Chewing Gum

Overview

Chewing gum is a gelato or resin like substance intended to be chewed in the mouth but not swallowed. The chewing action has long been thought to stimulate muscle activity and increase overall alertness, thus stimulating students working for long periods of time. The main areas considered in research are concentration for sustained periods, alertness, and working memory. An additional theory more recently has been using gum to reduce anxiety, which, as a side-effect, increases attention. The specific effects of chewing gum in these areas is mixed with some studies showing no effects, but many more showing small magnitude positive effects.

               Early theories around chewing gum started in 1939, with a paper that showed positive effects on attention (Hollingworth, 1939). While it was theorized to be because of the muscle activity of mastication, this was revisited and a similar study looking at foot-tapping showed the same positive effects (Freeman, 1940). Therefore, it was concluded the mechanical activity of motor activity itself was the cause of the effect, and not the chewing itself.

               Chewing gum seems to have a larger impact in long term, sustained attention, and possibly negative effects in short term (less than 10 minutes). Tucha and colleagues (2011) found no short term impact on chewing gum, but adult participants showed increased alertness over sustained periods. Reaction times for participants chewing gum on concentration tasks were significantly better once the concentration task had been going for thirty minutes. This was also found in children by Tanzer and colleagues (2009). In Tanzer’s experiment, children chewing gum completed visual search tasks, and showed a disadvantage compared to children not chewing gum on performance, until the twelve minute mark, after which the gum chewing group outperformed the other children. However this study used a very small subset of children (2 per group). Participants have also been shown to make less mistakes in sustained attention tasks, during the second half of 8 minute concentration tasks (Yuda et al, 2018). This has also been shown on student performances in spelling tests, where students chewing for 5 and 10 minutes did not show an advantage (Wilson, Kim, & Raudenbush, 2016). However students chewing for 15 minutes did show a significant improvement in spelling test scores.

Gum has also been considered to boost alertness. This has been shown by many papers experimentally (e.g. Johnson et al, 2011). In another study, adult participants were given 10 minute and 20 min lessons on academic topics. Half the class was given gum to chew, and the adults chewing gum scored significantly higher on post-tests of lessons learned in both conditions (Ginns, Kim, & Zervos, 2019). In quick response Stroop test scores, participants showed higher alertness, measured by reaction times, but no increase in accuracy, when given chewing gum (Holling et al, 2018).  Related to alertness is the effects on working memory, which have been shown to be positively affected by chewing gum (Wilkinson, Scholey, & Wesnes, 2002). These positive effects of working memory have been replicated by showing increased performance on N-back tasks while under fMRI scans (Hirano et al, 2008). Participants in Hirano and colleagues 2008 study that were chewing gum while completing the N-back memory task showed increased activation in the right premotor cortex, precuneus, thalamus, hippocampus and inferior parietal lobe compared to not chewing gum. Given that several of these areas are directly related to memory and not directly related to motor activation (e.g. hippocampus, Squire & Knowlton, 1995)

A meta-analysis was conducted reviewing twenty-one different studies on sustained attention and alertness in gum chewing (Miquel, Haddou, & Day, 2019). When reviewing all papers, some of which showed negative effects, the meta review found weak, but significant, overall positive effects for gum chewing. The mean effect size (Cohen’s d) for sustained attention was 0.14 (weak, significant) and the mean effect size for alertness was 0.38 (moderate, significant).  

