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Gettysburg Address

Posted by: | April 14, 2014 | No Comment |

The Address


Tuesday, April 15, at 9:00 pm on PBS (check local listings) a documentary by Ken Burns will air.  PBS describes it like this,  ”The film tells the story of a tiny school in Putney Vermont, the Greenwood School, where each year the students are encouraged to practice, memorize, and recite the Gettysburg Address.http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/the-address/home/   ”In its exploration of the Greenwood School, the film also unlocks the history, context and importance of President Lincoln’s most powerful address.” but there is more to the story.  It has to do with the Greenwood School.  In the linked article, the National Center for Learning Disabilities describes Greenwood as “a middle and high school for boys with learning disabilities and other challenges. Since the school’s founding in 1978, Greenwood students have recited Lincoln’s speech in front of peers and families as a way to learn American history, build confidence and raise their own expectations about what they can accomplish.NCLD – Kids with LD Gain Confidence  On page 2 of the article helpful strategies are listed for memorization tasks.  There is also a challenge to have everyone memorize this iconic speech. http://www.learntheaddress.org/

Screenshot 2014-04-14 10.10.57




While at the expo be sure to find your regional coordinator.  We will be wearing black PATINS shirts and will have our own booth #28!  Here is a link to the Exhibit Hall map and List of Vendors

Not sure who your Regional Coordinator is?  Here’s some help!


NW – Jim Lambert

NE – Julie Kuhn

Central – Jeff Bond

SW – Sandy Stabenfeldt

SE – Sandi Mahl

 See you there!

under: AT Conferences, General Info
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April is Tech Expo Month!

Posted by: | April 4, 2014 | No Comment |

A is for Autism

April is Autism Awareness Month, no fooling, and what better way to celebrate and raise your awareness of the assistive technology options available than to attend the PATINS Tech Expo on April 17th.  There will be a celebrity attending this year.  He has been on the ‘Today’ show and is coming to us as a “bridge between technology and our human social world.”  His name is NAO (pronounced now).  Dr. Heipp with Westminster Technologies will be bringing Simon (a NAO robot) with him to the Tech Expo.  I can’t wait to see him in action.  Until then here is some more information on NAO!  http://www.westminstertech.com/ask-nao/

NAO Robot 

Would you want to be able to borrow a NAO robot from the PATINS Library?  Let me know what you think!


Very Special Arts Indiana (VSA Indiana)

VSA Indiana is having an “Arts for All Fest” on May 14, 2014 on the grounds of the Governor’s Residence.  The Fest is a day of arts for students with disabilities.  Registration is required, and the deadline for registration is April 4, 2014.  For more information http://www.vsai.org/news-and-events/artsforallfest

under: Uncategorized

Reading options on Chrome

Posted by: | March 18, 2014 | No Comment |

There are many interesting things you can do with Google Chrome.  Specifically, there are some helpful reading apps and extensions that can be installed on any computer or Chromebook.  As a former High School Teacher, I really like TLDR – Too Long Didn’t Read.

 Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 9.35.11 PM 

The sloth theme is fun and funny and offers many different levels of summaries for students to choose from.  

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 9.46.44 PM

Even better, the summaries are digital and can be read by Read & Write for Google and other Chrome Apps/Extenstions.


HKNC’s Summer Program for Transition Age Students

ANNOUNCING – exciting summer program for youth, 16 years or older, who are

Two Week Young Adult Summer Program – July 28 – August 7, 2014.

The program is at HKNC in Sands Point, NY.

