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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

Reading options on Chrome

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

There are many interesting things you can do with Google Chrome.  Specifically, there are some helpful reading apps and extensions that can be installed on any computer or Chromebook.  As a former High School Teacher, I really like TLDR – Too Long Didn’t Read.

 Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 9.35.11 PM 

The sloth theme is fun and funny and offers many different levels of summaries for students to choose from.  

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 9.46.44 PM

Even better, the summaries are digital and can be read by Read & Write for Google and other Chrome Apps/Extenstions.


HKNC’s Summer Program for Transition Age Students

ANNOUNCING – exciting summer program for youth, 16 years or older, who are

Two Week Young Adult Summer Program – July 28 – August 7, 2014.

The program is at HKNC in Sands Point, NY.

For an application, contact: [email protected]>
Helen Keller National Center
485 Avenue of the Cities, Suite 5
East Moline, IL 61244
309-755-0018 (Voice/TTY)
309-716-3657 (VP/VRS)
309-755-0025 (Fax)

under: Uncategorized

tanstaafl = there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch

Most people have heard that phrase.  According to Wikipedia  ”The “free lunch” refers to the once-common tradition of saloons in the United States providing a ”free” lunch to patrons who had purchased at least one drink. Many foods on offer were high in salt (e.g., ham, cheese and salted crackers), so those who ate them ended up buying a lot of beer.”  Today, I am here to disprove that phrase.  At the PATINS Tech Expo you will get a FREE Lunch!  But wait...there’s more!  FREE Admission AND Parking!  Also, for those who register between now and April 16th, we will throw in a whole FREE Technology Conference complete with FREE Registration for you and as many colleagues as we can fit into the Fountains Banquet and Conference Center in Carmel, IN.  Act Now!  Registration is open!   TECH EXPO REGISTRATION LINK

Ok, seriously, here’s the information:

PATINS Tech Expo

April 17, 2014

The Fountains Banquet & Conference Center
502 East Carmel Drive
Carmel, Indiana 46032

Registration for Tech Expo 2014 Attendees

Registration for Tech Expo Booth Space

Informational Flyer  Image below.

Tech Expo 2014 Flyer

2014 PATINS Tech Expo – Schedule at a Glance

2014 PATINS Tech Expo – Vendor Presentation Descriptions PDF

2014 PATINS Tech Expo – Vendor Presentation Descriptions EPUB

Hotels near the Venue


Act Quick! – Microsoft Disability Scholarships – Due March 15th



under: AT Conferences

I apologize for the lack of information lately.  This person who I will refer to as “February Sandi” has been in charge for approximately 24 days.  Nobody likes February Sandi.  She is totally preoccupied with griping about weather and a general lack of color in her outside world.  Apparently, she isn’t a very good blogger during that month either.  Fortunately, regular PATINS Sandi has managed to ditch her for a few minutes so that a new Rapid Fire Blog can be published!

Here are some of the interesting things that have come through my space recently!

From Marcee Wilburn  via many sources

“Register today for these upcoming training opportunities!

March 20-21, 2014 – EARLY BIRD RATE ONLY $25

Karen Blankenship, Assistant Professor at Vanderbilt University, Program for Visual Disabilities, will present Effective Instructional Continuum for the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC). This two-day session is intended for teachers of students who are blind/low vision, teachers of students who are deaf/hard of hearing, special education teachers, general education teachers, and parents. This presentation will provide background knowledge and theory of the effective instructional continuum for the ECC. In addition, participants will have hands-on application with various resources and materials.

July 17-18, 2014 – EARLY BIRD RATE ONLY $40

Ed Summers, a software engineer and accessibility specialist, and Diane Brauner, a TVI and certified O&M specialist, will present iPad Accessibility Bootcamp for Teachers of the Visually Impaired.  This two-day hands-on workshop introduces educators of the visually impaired to iPad accessibility features that help totally blind and low vision students succeed in the classroom and the 21st century knowledge economy. 

Attached are the conference brochures with registration information.  Information regarding each of these professional development opportunities can be accessed online at http://www.indstate.edu/blumberg/pass/blv-conferences.htm. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.  We look forward to seeing you at these upcoming trainings!

Marcee Wilburn
Promoting Achievement for Students with Sensory Loss (PASS)
Project Coordinator, Blumberg Center
Bayh College of Education, University Hall 009
Indiana State University
401 North 7th Street
Terre Haute, IN 47809
Office:  812.237.8115  |  Toll Free:  800.622.3035  |  Fax:  812.237.8089
Email: [email protected]   |  Web:  http://www.indstate.edu/blumberg

From Jim Lambert, NE PATINS Regional Coordinator: a link to the proposed new standards for elementary level http://www.doe.in.gov/achievement/standards/public-comment-identified-k-12-content-standards-college-and-career-readiness



App of the Week:  Via QIAT Listserve and Diane Brauner

 Math Melodies App Logo

Math Melodies is a free ACCESSIBLE math app created for all children but specifically designed for students with visual impairments. The game has fun stories, math activities and lots of motivating sounds. This is a great example of how math concepts can be reinforced on the iPad. The developers, who are Italian, are open to suggestions and are already incorporating ideas on how to modify the app to better meet the needs of students with visual impairments in the US.