               An additional area explored is the anxiety and stress mediating effects of gum chewing. Gum chewing has also shown to have impacts on anxiety and stress in and out of the workplace (Smith, Chaplin, and Wadsworth, 2012). Gum has been used as an intervention, where university professors experiencing high stress showed reduced stress after being put on a gum-chewing schedule. Scholey and colleagues examined different levels of stress on participants with and without gum, and found in all conditions, participants chewing gum showed lower self report levels of stress, as well was reduced concentrations of cortisol in saliva samples in young adults. This reduced stress based on gum was also shown by Smith and Woods (2012) in university students. Gum chewing has also shown to significantly reduce acute stress during exams in students compared to not chewing gum, in a larger, more recent study of 100 students (Yaman-Sozbir et al, 2019). Additionally, it’s been shown that people who are long-term gum chewers have significantly lower stress, albeit mildly so, compared to people who do not (Smith, 2009). However, other studies have not been able to replicate the reduced salivary cortisol and stress shown (e.g. Johnson et al, 2011). The reasoning for the differing results remains unclear, however it’s been speculated chewing gum works alongside other cognitive processes. For instance, Konno and colleagues (2020) used infrared brain imaging (NIRS) to show activation in the Prefrontal Cortex of the brain in participants chewing gum when exposed to stress. Participants not chewing gum showed less activation in the same area of the prefrontal cortex, which has in the past been associated with responsiveness to stress (Arnsten, 2009). Reactions by these participants was consistent with self-reported measures of reduced stress.

              

Pros

  • Cheap

  • Requires no training

  • Effects have been shown with sugar-free gum, making it a healthy choice

  • Evidence based positive effects on alertness, anxiety, and sustained attention

 

Cons

  • Some papers show no impact or negative impacts

  • Cognitive mechanism and underlying principles remain unclear, making it hard to generalize to different groups

  • Can reduce performance in the short term (>5 minutes)

 

To Consider

  • All of these effects reported are small differences in performance. Regardless of the positive or negative impact of gum-chewing, the magnitude of the impact on a person seeking to use this tool should be expected to be small as well, which has been repeatedly shown (Miquel, 2019). This technology is not recommended as an intervention or fix by itself.

  • These papers consider non-sweetened gum to avoid affects of sucrose consumption.

  • Some papers considered flavour effects of the gum as well; peppermint and cinnamon have both been shown to be positive effects (Holling et al, 2018; Wilson, Kim, & Raudenbush, 2016).

Special Consideration: Workflow

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Product
Price
OS Compatibility
Internet Reliance
Features
Optimized Use
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Grade 8 to university; peer to peer reviewing and sharing

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Pocket-sized 

Reads text aloud in English, Spanish or French

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Can be wired or wireless; available at most general stores 

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Consult a doctor or physiotherapist when purchasing a wheelchair

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To assist users who have very limited to no use of their legs with walking.

Oxford Picture Dictioary

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13 bilingual versions; website or app

Adobe Scan

Free

All

App for devices

Microsoft Lens

Free

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App for devices

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Yes

Clickable files similar to windows displays hard drive in branching trees

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Free

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No

Creates a virtual desk surface; software is no longer being developed but can still be downloaded

Intended for touch screens

Drop Box

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2GB of storage free

iCloud Drive

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Yes

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Integrated into Apple Products

Google Drive

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Yes

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Multi-user Collaboration.

Integrates with Google Classroom

Box

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Compatible with other programs

Microsoft One Drive

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Yes

5GB of storage free, more to pay; online editing

Multi-user Collaboration

Cram

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Share custom made flash cards through Google Drive or print out cards

Paper Card

$

N/A

No

When printing / physical cards are preferred

Microsoft Word

$$

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No

As part of office 365 suite

MapFactor

Free

Android, iOS, Windows

Yes

Voice controlled, voice directions

App for phone / tablet

Google Maps

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No

Voice controlled, voice directions

Desktop (website) or app (phone / tablet)

Waze

Free

Android, iOS, Windows

Yes

Voice controlled, voice directions

App for phone / tablet

To Doist

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Yes
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$

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Yes
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Free

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Yes

For Android and Windows users

Apple Reminders

Free

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Yes

For iPhone users

Microsoft Outlook

Free with Office 365

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Yes

Share events with other users, sync between multiple devices

Sync with Microsoft products; ideal for office work

Apple Calendar

Free

Mac, iOS

Yes

Sync between multiple devices

Sync with all apple devices; ideal for personal work 

Google Calendar

Free

Windows, iOS, Mac, Chrome, Android

Yes

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Sync with gmail and all google accounts; ideal for personal or classrooms

