AT According to Lewis Carroll

Today I have enlisted a guest writer for the Rapid Fire Blog.  Mr. Lewis Carroll, author of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”.  The book was written 1865 and you might think he won’t have any insight in reference to assistive tech.  I mean really, the typewriter wasn’t invented until 1873, the hearing aid in 1880!  Still, you might be surprised.

“My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.”

There are so many aspects of education where this quote has meaning.  None more pertinent than back to school time where we are reminding our students of what they already knew while encouraging them forward into a new knowledge set.

“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”

For students with AT there always seems to be a time where they want to try to fly without their supports.  The need to grow and push is the center of their existence.  As professionals, it is our job to encourage this growth and exploration while maintaining a safe path back to their supports.  Perhaps it is not just a personal choice.  As students change grade levels, new technology becomes the standard while old friends are left behind.  iPads give way to Chromebooks and as their support, we need to know where to find the tools they need across platforms.

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
“I don’t much care where –”
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

A subtle reminder to consider the Student, Environment, Task, and Tools. (Joy Zabala SETT Framework)

“Curiouser and curiouser!”     

This is the goal for all of our students.  We hope that they want to learn and access more and more information!  Recently I stumbled upon a site that just might help fuel that curiosity, Wonderopolis.  It was created by the National Center for Families and Learning and currently holds 1501 Wonders of the Day and 436 Wonder Guides.  According to their website, “our Wonders of the Day® will help you find learning moments in everyday life—ones that fit in with dinner preparations, carpool responsibilities, a stolen moment between breakfast and the bus, or within school curriculum and education programs.”  Wonderopolis has won many awards and contains engaging information and text supports for students.


“Have I gone mad?” “I’m afraid so.
You’re entirely Bonkers.
But I will tell you a secret,
All the best people are.”

You may wonder this, or confirm it, through this school year, but remember we are here to help!

See you at the PATINS State Conference – November 4 & 5  Registration is Open



Does AT make a difference?

This is the question asked by Karen Janowski in her recent “Teaching Every Student Blog”.  As you can guess, the answer is a resounding YES!  As we start this new year it is something that we who see it every day should take the time to pass on to our peers.  The importance of Assistive Technology to our students is immediate and essential to their ability to learn.  If you are looking for examples to inspire those who have doubts, please share the following:  Karen Janowski

There are many ways to go about choosing the best assistive technology.  The following guidelines and resources are my favorite and they are all cost free!

  • PATINS  If you are a public educator in the state of Indiana, please contact your Regional Coordinator for any assistance you may need.  From suggestions to borrowing a specific piece of technology, we are there to help!
  • SETT Framework – Student, Environments, Tasks, and Tools: A guideline that puts choosing AT in perspective.
  • Reading – Does the student qualify for Accessible Educational Materials?  Would they benefit from them?
    • AIM Explorer – “a free simulation that combines grade-leveled digital text with access features common to most text readers and other supported reading software. Magnification, custom text and background colors, text-to-speech (synthetic and human), text highlighting, and layout options are presented in a logical sequence to help struggling readers decide which of these supports might help them to access and understand text.”
    • PAR (Protocol for Accommodations in Reading) – Don Johnston Inc.  “The PAR manual helps you determine the most suitable reading accommodations for specific students by assessing their individual needs. Anyone on the IEP team can administer PAR to systematize how reading accommodations are recommended on a student level or across the school district.”

There are a lot of new teachers out there this year.  Don’t assume that they are familiar with these resources and PATINS.  Continue to be a good role model for them and pass this information along as needed.

Happy New Year - with confetti Have an outstanding 2015/16!






Summertime = Training time!

The Indiana Department of Education, Summer of eLearning 2015 is on and the PATINS Project Coordinators are presenting all over.  Here’s a quick look at where to find us!  Here is a link for more details on the conferences and their content.

Where to find us!

