Jump to Main Content
Decrease font size Reset font size Increase font size
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto Home| OISE| U of T| Quercus| Site Map | Contact Us | Accessibility | Feeling Distressed?
INSPIRING EDUCATION | oise.utoronto.ca
Adaptive Instruction for Teacher Education: Inclusive Approaches, Resources and Technology
Go to selected destination



Technology Type: Writing, Visual

Category: Modified Keyboards


Alternative keyboard layouts and other enhancements allow learners who have difficulty with conventional keyboards or complex functions to use computers. The products available range from keyguards that prevent accidental key activation, to alternative keyboards with differing layouts, sizes, etc. for people who have specific needs.

This specific example allows the teacher to slide an "overlay" onto a flat tablet that plugs into the computer. The overlay provides large, well-spaced keys in high-contrast colours to help students locate letters, numbers, words and directional arrows. It enables students with physical, visual or cognitive disabilities to more easily type, enter numbers, navigate on-screen displays, and execute menu commands. Concepts are broken down into manageable components, with streamlined choices, fewer concepts at a time and pictures to support learning. The learner touches the area of the keyboard/tablet to activate the choice.

Standard overlays are included with IntelliKeys to allow students to work with writing, math, and drawing programs, the Internet, and email:

  • Alphabet overlay
  • Basic writing overlay
  • Web overlay
  • Math access overlay

 Screen shot of Intellikeys

Customized Overlays: Intellitools allows teachers to make overlays for any piece of software or group of learners. The customized overlays can be printed out on legal size paper.

Overlays from IntelliTools: Popular Software Overlays provides easy access to products from well-known companies such as Don Johnston, Kurzweil Education Systems, Apple Computer, and Inspiration Software.


Alternative keyboards support a variety of needs:

  • Range of motion
  • Fine motor skills
  • Low vision
  • Multiple cognitive demands
  • Learning disabilities


View a short product demo of the Intellikeys keyboard.


A full range of tutorials on use of Intellikeys are available from the Assistive Technology Training Online Project at the University at Buffalo. Visit Intellikeys Tutorial.

Also see the Intellikeys Quick Start.