For an application, contact: [email protected]>
Helen Keller National Center
485 Avenue of the Cities, Suite 5
East Moline, IL 61244
309-755-0018 (Voice/TTY)
309-716-3657 (VP/VRS)
309-755-0025 (Fax)

under: Uncategorized

tanstaafl = there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch

Most people have heard that phrase.  According to Wikipedia  ”The “free lunch” refers to the once-common tradition of saloons in the United States providing a ”free” lunch to patrons who had purchased at least one drink. Many foods on offer were high in salt (e.g., ham, cheese and salted crackers), so those who ate them ended up buying a lot of beer.”  Today, I am here to disprove that phrase.  At the PATINS Tech Expo you will get a FREE Lunch!  But wait...there’s more!  FREE Admission AND Parking!  Also, for those who register between now and April 16th, we will throw in a whole FREE Technology Conference complete with FREE Registration for you and as many colleagues as we can fit into the Fountains Banquet and Conference Center in Carmel, IN.  Act Now!  Registration is open!   TECH EXPO REGISTRATION LINK

Ok, seriously, here’s the information:

PATINS Tech Expo

April 17, 2014

The Fountains Banquet & Conference Center
502 East Carmel Drive
Carmel, Indiana 46032

Registration for Tech Expo 2014 Attendees

Registration for Tech Expo Booth Space

Informational Flyer  Image below.

Tech Expo 2014 Flyer

2014 PATINS Tech Expo – Schedule at a Glance

2014 PATINS Tech Expo – Vendor Presentation Descriptions PDF

2014 PATINS Tech Expo – Vendor Presentation Descriptions EPUB

Hotels near the Venue


Act Quick! – Microsoft Disability Scholarships – Due March 15th



under: AT Conferences

I apologize for the lack of information lately.  This person who I will refer to as “February Sandi” has been in charge for approximately 24 days.  Nobody likes February Sandi.  She is totally preoccupied with griping about weather and a general lack of color in her outside world.  Apparently, she isn’t a very good blogger during that month either.  Fortunately, regular PATINS Sandi has managed to ditch her for a few minutes so that a new Rapid Fire Blog can be published!

Here are some of the interesting things that have come through my space recently!

From Marcee Wilburn  via many sources

“Register today for these upcoming training opportunities!

March 20-21, 2014 – EARLY BIRD RATE ONLY $25

Karen Blankenship, Assistant Professor at Vanderbilt University, Program for Visual Disabilities, will present Effective Instructional Continuum for the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC). This two-day session is intended for teachers of students who are blind/low vision, teachers of students who are deaf/hard of hearing, special education teachers, general education teachers, and parents. This presentation will provide background knowledge and theory of the effective instructional continuum for the ECC. In addition, participants will have hands-on application with various resources and materials.

July 17-18, 2014 – EARLY BIRD RATE ONLY $40

Ed Summers, a software engineer and accessibility specialist, and Diane Brauner, a TVI and certified O&M specialist, will present iPad Accessibility Bootcamp for Teachers of the Visually Impaired.  This two-day hands-on workshop introduces educators of the visually impaired to iPad accessibility features that help totally blind and low vision students succeed in the classroom and the 21st century knowledge economy. 

Attached are the conference brochures with registration information.  Information regarding each of these professional development opportunities can be accessed online at http://www.indstate.edu/blumberg/pass/blv-conferences.htm. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.  We look forward to seeing you at these upcoming trainings!

Marcee Wilburn
Promoting Achievement for Students with Sensory Loss (PASS)
Project Coordinator, Blumberg Center
Bayh College of Education, University Hall 009
Indiana State University
401 North 7th Street
Terre Haute, IN 47809
Office:  812.237.8115  |  Toll Free:  800.622.3035  |  Fax:  812.237.8089
Email: [email protected]   |  Web:  http://www.indstate.edu/blumberg

From Jim Lambert, NE PATINS Regional Coordinator: a link to the proposed new standards for elementary level http://www.doe.in.gov/achievement/standards/public-comment-identified-k-12-content-standards-college-and-career-readiness



App of the Week:  Via QIAT Listserve and Diane Brauner

 Math Melodies App Logo

Math Melodies is a free ACCESSIBLE math app created for all children but specifically designed for students with visual impairments. The game has fun stories, math activities and lots of motivating sounds. This is a great example of how math concepts can be reinforced on the iPad. The developers, who are Italian, are open to suggestions and are already incorporating ideas on how to modify the app to better meet the needs of students with visual impairments in the US.

