OK, so there’s no hidingthe fact that I’ve been a nearly-hopeless blogger this Fall 2012. But, I’m here today. I’ll do my best to be here next Friday as well. I hope that most readers/subscribers have stuck with me and in return, I’ll try hard to make up for lost posts in the coming weeks.
3rd Grade Braille Challenge Winner Video Interview: This past August, I enjoyed the distinct privilege of interviewing Drew about his accomplishments, his use of AT and AIM in school and at home, his personal drive and his inspirational attitude! There are two parts to this video interview, each approx. 25 min. in length. Not only does Drew discuss the importance of assistive technology and accessible materials in his life, but he provides some fascinating insight into some aspects of being blind that many people may not think about on their own. Drew has a passion for life that is unmistakable and a drive to succeed that is inspirational. I want to be like Drew when I grow up!
Just choose “AIM & AT in Action!” from the Channels Drop-Down Menu!
AND, while were on the topic of Video: Have you been watching the LIVE PATINSTV? Jeff Bond and I are live for 15 minutes over lunch on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of each month (less holidays). We’ve covered such topics as ePub Conversion of documents for iPad, AAC Basics, UDL, Read:OutLoud, iBooks, VoiceOver and more! We are currently in the middle of a multi-episode series on Video Modeling, Self-Modeling and Self-Operated Prompting. HOWEVER, The next episode on Dec. 18th will feature two very special guests as Jeff and I cheer from the sidelines! On Dec. 18th, two VERY SPECIAL guests will take over! Sandi, PATINS SE Coordinator and Kelli, PATINS SE Assistant:
‘Tis the season for toys! This episode will show viewers how to use assistive technology to meet the needs of their student or child by modifying every day toys. We will use low cost, no-tech to low-tech items on books and toys to allow children to find the JOYful independence that they constantly seek and deserve! Today will be a temporary break from our mini-series on modeling, VSM, etc.
ICAM Blog: Have you checked out Martha Hammond’s (ICAM Lib. Services Consultant) blog? The ICAM Dispatch typically posts on Thursday afternoons, is well written and contains great information about all things ICAM, AIM, NIMAS, etc. Check it out and subscribe to it for free, just like you do to this one.
PATINS Refurbished Computer Program: DEFINITELY, our preferred method for you to recycle your old computers. The PATINS Refurbished computer program needs your used computers to refurb and put back into Indiana schools. This has been a highly beneficial program to many Indiana students who might not have a computer to use otherwise. If you have an old computer or are thinking of upgrading, PLEASE consider donating your old equipment to us. Details on minimum requirements for donation and more info can be found here: www.patinsproject.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=34&Itemid=33
Several things are changing within the PATINS Project that I want you to be aware of in case you’re having any trouble contacting one of us during the next few weeks.
The SE PATINS Site is moving from Madison to Columbus, IN and as you may know, Tina Jones (current Site Coordinator) is retiring after 17 dedicated years of service to PATINS at the end of this month. Tina will certainly be missed by many people! There will be a new SE Coordinator and SE Assistant starting in July/Aug. The email you are probably currently using to reach the SE Site (email@example.com) will remain the same, but will go to the new SE Coordinator instead of Tina Jones, beginning July 1, 2012. Sandi Mahl will be the new SE Site Coordinator and we hope you’ll help us welcome Sandi to the PATINS Team! More on Sandi to come! The new SE Physical & Mailing Address: 1200 Central Avenue, Columbus, IN 47201
The NE PATINS Site is also moving, but just a couple miles down the road to the Wabash City Schools Admin Building. I will also be handing over the NE Site Coordinator position to the NEW NE Site Coordinator, Julie Kuhn! We’re also excited to welcome Julie to the team and more details on her will also be coming soon! Just like the SE, the NE Coordinator email will still be (firstname.lastname@example.org), but after July 1st, it will no longer come to me, but will go only to Julie! Brandon Culver will also be transitioning out of the NE Assistant position and Emily Booth will transition in. The new NE Physical & Mailing Address: 1101 Colerain St. Wabash, IN 46992. After today, please don’t send anything to the old Wabash address as it will likely not reach PATINS!