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Incompete

Fre

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Yes

Generate custom free graph paper through website

Hand written graphing assignments; unique grid displays

iPad

$$$-$$$$

Mac / iOS

No

Digitizer for iPad tablet

Hybrid between laptop and phone, good for sharing and multiple users

Google Pay

Free

All browsers

Yes

Tracks all spending linked to google account; can connect debit and banks transactions

Mint

Free

iOS, Android, Windows

No

Can connect different credit cards, banks, spending patterns into one central app

Personal spending and budgeting

Apple Pay

Free

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No

App which tracks spending, savings

Personal spending and budgeting

Khan Academy

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Thousands of math problems sorted by grades 1-8

Prodigy

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Yes

1200 math skills for grades 1-8 with classroom student tracking and feedback

Classroom

IXL

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Yes

Website features hundreds of math problems for each grade from K to 12

Home practice

Dragon

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One of the most advanced voice recognition software on the market

Easily compatible with external programs such as Microsoft Office, major browsers and social media services. Highly practical.

Phillips Voice Tracer

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Handheld device

Personal dictation, 360 sensitivity for group meetings and multiple speakers

Keyboarding Without Tears

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Levels sorted by grade level, very child friendly progression through levels

Early keyboarding practice, grades K-5

CoWriter

$, Subscription

Chrome Plugin

Yes

Includes translation and speech recognition

Word Talk

Free

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No

Speak incorrect words outloud and correct them

Word plugin

vBookz

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iOS, Mac

No

16 languages, interactive cursor for readers to control generated speech and rate, small size optimized for mobile devices

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Read and Write

$$ (personal copy)
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Suite of products, includes Text to Speech, Word Prediction, Personal Dictionary, many other features

iAnnotate

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App that add notes and comments to documents, PDFs, excel, images, excels, and web pages

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Kami

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Classrooms and schools; purchase per year supports 150 students

Acapela Voice

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Over 100 synthetic voices in 30 languages

Mac iOS Voices

Free

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No

Mac products come with default voices

Microsoft Voices

Free

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No

Microsoft products come with default voices

NextUp

$

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No

Variety of different voices and accents in many languages

Desktop and laptops

Tumble Books

Subscription, $$$/year

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1100 books for grades K-6, multiple languages, supplementary quizzes, lesson ideas and videos

School age children

Onyx Boox

$$$$

Anywhere

Rescue Time

Free to $$$

Mac
Windows
Android
Linux

Set daily goals. Receive a productivity score. 

Dasung E-Ink Paperlike Pro

$$$$

Windows
Mac
IOS

No

Multiple display modes
Easy setup

Outdoor environments
High glare situations

Barnes & Noble Nook Glowlight 3

$$$

Windows
​Mac

No

Night-mode
Physical page turn buttons
Strong battery life

Anywhere

Kobo Clara HD

$$$

Windows
Mac

No

Colour changing front light
Strong battery life

Anywhere

Amazon Kindle Oasis

$$$

Windows
Mac

Yes

Waterproof
Support for audiobooks
Uses Amazon e-book store

Anywhere

Amazon Kindle

$$$

Windows
Mac

Yes

No Backlight
Uses Amazon e-book store

Well-lit room

Focus At Will

Free to $$$

Windows

Mac

iOS

Android

Chrome

Yes

Use with headphones

Spotify

Free to $$$

Windows

Mac

iOS

Android

Chrome

No
Brain.fm

Free to $

Windows

Mac

iOS

Android

No

Use with headphones

Noisli

Free to $$

Windows

Mac

iOS

Android

Chrome

Yes
One Focus

$$

Mac

All browsers

Waste No Time

Free

Windows
Mac

Website and app blocker.

Chrome and Safari

Focal Filter

Free

Windows

All browsers

Freedom

$$

Mac

Windows

iOS

Android

Website and app blocker. Blocked list is synchronized between devices.

All browsers

Stay Focused

Free

Mac

Windows

Linux

Can be a complete block or timed limit

Chrome

Qustodio

$$$

iOS

Windows

Android

Mac

Kindle

Nook

Controlled by parents

Limitly Screen Time Control

Free

Android

Controlled by parents

Screen Limit

Free to $$$

iOS

Windows

Android

Mac

Can be synchronized between multiple devices. Controlled by parents.

