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Apps and technology

40 Academic Apps: Part 1

A list of student-recommended academic apps for students who are blind or visually impaired

academic apps part 1 collage

Applications (apps) for iOS devices change quickly, but I have compiled a list of apps for academic students with visual impairments.  I have used many of these apps, however I have not used all of them personally.  They have all been used by students who are blind or visually impaired, mostly Fifth Grade and up through college and university. I have been quizzing all of my students and other students whom I know, asking them about their favourite apps, how they use them / what they use them for, and they have to demonstrate to me the app in action.  All of the apps on this list are rated highly by the students who use them.
Editor’s Note:  This is the first of two parts. For other lists of apps, click here to see Linda Mamer’s other blog posts.



Notetaking Apps

notability app iconNotability

Note-taker to sketch ideas, annotate documents, sign contracts, complete worksheets, keep a journal, record a lecture, jot travel notes, or teach a class. 

evernote app iconEvernote

Take notes, snap photos, create to-do lists, scan business cards, and record voice reminders.

pages app iconPages

Create reports, resumes, and documents, and with iCloud built in, your documents are kept up to date across all your devices.

cool writer app iconCool Writer

Take notes, write and edit text, convert documents to PDF and image files, open and print images/PDF/office document/iWorks document.

documents app iconDocuments (Free)

This app allows users to edit and manage spreadsheet & rich text files.

keynote app iconKeynote

Presentation app that makes creating presentations simple using just touching and tapping, complete with animated charts and transitions.


OCR & Epub Conversion Apps

PDF Expert 5 app iconPDF Expert 5

Mark up documents with highlights and handwriting, insert text and stamps, sign and merge PDFs. Fill out PDF forms right on the iPad and iPhone. 

WorldScan app iconWorldScan

Scan documents and convert them into PDF format,save them  or send them by email, wifi or dropbox. 

Voice Dream ReaderVoice Dream Reader

This app reads PDF and Word documents, DRM-free EPUB and DAISY eBooks, and Web pages. Directly integrated with Bookshare, Dropbox, G-Drive, Evernote, Pocket, Instapaper, and Gutenberg. 

TextGrabber + Translator app iconTextGrabber + Translator


This app scans, translates and saves chosen text from virtually any printed material. 

claroPDF app iconClaroPDF – Accessible Pro PDF Reader & Viewer

Annotate, mark up and save PDF files which are then fully compatible with Adobe Reader and other popular PDF apps.


Math Apps

numbers app iconNumbers

A spreadsheet app ever designed for a mobile device. Features templates for home budget, checklist, invoice, mortgage calculator, and more.


Art Apps

paper53Paper by FiftyThree

Capture ideas as sketches, diagrams, illustrations, notes or drawings and share them across the web.

youdoodle app iconYou Doodle

This is a photo editor apthat contains the features of dozens of other photo editor apps combined.


Connections to Computers / Smart Board Apps

splashtop 2 app iconSplashtop 2

Users can access personal computers on the local network with video streaming performance. View and edit Microsoft Office and PDF files. Browse the web using IE, Chrome, and Firefox with full Flash and Java support. Play 3D PC and Mac games. Access your entire media library and documents.

dropbox app iconDropbox

Access any file saved to personal Dropbox from all computers, iPhone, iPad, and the web.

keynote app iconKeynote

Presentation app complete with animated charts and transitions — as simple as touching and tapping. app

Join online meetings on the go.


Text-to-Speech / Speech-to-Text Apps

Voice Dream ReaderVoice Dream Reader

This app reads PDF and Word documents, DRM-free EPUB and DAISY eBooks, and Web pages. Directly integrated with Bookshare, Dropbox, G-Drive, Evernote, Pocket, Instapaper, and Gutenberg. 


Social Skills Apps

glow hockey app iconGlow Hockey

Game: Using glow lights to highlight the hockey game, easy to play, hard to master.

facebook app iconFacebook

Social media app.

Please note that you may need to check whether the app has been updated or whether it only works with certain operating systems.  Please let us know if you have any information to share about any of the apps on this page!  (This list was last updated on 3/3/2022; broken links were taken down, but new ones have not yet been added.)


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