As you likely know by now, Vicki Hershman will also be retiring as the PATINS State Director after 17 years of dedicated service to PATINS and to Indiana’s K-12 schools. Vicki will also be missed considerably by many and while there really is no replacing her (or Tina in the SE), I will assume the role of PATINS Dir., beginning July 1st. My new email is: email@example.com and you may begin using it now. After July 1 though, I will no longer receive email at firstname.lastname@example.org and you must use email@example.com to reach me. The Central PATINS location and phone numbers will not change.
Finally, the PATINS UDL Blog is going to be merged with this PATINS Rapid Fire Blog. Tina has done a great job of keeping you informed with UDL related information on the UDL Blog and going forward, I plan to combine UDL, AT, AIM, Creative Ideas to Engage, Announcements, Important Information, all in this one convenient location. So, if you were subscribed to the UDL Blog, you’ll want to make sure you’re now subscribed to this one. Just enter your email address in the upper right-hand area of this page and click subscribe. That way you’ll receive just the headlines each Friday in your inbox and can then decide if you want to click them for more information.
We ask that you bear with us during this time of transition. I do not anticipate any problems or delays in PATINS services to you and your colleagues, but we will have several new staff in new positions and are losing threevery valuable current PATINS Staff. Vicki, Tina, and Brandon will all be missed greatly. I am excited and very optimistic about the new staff joining us! More details on new staff members will be coming and I hope that everyone out there will help to welcome them. I will still blog over the summer months as much as possible and my plan is to continue blogging next year in my new role as well.
Click The Image Above and submit your info for entry into a special drawing for some PATINS Goodies and a Full-Day PATINS AIM & AT Training on topic of your choice, at your school!
It’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that I’ve been posting to this blog for nearly 4.5 years! For anyone who might be fairly new to the blog, it started as a replacement for sending out emailed newsletters to my contacts in the NE part of the state. At the time, it just made a lot more sense to post that information in a blog format rather than emailed. One of the greatest advantages is that all past information in the blog is archived and searchable by month/year, by keyword, or by category! So, I thought it’d be fun and interesting for this 200th Blog Posting to look back at this day in each of the previous years and see what the buzz was all about at that time! Here we go!
February 3, 2012! For today, as a little bonus, you’re going to get a 2nd, separate, blog posting with lots of great tips including, “2/3/2012: 6 Free Ways to get Books on Your iPad, Mac OS LION Experiences & iBooks Author, Congrats Kristin from Wabash, Digital Learning Day, AIM For Young Children Reminder! “Watch for it to post later today! Also, remember that I post during all months of the year, not just February! So feel free to browse the monthly and yearly archives on the right side of this blog anytime you wish! There just might be some good OLD stuff back there!
Thanks for being a part of the blog over the last several years. Many of you have left comments (though I wish more would) and many have emailed me, met me in person at conferences, etc., and many great discussions around Assistive Technology and Accessible Instructional Materials have resulted!
Even though it’s often a lot of work, it’s been a real pleasure to do the blog each week and it’s something I almost always look forward to! I certainly hope to continue this blog for many years to come! Remember you can always leave comments, questions, suggestions, requests, here on the blog or just click the image below to give us feedback. We’re here to serve you!
A GoTalk on your iPad: New App I came across recently from Attainment that sort of turns your iPad into a GoTalk. Interesting to me because the GoTalk is one of my most favorite low-tech/static display AAC devices and the iPad is absolutely one of my favorite high-tech devices! http://attainmentcompany.com/featured/GoTalkNow/ It, however, is not free. $79.99. I do plan to eventually have it on my iPads for loan though, so feel free to request away! PATINS Lending Libraries.
Alexicom App: Speaking of AAC Apps on the iPad, this is another one I’ve recently started loaning out on my iPads and iTouches. It seems like it might be a good fit for the SLP’s who work with students on the autism spectrum (or other disabilities of course) who want to utilize real images/photos instead of symbols. It’s a FREE APP. Here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/alexicom-aac/id395122088?mt=8
Apps Running In The Background: The PATINS Central Site Coordinator, Jeff Bond, came across a very interesting article about those apps that you leave running in the background. Typically, I always tell people to go in and close them down every so often, but this article presents some information that may contradict that advice in some instances. Have a read:
Yesterday’s Webinar: I have to apologize to those who were registered for the PATINS webinar scheduled for 1/12/12 at 3:15pm EST, “Audio, Audio, Audio.”
