header image

Don’t think of a Chromebook as a computer. It is a device whose purpose when you turn it on is to find an Internet connection and run on Google’s Chrome operating system (OS). Most of Chromebook’s documents and apps exist in the cloud. The only native app is the Google Chrome Internet browser. Everything else is composed of Web apps (email, photos, documents), or apps and extensions that run while you’re connected to a network. You can still compose and read emails with Gmail and word process with Google Docs. The offline apps will automatically sync and save when your computer has an Internet connection.

The Chromebook does not have the programming or the ability to link to a program that will unlock a NIMAS file. The file will need to be unlocked preferably using a windows machine and then saved to Google Drive as an epub or a pdf.

Once the file is unlocked, and in Google Drive. Right click on the “doc icon”
You should see “open with” and an arrow pointing right. One of your choices should be Read&Write for Google by Texthelp. It is the best app that I have found for reading epub’s and pdf’s or anything else on a Chromebook.

To download the free version from the Chrome Web Store follow this link: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/readwrite-for-google/inoeonmfapjbbkmdafoankkfajkcphgd?utm_source=chrome-ntp-icon this free version will allow students to have text highlighted as it is read.

Teachers can have a full year free of the premium version. After downloading the free version, go here: http://www.texthelp.com/north-america/readwriteforgoogle/

For more information on the features of Read&Write for Google follow this link: http://www.texthelp.com/north-america/readwriteforgoogle/

Troubleshooting If you right click and do not see Read&Write for Google as an option:

• Check to see that the green and yellow flag is in the address bar. Many times after an app or extension is downloaded it is necessary to shut Chrome down and reboot in order for the extension to load for the first time.

• If the flag is there then follow the instructions in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeV0Km73I7Q to choose Read&Write for Google as one of your default options. (This video also has many good tips and is worth watching.)

under: AEMing for Achievement Grant, Chromebooks, General Info, Online Resources, Parents, Parents and Families, PC

Free Webinar

Posted by: | February 9, 2015 | No Comment |

Free Webinar – Accessible Educational Materials in 2015: The Basics for Families and Educators

Our friends at the National Center on Accessible Educational Materials have put together a free webinar entitled – Accessible Educational Materials in 2015: The Basics for Families and Educators

This webinar will be held on Tuesday February 10, 2015 from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM EST.  Registration Link


 Thoughts on having a child who is autistic.

An interesting article passed on by Jim Lambert regarding one mother’s thoughts on why her child is autistic.



Need more tips & tricks?

Every PATINS Regional Coordinator has a spot on where information, tips and tricks can be found:

Jim Lambert – Northwest PATINS:  Tip of the Week, at the bottom of his webpage

Julie Kuhn – Northeast PATINS: NE PATINS Tips ‘N Tricks Blog

Jeff Bond – Central PATINS:  Did You Know, at the bottom of his webpage

Sandy Stabenfeldt – Southwest PATINS:  Sandy’s Tip of The Week, at the bottom of her webpage

Sandi Mahl – Southeast PATINS:  Want to Lurk? Twitter Feed and “Where’s Sandi Been?” at the bottom of the webpage



under: Uncategorized

On August 28, 2014 the Indiana Department of Education received word from the United States Department of Education that Indiana had received an ESEA Flexibility Waiver from certain aspects of the federal No Child Left Behind law. This gives local schools continued flexibility in how they utilize federal funding and allows more funding decisions to be made at the local level. The waiver is organized into three principles: 1) College-and –Career Ready Standards and Assessments; 2) State-Developed Differentiated Recognition, Accountability, and Support; and 3) Supporting Effective Instruction and Leadership.  The Indiana Department of Education’s Office of Special Education has collaborated to create a webpage to provide more information for families and educators of special populations of students with respect to the waiver:http://www.doe.in.gov/standards/special-populations-students. The actual waiver may be accessed at: http://www.doe.in.gov/esea.

under: funding, General Info, IDOE, Parents, Parents and Families
My subscription to Edublogs was on the blink so I am republishing last weeks post just in case.  

Happy 2nd Semester! 

Last year I noticed that many of my blogs had a Top 10 list.  I felt left out, so I did one too!  Here is the 2nd annual list of 10 things that I learned over the winter break.  