Time Doctor

$$$

iOS

Windows

Android

Mac

Controlled by students or parents

iOS 12

Free

iOS

Controlled by students

Gyrobi

$

N/A

N/A
Fidget Foot Band

$

N/A

N/A

Must be tied to a chair

Thinking Putty

$

N/A

N/A
Fidget Puzzle

$

N/A

N/A
Stress Ball

$$

N/A

N/A
Sony WH-1000XM2

$$$$

N/A

N/A

10 hours of play.

Wireless.

AKG N60NC Wireless

$$$$

N/A

N/A

15 hours of play.

Wireless. Compactable, travel friendly.

Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC

$$$

N/A

N/A

20 hours of play.

Wireless. Headband lacks padding. May be uncomfortable for long term use.

Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2

$$$$

N/A

N/A

20 hours of play.

Wireless. Styling may not be comfortable for everyone. Should try on before purchasing.

Bose Quiet Comfort 2015

$$$$

N/A

N/A

20 hours of play.

Not wireless.

No Products Available

Currently we have no specific product examples. This may be because the technology is very new, there are far too many products to provide a concise list (e.g. laptops), or it doesn't make sense to list (e.g. carbon paper)

ReWalk Personal 6.0 Walking Assistant

$$$$

N/A

N/A

Legs, 

100m

10mins

(On flat ground)

To assist users who have very limited to no use of their legs with walking.

ReWalk Rehabilitation Walking

$$$$

N/A

N/A

Legs

Used in rehab sessions, not meant for public use.

Helps adjust center of gravity and gait during rehabilitation activities

Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL) HAL-5 Suit

$$$$

N/A

N/A

Arms, Torso, Legs
Used in rehab sessions, not meant for public use.

Helps to reteach the brain how to move limbs and torso after traumatic injury.

Microsoft OneNote

$$, Subscription

Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Chrome

Yes
Microsoft OneNote

$$, Subscription

Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Chrome

Yes

Allows users to create and save custom writing templates.

Classrooms. Teachers create templates for student use.

Microsoft OneNote

$$, Subscription

Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Chrome

Yes

Built into a word processor, optimal for drafting documents.

Microsoft OneNote

$$, Subscription

Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Chrome

No

Capture a digital note and annotate with free-form drawing tool, sticky notes, text; can add music, sounds, images and basically anything else to notes

Alongside other Microsoft software (Word, Excel, etc)

Microsoft OneNote

$$, Subscription

Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Chrome

Yes

Takes texts from locked images and pulls them into a separate viewing window. Original text formatting is not preserved.

Text documents with little to no spatial elements/formatting (e.g. a shopping list).

Microsoft OneNote

$$, Subscription

Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Chrome

Yes

High voice quality available. Cloud sharing available.

Reading documents.

ScanSnap SV600

$$$$

Windows, MAC

Book, Single Sided

Scanmarker Air Pen Scanner

$$$$

Windows, MAC

Pen, Single Sided

IRIScan Book 5 WiFi

$$$$

Windows, MAC

Wand, Single Sided

ScanSnap iX500 Color Duplex Desk

$$$$

Windows, MAC

Feed, Double Sided

Brother ImageCenter ADS-3600W

$$$$

Windows, MAC

Flatbed Scanner, Single Sided

Cubing

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About-Point

This summarizing strategy allows students to organize their writing based on the main idea and supporting details.

Reading

TOWER + EDITS

Acronym: Think, Organize, Write, Edit, Rewrite, and Embellish, Delete, Insert corrections, Tally progress, Submit grading

Progress monitoring and metacognition

Four Square Writing

A rectangle is drawn and divided into four smaller rectangles of equal size. In the centre of the shape an additional rectangle is drawn, making a total of 5 rectangles. Students are required to write the topic sentence in the middle rectangle, three supporting sentences in the other rectangles, and finally a summary sentence in the bottom right rectangle.

This technique is used for individual paragraphs.

