Google Drive Checklist for Teachers

Screen Shot 2015-01-08 at 9.37.46 PMFiona Bessey-Bushnell, Occupational Therapist, Chesterfield County Public Schools suggested that we share a link to a recent post in Educational Technology and Mobile Learning.  This post highlights a Google Drive Checklist for Teachers.  This checklist includes sections to help students better understand Google Drive,  Google Docs, Google Presentation, Google Forms, Spreadsheets and Drawing.  Check it out!


I can do that too!

Being a part of a group and participating in an activity similar to your peers is possible for our students with special needs.  The Provincial Outreach Program in Victoria, British Columbia has created participation kits filled with materials lists, step by step procedures and short snip-it videos of how to include all students.  Their academic parallel participation kits provide ideas that allow students to participate in typical academic classroom subjects while working on their own skills within modified activities. Their skills may include working on choice making, using a switch for voice output or access, mobility, vision, and hand function.  Check out their website for ideas to give your students the “I can do that too!” experience.

Participation kits

Guided Access on the iPad

Do your creative and curious students navigate to forbidden areas on the iPad, change the settings, or move in and out of apps without completing an assigned activity?

Guided Access may be the answer for you.  Guided Access helps students with autism or other attention and sensory challenges stay on task. A teacher or therapist can limit an iOS device to stay on one app by disabling the Home button, and even restrict touch input on certain areas of the screen. So wandering taps and gestures won’t distract from learning.  

To learn more about some newer accessibility features on ios devices, visit Apple’s Special Education area. 

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Toy box tools from Hasbro

It’s that time of year when the commercials for toys are at a premium and many parents contemplate what toys are best for their children.  For parents of children with disabilities this question can be difficult to answer.  It is not just the buying of the toys but how to teach their child to play with them once they bring them home. Working in collaboration with The Autism Project, Hasbro has created resources to help families, teachers and professionals make the most of playtime.  Toy Box Tools are videos and downloadable playbooks modeling how to play with selected toys.  The Toy Box Tools are broken down into three levels basic play, expanding play and social play.  Each level has its own video and playbook demonstrating how to play with the same toy based on where the child is developmentally. Follow the link to view the available resources and watch the videos.


Visuals to help with holiday schedule changes

Thanksgiving is the official start of the holiday season which brings many changes to our schedules.  Even the most organized adult needs their lists, calendars and visual reminders to help navigate all the special happenings between Thanksgiving and New Years.  What do you have in your toolbox to help your students or children navigate the changes in their schedules?  Indiana University Bloomington’s Resource Center for Autism has social stories, calendars, schedule icons and choice boards featuring Boardmaker symbols that are ready to click and print, a great resource to any educator or parent’s toolbox.

Talking classroom posters

Last week’s TechKnowledgy webinars were a wonderful opportunity to hear how technology can be used in the classroom to enhance, develop and share concepts. Many of the ideas from Google apps to websites and strategies could be implemented with all students. One such strategy was giving the posters hanging on classroom walls a voice. Kelly Fonner suggested adding a programmable voice output button to anchor charts and posters. By allowing students to record the messages and access the information easily there is now a purpose for the posters, beyond making the classroom look inviting. What a great way to give all students access to the information found on posters or anchor charts.



AT – The Great Equalizer

This personal story from Demian Lapointe is so poignant and it had me wondering how many other students have been in his shoes.  He describes how he successfully used technology outside of the classroom for writing assignments, but when asked to complete an in-class assignment without his AT supports, he struggled. It’s a great testimony as to how using the right technology tools for writing as he says ” is the great equalizer.”    Read Demian’s story

Thank you Jennifer Mitchell for linking us to this article in your TechKnowledgy Presentation today!

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To Siri, With Love

Have you ever used Siri to ask directions, silly questions, facts on a specific topic or the meaning of life? One 13 year old boy with autism has found a friend in the Apple Personal Assistant known lovingly as Siri. He has found answers to questions pertaining to his special interests, love, marriage and friendship while conversing with Siri. This New York Times piece is a heartwarming story of technology and humanity coming together to create a relationship that fosters communication in our 21st century world.


Newsela is a chrome app that publishes daily news articles at 5 reading levels from grades 3-12. You can explore a library of high-quality, engaging nonfiction text for your students. Topic areas include war and peace, science, kids, money, law, health, arts, and sports.   Newslela is free.

Download Newsela in the Chrome App Store: