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What is Assistive Technology?

The Assistive Technology program at Carleton College brings together academic and technological resources to complement student classroom and computing needs, particularly in support of students with physical or learning disabilities. Based out of Carleton's Information Technology Services, Assistive Technology coordinates with Disability Services for Students and The Academic Support Center to provide students with help and information about accessible computing options available on campus. Accessibility features, including text-to-speech and speech-to-text software, are offered on both Windows 7 and Mac OS machines at Carleton. While the program is designed primarily to work with people facing disabilities, there are several features that all students and faculty may find useful.

Who are Carleton's Assistive Technologists (AzTechs)?

AzTechs are ITS student staff specially trained to support students with disabilities on campus. They are responsible for documentation and organization of all Carleton’s accessibility features and are equipped to direct students to the best programs to suit their personal and academic needs. They are available for one-on-one, private consultations about computing features and accessibility software. 

Click here to learn more about the duties and responsibilities of AzTech workers.

Questions, comments, concerns? Email or visit our website at

Current AzTechs are:

Babi de Melo Lemos '21

Karryn Leake '22

Rebecca Fox '22

AzTech Programs:

Click on each program's name for additional information.


Kurzweil is the primary text-to-speech program in use at Carleton. Students that have submitted documentation of a learning disability to Student Health and Counseling may find Kurzweil a useful option for reading, word processing, and material comprehension.

Firefly (Online Kurzweil)

Firefly is an online extension of Kurzweil, Carleton's primary desktop text-to-speech software. Kurzweil users are automatically granted online storage space - documents uploaded to this space can then be read with Firefly. Unlike Kurzweil, Firefly is a web-based application, and thus can be accessed anywhere with an internet connection.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking

Dragon Naturally Speaking is our speech-to-text program recommended for long-term use at Carleton. Students may find Dragon a useful option for word processing and voice-controlled computer navigation. The software must be trained to the user's voice and it will take a couple of weeks for the user to become comfortable with all the commands. 

Read and Write


Smartpens allow you to take notes while simultaneously recording classroom lectures or discussion. Simply tap anywhere in your notes and the pen will play back what was said at that moment in time. Smartpens reduce the general stress of processing multiple modes of information concurrently in the classroom. The AzTechs have a Smartpen Lending Program which consists of eight Livescribe Echo Smartpens and one Livescribe Sky Wifi Smartpen which are available for students to check out in five-week periods.

iPad Accessibility Apps

The AzTechs downloaded and tested many of the most popular accessibility apps for iPad, both paid and free. On our website, there is a PDF of a summary of our favorites.