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Sandi Mahl (with clown nose) using Read&Write for Google to read a book on Project Gutenberg.

Sandi Mahl using Read&Write for Google to read a book from Project Gutenberg with a clown nose on.

For many schools, it is time for “Put Your Nose in a Book Day”.  Everyone gets clown noses and spends some dedicated class time reading.  With assistive technology, the term reading can be viewed in many different ways. Our students read with their fingers, their ears and their eyes.  The important thing is that they are all reading with their minds as well.

Another Great App!  Free today!

My Story Book Maker AppMy Story – Book Maker for Kids

This app has so many great and easy to use tools, that I’m going to let their video show them all!


This just in!

Watch PATINS Project Director, Daniel McNulty and Data Analytics & Networking Coordinator, Kelli Suding, stick their noses in the book, Pete the Cat and his Magic Sunglasses, by Kimberly and James Dean!


Screenshot 2014-09-05 10.33.16

under: Uncategorized

A Favorite App is FREE today!

Posted by: | August 29, 2014 | No Comment |

Screen Shot 2013-05-12 at 7.16.29 PM

Just a quick head’s up!  One of the apps for iPad that I always recommend has “gone free” for at least today.  It is called Native Numbers – Complete Number Sense Mastery Curriculum - https://appsto.re/i6gm3JV 


I recommend it because of the unique way that it introduces the concept of counting and assigning symbols to groups of things.  It does not look childish, so is appropriate not only for all lower grade students, but all the way from pre-K to 12.


Enjoy the long weekend!

under: Uncategorized

Goodbye, PowerPoint!

Posted by: | August 19, 2014 | 1 Comment |

A recent article in Education Week Teacher starts with the title “Goodbye, PowerPoint” and then follows with, “How Education Conferences are Branching Out”.  It’s a good article I’ll let you read it yourself, but the title sent me in a different direction.  This summer I helped present in a two day training for technology leadership.  In it we asked the attendees to introduce themselves digitally without using PowerPoint.  They succeeded quite impressively.  We then went on to show them some of the problems that students with special needs might have when trying to see, hear or understand their information.  This was our way of helping them understand that delivering information in just one way was not going to work for everyone.  As educators, we need to be aware that as we distribute the opportunities to learn not all will be able to grab it in the same manner.  The key is to distribute the information in many different ways.  Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principals state that we need to be creating flexible learning environments that accommodate the individual learning styles of our students.  This means we need to find multiple ways to excite them about learning.  Give them multiple ways to acquire information and give them multiple ways to express what they have learned.

This brings up a favorite quote of mine:

"If you assign a project and get back 30 of the exact same thing, that's not a project, that's a recipe."  Chris Lehmann

So, while the level of comprehension may differ at the end of the day, how a student demonstrates what they have learned should reflect how they understand it.  So I say, let’s keep PowerPoint around as an option, but not make it the rule.

Website of the Week!

While researching the Chris Lehmann quote I discovered a great site (FREE) for students to demonstrate understanding by using quotes.  It is called Quozio.com and is so simple to use!  Here is one more quote courtesy of Quozio!

"The Cheese stands alone."  Farmer in the Dell

under: General Info, Online Resources, Services, Software, UDL
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Perfect is the enemy of done.

Posted by: | August 14, 2014 | 1 Comment |

Perfect is the enemy of done is a version of Voltaire’s proverb, “Perfect is the enemy of good.”  I heard this during a YouTube of Kevin Honeycutt’s Keynote at the Inclusive Learning Technologies Conference from Australia last May.  The phrase, as well as the speech made me think.  Here are some of those thoughts.

Kevin Honeycutt video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5Sck2EkxJ4

pictures showing the beamz device and how it is played

Beamz - Try it! It’s in the PATINS Library.

One of the people in “the band” on the video is playing a Beamz.  The Beamz has 4 laser beams that when broken create music.  It comes with it’s own songs or as in the Kevin Honeycutt video, it can play along with another performer.

To show some of it’s other capabilities here is a great video from Mark Coppin of the Anne Carlsen Center.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcHStXdlu5Y

This device has all sorts of great applications.  Think of the fun and exploring that can happen while students learn to reach and block the the beams to make music or just fun noises!

Do you have time for perfect?  When we try new things sometimes we put it off because we worry about how it will go.  What if…  but…  this isn’t the way I… Throw these worries away and get to the fun of trying something new and getting results!  Good results, bad results whatever! All of us at PATINS are waiting to help you make that jump.   Just enjoy the ride!

Have fun!

 App of the Week

Disco Zoo Icon Disco Zoo

Free for iDevices and Android – “Travel to regions around the world and collect everything from pigs to dinosaurs for your Disco Zoo. Discover hidden animals through casual puzzle play. Manage and expand your zoo to maximize earnings. Throw funky disco parties to get your animals and visitors groovin’!”  This is a fun app that works on counting and memory.  Each animal is captured by remembering the pattern they have in a hidden grid.  Ok, I admit that there are a lot of apps that are more educational to do those things, but most importantly this app is fun.  It also reminds us that everyone can benefit from a little disco break!   Shake Your Groove Thing!

under: Uncategorized

Happy New Year!

