header image

I Love You Guys!

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

To anyone who knows me it is no secret that I love what I am doing. Everyday I get to spend my time interacting with educators who are excited about finding a way to help students access the material they are required to learn.  The best times are when we are all together at a conference or a presentation.  The vast knowledge base, curiosity and willingness to learn that permeates these gatherings is a positive force for good!  The atmosphere is filled with laughter one minute and thoughtful silence the next as participants and presenters come together to share options and create possibilities.  The 2014 PATINS State Conference is next week, November 18 & 19.  The speakers are set and they are an impressive group.  The venue is wired and ready.  Plenty of bandwidth for the internet is in place.  Are you coming?  Registration is now closed, but if you would like to attend, please contact Glenda Thompson, PATINS Project Coordinator – [email protected] or (317) 333-7278.  Tell her Sandi sent you.  I would hate for you to miss this.

App of the Week!

TinyTap app Logo.  Light blue with the words Tiny Tap insideFREE! https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tinytap-make-play-educational/id493868874?mt=8  “Be a maker! Teach and learn by making personalized learning apps and playing others created daily by superstar educators, experts, and publishers worldwide!”


under: Uncategorized

LDA of Indiana

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

40th Annual LD & ADHD Conference

Road to Success

This year I will again be speaking at the LDA of Indiana Conference.  It will be held on November 7th, 2014 at the Ritz Charles Conference Center in Carmel Indiana.

I will be presenting 3 breakout sessions:

  1. Chrome Apps and Extensions to Increase Reading Accessibility and Comprehension
  2. iPad Tips, Tricks and Apps Everyone Should Know
  3. Assistive Technology as a Response to Intervention (RTI)

Last year was my first time to attend this conference and I was impressed with the variety of sessions presented.  I was also concerned by the people I didn’t see.  Every classroom has students that can benefit from the sessions presented at this conference.  To register:  www.ldaofindiana.net

PATINS Project State Conference

On that same note…

Are you looking to make a big impact on someone by sending them to the PATINS State Conference (in 15 days!)?  Send a general education teacher with your group!  All general educators have students with IEP’s in their rooms.  PATINS can help them too.  With funds and staff stretched among so many students, the general educators are often the front line in facilitating these student’s needs.  I speak with many general educators when visiting schools, they are excited and thrilled to find there is a group that they can utilize to help them with their students.  Empower these educators by sending them with your special educators to the PATINS State Conference. To Register:  http://bit.ly/stateconf14


Tech Tip!

New on the SE PATINS webpage!

Do you want to know how to use Guided Access and the Timer function on your iPad?  Follow this link to the SE PATINS web page and under important links there is a link to video tutorials that will show you step by step how to set this function up for your IOS 7 or IOS 8 iPad!  Enjoy!


under: Uncategorized

Transition Event

Posted by: | October 31, 2014 | No Comment |

Hello from the 2014 Transition Event!

Today I am using this post as a demonstration some of the tools that I use when writing formally.  My guests are Southern Indiana High School students.  I am talking about “Assistive Technology in Friendly and Formal Communication”.  I will be speaking about many different ways to make creating this communication easier.  One of the ones that I am showing is the website http://www.hemingwayapp.com/  this site is not browser specific (is not a Chrome app).  Text is copied and pasted over the text on the page and is then analyzed for sentence difficulty, number of adverbs, words or phrases that can be simpler and uses of passive voice.  This is something that I send this blog through prior to publishing.

Did you know that Martha Hammond also writes a blog for PATINS?  I would like to send you there – via link to see what she has written about the big things going on at PATINS.  Her blog is the ICAM Dispatch and is a great companion read to the Rapid Fire Blog!  Enjoy!

ICAM Dispatch Link

Just in case you don’t follow the link, remember…

  • Deadline to apply for the AEMing for Achievement Grant is November 7th! https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/aem20142015
  • 2014 PATINS State Conference - “Accessible Learning in Indiana: Materials, Modes, and Measurement” November 18 & 19 Registration Link: http://bit.ly/stateconf14
  • Name our new PATINS robot! Message us via FB or email [email protected] with your name suggestion.

Picture of NAO Robot

under: apps, General Info, Online Resources, PC, Software, TTA Grant, Uncategorized, Web 3.0 Tools

BIG News!

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


Targeted Technical Assistance Grant Becomes…

AEMing for Achievement Grant!

Are you looking for:

1. Intensive, but friendly, and direct assistance bringing your district into full compliance with Accessible Instructional Materials implementation and data collection for the purpose of increasing student achievement.