6/8              Greencastle Tech Con. – Greencastle High School

6/9              iPossibilities and Beyond – Center Grove High School

6/9 & 10      Connecting the 4C’s Conference –  Mt. Vernon Sr. High School

6/10 & 11    WISE15 – Northfield Jr/Sr High School

6/10 & 11    Making a Splash with Digital Learning – Batesville High School

6/11 & 12    WeLearn – Yorktown High School

6/14 & 15    We R Richmond Tech Expo - Richmond High School

6/15 & 16    Empowering Students With Technology – Lawrence North High School

6/16 & 17    eLEAD Madison County – Anderson University

6/16 & 17    iPadpaloozaIN –  Noblesville High School

6/23 & 24    Digipalooza – Scottsburg Middle School

6/25 & 26    PV trAnSfoRM eLearning Conference – South Vermillion Middle School

7/8 & 9        EVSC eRevolution Teaching & Learning Conference- Evansville North H.S.

7/9              Google EdCamp – Chapel Hill 7-8th Center

7/14             Indianapolis Public Schools – Elementary Grades Special Education,

7/14 & 15    We R Richmond eLearning Expo – Richmond High School

7/14 & 15   AlicElearning Blended Learning in the eWonderland – Clark Middle School, Vincennes

7/16            Indianapolis Public Schools – Upper Grades Special Education

7/21            IntegratED – East Noble High School

7/27 & 28    e3 Tech Conference – Warsaw Community High School

7/24           Clark County Connected Conference – Jefferson High School

What are we talking about?

Good AEM Makes A Difference

Sifting Through eReader Apps

iPads and UDL


Top Ten Ways to Access the iPad

iPad Accessibility for All

Avatars in the Classroom

UDL – Unpacked and Simplified, Chromebook

Chrome Web Store and Accessibility

Would you like to see one of these trainings at your school?  Please contact any of us and we’ll make it happen!


Save the Date! (and make a few of your own)

Sweet Summertime!  As you get ready to send the students and start refreshing yourself, please take a moment to put these dates on your calendar for next year.

PATINS Project GEAR Up Logo. PATINS P over a starfish with a checkered racing flag.

 Gear up for our State Conference!

State and National Presenters focusing on:                   Accessible & Engaging Learning by Design

November 4 – 5, 2015

Crowne Plaza at Historic Union Station Downtown Indianapolis Indiana

Registration Form


When:  Thursday, April 14, 2016

Where:  502 East Event Centre                                                                                               502 E. Carmel Drive                                                                                                   Carmel, IN  46032


Next week I will be posting all of the places you can find the PATINS Coordinators and State Project Director, Daniel McNulty for summer training.  We are always available for trainings at no charge to you.  If you don’t see something you want to attend, call or email us and we will work out something more personal and relevant to your needs.

Cartoon Sunshine wearing sunglasses and gloves on his hands.

“Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.” – Bill Nye

When I sit down to write this blog I go back through a folder of ideas, surf popular sites and look through my email.  Yesterday, NE Coordinator Julie Kuhn sent us all an article from EdSurge called, “Eyes Don’t Lie: A New Way to Use Gaze Tracking in the Classroom”  The article details the premise of two studies by Lucia Mason of the University of Padova.  In this research, eye tracking technology is used to track the reading of accomplished readers and then played back to train struggling readers.  Grad Students were used as accomplished readers and the amount of time they spent on specific phrases and concepts while reading was the information being sought.  This article brought to mind a couple of topics I would like to address as well as one of my favorite quotes, from one of my favorite guys, Bill Nye, Science Guy and CEO of the Planetary Society.

New Look +

As you may have noticed, the Rapid Fire Blog has a new look.  As of July, it will begin having some new authors.  All of the PATINS Coordinators will be taking turns writing.  It will still be published weekly, but with several different minds taking on the task of publishing information relevant to it’s readers.  Stay tuned, this is the start of something BIG!