Posted by: | July 29, 2014 | No Comment |

Happy New Year - with confetti

Here they come!

It’s that time of year again.  You’re excited, admit it.  All those new faces, familiar faces, sounds and challenges.  Part of you thinks, “I could stay on vacation.” Another part (traitor) is excited to get in there.  Whether you’ve been at one of the many summer trainings going on around the state, or you’ve just been reading and thinking.   The teacher in you knows it’s time, and is ready to try those ideas out!

I don’t want to overwhelm you, but… here’s a couple more.  :-)

Let someone else be the bad guy!

The beginning of the year means going over the rules and other necessary, but BORING tasks.  It needs to be done, but maybe you can share the load.  I am a big fan of using avatars to do tasks like this.  My favorite is Voki www.voki.com   I would set up a Voki avatar to tell my students what their bell-ringer activity was.  That way I was free to greet them and be friendly.  As a secondary teacher at the beginning of the year, I would have to repeat my classroom procedures for six different classes.  I made it more interesting by having a diferent Voki avatar read each rule and then I would explain it.

There are several different sites that will allow you to set up a speaking avatar like Voki.  When you have a website, program or application that you like, but would like it to do something just a bit differently, the website “moreofit.com” www.moreofit.com  is the place to search.  Here, from moreofit.com is a link to 500 other popular sites like Voki. http://www.moreofit.com/similar-to/www.voki.com/Top_10_Sites_Like_Voki/

It’s what we do!

Even though it’s a new school year, some things don’t change.  If you are stuck and need a new idea, the PATINS Coordinators are ready to help!  We are all excited and geared up to have a great 2014-15 with you!  

 App of the Week!

Forest Fighter! App graphic with a cartoon plane flying over a forest fire


From the Zyrobotics News Feed:  Forest Fighter!  Has been nominated for a 2014 Summer Award for Best App for Children and Toddlers.  For more information, http://www.bestmobileappawards.com/app-submission/forest-fighter


under: apps, Samples & Examples, Services

under: Uncategorized

Time is Running Out!

Posted by: | May 15, 2014 | 1 Comment |

Time is Running Out!

This seems to be the theme of this time of year.  As we head toward those last exciting/important/jam packed days of the 2013-14 school year, it is an intricate dance to get all of the end of year celebrations integrated with the end of year academia.  The last thing I want to do is add to your stress level, so I will try to balance this post between you’re running out of time and maybe this will help.

Last Call for Conference Proposals 

PATINS is presently accepting proposals until May 20th for its 2014 Conference on November 18-19, 2014.  This conference will be held at Crowne Plaza at Historic Union Station, Downtown Indianapolis Indiana.  This year’s theme is “Accessible Learning in Indiana: Materials, Modes & Measurement”.  As in the past, presenter’s registration fees will be waived.  Please use either the qr code below or this link to submit your presentation.

QR Code

I spend a lot of time in schools and I can say that I have learned as many things from other educators as they have learned from me.  Come on teachers, tech specialists, administrators step up to the plate and show us what you’ve got!  Feel like you have half a presentation and need a co-presenter?  Send me an email ([email protected]) and I’ll see what I can do.

How about 12 more months?

Read&Write for Google Logo

Here’s what we Know – Read&Write for Google is a powerful Text to Speech Chrome Extension for web pages and Google docs that will convert text to speech, change the voice, change the speed and translate to many languages for FREE.  We also know that when you first download it on the Chrome Store, you get 30 days free of the Premium Matrix which includes: word prediction, talking dictionary, picture dictionary, fact finder, study skills highlighters, highlight collector and vocabulary builder.

What we Want to Know is how can we find the time to try out this extension to find out if it is really as great as everyone says it is.

What we (are about to) Learn is that TextHelp Read & Write for Google just became free for teachers! Here’s the link to register: http://rw.texthelp.com/drive/Support/Home   If you already have a trial or have an expired trial of Read&Write for Google, your trial will automatically be converted to a 12 month premium subscription.  How’s that for easing up the time burden?


under: Uncategorized

Spring Has Sprung!

Posted by: | May 6, 2014 | No Comment |

End of the Year Info

Library closing dates:

Many of the schools in Indiana either have been or will be spending a bit of extra time in the classroom this spring, but nevertheless, the 2013-14 school year is coming to an end.  Each PATINS region will be closing it’s lending library at a different date.  We ask that you please have all materials returned at that time.

Here is a quick run down of those dates for your convenience:

  • NW PATINS: 5/23/2014
  • NE PATINS:  5/16/2014
  • CE PATINS:  5/22/2014
  • SE PATINS:  5/28/2014
  • SW PATINS: 5/9/2014

Watch the webpages for the re-opening dates!

We’re still working!

Many of the PATINS coordinators will be speaking at the “Summer of eLearning” conferences around the state.  Here is a link to the map  http://www.doe.in.gov/elearning/2014-summer-elearning-map  and to the website http://www.doe.in.gov/elearning/2014-summer-elearning  Hope to see you there!


FREE Right Now! – Normally $49.99

Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read Classroom Edition!

Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read Classroom icon -




under: Uncategorized

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
Tags: ,

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

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