6/8/2012: Free AAC App for iPad, $300,000 Grant Opportunity, Big Changes At PATINS, Recycle Your Old Computers,

Submit To Present At The PATINS State Conference 2012!

You are PROBABLY doing something amazing in your classroom or school OR you know someone who is.

  • Could another educator somewhere in Indiana benefit from hearing more about what you’re doing?
  •  Are you implementing Accessible Materials, creating Accessible Materials, promoting Accessible Materials, utilizing Assistive Technology to allow access to the curriculum or
  • having success in your classrooms and school buildings in other innovative ways that improve access?

If so, you should consider sharing with other educators at the PATINS State Conference, Nov. 8-9, 2012 in Indianapolis!  The Call For Proposals is now open!

FreeSpeech for iPad:  (Note, you must have iOS 5.1) A new free AAC tool for the iPad that allows you to add your own photos, group them, and collaborate with other FreeSpeech users to share content!  Personally, I’m pretty excited to try it out!  http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/freespeech/id517017346?ls=1&mt=8


Grant Opportunity:  “The Dream School Challenge, co-sponsored by The Source for Learning (SFL), provides an opportunity for one school and its district to win up to $300,000 in educational technology resources.”

 Recycle Your Old Computers:

  • 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


Big PATINS Project
– Changes, Changes, Changes –

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.

  1. 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 (sepatins@ciesc.k12.in.us) 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
  2. 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 (nepatins@ciesc.k12.in.us), 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!
  3. 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: dmcnulty@ciesc.k12.in.us and you may begin using it now.  After July 1 though, I will no longer receive email at nepatins@ciesc.k12.in.us and you must use dmcnulty@ciesc.k12.in.us to reach me.   The Central PATINS location and phone numbers will not change.
  4. 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.

2/17/2012: A Couple iPad Tips, New Reading Accommodations Tool, Final 2 of 6 Ways to Create iPad Content, New AAC Tool, New Interstate Webinar, Call for State Conference Proposals,

2 iPad Tips:  Two iPad-things happened to me this week that were more than slightly frustrating and the solutions quite simple.  So, I thought I’d share in hopes of helping others avoid future headaches!

  1. My iPad stopped making all noises: I had checked all of my settings, performed hard and soft reboots, and yes, I even made sure the volume was turned up and still my iPad was not making any sounds!  I even did a full restore, which did not work.  No keyboard clicks, no lock/unlock screen noise, no email arriving dings, text message boings, etc., BUT Voiceover was working.  I was at a loss for about a week and was beginning to think my iPad was faulty or damaged, until… I came across the solution!    If you select “Use Side Switch to:” lock rotation when previously it was set to Mute, and your side switch WAS in the mute position WHEN you switched the toggle from mute to rotation, it thinks that it’s still on mute!
      solution was simply to flip the switch to the UNMUTE position, go into settings and select “Use side switch to: MUTE” (then switch it back to lock rotation if you’d like, BUT don’t play w/ the side toggle while doing so).
  2. My iPad told me it was damaged and needed an Apple Store:  After I get iPads returned from loans, I restore them to their previous state as a normal part of the routine before they go out to the next borrower.  Well, upon finishing the restore on Wednesday, I got a message on my iPad that it was damaged, could not be activated and would need to be returned to an Apple Store.  WHAT?  It was working fine 10 minutes ago.  WELL, I realized eventually that the Apple Activation servers were down!  All I needed to do was wait a couple of hours and then the iPad re-activated fine.  So, if you happen to get this message on your iDevices, there MAY not actually be anything wrong with it.  


The Final (almost) 2 of  the 6  Mostly Free, Easy, Fun Ways to Get Books/Content on Your iPad:

  1. Use MS Powerpoint on Mac or PC: Download PPT To iBooks as PDF Step By Step
  2. Use iAuthor on a Mac Computer: OK, so this is definitely my favorite!   VERY cool!  BUT, even though it’s free, it’s only for Mac computers.  AND, I have not had time this week to finish my exploration of iAuthor on my Mac computer.  So, I’ll delay this until next week.

A New Assessment Tool for Selecting Appropriate Reading Accommodations!

PAR was developed in collaboration with Denise DeCoste, author of the widely embraced Assistive Technology Assessment: Developing a Writing Productivity Profile and Linda Bastiani Wilson. They’re desire was to create a repeatable and systematic assessment process that would not only provide concrete documentation you can use for IEP meetings, but also outline evidence-based practices you can use to make decisions about selecting a suitable reading accommodation for a student being considered.