2. Dedicated PATINS-ICAM Staff meeting your district, both in-person & online, as frequently as you need, for the rest of this grant cycle (school year).

3. Free Access to the Universal Protocol for Accommodations in Reading (uPAR) for your district’s buildings & direct training on using it! Read more about uPAR here: http://donjohnston.com/upar/#.VEEpVBZIUeQ

4. Focused assistance to students identified as benefiting from reading accommodations in 2 primary ways. First, in ensuring your district is in compliance with the 7 Quality Indicators for providing Accessible Instructional Materials and second in assisting your staff in the collection and analysis of data to guide accommodations and to demonstrate growth.

If so, you are AEMing for Achievement for your students and we can help!

LEA’s are encouraged to follow this link:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/aem20142015  and apply for this grant.  Please hurry, the application deadline is November 7, 2014.  

2014 – PATINS State Conference News

28 More Days! – Spots are filling up!

Hurry and register for this year’s conference: “Accessible Learning in Indiana: Materials, Modes, and Measurement”.  Time is flying and the number of registrants is growing!  We are looking at another great year with lots of attendants and extraordinary speakers.

Please follow this link to register:  http://bit.ly/stateconf14  

PATINS Project State Conference Flyer.  Question:  Where can you find all these national presenters and others sharing their expertise???  Answer:   2014 PATINS State Conference.  November 18 & 19, Crowne Plaza at Historic Union Station, Downtown Indianapolis.   Registration Info http://bit.ly/stateconf14  Pictures around the written description from top to bottom on the left:  Dan Herlihy, Mike Marotta, Kirk Behnke, Beth Poss, Chris Bugej, Joy Zabala, Scott Marfilius.  From Top to bottom on the right:  Jason Gibson, Josh Blue, Kelly Fonner, Mystie Rail, Jason Carroll, Therese Willkomm and Loui Lord Nelson.


App of the Week! – Reflex Student, by Explore Learning

Screenshot 2014-10-20 14.39.19This FREE app uses games to help students learn math facts.

under: Uncategorized

UEB Ready?

Posted by: | October 9, 2014 | No Comment |

Today, PATINS, Project Coordinator Glenda Thompson is my guest writer for the blog!



Presenters:  IERC Staff, PASS Project Staff, & PATINS staff

Trainings will take place in November at each of the PATINS regional sites. The training schedule is below:

November 5, 2014 – Northeast*
November 6, 2014 – Northwest
November 12, 2014 – Southwest
November 13, 2014 – Southeast
November 14, 2014 – Central

An additional training, available to ISBVI staff only, will be offered at ISBVI on October 30.

Check-In 8:30 AM (Eastern Time)
Training: 9:00AM – 3:30 PM 

UEB Ready? Introduction to Unified English Braille will be both informational and experiential. A comparison of English Braille American Edition (EBAE) and UEB will be provided. Teachers and staff will participate in a variety of exercises specific to UEB. This introduction is intended to educate and prepare teachers of students who are blind/low vision and paraprofessionals in order to facilitate a smooth transition to the new code.

For more details and registration information, download the flier.


Please submit all registration forms for UEB Ready? Introductions to Unified English Braille to the PASS Project using one of methods below:

*Please note the change in location for the Northeast Regional Training on November 5, 2014. Rather than the Northeast PATINS Regional Site, the training will take place at Heartland Career Center, 79 South County Road 200 West, Wabash, IN 46992. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Bonnie Bunch.

For more information on UEB here is a 15 minute interview from PATINS TV.

Picture of PATINS Central Regional Coordinator, Jeff Bond on the PATINS TV set.Are you UEB Ready?
Join Host Jeff as he welcomes Leslie Durst, Indiana Educational Resource Center (IERC) and Marcee Wilburn, Promoting Achievement for Students with Sensory Loss (PASS).  They will introduce Unified English Braille and explain an upcoming transition from American Edition Braille to UEB.

under: AT Conferences, General Info, Services

Inspiration and Alt Tags

Posted by: | October 2, 2014 | No Comment |

Sometimes I need to search for ideas.  Either for blog posts or for a specific educator request.  Regardless, I have a few places that never let me down.  Pinterest is one of those.  It allows me to search for what the world is posting on my topic.  When I searched Assistive Technology today, this was the first pin I saw.  They call it a Party Ring Mouse.