This app is currently geared for 1st – 3rd grade students. The app has been funded through crowd sourcing; currently the team is crowd sourcing in order to raise the necessary funds to add 4th and 5th grade level math activities. If you have suggestions about the current app or suggestions about math activities for 4th and 5th graders, especially math activities that are challenging for students with visual impairments, please contact me or Math Melodies directly.

Do you like Math Melodies? If so, please go to the App store and give a review. Again, this will support these developers and might even encourage other developers to include accessibility features in their apps!

Please share this post and support the efforts of app developers who strive to create accessible apps!

A big thanks to EveryWare Technologies for developing Math Melodies!

[email protected]


under: AT Conferences, General Info, iPads, Online Resources, Samples & Examples
Tags: , , , ,

Participation Opportunity

Posted by: | February 3, 2014 | No Comment |

Recently, it was pointed out to me that this post would benefit from a few clarifications, these are now included in blue.  Some lines originally posted have been deleted, not because they are inaccurate, but because their positioning within the post contributed to topical confusion. 

The following information comes from postings on The Learning Connection:

Indiana teachers and students will have an opportunity to participate in the NCSC alternate assessment item tryout this spring through pilot testing.

The registration window for the NCSC Phase 1 Pilot has been extended until February 7, 2014. 

The items will be presented to students online through the NCSC comprehensive assessment system, and test examiners will work one-on-one with students to administer the assessment based on individual student needs. It is important to note that the NCSC AA-AAS is a student-response assessment.

The NCSC pilot tests, as well as the operational assessment, are designed to be administered in approximately 11⁄2 to 2 hours. The Mathematics and English Language Arts pilot tests will occur this spring—Mathematics in March, and English Language Arts in April. Participation in the pilot testing provides a unique opportunity for both teachers and students to become familiar with alternate assessment based on college- and career-ready standards. More importantly, teachers can observe the level of student engagement and the nature of student responses during the pilot test. (Note: The number of teacher and student participants is locally determined.)

As NCSC will utilize matrix sampling during the pilot administration, each student will participate in only a portion of the pilot items, and individual student score reports will not be available. High-level, skill-based data will be shared following the pilot.

Indicating Interest:  Administrators, if any of your teachers are interested in participating in the NCSC alternate assessment pilot test this spring, please complete the survey at:


Your input is very important!

You and your students can help make this a better assessment by being a part of the pilot testing.  Only students currently taking the ISTAR test will be qualify to participate in the NCSC Phase 1 Pilot.  Students currently tested through the IMAST test would not qualify.


App of the Week!

Weather Underground App Weather Undergound app (for ipad/phone & android) FREE

With the weather the way it has been this year, we all need an accurate meteorologist in our pocket!  This is the app!  The current condition map can be modified to show fronts and weather stations.  Really beneficial for teaching weather and visualizing conditions!






under: apps, General Info, NCSC

AT for LD

Posted by: | January 27, 2014 | 2 Comments |

I think they forgot to mention us!

I read a lot of articles and blogs on the web.  The National Center for Learning Disabilities is a wonderful resource for all things LD.  This is a handy tip list of ways to help your child (or student).  I really appreciate #1, “If you’re just starting to investigate assistive technology, make sure you understand the basics—what AT can and cannot do.”  I think they should have put something about talking to your PATINS Coordinator after that!As educators we all know that we spend time teaching students how to use a textbook.  We do not expect them to know what bolded words mean, what can be found in the appendix, or even how to read the chapter.  We seem to forget that we need to teach students the ins and outs of using technology.  Not just how to use it, but when it is replacing or modifying something they have been using up to this point.  The student may just need validation that they are indeed using the device at the right time and correctly.  It is as awkward for them as it is for you.  PATINS is always ready to help you become the expert.  Here is the link to the rest of the article.


Another resource comes from Don Johnston, it is a literacy curriculum selector chart.  It is a part of the extras and support for their reading programs, but it highlights different skills and shows what materials target those skills.  Not just their products, but others as well.  Very handy!



Follow us on Twitter!  #patinsicam

Sandy = @patinsproject

Sandi = @smahlstuff

Julie = @nepatins

Jeff = @cepatins

App of the WEEK!

