Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Chrome Resources for Struggling Students


A big thank you to  Lynda S. Hartman, M.A., M.L.S., Assistive Technology Consultant for Northern Suburban Special Education District, Highland Park, Illinois.  Lynda has put together a Google Site dedicated to supporting struggling learners with Google Chrome.  Her categories include Accessibility, Reading Tasks, Writing Tasks and Executive Functioning Tasks.  New things are available in Chrome everyday, and will be added periodically.  Check out how Google Chrome can help you!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Chrome AT Toolbox

Google has many accessibility features built into the Chrome browser and many add-on Apps and Extensions.
What's the difference between an App and an Extension?  A web app is basically a website that runs within the browser and may not require any downloads.  Google Docs is an example of an app because it runs within the browser and doesn't require a download.  On the other hand, an extension affects something global on your browser.  Extensions are downloaded to modify your browser.
The Chrome Toolbox is a searchable collection of free or low cost apps and extensions that follow the user wherever there's an Internet connection.  The tools are attached to the user's profile and available when they're logged in to Chrome.  The collection focuses on alternative access and is searchable by specific task or disability profile.  Check it out!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

mATch up Tool Helps Teachers Match Tools to Tasks

The Maryland Assistive Technology Network's mATch up Tool was mentioned during a webinar I attended today and the timing couldn't be better! This wonderful resource is perfect for IEP teams looking for tools during the AT consideration process. The categories are general but open to more specific tasks. Writing, for example, offers specific choices for Handwriting/Keyboarding, Prewriting/Notetaking, Mechanics/Spelling/Editing, and Composition. Choosing a task opens a list of products ranging from No/Low Tech to High Tech. Going a step further, you can choose a product to view a screen shot of it and where to purchase it. This is a great way for teams to build their knowledge about AT tools without doing a lot of research. Thank you Maryland AT Network for devising this great feature mATch up Tool!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Organize apps with Insignio

Thanks to a colleague in Region 1 for sharing this great new app tool!  Have you ever wished there was a way to collect apps you're interested in, make lists and notes about them, then share that information? Looks like Insignio fits the bill. It also connects you to app reviews by therapists and special education teachers.

The site was developed by a group of parents, therapists, teachers and doctors with the mission to "Bridge the gap between technology and people with disabilities". Simply create an online account and watch their short, informative videos to get started. This looks to be a very useful service!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Resource for Apps - both iOS and Android


On the never-ending quest for apps, I found this site that's proven very helpful. Of major importance is the inclusion of Android and Google apps, not just iOS. Seeing as I'm responsible for AT equipment purchasing on a budget, I'm looking at Android tablets since they are so economical. Yesterday's quote for an 8" Android tablet was just over half the cost of an iPad! So I started looking at Android apps and found this site. A recent post focuses on special education apps and lists 11 that are also available on iOS. Although the Bookshare app isn't one of them, I know there is a free Android Bookshare app, GoRead.

I'm working on a Purchase Order for an Android tablet and will post about it soon!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Tobii YouTube Channel Provides Easy Access to Training

I just had a call from our Tobii rep who shared some new training information - a YouTube channel with short videos covering anything from taking a new device out of the box to using eye gaze technology. The Tobii website also has new videos on their Training page, and Webinars are listed under News & Events. Of interest is an upcoming live webinar, September 24th titled "Help! I have an eye-control system in my classroom: A beginning guide to eye control access in the classroom."  Check out these easy to use tools!

Keyboarding! The Number One Top Post on Common Core & Ed Tech Blog

This week, the Common Core Educational Technology Blog wrote about their all time most popular posts and believe it or not, Keyboarding was the number one post!

Here's some of the most popular sites to support keyboarding:
Typing Web a free, online typing tutor and keyboarding tutorial for all skill levels.  By registering (free) students can track their progress using their proven curriculum.

Key Hero Typing Test No login required, but you can, and save work.
Dance Mat Typing, one of the most fun ways to learn for kids.
FreeTypingGame.net has games, lessons, tests and lessons can be customized.

There's several more listed on the Common Core & Ed Tech post that you can get to by clicking this post title, plus it's interesting to read the comments and hear what others are using. 


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Bookshare YouTube Channel!

If you're looking for a quick, easy tutorial for creating an individual account or using Bookshare's new Web Reader, check out Bookshare's YouTube channel. Videos are two - three minutes long and show step by step instructions. Just re-watch them anytime for a refresher! The link will also be added to the Bookshare section of our Blog.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

New Google Glass Feature Identifies Objects for the Visually Impaired

OpenGlass, a Dapper Vision project, is using Google Glass technology to help the visually impaired. The user asks Mechanical Turk or Twitter to identify an object by asking a question like, "what is this box?" Mechanical Turk is a web service that is working to make Human Intelligence Tasks, like identifying objects, simple and cost-effective. Memento (a database app) speaks information about a recognizable object, and can even include danger warnings.

OpenGlass apps are still in the testing phase, but watch for more in the coming weeks! Post title links to a video of visually impaired users trying out OpenGlass.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Free Webinars on Accessible PDFs and more!

I recently found ADA Online Learning while researching information on accessible websites.  Several teachers have asked how to make PDF files accessible and here's two training opportunities to learn more.  

September 19th: Creating Accessible PDFs Part 1: Building Accessibility into Source Documents 
Session Objectives include how to apply styles and structure to Word and PowerPoint documents and how to set up accessibility options in PDF converters, such as Adobe Acrobat

November 21st: Advanced Accessible PDF Part 2: Tables, Forms and More!

ADA Online Learning has a wealth of archived webinars on the topic of accessibility, including how to use the website accessibility evaluation tool, WAVE at wave.webaim.org.