Unfortunately, at about 2:45pm we lost all internet service in my office building. I tried everything I could to fix the situation until 3pm and then decided I would try to drive to the local McDonald’s and utilize their WiFi, but quickly found that it was also down! I sincerely apologize for that inconvenience and am rescheduling yesterday’s webinar for 3 different upcoming dates. I hope that everyone who was hoping to attend yesterday will be able to find at least one of these 3 new dates that will work with your schedule and even if you weren’t planning on attending yesterday, perhaps one of these 3 new dates will interest you! You are welcome to share these 3 new dates for this webinar with any of your colleagues you think may be interested as well. The first one is coming up quickly on this coming Monday afternoon!
NOW AVAILABLE; The FREE ePub Converter Upgrade: DRMS can now go to the ICAM Website for a FREE upgraded version 2.0 of their aDAISY to ePub Converter! This new upgrade handles many more file types and should be much more efficient at converting some of those stubborn NIMAS files we’ve had trouble with in the past. So far, we are VERY impressed with it!
People Traveling w/Disabilities: The Transportation Security Administration has launched TSA Cares, a new helpline number designed to assist travelers with disabilities and medical conditions.
Travelers may call TSA Cares toll free at 1-855-787-2227 prior to traveling with questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint. TSA Cares will serve as an additional, dedicated resource specifically for passengers with disabilities, medical conditions or other circumstances or their loved ones who want to prepare for the screening process prior to flying.
The hours of operation for the TSA Cares helpline are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. EST, excluding federal holidays. Travelers who are deaf or hard of hearing can use a relay service to contact TSA Cares or can e-mail TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov.
If you would like to make advance arrangements for screenings at airports, travelers can contact TSA using Talk To TSA <https://apps.tsa.dhs.gov/talktotsa/> , a web-based tool that allows passengers to reach out to an airport Customer Service Manager directly, and the TSA Contact Center, 1-866-289-9673 and TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov, where travelers can ask questions, provide suggestions and file complaints
PATINS TTA (Targeted Technical Assistance) Grant Selections Announced! The PATINS Project thanks all districts who applied for your interest in the 2011-2012 Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM) Targeted Technical Assistance Grant. Congratulations to the districts who have been chosen to participate in this year’s grant process.
A few applications were not considered because they were only partially completed. However; this is an on-going grant opportunity and we will be considering the provision of more grants to interested school districts throughout this school year. So, if you wish to reapply for this grant, please watch for the next opportunity which will be posted to the IDOE Learning Connection, here on this blog and on the PATINS Website.
iOS 5: Just in case you didn’t know yet, iOS 5 is now available to update your iPads, iPhones and iTouches and has some really nice accessibility features added, among other nice upgrades. However, it can take a very long time to update depending on what you have on the device that needs to be backed up/restored. My iPhone took 4.5 hours last night. My iPad is taking about a hour and a half this morning.
Some nice features include messaging between devices (not text messaging) which could be a very powerful tool in classrooms. I also like the new wireless syncing and cloud based storage which could be big news for students accessing things like textbooks on the go. Lots of other nice upgrades & features too: www.apple.com/ios
Accessibility Features of iOS5 (of particular interest to me is the increased attention paid to physical access and custom gestures): www.apple.com/accessibility
Social Networking for Education:I had very interesting and on-going conversations this week with a couple different educators in NE Indiana about the many benefits and potential dangers of utilizing the many very powerful social networking tools for education and then came across this listing. Top 20 Social Networks FOR EDUCATION: www.techlearning.com/Default.aspx?tabid=67&EntryId=2980
FETC Virtual Conference: October 27, 10:30am – 6pm
Weekly TIPS! Are you remembering to check out the Weekly Tips & Tricks each PATINS Site Coordinator is posting to his/her Regional Page on the PATINS Website? There are some good ones! Be sure to check back each week! www.patinsproject.com
Upcoming Webinars: I’m pleased to announce a collaboration with both Ohio’s OCALI Project and Michigan’s MITS Project. Many of OH’s and MI’s webinars/online trainings will be shared/open to Indiana educators, though many will have limited spaces available. Likewise, appropriate Indiana online trainings will be shared with OH and MI educators, with priority certainly given to IN educators. The first one from OH is coming up soon!
