Studying from school books in the cloud

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve posted screenshots of my school books stored in the cloud. It’s nice to have access to hundreds of pounds of paper books on a phone, e-reader device like a Kindle, and computer with internet access…but what I rely on the most is something that may seem like a support for the lazy! It’s the ability to easily search (using the “find” feature) and quickly see all of my highlights and personal notes.

Here’s a screenshot of some of my notes and marks. I rarely re-read an entire text–instead I page through a book and look for my marginal notes and highlights.

Kindle notes and marks

Using e-text, I don’t bother to page through at all–I simply click on the summary of my notes and marks. Occasionally it’s a sign of laziness (like when I can’t be bothered to re-read a book before book club) but usually it’s a “work smarter not harder” move (like when I have a group discussion for a graduate class and I need to know the quotes the professor is going to bring up).

Interestingly, the professor of the graduate literature class I took last year banned all digital books from the classroom…I had to spend hours transcribing all my digital notes into a paper book the night before each class. Why not skip the digital books for that class? Well,  when I wrote my weekly papers, I needed to have my quotes in digital format to drop into the essays…so where this is going? <sigh> We have a long way to go, folks.

Cell phone access for individuals with cognitive impairments

Unus Tactus was developed to assist people of all ages with mild cognitive and/or motor deficits by allowing them to have an easy to use cell phone, with a simple set up. It utilizes a one touch photo dialing system to generate phone calls using phone numbers from your existing contacts or ones that are imported directly. The pictures are placed on a 4 X4 grid.  There is a large help button visible at all times on the screen that will contact an emergency contact by both phone and email. The app also has a feature called a Geofence. This feature allows you to set up a mileage perimeter between 1- 15 miles outside of which the phone cannot wander. If the phone goes outside of the perimeter it signals the owner that a message will be sent to the person’s emergency contact with a map of where the phone is located. This feature could be useful, especially for those who wander.

This app is  compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad.  It requires iOS 4.2 or later. Check it out:

It’s Spring and for some of us it’s IEP time!

How many of your students are involved in their IEP planning?  Specifically, how many of your students are involved in the consideration and selection of AT?  Check out this video clip of students talking about the benefits of AT.  (scroll to video: The Importance of Assistive Technology)

Talk with your students about ways they can participate in these decisions.  Here’s a nice brochure for students that offer ways they can participate in their own IEP (and check out all the other resources for helping your students become self-determined–from preschool to secondary)

Suggestions for Your Participation in the IEP

Don’t forget about Hey, Can I Try That?  It’s another great resource to guide students through AT selection and use.


Johnny Kelly presents at VOTA Conference

Our friend, Johnny Kelly, recently presented an informative and inspirational keynote address at Virginia’s Occupational Therapy Association (VOTA) Conference 2012.  Johnny talks about disability awareness, finding your purpose, and living in the now.  Listen and learn about Johnny’s life and the lessons he has to share.

(Mature themes)

Virtual TechKnowledgy 2012 Conference



Coming November 8, 2012.  The second annual totally online Virtual TechKnowledgy Conference will offer a keynote address from Dan Herlihy, internationally recognized AT Expert and 2 live webinars from Chris Bugaj, Bill Reeder and Cheryl Temple, AT Specialists from Virginia.  In addition, there will be many AT sessions, resources and a virtual exhibits hall.  Both webinars require advance registration.  All other conference activities are free and DO NOT require registration.  Print off the flyer or visit for more information!

TechKnowledgy 2012 save the date

The BEST app resource ever!

I can’t say enough about this listing.  The only way to describe it is you MUST go to this site but be prepared to spend hours.  Using the popular social bookmarking site, Pinterest, Lauren Enders, a speech pathologist, has created 77 boards all organized in categories.

Learn something useful from a fox

Tips for College Success by Nigel the Fox ,  is the summer project of CAST intern, Amir Bar.  In this book Amir shares 12 tips from his personal experience that can improve the college learning experience of any student.  Many of these tips are also useful for secondary students. This book was created with the CAST online Bookbuilder program that is free and allows educators, families and others to write fully accessible books.

Click here to read the book,  Tips for College Success by Nigel the Fox.

No one says it better…..

The Family Center on Technology and Disability (FCTD) and PACER Center have done it again.  They have released a new AT awareness video series.  These videos are designed to strengthen awareness of AT devices that help individuals with disabilities participate fully in school, at home, and in the community. In the video below you’ll meet Sam Graves, a young man with cerebral palsy who, with the help of AT, is a successful college student, blogger, and sportsman.  Sam beautifully demonstrates how specific AT devices and apps help him to be independent in college.  Spread the word by sharing these videos.