  • I renewed my CPR certificate and found out that if you are assisting someone, they are no longer having a “heart attack” or “cardiac arrest”, we are to just call it a “heart episode”.
  1. The American Heart Association has a 100 beats per minute Spotify Play List on their website to use when doing Hands-Only CPR.  Download it to your playlists and you can have some crazy beats to help you keep time!  “Stayin’ Alive” is not on the list. :-(
  2. The “Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014 (ABLE Act of 2014)” was signed into effect by President Obama on December 19th.  This law removes a “penalty” that caused people with disabilities who saved more than $2,000 to fail to qualify or risk the loss of their Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid and other benefits.  For more information on how this law may effect your students and their families start HERE.
  3. quietube = The BEST YouTube viewing app EVER!  http://quietube.com/  clean, simple and it will give you a tinyurl too!  Quit reading and go try it.  Be sure to watch the Marmoset video in the example!
  4. For my science teaching friends – Matt Miller and his “Ditch That Textbook” blog brings you 11 class activities with sensors you didn’t know your phone had I didn’t know it had all of those!
  5. A fun and informative top 10 list from 21st Century Educational Technology and Learning both informed me and made me laugh.  Dihydrogen monoxide still makes me laugh too! Facts About Dihydrogen Monoxide, dihydrogen monoxide hoax
  6. I also learned how to create a Jeopardy style game in Google spreadsheets!  Thank you Free Technology for Teachers!
  7. HIMS has HUGE price cuts on their demo models (Braille Sense OnHand – $2000.00 off!)
  8. I can go a full day without a computer or a phone, but people check up on me when I do!
  9. There is a new student centered education-based search engine out there called InstaGrok.  Read about it here.
  10. Best Tech device – Firefly Electric Attachable Handcycle for Wheelchair!  – It is currently unavailable, but I bet it wouldn’t be hard to make!

Woman sitting in a non motorized wheelchair with a single wheel and handlebars in front.

under: apps, funding, General Info, Online Resources, Parents and Families, Samples & Examples, Uncategorized

Preparation is Key

Posted by: | December 12, 2014 | 1 Comment |

Last night while on Facebook I saw this posting…

Prepare yourself mentally for sewing.  Think about what you are going to do...  Never approach sewing with a sigh or lackadaisically.  Good results are difficult when indifference predominates.          Never try to sew with t a sink full of dirty dishes or beds unmade.  When there are urgent housekeeping chores, do these first so your mind is free to enjoy your sewing.  When you sew, make yourself as attractive as possible.  Put on a clean dress.  Keep a little bag full of french chalk near your sewing machine to dust your fingers at intervals.  Have your hair in order, powder and lipstick put on.  If you are constantly fearful that a visitor will drop in or your husband will come home, and you will not look neatly put together, you will not enjoy your sewing.

At first, I laughed and figured the lack of lipstick and powder were the reason I had never been able to sew.  Then I thought about the message behind the words.  Sometimes you have to be in the right state of mind in order to accomplish your goal.  Put an activity you have been trying to accomplish into the first paragraph and it becomes profound.

What is AEM?

If you are following us on Facebook you have heard about our 8 “AEMing for Achievement Grant” school districts.  But what is this AEM?  AIM, Accessible Instructional Materials, has become AEM, Accessible Educational Materials.  Same pronunciation, just a bit of clarification.  Our 8 grant awardees and their coordinators are:  Carmel Clay Schools (Sandi, Julie), Frankfort Community Schools (Jim, Sandy), Goodwill Excel Center (Jeff, Sandi), Goshen Community Schools (Julie, Jim), Lawrence Township Schools (Jeff, Sandy), Logansport Community Schools, (Julie, Jim), Perry Township Schools (Sandy, Jeff), and Switzerland County School Corporation (Sandi, Sandy).  For more information on AEM and the National Center on Accessible Educational Materials follow this link, http://myemail.constantcontact.com/The-AIM-Center-is-now-the-AEM-Center-.html?soid=1102571641499&aid=kb-05alIy_w#fblike

Free interactive accessible book!

Reach for the Stars - Interactive Accessible Book, Hubble telescope view of the Tarantula Nebula displayed on an iPad

Reach for the Stars: Touch, Look, Listen, Learn is a FREE interactive, fully accessible iBook available on the iPad.  This astronomy book is geared for all 4 – 7th grade students and was specifically created for students with visual impairments.  This book showcases accessible multi-touch images with imbedded sonification (sounds).  Example:  The Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram, a scatter plot, uses pitch to help indicate the brightness relative to the sun – the pitch increases from the bottom to the top of the Y axis; the X axis uses left to right stereo sound to help demonstrate the temperature.  Sounds heard in the left speaker are hotter than sounds heard in the right speaker.

To view the Reach for the Stars promotional video, go to:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5uJVX4i1haU&feature=youtu.be

To download Reach for the Stars: Touch, Look, Listen, Learn, (remember, this is an iBook available in the iBook store – it is not an app) go to:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/reach-for-stars-touch-look/id763516126?mt=11?

Students explore the fundamentals of astronomy, the latest scientific advances, the tools that make those advances possible, and careers in science. They’ll discover how the universe began, how different kinds of stars are born, and how those stars change over the course of their lives. And they’ll take a closer look at the Tarantula Nebula, the largest and most intense region of star formation in the Local Group of galaxies. Reach for the Stars is the perfect resource to expose all students—including those with visual impairments and other print disabilities—to critical STEM content.

Special Features
• Voice-over screen reader on iPad compatibility • Refreshable Braille display compatibility • Sonification of data visualizations • Read-aloud functionality • Captioning • Tactile overlays for interactive images available from National Braille Press


under: AEMing for Achievement Grant, General Info, Online Resources, Services, TTA Grant

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

Older Posts »