AT and Math – Computer Assisted Instruction

If you are interested in utilizing computer assisted instruction in your math program, click on the following sites. Both feature applets, which are small computer programs that run over the internent. The applets are small interactive learning tools students can use to practice skills, explore 3-D objects and much more!
Elementary Mathematics
http://www.fi.uu.nl/rekenweb/en/welcome.xml?groep=6
Secondary Mathematics
http://www.fi.uu.nl/wisweb/en/

Who wakes up your kids?

…It’s a terrible job, so let somebody else do it.
Recently, I was desperate for a wake-up call but was staying in a dorm room with no help available…and was excited to find Snoozester to the rescue!
Snoozester is one of many online programs that let you schedule wake up calls and reminder calls to your phone. You can receive your calls on your home phone, mobile phone or any other phone…and here’s the cool part: you select WHO wakes you up. I was awakened by a “tech support” recorded voice that apologized for bothering me and offered to call back in 10 minutes if I pressed “2.” Love the snooze option! Next time, I’m selecting the pirate. Ahoy! Wake up and walk the plank!
Check out www.snoozester.com to see for yourself.

“There’s an App for that!”

Today I want to look at an app designed to be used with students with autism. iPrompts (49.99) combines 3 visual strategies into one application. iPrompts is not intended to be a communication device but rather a device which can be used by parents and professionals working with individuals on the autism spectrum. It features a picture schedule which can be customized using photos from the iTouch photo library or using photos contained in the small iPrompts library. The second feature is a 2 picture choice board which can also be customized with pictures from the iTouch photo library or the iPrompts library. By turning the iTouch to landscape mode, when the student touches his choice the other choice is shaded. Finally, the last feature is a visual timer. A picture can be included along with the timer that gives the student a visual cue as to how much time is left in a particular activity.
In the initial release of iPrompts many people had difficulty loading pictures from the iTouch library. Recent updates have fixed this feature, however, I have still had some issues with frequently changing the choice board pictures. I usually fix this problem by exiting the application and restarting the application with more success. However, for portability of the visual strategies without the bulkiness of a PECs books or picture schedules this app has possibilities. For a quick look of iPrompts in action check out this You Tube video:
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Getting Organized for Online Courses

I found a great tip sheet for organizing yourself so that you can be a successful student before you begin your online studies. Many people find online courses more difficult to manage than going to an actual class. A lot of the responsibility is on you to commit the time to the class, by checking on assignments, class notes, participating in discussion boards etc. Many students with disabilities are offered this option because it appears that it might be more flexible, however planning needs to take place ahead of time so that the student can figure out how to organize himself for success. Check out this article I found, many of the suggestion can be broken down even more, but it gives you an awareness of everything that needs to be planned for when going online with courses.
“Be a Successful Online Learner” by Kim Donahue

Planning on using an electronic whiteboard?

The University of Washington’s AccessIT center has some info you need to read!
If you are teaching online, the course management software may include a whiteboard tool that you can use to write or draw on the board. Sounds great! The down side, however, is that it may not be accessible to users of screen readers. Read more at http://www.washington.edu/accessit/articles?1236.

AT and Math -Anchored Instruction

Want students to be more actively engaged in learning? Try anchoring instruction around an interesting topic! Anchoring instruction provokes the kinds of thoughtful engagement that helps students develop effective thinking skills and attitudes which contribute to effective problem solving and critical thinking.
Principles of anchored instruction:
•Learning and teaching activities should be designed around an “anchor” which is often a story, adventure, or situation that includes a problem or issue to be dealt with that is of interest to the students.
•Instructional materials should include rich resources students can explore as they try to decide how to solve a problem (e.g., interactive videodisc programs)
Check out the following links for more information:
http://peabody.vanderbilt.edu/projects/funded/jasper/intro/Jasperintro.html
http://peabody.vanderbilt.edu/projects/funded/jasper/preview/AdvJW.html

A new and “innovative” development for AT

Recently I had the opportunity to hear about a newly developed technology that has some great applications for AT. The innovator’s design, Ron Hu, applies a speaker to an older AlphaSmart– transforming the tool into an augmentative communication tool. Worth reading more about at http://www.nationaltechcenter.org/index.php/2009/06/01/ipro-updating-augmentative-communication-devices/

Save online video to your computer using Convert Tube

I was reading Education World’s email update (worth subscribing to for the prek-8 crowd) and ran across a brief “Gadget of the Week” entry by Alma Row about Convert Tube. She writes that to save an online video to your own computer, “All you have to do is paste the web address of the video into Convert Tube’s URL box, choose the file format you need (mpg, mpg3, mpg4, mov, flv, or 3gp), and click Convert & Download. Within minutes Convert Tube will display a Download button. Click that button and save your new video to your own PC, iPod, PSP, or mobile.” Read a little more from her at http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/gadget/gadget008.shtml and link to Convert Tube at http://convert.playtube.com/.

“There’s an App for that!” More on Proloquo2Go

Last time I introduced Proloquo2Go the AAC device on the iTouch. As with all assistive technologies finding the right fit to the right student is the most challenging. P2G is not for every student with communication needs. Every AT assessment needs to begin with using the SETT framework. Look at the student, the environment in which he will use the communication device, and the tasks which are asked of him/her. THEN, decide on the tool. I recently met with a parent and the team of professionals working with her daughter. They were trying to decide the right “tool” to meet the daughters’ communication needs. While they were impressed with P2G they weren’t sure it would address her needs on a daily basis. What they did like was the portability, the ease of programming, the ability to customize pages, and the multiple uses of the iTouch. (Her daughter loves to watch You Tube videos). This parent felt it was a great solution to use in the car and within the community but felt that her Springboard would be better utilized in the school setting.
The great thing about P2G is the price benefit. Now this student has 2 options for using her voice in multiple settings! Learn more about Proloquo2 Go at this website: http://www.proloquo2go.com/

Technology changes everything for musicians who are blind

Did you catch the 2009 season of American Idol and the talent of Scott MacIntyre? He created beautiful music with not only his singing but his instrumental talent was amazing. We’ve seen the talents of Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles, but can you imagine the challenges they must have faced when wanting to compose music or play printed compositions? I’m sure they had a lot of support from others. Technology is changing all of that and programs are available now to truly make musicians like Scott MacIntyre able to independently compose, arrange, and edit music; proofread it (in Braille when necessary); and produce a print version. Dancing Dots has created several new programs.
Check it out:
http://www.dancingdots.com/main/index.htm