Wait times for popular items

We never know what equipment teachers are going to want to try with students.  One of the more popular items for the PATINS Library has been eye tracking technology, or eye gaze technology.  At times these devices are waitlisted for 6 to 12 weeks.  When you find yourself at the long end of the waiting list, please take this time to connect with your Regional Coordinator.  We may be able to come up with a different solution or find a different device that will satisfy your needs.

App of the Week!

Cartoon picture of Bill Nye with red bow tie Bill Nye the Science Guy App!  – Free

This is a fun science discovery app.  As we look to summer and finding good apps that help children explore the world around them.  This one would be on my list.  Also, the original TV series videos can be found on NetFlix and in less accessible forms on YouTube.

You Can Always Be Kind

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week!

Recently I received an article in my email from the “Connected Principal’s Blog”  The post discusses the power of positive language.   One line struck me as remarkably powerful.  He asks, “Are you giving the compliments to the people who positively impact you as a person?”.  This made me think about who my compliments were going to and who they were coming from.  I firmly believe that teachers should be shown appreciation every day and every week, but an occasion like Teacher Appreciation Week/Day helps us to focus on some of the people we may not think to thank.  With that said, some of my most treasured compliments have come from my peers.  It is great when someone who does something similar to you and understands what it takes to do that acknowledges that you are doing it well.  So take some time and compliment your fellow educators this week.  I bet they will appreciate it!

Speaking of appreciating…I would like to thank all of the educators that attended the PATINS Tech Expo.  It really is nothing without you!  The next big thing for PATINS is the State Conference.  We pride ourselves on bringing some of the best presenters from around the United States (and beyond) to this conference, however, I would like to see some of our own outstanding educators show off their skills.  I have been in many schools and classrooms around the state and know that we are doing great things.  How about sharing some of your expertise with your peers?  The call for presentations for the PATINS State Conference is up on the website: so:


2015 PATINS State Conference!
State and National Presenters

Accessible & Engaging Learning by Design

November 4 – 5, 2015
Crowne Plaza at Historic Union Station
Downtown Indianapolis, Indiana
Registration Open!

Call for Proposals – Local Presenters 

Call for Proposals – National Presenters

PATINS Project GEAR Up Logo. PATINS P over a starfish with a checkered racing flag.

Transition Time

screenshot from Transition video.  Shows a hand drawing the characters from the clip


New Transition Video

Today in my email I received a link to the video, “Working with Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation Services” from, The Center on Living and Careers.  They have released this video to help teachers, students, families and any other potential VR consumers be aware of and better understand its services.  The post describes the video as, “Developed by the Center on Community Living and Careers (CCLC) and Draw4, an animation/illustration company, this 4 ½ minutes video demonstrates the VR process, discusses eligibility criteria, and explains how VR can help people with disabilities who want to gain skills, find a job after high school or college, start a new career, or even help get a new job if they’ve lost one because of their disability.”  This is a great tool for all of those students and their parents, getting ready for the big transition.  Follow this link to view the video.  Unlike other great videos, (Simply Said: Introducing Vocational Rehabilitation Services) This video is all about Indiana’s services and contains the appropriate links to services Indiana families can use.   


Have you ever tried LiveBinders? Here is a Google search that will give you several great resources to investigate.  LiveBinders are described as, “your 3-ring binder for the web”.  It is an app dedicated to organizing the internet for you.  Similar to Pinterest, it gives you even greater ability to curate your links.  Here is one that was created to curate “Apps for Career Education”.

App of the Week!

You know you love it!  You want to use it.  But it is soooo snarky!  Let Me Google That For You is not just for sarcasm.  It is a good way to easily send a search that retrieved more than one great site.  Sometimes you just have to show off your impressive Google search skills!  Just be sure the person that is receiving the link can handle the little sarcastic jab at the end.

Screenshot 2015-04-28 09.41.45

Last Chance for Tech Expo

The last call for registration for the PATINS Tech Expo is April 16th!  Are you going to be there? Do you need some good reasons?

