Assistive Technology

Niagara Catholic continuously strives to improve access to technology for all students in elementary and secondary schools.

School Connect, is a network management system used by elementary schools in Niagara Catholic that allows software availability and access for all users. All elementary schools have network accessibility to all Ministry of Education and Board purchased network licenses.

At the secondary level, assistive technology is available in all special education classes, and resource rooms. In addition, one Computer on Wheels (COWs) mobile computer lab, has been purchased for each high school. This mobile lab consists of one cart and 8 laptops. All assistive technology listed is available on the COWs.

The following is a list of assistive technology available to students to support their learning and their ability to access curriculum.

What is the difference between OSAPAC and OESS?

  • OSAPAC is the committee that advises the Ministry on software titles to negotiate for provincial licensing.
  • OESS (Ontario Educational Software Service) is the distribution mechanism whereby the software is sent to School Boards, Faculties of Education and Native Band Schools.

Clicker 5 (OESS)

  • Clicker 5 is more advanced than Clicker 4, taking advantage of the latest technologies, yet it’s even easier to use.
  • There is a huge range of free, ready-made materials on the Crick Software Learning Grids website.
  • Writing support and multimedia tool that enables children to write with whole words, phrases or pictures
  • Comes with a large picture library with 1,000 educationally related images.
  • Subjects: Cross Curricular, English/Language Arts and Special Education
  • Grades: 1-8

Co-Writer Solo (OESS) A tool that is a word prediction software.

  • Provides writing and typing support, which helps students focus on conveying ideas.
  • From the first letters a student types, Co-Writer generates possibilities for the word.
  • For struggling writers – FLEX SPELL allows students to use phonetic spelling – predicts words consistent with the sounds of the letters.
  • Correct spellings are predicted and reinforced as students see, hear and use the words.
  • Speaks predicted words and completed sentences.
  • Grammar support fosters better sentences and includes dozens of topic dictionaries – ranging in size from 150 to 2200 words.
  • Teachers can also create new individualized Topic Dictionaries.
  • Subjects: Cross Curricular, English/Language Arts and Special Education
  • Grades: 1-8
  • Co:Writer website

Write: Outloud (OESS)

  • Write: Outloud\Write: Outloud Solo is the easy-to-use word processor that gives immediate speech feedback as students type words, sentences and paragraphs.
  • As students draft their assignment, they see and hear if their writing makes sense and if it is what they wanted to say.
  • Students can listen for proper word usage, tense inflections, omitted words and misspellings.
  • Subjects: Cross Curricular, English/Language Arts and Special Education
  • Grades: 1-8
  • Write:Outloud website

Smart Ideas 5.0: (OESS) A tool that gives students the power to brainstorm, think visually and turn complex ideas into colorful concept maps quickly and easily.

  • SMART Ideas concept-mapping software enables teachers and students to create multilevel concept maps using colourful symbols, arrows and clip art to reinforce concepts from all subjects.
  • An unlimited number of levels can be added to any symbol in the map, along with links to video files, audio clips, documents, photos, presentations and websites.
  • Subjects: Environmental Studies, French/Language Arts, French, Geography, History, Mathematics, Social Studies, Special Education and Visual Arts
  • Grades: K-12
  • SMART Tech website

Kurzweil 3000 (Version 10.04: Network) A tool that is text reader software.

  • Technology that is used by people with a learning disability – reading difficulties, ADHD etc.
  • May be used by individuals of all ages.
  • Provides the tools needed to improve reading speed and comprehension.
  • Helps students learn and study independently.
  • Allows students to type or record answers directly on text that is scanned.
  • Can also be used to complete tests, including the Grade 10 Literacy Test and EQAO
  • A Board purchased license.
  • Currently, all elementary schools have 1 black and white scan and read version.
  • Larger schools have an additional ‘Read Only’ version.
  • All secondary schools have 1 black and white scan and read version plus an additional 4 ‘Read Only’ versions.
  • View DEMO –

Dragon Naturally Speaking (OESS) –  not available on school connect

  • A tool that turns speech into text.
  • Users can dictate into virtually any windows-based application.
  • Training is needed to create voice files.
  • The standard version is now Ministry licensed for all schools.

Discrete Trial Analysis DT Trainer (individual license in each secondary Special Education class) A tool that is beneficial for learners that have the following characteristics:

  • Developmentally between the ages 2-9 years
  • Easily distracted or overloaded
  • Not self directed or motivated
  • Have difficulty following directions
  • Require moderate to substantial repetition
    • Designed for independent use.
    • Accommodates the needs of the individual user and the preferences of the teacher.
    • Collects data and provides reports.
    • Contains a broad range of content programs – over 125 areas, covering skills like matching, identification, counting, classification, phonics, sequencing, math, word recognition, ‘wh’ questions, time, money, and word analysis.
    • Includes interactive reinforcers that reward and motivate the student.
    • Breaks learning into small steps.
    • Board purchased software
    • Currently there is 1 standard bundle for each high school and targeted for use in the Learning Strategies classes.
    • View DEMO –

Addition to Next School Connect Image
Accessibility Suite – Premier Assistive

  • PDF Equalizer
  • Universal Reader Plus
  • Premier Predictor Pro
  • Scan and Read Pro
  • Talking Calculator Text-to-Audio
  • Talking Word Processor
  • PDF Magic Pro
  • E-Text Reader

This will allow us to use it for Literacy, ESL, ELL, Low Vision and Tools for Blind

Writing with Symbols (individual licenses purchased for each school) A tool that is a word processor that automatically illustrates the words as you type. Writing with Symbols provides support to written language, helping writers see the meaning of words.
It can help to explain the differences between

  • words that look the same (saw saw, spell spell)
  • words that sound the same (hair hare, pear pair)
  • as well as giving language support (drink drink, run ran, loud loudest)
  • It can also help many other aspects of language development where images can assist understanding.
  • Board-purchased software

Kidspiration/Inspiration – no longer on the image (individual licenses purchased for each elementary and secondary school) A tool that helps organize and plan for the writing process.

  • Kidspiration for students K-3.
  • Inspiration for students grade 4 through to adult.
  • Depending on the student there may be overlap in the junior grades.
  • May be used by individuals of all ages and abilities.
  • Board purchased software
  • Currently all elementary schools have 5 copies of Kidspiration and 5 copies of Inspiration.
  • In K-3 schools, there are 10 copies of Kidspiration.
  • All secondary schools have 5 copies of Inspiration.