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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.

under: 21st Century Skills, General Info, iPads, Online Resources, Parents and Families, Samples & Examples, Services, Uncategorized

You Can Always Be Kind

Posted by: | May 6, 2015 | No Comment |

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:  www.patinsproject.com so:

GEAR Up!

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.

under: Uncategorized

Transition Time

Posted by: | April 28, 2015 | No Comment |

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.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fS9Hvf7Fglo  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.   

LiveBinders

Have you ever tried LiveBinders? Here is a Google search that will give you several great resources to investigate. http://lmgtfy.com/?q=Livebinders  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”. http://www.livebinders.com/play/play?id=481808

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

under: 21st Century Skills, apps, General Info, Online Resources, Parents, Parents and Families, Samples & Examples, Services, Transition

Last Chance for Tech Expo

Posted by: | April 14, 2015 | No Comment |

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!
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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

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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 – https://appsto.re/i6Lx7Td

This for That: Token Store – https://appsto.re/i6Lx2PT

Smart Swipe Keyboard Pro for iOS 8 (Full) – https://appsto.re/i6LF2m2

Token Economy – https://appsto.re/i6LF2mK

Tuck Me In – https://appsto.re/i6Lx2Px

Wordflex Touch Dictionary – https://appsto.re/i6Lx7TP

See.Touch.Learn. – https://appsto.re/i6Lx7Tp

Skill Champ – https://appsto.re/i6LF2cF

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

under: Uncategorized

Robots! Super High Tech AT!

Posted by: | March 30, 2015 | No Comment |

Robots have been in the Assistive Tech news a lot recently.

Disney's Baymax, all white, fat, with long arms, short stubby legs and a small round head standing beside a soccer ball.As all caregivers know, the physical aspect of caregiving can be one of the greatest determiners of placement.  In this first video there is a robot bear who lifts patients from bed to wheelchair.   This guy reminds me of Baymax from Disney’s, “Big Hero Six”.

 

Picture of Robert Downey Jr. as IronmanGet ready to smile!  In this clip Robert Downey Jr. gives us a few pointers on producing robotic arms as he helps deliver a new 3d printed arm.    Zyrobotics brought this story to my attention.

Speaking of 3D printing. This new, faster method of 3d printing was inspired by the Terminator!  Not the Arnold Schwarzenegger one, but the liquid guy.  This article shows the unbelievable footage of this process!

Finally

Nao Robot from Westminster Technologies

Meet Ophi in this newly released video!  He is the robotic helper at PATINS.  Want to see more of what the Nao (pronounced now) robot can do?  Westminster Technologies will again be in the vendor area at the 2015 PATINS Tech Expo.  They will be bringing one of Ophi’s friends to show their stuff! Who knows, Ophi himself may even make an appearance!

 

April 23, 2015,                PATINS Tech Expo

                                  Wyndham Indianapolis West

                                            2544 Executive Drive

                                         Indianapolis, IN  46241

FREE Attendee Registration is now open.

 App of the Week!

AutoRap by Smule- Free

White Hand holding a Microphone on a background of red and black.This app records what you say and turns it into a rap song.  Great for working on reading and speech fluency! Unfortunately there are some parts where appropriate language is an issue.  Use of this app will require adult supervision.

Yo! I made a rap song in AutoRap by Smule, and it’s awesome.

Listen to it here!

under: Uncategorized

Monday I noticed there was something new in my address bar.  You know, that white box where you type the URL into.  I usually have a couple of Chrome extension shortcuts up there including the green, yellow and white flag for Read&Write for Google from Texthelp.  Now that’s missing and there is a purple puzzle piece with rw on it.

purple puzzle piece with letters r w inside

Using my deductive reasoning skills (and by clicking on it) I discovered that this is the new icon for Read&Write for Google.  Texthelp’s product line has been increasing rapidly while many old friends like Read&Write have been receiving updates!