“The effectiveness of a group is not determined by any individual’s intelligence in the group,
but by how the group communicates… by how often the individuals communicate with one another.” -David Brooks
Great Educational Comic Strips/Cartoon Creation! Chris Bohn, is doing some really cool things with this tool and some of her students on the autism spectrum. Let me know if you’re interested in learning more and I’ll gladly put you in touch with Chris. www.bitstripsforschools.com (Thanks Chris!)
AAC Device Trainings: There are some recurring training opportunities I recently learned about that are worth passing on for families and therapy teams! These are non-device-specific trainings for 3 hours to cover basics of Unity, programming, and implementation. No CEUs will be offered, but the trainings are free. The trainings will take place at Riley Hospital on the first Thursday of the month from 4:00-7:00 p.m. beginning Thursday, October 6. So far, we have only scheduled the trainings through December, but plan to add January thru May sometime in the fall. We have a limit of 15 participants per training and they will need to register at www.prentrom.com/training
NEW Online DRM Training: If you are a newly appointed DRM, a current DRM needing a refresher or you know a DRM in need of help, there is now an online training created by the ICAM! Contact your PATINS Regional Coordinator if you’re in need of utilizing this Video Training and we’ll point you in the right direction: www.patinsproject.com
Wrapping Up: For some of you, school will be finishing very soon. Several others have a few more days or even weeks of snow/fog/flood days to make up. As you begin to look toward summer, keep in mind a few things for those lazy days when you feel like expanding your knowledge a little bit and preparing for next school year:
Doceri: Not free, but full featured app turns your iPad into a wireless slate basically. Allows you to teach, give presentations, etc., and still walk around your space. Pretty cool! http://doceri.com/
NEW FREE Equipment! …to borrow!The PATINSLending Libraries have some brand new equipment you might want to know about:
Dynavox Xpress AAC Device
Next Generation Perkins Braille
Icon Mobile Manager
Go Talk Express 32 AAC Device
In addition to the above, there are MANY other new devices available to borrow from the PATINS Lending Libraries. Search our Online Catalog here: www.patinsproject.com/lending.html
CASE 2010: Second Life for Professional Development is what I presented on this evening at the National CASE Conference in S.Carolina. This was an evening session AFTER a 3 hour break in the day AND we are literally 100 steps from the beach, yet my room was full. This is not what I expected and combined with talking to many of my attendees indicates to me that Directors of Special Education from across the country are:
1. Taking online professional development very seriously and are preparing themselves.
2. Have an intense interest in providing and attending online training that goes beyond a static, one-way, two-dimensional webinar.
Tell PATINS What You Need: If you haven’t done so already, please consider taking 2-3 minutes to fill out this survey for PATINS. We’re trying to prepare trainings that will benefit you most during this school year. Thanks!
iTunes: Create an iTunes account WITHOUT a credit card (Thanks Jeff). iTunes tends to be the easiest, by far, way of working with content and managing your iPads, iPods, iTouches, iPhones, but a lot of people aren’t comfortable putting a personal credit card into iTunes when they create their account. Further, the way I know some school districts are handling the purchasing of APPS is via iTunes Gift cards, which I think is a great idea! Using this method that Jeff found, you don’t need to enter a credit card at all and yet you can still utilize iTunes Gift Cards. I’m doing it myself for PATINS apps that I send out on my loaned iPads and iTouches and it works great! YouTube Demonstration Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHCTjvzPfKk
Assistive Tech, Accessibility and IEP’s: Do you know what the law says and what best practices are about Assistive Tech and Accessibility being addressed in your Case Conferences and IEPs? I’ve had a few questions in the past couple weeks and I need to make it perfectly clear that I’m no lawyer, that you should contact your district’s legal team and your special education director for specific advice. Additionally, the info here is in no way comprehensive or specific to YOUR district’s requirements. I do, however, have a limited few resources that I thought might be helpful to share:
Most of you probably know this, but I feel like it’s my job to say it leaving the AT section of an IEP blank isn’t just bad practice, it’s likely against the law! AT has to be considered in a case conference, even if no AT is chosen for implementation with that student.
