Free and open source software


Free and open source software

Here is a nice guide put together by JISC in the UK.  It’s a guide of Free and open source software (FOSS).

Many FOSS tools can benefit learners and those with (or without!) a disabilities.  There are thousands of tools available.

On the guide the tools have been grouped by type so that they may be of benefit for specific purposes or needs.  For example Audio tools to enable you to record and/or listen to material or Display enhancement tools to need help with either displaying or working with text and graphics.

Before downloading any free and open source software we recommend keeping your computer secure using antivirus software.

JISC blog on FOSS

For other useful resources in Jisc see their blog page

Highlights from BETT

The BETT show

Bett (the British Educational Training and Technology show) was held over 4 days last week in London. This is one of the world leading exhibition in relation to technology for primary through to third level education.
A good amount of stands were focused on IT support for schools, cloud storage, and the IT curriculum for schools, and there were also a number of talks and presentations taking place, but due to time constraints, I was unable to make any of those.

Below are some of the highlights that I can across during the day:
Literacy –

  • Clicker have just brought out SuperKeys as an iPad onscreen keyboard. This is a two hit keyboard with word prediction and looks really nice. More info here.
  • Claro now have a PDF annotator app with text to speech. Also Claro MagX – an app for magnification and zooming.
  • IntoWords – text to speech and word prediction for android, iOS, Chrome and Mac.
  • Engaging Eyes – Not eyegaze, but works on improving visual tracking for those experiencing difficulty with reading.
  • Text Reader – a reading pen that can capture 80 letters per second to read back. Can add headphones.
  • iOS keyboards from Assistiveware – Keedogo and Keedogo plus are high viz onscreen keyboards, with word prediction in the plus version. Keeble has customisable keyboards, that can be switch accessible, but it’s the first one (that I’ve seen) that allows for select on release or select on time out, so handy for those individuals who use the touchscreen to stabilise their fingers.


  • Clicker Com, an AAC app, is due out shortly (March?). Many have used Clicker as an AAC system in the past to good effect, so having a dedicated app is a plus.
  • SymbolKommunikation – scheduling apps that can be modified remotely.
  • Widgit now have an app for iPad – can be used as a voice output device, or to create symbol based documents includes all the Widgit symbols, plus ability to add your own. £54stg.
  • Proloquo4text – from Assistive Ware – similar to Predictable, a text based iOS app. Has Quick talk, saved phrases, and the ability to auto detect language changes.
  • Widgit are bringing out a language comprehension screening tool later this year for ages 2-5 yrs.

Voice Recognition

  • Dragon now doing a school site licence for £900. – unlimited profiles


  • Matchware – MindView 6 will be fully compatible with Dragon 13 voice commands. Due out in March, but they are going to forward me a trial.
  • EssayWriter – for Mac and Windows – gives a split screen so that the mindmap and document are visible at the same time. 30 day trial at


  • Smart Robot Coding School from SK Telecom – Albert, a smart little robot will work from commands you give him. Can be used to practice coding, numeracy skills, play games etc.
  • Wishtrac – provides a vast amount of PC peripherals, but has a really good computing curriculum and kits (now required in UK, but could be useful to summer camps here). Based on the Raspberry PI


  • Magix – provides a simplified movie editing, web design and graphic editor. Also has a music maker, that appears to work by dragging and dropping samples, but you can also add your own, free 30 day trial –


  • – educational posters and some maths drill apps


  • Kurtweil have a nice iOS app for those with visual difficulties/dyslexia – KNFB reader.