Clicker Docs

$$

iOS, Mac, Windows, Chrome

No

Customizable word list

App can be modified for each individual’s needs

Docs Plus

$$$$

iOS, Mac, Windows, Chrome

No

Customizable word list

Use topic-specific dictionaries for projects

Co:Writer Universal

$, Subscription

iOS, Mac, Windows, Chrome, Android

Yes

Customizable word list

Use topic-specific dictionaries for projects

Word Q

$$$-$$$$

iOS, Mac, Windows, Chrome

No

Customizable word list

iPad features are limited, best on Mac or Windows PCs

Google Docs

Free

Chrome

Yes

Cloud computing

Microsoft 365

$$, Subscription

Chrome

Yes

Cloud computing

Pages

Free

Mac

No

Local hard drive

Microsoft Word

$$$

Windows, Mac

No

Local hard drive

Infogalactic

Free

All browsers

Yes

Subject specific information

Wikia

Free

All browsers

Yes

Pop-culture and gaming news

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Free

All browsers

Yes

Encyclopedia

Wikipedia

Free

All browsers

Yes

Encyclopedia

Doppel

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No

Vibrations simulate heartbeat to function as mood regulator

Spire

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N/A

No

Measures breathing and heart rate; alerts during periods of high stress

Thync

$$$$

N/A

No

Can be activated to encourage mood to a “relaxing” state or “heightened” state

Watchminder

$$

N/A

No

Delivers mild, silent vibration and text message at period times throughout day

Apple Watch

$$$

N/A

No

Monitors various bodily signals relating to fitness: heart rate, blood pressure; can set goals, signal thresholds

Pilot Translation App

$$$

Mobile devices, pending 2018

Yes

Ear pieces for conversation or lecture dyads; language learning app works independently on mobile devices and computers

Google Translate

Free

Android

No

Mobile devices and computers

iTranslate Converse

Free

iOS

No

Iphone, Apple watch

BrailleTranslate.org

Free

Any browser

Yes

Short Texts or Phrases

Robobraille.org

Free

Any browser

Yes

Short Texts or Documents

Jaws

$$$$

Windows, Mac

No

Mathematics and technical braille, converts formatted text

Short and long texts, web pages, any on screen content

DBT Duxbury

$$$$

Windows, Mac

No

Mathematics and technical braille, converts formatted text

Short and long texts, web pages, any on screen content

Hal Screen Reader

$$$$

Windows

No

Mathematics and technical braille, converts formatted text

Short and long texts, web pages, any on screen content

Ectaco

$$$

N/A

No

For short phrases; travel communication; spoken or text input, spoken and text output

Premier Literacy

$$$$

Windows, iOS, Mac, Chrome

No

Literacy Productivity

Read and Write Gold

$$$

Windows, Mac, iOS

No

Suite of many features and technologies

Support independent student research

Widgit Go

$$$

iOS

No

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Widgit Online

$$$, Subscription

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Yes
Pixwriter

$$$

Windows, Mac, iOS, Chrome

No

English, Spanish

Clicker5

$$$$

Windows, iOS

No
Symwriter 2

$$$

Windows

No

English, French

Premier Assistive

$$$$

Mac, Windows, Chrome

No

Reading – Advanced OCR and TTS

WYNN

$$$$

Mac, iOS

No

Reading – Study tool, TTS and OCR.

Read and Write Gold

$$$$

Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Chrome

No

Reading and Writing – Limited capacity with PDFs

Kurzweil

$$$

Windows, Mac, iOS

No

Suite of many products

Easy to use, wide range of tools, great highlighting function.

Mindomo

Free, $$$, Subscription

Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome, iOS,

No

Has an outline function built in

Inspiration / Kidspiration

$$-$$$

Windows, Mac, iOS

No

Has both templates for typical writing tasks and an outline function

Microsoft Word

$$$-$$$$

Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome, iOS, Android

No

Using bullets can be used to create an outline and templates can be downloaded online

Draft Builder

$$$

Windows, Mac, Chrome

No

Breaks the writing process into three manageable steps

Google Sheets

Free

Windows, Mac, iOS, Chrome

Yes

Available for mobile

Collaborative spreadsheet

Numbers

Free

Mac, iOS

No

Available for mobile

Spreadsheet App

Microsoft Excel

Free, $$-$$$

Windows, Mac, iOS, Chrome

No

Available for mobile

Electronic graphing and data input tool

Zoho Sheet

Free, $

Windows, Mac, iOS, Chrome

No

Available for mobile

Cloud based collaborative spreadsheet

Digital Modulation (DM) System

$$$$

Achieves the same purpose as FM systems, but uses digital rather than analog radio waves to transmit sound. Improved sound quality, higher intelligibility, reduced noise and a shorter delay between message transmission and reception.