Screenshot 2014-01-27 09.35.26CLAPMERA  - FREE!

Clapmera allows you to take video, photo bursts, and single pictures by clapping your hands.



under: 21st Century Skills, apps, AT Conferences, General Info, Online Resources, Parents, Parents and Families, Uncategorized

Window Eyes and Tech Expo!

Posted by: | January 20, 2014 | No Comment |

So many things to write about…

I’m going to to just spit them out!  This first is a wonderful step for accessibility.  Straight from the press release:

For those of you who have not seen it, Window Eyes has partnered with Microsoft to offer FREE Window Eyes Screen reading software if you have a MS Office 2010 License (or later). A HUGE game changer! Here is the press release with link!



Fort Wayne, Indiana (January 14, 2014) – GW Micro, Inc., www.gwmicro.com, is proud to make a revolutionary announcement. GW Micro and Microsoft Corp. have partnered to make Window-Eyes available to users of Microsoft Office at no cost. Window-Eyes is a screen reader that enables people who are blind, visually impaired, or print disabled to have full access to Windows PCs and makes the computer accessible via speech and/or Braille. To better deliver Window-Eyes to the people who need it most, GW Micro and Microsoft have collaborated on this global initiative, available in over 15 languages, to enable anyone using Microsoft Office 2010 or later to also use Window-Eyes for free. Access to technology is critical to people who are blind or visually impaired in order to have the same opportunity to compete in the workplace. As such, this initiative between GW Micro and Microsoft has the potential to reduce barriers for millions of people who are blind or visually impaired around the world.

As the population ages, technologies like Window-Eyes will become more and more important as the number of people with age-related macular degeneration and other retinal degenerative diseases increases. “This significant change in the way we are doing business reflects the changing perception of accessibility and also technology in general. Rather than wait for the world to change, Microsoft and GW Micro are leading the way,” said Dan Weirich, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for GW Micro. Weirich believes this technology can help millions of people gain access to their PC, and that providing it free of charge will open a whole new world of assistive technology to many people.

In light of the rapidly changing face of technology and specifically, the changing face of assistive technology, the combined efforts of GW Micro and Microsoft have the goal of providing accessibility to people who are blind and visually impaired for the long term.

Microsoft continues to take accessibility seriously. “By partnering with GW Micro in this endeavor we are demonstrating Microsoft’s ongoing commitment to provide all of our customers with the technology and tools to help each person be productive in both their work and personal lives.” said Rob Sinclair, Chief Accessibility Officer for Microsoft.

Eligible customers, using Microsoft Office 2010 or higher, will be able to download a full version of Window-Eyes starting today at www.WindowEyesForOffice.com www.windoweyesforoffice.com/. The website provides download instructions as well as additional details about this offer.

GW Micro, Inc. (www.gwmicro.com) has been a trusted pioneer in the adaptive technology industry since 1990, and continues to lead with innovative, customer driven solutions.


Dan Weirich, VP of Sales and Marketing
[email protected]

PATINS 2014 Tech Expo!

Time to start planning for the PATINS Tech Expo 2014.

Thursday, April 17

The Fountains

502 East Carmel Drive

Carmel, IN  46032

As in the past 12 years…No Registration Fee!

Exhibit Hall Hours 9 am – 3:30 pm EST

  • New this year:  Extended time in Exhibit Hall to visit with Vendors
  • Ongoing presentations in various breakout rooms throughout the day
  • New this year:  Numerous Door Prize Drawings throughout the day for attendees 

Click below to register:


Vendor Presentation Schedule will be posted on www.patinsproject.com by March 1.


More announcements to come!

I’ve got High Hopes!  - Sandi

under: General Info, Online Resources, Parents, Parents and Families, PC, Services, Uncategorized

Here are some of the many things I learned over Winter Break!

