Tech Tools for College

The transition from high school to college can be a challenging time for all students, especially for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. As students prepare for this transition, it’s important they become familiar with the technology that can help with executive function skills (or important skills for college) such as organizing, planning, note-taking, communication, scheduling, collaboration, self-regulation, and self-monitoring. By intentionally addressing these skills, students are supported to reach their potential, academically, socially, and vocationally.

Fortunately, many students with intellectual disabilities are already using technology for learning, and have access to a lot of powerful tools right on their phone or tablet. The table below outlines many common  technology tools that can be used to improve executive function skill development, or be more independent when they get to college:

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Accessing cloud storage on Google Drive, iCloud, or Dropbox is a great way to store photos, documents, video files, and more. These platforms also support easy file sharing.

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Use the calendar app on any device to add appointments, assignment due dates, meetings, and daily/weekly routines. There are also shareable cloud-based calendars which can be helpful when coordinated schedules with peer mentors and family members.

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All devices have a task management feature built-into the operating system that can be used for breaking down assignments, completing daily chores, and creating basic to-do lists. Third-party apps like, Microsoft To Do, Todoist, are also popular options for students to explore. 

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Note Taking

Notes apps such as Evernote, Google Keep, and One Note, can be used to highlight specific points of a lesson, create a running list of ideas, and keep track of questions for the instructor. 

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There are many options for students to stay connected through text messaging, email, phone calls, social networking, and video conferencing.


The built-in voice recorder on a mobile phone or tablet can be used to record lectures, capture ideas, and make reminders for oneself. 


In addition to taking photos for fun, the built-in camera can be used to take photos of instructions or assignments, identify locations, or to create a gallery of pictures of a daily routine.

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Free apps such as the Google Suite, Trello, or Padlet can be used to collaborate on projects with fellow students. Zoom and Google Meet are ways to video chat with co-workers, friends, and family.

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Downloading music or videos is a great way for many students to relax, check out Spotify or Calm


Many phones and tablets include a Health app to track physical activity, incorporate mindfulness, and support good nutrition.

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Using the built-in alarms and reminders on mobile devices can help with task management, scheduling, and goal setting. To customize reminders, download the Reminder with Voice Reminders app on the Apple App Store.