Dynamic Personal FM System

$$$$

Rather than receiving a fixed FM amplification , this device is sensitive to the noise level in classrooms and adjusts the individual’s FM in response. This allows for adaptability to changing noise levels.

Desktop FM System Receiver

$$$$

Listeners receive the auditory signal through a compact device that can be worn. Typically used for children with APD who do not use a hearing aid or cochlear implant.

Personal FM System Receiver

$$$$

Listeners receive the auditory signal directly to their personal hearing aid or cochlear implant processor.

Dynamic Soundfield Amplification System

$$$$

Classroom Sound Field Amplification System

$$$$

iPhone 6

$$$

iOS 8

Some features

16+ GB, 4.7" screen, average camera, 720x1334 resolution, 7.5 hours constant use of battery

Vodaphone Smart V8

$$

Android 7

Some features

32+ GB, 5.5" screen, Good camera, 1920x1080 resolution, 1 day moderate use of battery

Lenovo 2

$$

Android 6

Some features

16+ GB, 5.5" screen, average camera, 1920x1080 resolution, 3 days moderate use of battery

Redmi Note 3

$$

Modified Android

Some features

16+ GB, 5.5" screen, Poor camera, 1920x1080 resolution, 1 day moderate use of battery

Samsung Note 8

$$$$

Android 8

Some features

64+ GB, 5.8" screen, Excellent camera, 2960x1440 resolution, 9.5 hours constant battery use

Pixel 2

$$$

Android 8

Some features

64+ GB, 5.0" screen, Excellent camera, 1920x1080 resolution, 9 hours of constant battery use

iPhone X

$$$$

iOS 11

Some features

64+ GB, 5.8" screen, Excellent camera, 2436x1125 resolution, 2 days moderate use of battery

Lumia 640

$$

Windows 8.1

Some features

16+ GB, 5.0" screen, average camera, 720x1280 resolution, 30 hours constant use of battery

MAGic

$$$$

Windows

No

Up to 60x, font smoothing, text to speech upgrade option, integrated color contrast

Zoomtext Magnifier

$$$$

Windows, Mac

No

Up to 36x, font smoothing, text to speech upgrade option, integrated color contrast

Windows Magnifier

Free

Windows

No

Up to 4x, Separate function text to speech and color contrast

MAC Zoom

Free

Mac

No

Up to 40x, Separate function text to speech and color contrast

Online Utility

Free

Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Chrome

Yes

Identifying difficult words, to help instructors prepare texts

Simplish

Free

Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Chrome

Yes

Poor simplification but creates list of difficult word definitions

Rewordify

Free

Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Chrome

Yes

Decode short passages and highlight changes

Simple English Wikipedia

Free

Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Chrome

Yes

Personal Research

Optically Controlled inferace

See our page on Eye Gaze Systems

Head-Controlled Interface

A head-mounted camera may be used as an alternative pointing device for people with limited hand/arm movement and control

Mouse Pen

Allows the user to hold a pen-shaped device in their hand and use it to move around the device screen.

Touchscreen

Touchscreens are very commonly available and allow users to interact with their device by touching the screen where they would like to interact with the device.

Trackpad

Trackpads are rectangular sections typically found on laptops and are touch-sensitive, allowing the user to use their fingers to move a cursor around a computer screen.

Trackball

See our page on trackballs

Joystick

See our page on joysticks

Exact prices change frequently, which is why only approximate ranges are listed. 

$ - Under $5

$$ - Between $6 and $50

$$$ - Between $51 and $250

$$$$ - Over $250

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