Read Picture Assisted PDF files on your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch

Slater Software has posted directions for adding a PDF book to the iBooks library on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. This is another great way to use your iPad for instructional purposes and allows many books to be available in one place.
http://www.slatersoftware.com/iPad PDF Handout Pages.pdf

Don Johnston’s video about why we need AT

If you have not seen “The case against AT” then you should!
As Ben Johnston writes: “It’s hard to imagine not using technology every day in the real world. I can’t think of many jobs that don’t require it. In the real world, using technology is seen as being “tech-savvy.” And yet in our schools, technology is often seen as giving an unfair advantage. Only a few percent of students with disabilities ever use technology beyond word processors, web browsers, and SMART boards. It’s disheartening to see non-verbal students struggling to communicate despite the advances in augmentative communication devices. Likewise, it’s difficult to see students with dysgraphia struggling to write simple sentences with pencil and paper despite the advances in word prediction software. I hope this video plays at least a minor role in helping people think differently about assistive technology.”
http://www.donjohnston.com/media/flash/case_against_technology/index.html

Protect your investment

I know many of you have recently purchased iPad’s to use in your school. But are you adequately protecting your investment from the inevitable drop? Here is a selection of my favorite protective cases.
The Big Grip Frame:

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iBallz:
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Grip Case:
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iGuy:
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iAdapter (with built in speakers):
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Georgia Assistive Technology Project

It’s always nice seeing what our AT colleagues are doing in other states. Georgia Assistive Technology Project or “gpat” as we call them has been a leader in assistive technology for years. I recently re-visited their website and found great video presentations that would be useful for any assistive technology team. Of particular interest to me was the four part workshop on “10 things every district should know about Assistive Technology”. No matter what state you live in, this presentation is worth watching. It includes handouts and discussion questions that can be used as part of a district-wide training.
Georgia Assistive Technology Project
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aacintervention.com

Many of us have followed Caroline Musselwhite’s creative creations and evidence-based practices for literacy and AAC for years. Visit her remodeled website at www.aacintervention.com.
Follow her blog, AAC Girls at http://aacgirls.blogspot.com/ to find quick posts, minitips and think outlouds! Her most recent post features The Bridge, an early literacy and language assessment framework developed by The Center for Literacy and Disability Studies. It’s a valuable assessment instrument!

Great product videos

Sometimes when we look through a cataloge to purchase a piece of technology we’re never really sure if it is what we are looking for or how it will work. There are even times when I would like to explain a piece of technology to a parent or teacher either over the phone or in a meeting. I don’t always feel effective when I can only use words to describe the way something works. Enter in the power of videos!!
I was recently looking on the Enabling Devices website and discovered they have short (30 seconds or less) videos of all of their products that they sell. How fantastic!! Pull up the website, watch before you buy or show to a parent or teacher. Great idea.
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Create & Convert: a cheap and easy way to make accessible text

So what does Create & Convert do? Well, it brings together in one neat package a range of open source programs that can quickly and capably translate electronic documents into an accessible alternative format, such as audio or a talking book. All of the tools are the outputs of the Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY) Consortium, and are therefore completely free to use and distribute. Create & Convert works with any document that is editable form such as Microsoft word. It is a free download and works from both a portable usb key or can be downloaded to a desktop.
Check it out: http://eduapps.org/?page_id=10

Tips for providing AT in rural areas

We often come up against this challenge: How to provide assistive technology (AT) services and devices in rural areas. I found a nice article that describes some of the responsibilities to consider and ways for rural divisions to pool resources to meet the AT needs of their students. Check it out and let us know what you think
http://www.sedl.org/rural/seeds/assistivetech/leader.html