  1. Google as a timer:  Type the word “Timer:” and the amount of time you want counted.  Be sure to type the minutes and seconds: “timer: 3 minutes 30 seconds” works but  “timer: 3:30″ makes it think you want to know how long until the time 3:20.  This could also useful if you are counting down to the end of the school day!  If you have gone back yet!
  2. From Freedom Scientific:  A free update for JAWS® 15 was released.  You can download the latest version of JAWS at the JAWS download page.  http://www.freedomscientific.com/downloads/jaws/jaws-downloads.asp  Free webinars are available at http://www.freedomscientific.com/Training/JAWS-training.asp
  3. From the QIAT Listserv:  First ever White House Student Film Festival.  They are looking for “videos that highlight the power of technology in schools”.  http://www.whitehouse.gov/filmfestival  Assistive technology counts!
  4. From Diane Ravitch’s Blog/Forbes:  Bill Gates is investing in a “Urine Powered Mobile Phone“.  http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2013/12/23/bill-gates-invests-in-the-urine-powered-mobile-phone/
  5. From Free Tech for Teachers:  Turn ‘O Phrase  is an online game that helps students understand colloquial phraseshttp://www.freetech4teachers.com/2013/12/turn-o-phrase-helps-students-learn.html#.Us1zP2RDuvM
  6. From OT’s with Apps:  A great way to help students continue to learn how to read. Lyrics App by Tunewiki  http://otswithapps.com/2013/12/22/lyrics-app-by-tunewiki/
  7. From Ed Tech and Mobile Learning:  Easy tools to create your own apps!  http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2014/01/teachers-easy-tools-to-create-their-own.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+educatorstechnology%2FpDkK+%28Educational+Technology+and+Mobile+Learning%29
  8. From OT’s with Apps:  OT Administration Apps list - many of these are great for more than just OTs http://otswithapps.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/ot-mtool-kit-app-list-ot-admin-apps-1-5-2014.pdf
  9. From Friendship Circle:  Top Ten Most Ridiculous Comments Heard at an IEP Meeting  Factual answers to erroneous statements at IEP meetings.  http://www.friendshipcircle.org/blog/2012/01/19/top-ten-most-ridiculous-comments-heard-at-an-iep-meeting/
  10. From Facebook:  Indiana County Travel Status Site  http://www.in.gov/dhs/traveladvisory/

Some of these will be more useful than others, but I hope you find something you can use!  Here’s to a great 2014!

Picture of Sandi Mahl in a casual pose with a brightly colored scarf.

under: apps, General Info, iPads, Online Resources, Parents, PC, Software, Uncategorized


It is the time of year where everything is coming together!  Are your grades done?  Presents bought?  Menu planned?  House cleaned?  Dogs washed?How do you keep it together?  Take a tip from the jolly man in red, make a list and check it twice.  There’s something magical about a list.  For me, the act of writing it is therapy.  All the things on my mind that are racing around and shoving forward for attention, suddenly find themselves on paper waiting to be crossed off!  I can then look at them and plot an orderly assault!

It seems like all of my information sources are making lists too.  For instance:  The top re-tweets of the year, the 10 most downloaded teacher apps, and from Educational Technology and Mobile Learning 5 Assistive Technology Stores for Your Techie with Special Needs, written by Lauren Lewis.  It starts with my new favorite quote, “When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” Attributed to Confucius, this illuminates the purpose of assistive technology.  Do not change the content or the rigor, unlock the ability of the student to master the task.  The article also includes a video defining assistive technology and then lists five very useful online resources for various types of assistive technology.

In the spirit of listing, I would like to add number 6!  Lightspeed Technologies, Inc.  PATINS TV this Tuesday, December 17th at 11:45 will be featuring their Redcat and new Flexcat.  The Redcat is one of the most requested items in my library and is truly an all-star in the UDL classroom. Tune in and see Jeff Bond, Central PATINS Coordinator and David Buist show what these devices can do.


App of the Week!

app symbol is a pink square with a bird outlined inside of a white B. Birdhouse for Autism – Free!

Birdhouse is an Autism management app designed for parents, teachers and caregivers to help organize information, keep track of medications and supplements, therapies and therapists, behaviors and activities.  It is helpful in noting patterns and linking them to triggers.

under: Uncategorized

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