Technology for Notetaking Accommodations

Handouts Media

Presented at 10:00am in Virtual A on Thursday, November 12, 2020.



  • Will Pines, Accessible Technology Specialist, University of California, Riverside

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 45 minutes
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: Beginner
  • Type of session: Pre-conference


Common note-taking accommodations such as peer note takers and audio recordings may not equate to providing the same experience for a student with a disability. Technology that allows a student to interact with written/typed notes as well as audio notes may help to bridge the gap when using note taking accommodations. We will be looking at Otter Voice Notes and Livescribe Smart Pens and the ways in which each of these technologies, although similar, can benefit and should be used in specific ways to support student note taking accommodations.


Note taking accommodations for students with disabilities range from peer note takers (some volunteer, some paid) to recording devices, as well as smart applications using mobile devices. In a time of being tasked with supporting more students with fewer resources, institutions are looking for efficient but adequate solutions to ensure student access. Smart pens (Livescribe Echo), mobile transcription (Otter Voice), and integrated note taking technology (Livescribe Smart Pen/Otter Voice/Zoom/Notability) may be options that allow students to continue to be independent in their learning environments as well as being able to rely upon their own notes, as opposed to peer note taking solutions. Students who use one or more of these technologies continually report that they are more engaged in the learning process. This solution helps to provide access as well as puts students in control of their success.


  1. Technology allows students to interact with notes, bridging the gap when using note taking accommodations.
  2. Actively engaging with personal notes could increase the level of access to lecture content.
  3. Note taking technology provides access as well as puts students in control of their success.

Disability Areas

Cognitive/Learning, Deaf/Hard of Hearing

Topic Areas

Assistive Technology, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Will Pines

Will Pines is an accessible technology specialist at the Student Disability Resource Center at University of California-Riverside Campus. Will supports students with learning disabilities. He has reviewed practices and consulted college districts and universities on ways to improve and/or to become compliant to issues of access to information technology in the classroom and in web based mediums. He has conducted workshops for faculty, staff, and students on the ever changing technologies available to support accommodations as well as produce accessible media formats. He have also trained student workers on how to produce alternate media formats, some of which have gone on to acquire jobs in a full-time capacity at other educational institutions. His career over the years has developed with the advancement of technology access as well as a career change from the community college to the university system.