(l) Unless the student’s CCC determines otherwise, the public agency is not responsible to provide basic equipment that may be required at home as well as in the educational setting, such as the following:
(4) Hearing aids.
Here are the definitions in Indiana’s Article 7 for AT Devices and Services:
511 IAC 7-32-7 “Assistive technology device” defined Sec. 7. “Assistive technology device” means any:
(2) piece of equipment; or
(3) product system;
whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of a student with a disability. The term does not include a medical device that is surgically implanted or the replacement of such device.
511 IAC 7-32-8 “Assistive technology service” defined Sec. 8. “Assistive technology service” means any service that directly assists a student with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device. The term includes, but is not limited to, the following:
(1) The evaluation of the needs of a student with a disability, including a functional evaluation of the student in the student’s customary environment.
(2) Purchasing, leasing, or otherwise providing for the acquisition of assistive technology devices for students with disabilities.
(4) Coordinating and using other therapies, interventions, or services with assistive technology devices, such as those associated with existing education and rehabilitation plans and programs.
(5) Training or technical assistance for the following:
(A) A student with a disability or, if appropriate, the student’s family.
(B) Professionals (including individuals providing education or rehabilitation services), employers, or other individuals who provide services to, employ, or are otherwise substantially involved in the major life functions of students with disabilities.
And Further! Here’s SOME of what Indiana’s Article 7 says about UDL and AT:
511 IAC 7-32-102 “Universal design” defined Sec. 102. “Universal design” means a concept or philosophy for designing and delivering products and services that are usable by people with the widest possible range of functional capabilities, which include products and services that are:
(1) directly accessible, without requiring assistive technologies; and
(2) interoperable with assistive technologies.
AND… what Article 7 says about the Case Conference:
(b) When developing a student’s IEP, a CCC must consider the following general factors:
(1) The strengths of the student.
(2) The concerns of the parent for enhancing the education of the student.
(3) The results and instructional implications of the initial or most recent educational evaluation and other assessments of the student.
(C) communication; and
needs of the student.
(c) The CCC must also consider the following special factors when applicable:
(1) Positive behavioral interventions and supports, and other strategies, to address any of the student’s behaviors that impede the student’s learning or the learning of others.
(2) Any supports, under 511 IAC 7-35-2, necessary to provide public agency personnel with the knowledge and skills necessary to implement the student’s IEP.
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(3) The language needs of a student with limited English proficiency as those needs relate to the student’s IEP.
(4) In the case of a student who is deaf or hard of hearing or a student who is deaf-blind, the student’s:
(A) language and communication needs;
(B) opportunities for direct communications with peers and professional personnel in the student’s language and communication mode;
(C) academic level; and
(D) full range of needs;
including opportunities for direct instruction in the student’s language and communication mode.
(5) Instruction in braille and the use of braille for a student who is blind or has low vision or a student who is deaf-blind, unless the CCC determines, after a functional literacy assessment (sometimes referred to as a learning media assessment) of the student’s reading and writing skills, needs, and appropriate reading and writing media (including an evaluation of the student’s future needs for instruction in braille or the use of braille), that instruction in braille or the use of braille is not appropriate for the student.
(6) The student’s need for assistive technology devices and services.
(7) The IFSP for students who are transitioning from early intervention programs under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq.
REMEMBER PATINS has FIVE Lending Libraries of Hardware and Software that you’re welcome to borrow from us to trial with your students for 6 Weeks at a time, FREE OF CHARGE! Search our online Lending Library Catalog here: www.patinsproject.com/lending.html. If you want something that we don’t have (unlikely) let us know! There’s always a chance we can get it for you to trial BEFORE your district spends valuable funds on it. Contact us if you have questions. We can help with ideas for you to try with a students as well!