Tech Tools for Writing

Whether or not you enjoy writing, if you’re in school, or in a wide variety of jobs, you’ll have to do it! For many with ADHD and
executive functioning challenges, writing can pose considerable challenges.

Technology to the rescue!

While technology can’t (yet!) think for you, there are many ways tech tools can help with writing. Consider what aspects of the writing process are most challenging to you, and take a look at some technological solutions, below, that might help!

Have trouble taking thorough lecture notes? 

Livescribe sells pens that capture the spoken word, synching it with the pen’s written notes.  This way, class notes can be “filled in” later if important material is missed. (If you have ADHD or a diagnosed learning disability, you can also see if your school offers a “note-taker” or “copy of professor’s notes” type of accommodation.)

Trouble keeping track of materials for a paper or project? 

Notability is an apple product that facilitates the upload of pdfs, videos and photos enabling students to form virtual files containing all relevant documents for a paper or project in one place.  An additional feature is the ability to annotate the material in several ways:  adding notes with a stylus, highlighting,  and/or using virtual “stickies.”

Find it challenging to manage writing projects? 

NoodleTools is a set of tools that can improve ease of the writing process. The program integrates tools including note-taking, outlining, annotating documents,  a “drag and drop” feature for notes, quotations and citations, and bibliography formatting assistance.

Find brainstorming and/or outlining a paper challenging? 

If you are not a linear thinker, mind-mapping software may be helpful for you. Mind-mapping is, essentially, a way of recording one’s though processes in a visual diagram. It can be a very useful brainstorming tool, and can also be used to group related ideas as a preliminary to a formal outline, if necessary or to support the writing process. Many mind-mapping software products are available, some at no cost; one often recommended for students is Inspiration. The most recent version includes a “Rapid Fire” brainstorming tool, pictures and symbols to enhance the visuals, the ability to integrate notes and quotations, toggling between diagram, map and outline views, as well as integrated presentation software.

Have grapho-motor challenges, or just think better by talking?

If writing or typing poses challenges for you, or if you just think better by talking aloud, consider a voice-to-text (also known a speech recognition) software. If you have a relatively recent smart phone, you may be used to using this type of technology for text-messaging. You can use it for writing papers too. Dragon Naturally Speaking is one well-known option you could consider.

How is your proofreading? 

If you have trouble noticing errors when you try to proofread,a paper, consider these two options:
1)  WordQ. This software will read aloud any text you can highlight so that you can “hear” what you’ve written – for some people, this approach to “proofreading” is more effective than trying to spot errors visually. WordQ  can also assist with word prediction. (Note; still more powerful, WordQ combined with SpeakQ can facilitate word prediction, speech output and speech input to help generate text when stuck on spelling and/or word forms, as well as identifying errors, proofreading and editing.)
2) Grammarly is an online proofreader that addresses grammar, spelling, word choice and style mistakes in a variety of types of writing- from blog posts to resumes to academic papers.

Have you tried any of these? What did you think? 
If not, what’s holding you back?

Photo credit: suat eman, freedigitalphotos.net

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