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.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/19/fashion/how-apples-siri-became-one-autistic-boys-bff.html

Flipping for Adpated Books

Adapted books are a wonderful resource allowing all students opportunities to build literacy skills through accessible books.  Keeping all of the components of an adapted book together however can be a bit of a challenge.  This video shows how one teacher organized the pieces of a book by creating a flip out page allowing for a choice board and sentence strip to remain attached to the body of the book. When finished the choice board and sentence strip flip back inside, creating a book that is easily stored with all of the pictures neatly tucked inside.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLIEm_DnzLY

Retractable Clothesline

Capture               clothesline

Using a retractable clothesline allows for a variety of activities to reinforce math and language arts skills.  Students can stand, walk  or wheel along the clothesline to order numbers, skip count or create number patterns in math.  Given a set of words they can create sentences, put  words in abc order or practice spelling.  What other ways can you think of to use a clothesline in your classroom?

 

Lighting up the Classroom with Tap Lights

Tap lights are an inexpensive way to enhance student engagement across the school day. They can be used during small groups, partner work and games.  Check out some blogs with great ideas on how to use this dollar store find.

tap lights

http://literacymathideas.blogspot.com/2014/05/guided-reading-ideas.html

http://secondgradestyle.blogspot.com/2014/02/bright-ideas-blog-hop.html

http://speechtimefun.blogspot.com/2012/03/two-new-tap-light-ideas.html

Directions on how to turn a tap light into a switch  http://www.theoatc.org/resources/lightswitch.asp

 

Free Visual Supports for Early Childhood

We all love free stuff, especially downloadable pictures for making visual supports.  The Head Start Center for Inclusion, University of Washington, offers a nice collection of visual supports for transitioning, performing daily activities, assisting with behaviors, social skills, and other routines in early childhood.  Check it out!

http://depts.washington.edu/hscenter/teacher-tools#block

Screen shot 2014-05-29 at 11.11.54 PM

 

Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM-VA)

Accessible Instructional Materials -VA (AIM-VA) has a brand new website. Check out the beautiful graphics and new sections that address information needed by students, parents, and teachers.  www.aimva.org.  Please share the link to this website with others, so ALL students who need accessible instructional materials will get them.

Some wonder….. are accessible instructional materials considered AT? Here’s  a quote from  the National Center on Accessible Instructional Materials.

What does AT have to do with AIM?

Assistive technology (AT) and accessible instructional materials (AIM) are closely linked. IDEA references access to printed instructional materials that can be converted into the specialized formats of braille, large print, audio, or digital text.Other than embossed braille and hard copy large print, specialized formats require technology to deliver the content to the student. When a student served under IDEA needs technology for access to the content and the curriculum, the technology meets the definition of AT.

 

Microsoft Partners in Learning Blog

Last week we highlighted our guest bloggers from Loudoun County Schools.  They shared their strategies for adapting books for all learners.  This week our hats go off to two other members of the Loudoun County Assistive Technology team, Tara Jeffs and Cynthia Feist. Tara and Cindy host an accessibility blog on the Microsoft Partners in Learning Blog.  This is an excellent source for finding information about meeting the needs of diverse learners in your classroom.  Check out  recent posts on developing MathLit kits and Strategies for Improving Organization and Time Management Skills.  All of the posts contain photos, videos and web links.  This blog is worth bookmarking and sharing far and wide!!

http://www.pil-network.com/HotTopics/accessibility

Panther Apps

These apps were designed to provide meaningful and fun access to Reading, Writing and Mathematics for those with motor challenges.  The apps combine Universal Design for Learning as well as independent access for individuals using an iPad.  We have been challenged for years for students to show their work in math and perhaps Panther Math Paper might meet this challenge? These apps are still being perfected and will be available for purchase on iTunes.  Keep checking the App Store and let us know what you think!

http://panthertechnology.com/ 

The Old and the New have combined to =Student Success

Unique Learning System + Classroom Suite=Student Success
IntelliTools® has combined efforts with N2Y, Inc. to deliver fully accessible computer-based Classroom Suite activities aligned to many of the core skills development lessons contained within the scope and sequence of the standards-based Unique Learning System curriculum. It’s great to have two wonderful learning tools combined into one unit.

 

New ZoomText 10.1 has been released!

ZoomText 10.1 for Windows 8 is here, offering full support for the Windows 8 operating system, including touch screen devices.  It’s compatible with Office 2013 and Internet Explorer 10.  The magnification of text is crystal clear!

Check it out!

http://www.aisquared.com/zoomtext/more/zoomtext_for_windows_8