Attending the PATINS Tech Expo is the most efficient use of your research time.  You can search the internet and read for days, or in the period of one day, see it all!

We have done all that we can to make the Expo:

1.  Low Cost –  It’s free!

2.  Comfortable – Lunch provided!

3.  Informative – More than 20 sessions backed by a full vendor hall AND a 15 minute address by the Indiana State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz.

4.  Different – Now at Wyndham Indianapolis West – 2544 Executive            Drive, Indianapolis, IN  46241

5.  Exciting – Door Prizes.  Need I say more?

All of us at PATINS are excited to see you.  When we open the doors at 9:00 am to the 2015 Tech Expo on Thursday, April 23, we will be inviting you in to an assistive technology learning experience that is geared specifically to help you serve Indiana’s students.

Follow this link to register!

 Jeff Bond and Glenda Thompson on the set of PATINS TV discussing the upcoming Tech Expo
For more information on what to expect at the Tech Expo, please tune in to the following PATINS TV Episode!

Android Apps now Run on Chrome – Well, some do.

A few months ago, while helping some teachers learn how to better use their SMART Boards, I ran into a small problem.  One teacher had an Android app called “Sound Meter” that he wanted to use with his students.  He wanted to measure the sound and let them watch the data.  He was using it for classroom management purposes, but instead of bouncing balls he preferred real life application of measuring sound in decibels that is utilized by Sound Meter (Who wouldnt!).

Sound Meter Android app - decibel reading of current noise level with listing below of common decibel levels.     Sound Meter with current decibel reading and graph of previous levels

Today I saw an article on a developer app for Chrome that would finally allow Chrome OS users to access Android apps on their computer.  The article from PC World Magazine does a great job of explaining how to use ARC Welder and then how to download the Android Apps as APK files in order to run run your favorite Android app.  The only problem I had was that Sound Meter was not one of the apps available to download as an APK file.  Skunked again!  Oh well, that said, there are a wealth of apps that can be found.  Maybe yours is out there.  For now, I’ll just keep waiting.

CAST Professional Learning Get Paid for Taking a UDL Course This Summer!

We are looking for high school science teachers to participate in and provide feedback for our new pilot online science courses. These three courses are designed to equip participants with the ability to evaluate, create, and recreate science lesson plans that ensure that all learners can engage with the concepts and achieve the goals within a high standards-based science curriculum.

All three courses are of no charge and participants who fully participate, complete the course, and provide the requested feedback will receive a stipend. There are limited spots available so sign up soon! To learn more about each course, click the links below.

Universal Design for Learning and High School Science: An Introduction to Implementation with Case Stories
Teaching Students to Write Like Scientists: The Universal Design for Learning Approach
Teaching Students to Think Like Scientists: The Universal Design for Learning Approach

Autism Apps Gone Free! (mostly)

Today is World Autism Awareness Day so I’m putting out a quick blog list of some of the iPad apps I’ve found that are now free or for Proloqou2Go 50% off!  I’m standing on the shoulders of so app giants like Mark Coppin, Assistive Technology Director, Anne Carlesen Center.

This for That: Visual Schedules –

This for That: Token Store –

Smart Swipe Keyboard Pro for iOS 8 (Full) –

Token Economy –

Tuck Me In –

Wordflex Touch Dictionary –

See.Touch.Learn. –

Skill Champ –

April 2nd Autism Acceptance Day ProLoquo2Go 50% discount! $109.99

From MacRumors “Apple has launched a new section of its App Store focused on apps designed specifically for autistic individuals (via 9to5Mac).

The sixteen apps on display range in variety from helping users feel comfortable in their surroundings thanks to contextual environment mapping via an iPhone or iPad’s camera to a science-based kids’ show “that works to help kids navigate the social and emotional world.”

App prices change constantly, so if there is one you really want for a student, check periodically, you may get a nice surprise!

For more information on World Autism Awareness Day and Autism in general – Autism Speaks