List of TextHelp products.  Read&Write, Fluency Tutor for Google, BrowseAloud, Lexiflow, SpeechStream

Not only does Read & Write have a new logo, they have had the dictionary and word prediction functions updated!  Users should see increased accuracy across these two functions. Read&Write is also available on iPads and Android Tablets!   Fluency Tutor just debuted in January.  Already some great updates are in the works for the premium features.  Texthelp’s newest product Teach for Google comes from a couple of speakers you may have seen at the PATINS State Conference.  Jason Carroll and Jason Gibson started thinking about how often teachers learn a new skill, only to loose it while trying to find strategies that it can enhance.   To help teachers get the most out of Google Apps for Education they felt they needed to do more than just write lesson plans that utilize the Apps.  The feeling was that this was too narrow a focus.  Instead, they have created courses that utilize standards based, best practices as the vehicle to deliver training on how and when to use Google Apps for Education.  Follow this link to learn more.

App of the Week

SnapType Logo, Link to descriptionFree!

SnapType promises to be able to provide easy to use, worksheet filling/ annotation. Quite a bit.  SnapType app provides tools to take a picture , create text boxes and type. Let me know if you have used this and like it.  There are many teachers out there waiting to discover this!

I hope you have enjoyed, or are still enjoying Spring Break!   Don’t forget to register for the PATINS Tech Expo on April 23rd at the:

Wyndham Indianapolis West

2544 Executive Drive

Indianapolis, IN  46241

9:00 a.m. EST – 3:30 p.m. EST

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UEB for you and me!

Posted by: | March 17, 2015 | No Comment |

Unified English Braille – UEB

In November of 2012 the Braille Authority of North America (BANA) decided to adopt the language English Braille to replace the current English Braille American Edition in the United States.  In November of 2013 BANA affirmed January 4, 2016, as the date by which the United States will implement the general use of Unified English Braille (UEB).  With that deadline swiftly approaching, this topic will be one of the concentrations of this year’s Tech Expo!  Scheduled is a ninety minute session with a panel of VI vendors to share their expertise and product capabilities.  It will be moderated by PATINS State Director, Daniel McNulty.  Follow this link to the session descriptions for more information on all of the great presentations at Expo on April 23rd from 9:00 am EST to 3:30 pm EST, at the Wyndham Indianapolis West, 2544 Executive Drive, Indianapolis, IN  46241

iPads, Macs and UEB

UEB is one of the many choices for braille tables installed in OS X and iOS. It’s just a matter of choosing it vs. other options such as US English or UK English.

To find it on a Mac, go to VoiceOver Utility > Braille > Layout and choose “English (Unified)” as your Braille Translation language.

To find it on an iOS device, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > VoiceOver > Braille > Braille Translation and set this to “English (Unified)”

The people at Apple tell us that they support approximately 30 international braille tables on their devices and UEB is one they’ve had for a while.

Be My Eyes  –  Free

Be My Eyes icon

Be My Eyes is an app that connects blind people with volunteer helpers from around the world via live video chat.  Through the app a person requests assistance.  The helpers with the app receive a notification that someone needs them and a video link is established.  They can then see and describe what the person requesting assistance is pointing the video camera towards on the phone.

 

under: AT Conferences, Hardware, iPads, Mac, Online Resources, Tech Expo, UEB

Think Spring & Summer!

Posted by: | March 4, 2015 | No Comment |

It’s coming, I promise!  

Single Crocus growing in snow

A sure indicator of Spring!

It’s time to register for the 2015 PATINS Tech Expo!

SAVE THE DATE : April 23, 2015

NEW ADDRESS

Wyndham Indianapolis West

2544 Executive Drive

Indianapolis, IN 46241

As in the past…

  • No Registration Fee!
  • Complimentary Lunch
  • Free Parking
  • Vendor Presentations
  • Vendor Exhibit Hall
  • Door Prizes
  • Networking with Colleagues from around the State

FREE Attendee Registration is now open.

Summer Camps

I opened up my email this morning and read the Indiana Resource Center for Autism’s, IRCA Reporter E-Newsletter.  In it they share a list of “Summer 2015 Camps and Programs”.  Who doesn’t need to think about summer right about now?  You remember summer, right?  So here is a link to help get you into a happier state of mind!

I have high hopes!

I am a big fan of taking mainstream media (Movies) and using them to help engage students.  Pixar Studios has one coming out June 19th that I have high hopes for.  It is called Inside Out.  I have linked a couple of trailers!  Enjoy!

Inside Out: US Teaser Trailer                         Inside Out Official Puppy Bowl TV Spot

 

Inside Out - Emotion Poster

under: AT Conferences, General Info, Online Resources, Tech Expo
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