This app is currently geared for 1st – 3rd grade students. The app has been funded through crowd sourcing; currently the team is crowd sourcing in order to raise the necessary funds to add 4th and 5th grade level math activities. If you have suggestions about the current app or suggestions about math activities for 4th and 5th graders, especially math activities that are challenging for students with visual impairments, please contact me or Math Melodies directly.

Do you like Math Melodies? If so, please go to the App store and give a review. Again, this will support these developers and might even encourage other developers to include accessibility features in their apps!

Please share this post and support the efforts of app developers who strive to create accessible apps!

A big thanks to EveryWare Technologies for developing Math Melodies!

[email protected]


under: AT Conferences, General Info, iPads, Online Resources, Samples & Examples
Tags: , , , ,

Participation Opportunity

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

Recently, it was pointed out to me that this post would benefit from a few clarifications, these are now included in blue.  Some lines originally posted have been deleted, not because they are inaccurate, but because their positioning within the post contributed to topical confusion. 

The following information comes from postings on The Learning Connection:

Indiana teachers and students will have an opportunity to participate in the NCSC alternate assessment item tryout this spring through pilot testing.

The registration window for the NCSC Phase 1 Pilot has been extended until February 7, 2014. 

The items will be presented to students online through the NCSC comprehensive assessment system, and test examiners will work one-on-one with students to administer the assessment based on individual student needs. It is important to note that the NCSC AA-AAS is a student-response assessment.

The NCSC pilot tests, as well as the operational assessment, are designed to be administered in approximately 11⁄2 to 2 hours. The Mathematics and English Language Arts pilot tests will occur this spring—Mathematics in March, and English Language Arts in April. Participation in the pilot testing provides a unique opportunity for both teachers and students to become familiar with alternate assessment based on college- and career-ready standards. More importantly, teachers can observe the level of student engagement and the nature of student responses during the pilot test. (Note: The number of teacher and student participants is locally determined.)

As NCSC will utilize matrix sampling during the pilot administration, each student will participate in only a portion of the pilot items, and individual student score reports will not be available. High-level, skill-based data will be shared following the pilot.

Indicating Interest:  Administrators, if any of your teachers are interested in participating in the NCSC alternate assessment pilot test this spring, please complete the survey at:


Your input is very important!

You and your students can help make this a better assessment by being a part of the pilot testing.  Only students currently taking the ISTAR test will be qualify to participate in the NCSC Phase 1 Pilot.  Students currently tested through the IMAST test would not qualify.


App of the Week!

Weather Underground App Weather Undergound app (for ipad/phone & android) FREE

With the weather the way it has been this year, we all need an accurate meteorologist in our pocket!  This is the app!  The current condition map can be modified to show fronts and weather stations.  Really beneficial for teaching weather and visualizing conditions!






under: apps, General Info, NCSC

AT for LD

Posted by: | January 27, 2014 | 2 Comments |

I think they forgot to mention us!

I read a lot of articles and blogs on the web.  The National Center for Learning Disabilities is a wonderful resource for all things LD.  This is a handy tip list of ways to help your child (or student).  I really appreciate #1, “If you’re just starting to investigate assistive technology, make sure you understand the basics—what AT can and cannot do.”  I think they should have put something about talking to your PATINS Coordinator after that!As educators we all know that we spend time teaching students how to use a textbook.  We do not expect them to know what bolded words mean, what can be found in the appendix, or even how to read the chapter.  We seem to forget that we need to teach students the ins and outs of using technology.  Not just how to use it, but when it is replacing or modifying something they have been using up to this point.  The student may just need validation that they are indeed using the device at the right time and correctly.  It is as awkward for them as it is for you.  PATINS is always ready to help you become the expert.  Here is the link to the rest of the article.


Another resource comes from Don Johnston, it is a literacy curriculum selector chart.  It is a part of the extras and support for their reading programs, but it highlights different skills and shows what materials target those skills.  Not just their products, but others as well.  Very handy!



Follow us on Twitter!  #patinsicam

Sandy = @patinsproject

Sandi = @smahlstuff

Julie = @nepatins

Jeff = @cepatins

App of the WEEK!

Screenshot 2014-01-27 09.35.26CLAPMERA  - FREE!

Clapmera allows you to take video, photo bursts, and single pictures by clapping your hands.



under: 21st Century Skills, apps, AT Conferences, General Info, Online Resources, Parents, Parents and Families, Uncategorized

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