The Livescribe Smart Pen is a both a digital recorder and writing tool in an all-in-one device. The Smart Pen allows you to record class lectures and take handwritten notes at the same time! The device will also sync your recordings to your notes, so you will not have to scroll through all of your recordings to find the one you want to listen to. The Smart Pen is especially useful for fast-paced classes as you are able to listen to the lecture and take additional notes after the class has ended!

If you have a need for this auxiliary aid, stop by the Baker Center to check out the LiveScribe Smart Pen and see if it works for you!

Kurzweil 1000

Kurzweil 1000 is reading software that makes printed or electronic text accessible to people who are blind or have limited vision. It is the direct descendent of the first reading machine for the blind invented by Ray Kurzweil in 1976. You can read more about Kurzweil 1000 on their web site.

Students with academic adjustments may use the Baker Center scanning station to scan text books, lecture notes, and other class related materials and then may listen to the scanned materials with one of our Kurzweil reading stations. Kurzweil 1000 is for text only; it does not scan graphics. It is possible to save Kurzweil 1000 files as MP3s. These files can then be converted to sound files and can be burned onto CDs for use in any environment.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking

Dragon® Naturally Speaking is a fast, easy and accurate way to turn speech into text. A student can dictate into most Windows-based programs at speeds up to 160 words per minute! The accuracy is really astounding. It seems like science fiction, but it's not! This technology exists and is waiting for you in the Baker Center.

This program has many uses. Students use this program for brainstorming when they can't get words on paper. When a student feels more comfortable expressing ideas out loud, this program turns thoughts into writing. It is also a great resource for students with writing disabilities. Professionals use it for dictation, home-users to have fun with their PCs, people with disabilities use it as an aid in the writing process. The ideas are endless.

Check out the Dragon® Naturally Speaking website for more details or stop in to the Baker Center for Learning and have an up close and personal look.


ZoomText® is a program which was designed to help low vision and blind people use computers. The Baker Center's current version of ZoomText® is an advanced screen magnification program which makes all Windows applications, documents, Email, and the internet accessible to visually impaired students. In the Baker Center, whenever possible, we use ZoomText in combination with a large monitor screen. Whether typing a paper, reading an online course or filling out financial aid forms, this program will make things easier for the low vision or blind individual.

NVDA (Non Visual Desktop Access)

NVDA is a free, open source Windows-based screen reader used by people who are blind. It is able to read Windows screens and apps including Firefox, Google Chrome, email clients, internet chat software, music players, and office programs such as Microsoft Word and Excel. It also works with refreshable Braille devices and screen including Windows logon.

If you'd like to learn more information, go directly to the NVDA website.