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Adaptive Instruction for Teacher Education: Inclusive Approaches, Resources and Technology
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Technology Type: Writing, Organization Skills

Category: Portable/Laptop Systems


AlphaSmart  is used as a dedicated word processor for the learner's note-taking and writing assignments. In addition to the word processor, there is also a spell checker and a calculator. Using this simple portable tool, the learner can:

  • Access and store files
  • Transfer to another computer at a later point in time
  • Use calculator, writing support tools
  • Can be used on combination with Co-Writer using an add-on application
  • Simple to use - no operating system but Mac- and PC-compatible for file transfer

Photo of AlphaSmart Neo

Entering and formatting of text occurs as with a normal word processor, but the interface is simplified with approximately six lines of text showing, depending on the font size. The program also features an easy-to-use spell checker, thesaurus and writing support tools. All buttons and functions are designed to be very simple so that the learner can become independent.

The Alphasmart Neo is low cost, and provides portable light-weight word processing. The Alphasmart Dana has wireless and eBook capability and is typically used by older students. 

The Alphasmart is often recommend for students with learning disabilities through the licence made available by the Ontario Ministry of Education IEP process. It is available on the portable Adaptive Technology cart located in the OISE computer labs. Speak to your instructor for access to this portable system, for educational/training purposes.


  • Assists learners with writing related activities, particularly LD or ASD students
  • Simple to use, allowing students to work independently and reducing frustration
  • Lightweight, portable
  • Relatively low cost (~$200)


View a short interactive virtual tour of the Alphsmart NEO.


A full range of tutorials on use of AlphaSmart are available from the Special Education Technology British Columbia Organization. Visit SET-BC AlphaSmart Resources.

See also the AlphaSmart Neo Quick Start Guide