Picture of a child's adjustable ring glued onto a computer mouse It was re-pinned by SOS Inc. Resources.  When I clicked on the picture it took me to the original pinner’s site http://www.theoatc.org/resources/PartyRngMouse.asp  posted by the Oklahoma Assistive Technology Center.  If you have ever visited Pinterest, you know that you can spend hours just looking at pins of things you are interested in and following them to their resources.  The biggest problem with Pinterest is that it’s content is not accessible to people who are blind.  If you were to use a screen reader on this blog page, when you got to the actual picture you would hear a description of the picture.  ”Picture of a child’s adjustable ring glued onto a computer mouse.”  That is something that I have to embed into the picture.  It is called an “alt tag”.  It sounds hard, but it isn’t.  Unfortunately, this is not available for Pinterest unless the original image is tagged.  Then the tag will move with the picture, I’m told.  For more information on Pinterest and accessibility try this post http://drumbeatconsulting.com/blog/2012/01/30/would-the-blind-be-pinterested-the-disability-markets-perspective/  Also, if you’re interested in learning a bit more about alt tags,  http://ohksocial.com/alt-tags-image-titles-file-names/ 


The Party Ring Mouse is fairly low tech.  For high tech, check this out this design concept of a device that will translate sign language into speech and speech into text.  http://www.red-dot.sg/en/online-exhibition/concept/?code=1033&y=2013&c=16&a=0  They really need to busy and make this!

Some things to be aware of:

October is Learning Disabilities Awareness MonthFollow this link to the “31 Days of LD Calendar” presented by the Learning Disabilities Association of America The calendar features links to free live and archived webinars, as well as links to apps, videos and other information.

Kelli is on PTV! – Tuesday, October 7th, the newest PATINS Coordinator, Kelli Suding will be joining Jeff Bond at 11:40 am EST to discuss social media options and how PATINS is involved.

Head to the Homepage! – Drop by the PATINS homepage www.patinsproject.com to check out the “Top 10 Reasons to Attend the 2014 PATINS Conference”

PATINS has a Pinterest Page – Search “patinsproject”


under: 21st Century Skills, AT Conferences, General Info, Online Resources
Tags: ,

For the last year I have been teaching educators how to use the Guided Access feature + Timer on the iPad.  Guided access is a wonderful tool for keeping students in the app you would like them to use.  As an added help, the timer feature, located in the clock app on all iPads/phones, will allow the user to place a time limit on the usage of the device.  Together you have an iPad that is locked into an appropriate app for the student and will turn off and be locked when their time is up!  With iOS 8 these functions have been combined into Guided Access.  Now when you triple click the home button to begin Guided Access on the bottom right-hand side of the screen you will see “Time Limit” and “Options”.  Pressing the Options button under Time Limit allows you to set the amount of time you wish the user to be working in that app.  So far, this is my favorite update!

under: apps, General Info, iPads, Uncategorized

What is Going On?

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

Busy Times! - Some quick updates on what is happening at PATINS.


Have you been watching?  Recently Jeff Bond has Spoken with Leslie Durst about the pathway to becoming UEB ready (episode 45).  Just Tuesday, Jeff interviewed Dan Parvu with Teach Town (episode 46).  On October 7th Jeff will be back with some more technology tips and how to’s.  But mark your calendars, live on October 21, 2014 at 11:45 am EST, Jeff along with Zach Bender from Don Johnston will introduce:

Co:Writer Universal!

Whether on iPad, iPhone, Chromebook, or desktop computer, your students now have unlimited access to their favorite writing tool!  Co:Writer Universal covers all of your most-used technology platforms providing students with anywhere, anytime access!

Celebrate with Host Jeff and Guest Zach Bender from Don Johnston, as we unveil Co:Writer Universal and learn how it revolutionizes implementation while also creating a BIG shift in the way that we document and celebrate student writing achievement!

2014 PATINS State Conference“Accessible Learning in Indiana: Materials, Modes, and Measurement” 

Get Registered!

This year, there are 2 sessions that will require pre-registration so that we can guarantee seats.  Tuesday’s All Day Session:  AT Bootcamp with Mike Marrotta & Kirk Behnke and Wednesday’s 1/2 day hand’s on make and take Creating Access Solutions for Print Disabilities with Therese Willkomm

To Register:  http://bit.ly/stateconf14

Keynote Speaker: Josh Blue

November 18 – 19, 2014

Downtown Crowne Plaza
Indianapolis, Indiana

App of the Week! – JotNot

JotNot icon is a cartooned scanner on a blue background

 Free/Pro = $2.99

With this app you can scan, print or type onto the iPad and then open it in many other apps and write or dictate on to it.  Think worksheets, guided notes etc!  For help contact your Coordinator!

under: Uncategorized
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

Older Posts »