What’s Included:

  • Protocol—guides you in collecting data to compare independent reading, reading with a human reader and reading with a text reader
  • Reading Samples—provides eight reading passages (four narrative, four expository) and vocabulary questions for each grade level, grades 3rd through 10th
  • Quizzes—contains comprehension quizzes for each reading passage—factual, topic related, inferential and vocabulary
  • Multiple Formats—reading passages are available in Word and ePUB so that you can use them in Bookstream (Don Johnston’s cloud-based reading distribution system) or within your current text reader
  • To get your free PAR:  Protocol for Accommodations in Reading Download from Don Johnston, Inc. go to  www.donjohnston.com/products/par/index.html


PATINS State Conference 2012 LogoCall For Proposals OPEN!   Doing something exciting related to Access To The Curriculum, Accessible Instructional Materials. or Assistive Technologies in your district?  Your School?  Your Classroom?  Consider sharing your experiences and expertise with other Indiana Educators at the PATINS 2012 State Conference, Nov. 8-9, 2012!  Call For Presentation Proposals is now open and selected presenters will have their conference registration fees waived! Click here to submit a proposal!



District-Wide AT Planning: A View From 40,000 Feet Webinar

Thursday, February 23, 2012   3:00 – 4:00 pm EST

Description: Assistive technology (AT) supports have traditionally been considered on a case-by-case basis within the scope of a student’s IEP. It is necessary to consider and assess the need for AT individually for appropriate alignment of student needs with AT features and supports. Unfortunately, it has not worked well for the actual implementation phase of the AT process in school settings. This system often delays student access to needed AT due to the time involved in pursuing and implementing individual funding, training, setup and integration within already existing school technology.  This OCALI webinar will discuss a comprehensive system of district-wide planning for AT implementation that allows students quicker access to needed AT supports.  Included in the presentation is a demonstration of a tiered model of AT supports. Consideration for multi-environment implementation for “anytime anywhere” access to AT will also be discussed.  This webinar is appropriate for administrators, AT specialists, classroom teachers, related services providers and others interested in the “big picture” implementation of AT services within their district.

  •  During the 2011-2012 school year, the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI), in collaboration with Michigan’s Integrated Technology Supports (MITS) and Promoting Achievement through Technology and Instruction for All Students (PATINS) will provide a series of webinars that focus on assistive technology (AT), accessible instructional materials and universal design for learning (UDL).
  •  Space is limited.
  • Reserve your Webinar seat now.
  • [ Learn more and register ] or at: http://www.ocali.org/view.php?nav_id=103


IMPROV: Being a huge fan of word-prediction, and especially co:writer, as a classroom teacher, I wanted to make sure everyone knows about the new AAC tool from Don Johnston that is based on Co:Writer!   Check it out here:


Remember To Register… for the PATINS Tech Expo on April 19, 2012!



1/13/2012: Tech Expo Registration Open! ePub Converter 2.0 Free Upgrade, GoTalk & AAC on iPad, Apps Running Article, Traveling Tip with Disabilities

Tech Expo 2012 Image

REGISTRATION OPEN!  Registration is now open for the PATINS Tech Expo 2012 on April 19!



Best Apps ImageA 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!

  1. Monday Jan. 16, 3:15pm.  Register: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/AudioJanuary162012REGISTRATION 
  2. Monday Jan. 30, 3:15pm. Register: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/AudioJan302012REGISTRATION 
  3. Friday Feb. 3, 3:15pm. Register: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/AudioFeb32012REGISTRATION


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

Comments Ideas Suggestions for PATINS Image Link




12/2/2011: Accessible Pledge, Take It! Affordable CCTV, New Equipment Available For Loan, Note Taking Apps, Myths About Devices, Keyboard Shortcuts

PATINS Accessible Pledge

Accessible Instruction: EVERY Educator’s Responsibility

What did your students do today? Read a textbook or a chapter? Take a pop quiz?  Imagine you are given a reading assignment or told to take out a blank sheet of paper for a quiz… but are unable to read the page of a textbook or physically handle a pencil.  Every educator impacts students, but are they able to effectively reach ALL their students? Anyone working with students with disabilities who fails to provide accessible instruction and materials is inadvertently building barriers to learning.  Please watch the video and then take the pledge!  Once you have completed the pledge which is only 4 questions, then your name goes into a drawing for an IPAD 2 to be drawn the first week in January 13th.  Join the PATINS Project as we take the Accessible Instruction Pledge.

I pledge to do my part to bring accessible instruction to all students.

Click here to take the Accessible Instruction Pledge.

By completing this form, I pledge that at every opportunity I will…

  • Understand the individual needs and abilities of learners to ensure that my instruction is accessible to all students
  • Advocate for accessible instructional materials
  • Choose to purchase materials that have accessible versions available
  • Create documents and handouts that can be read and completed using assistive technology
  • Support others in their efforts to learn more about supplying accessible instructional materials
  • Maintain an accessible website

Myths About Students Using Their Own Devices:  If you’ve ever heard me speak, you’ve likely heard me say many of these same things.  I particularly like #5 on this list with regard to students and teachers being able to access content at school:  http://thejournal.com/Articles/2011/11/09/7-BYOD-Myths.aspx?Page=2

Affordable CCTV (Thanks Vicki):   You can watch a video of how to use a webcam with the upcoming ZoomText version 10 to turn your computer into an affordable CCTV.

A Few Note Taking Apps:


Cut Copy Paste ImageDon’t Forget to Use Keyboard Shortcuts:  ….use them whenever you can to eventually work faster and free your hand up from using that mouse all the time.  I borrowed this image from a friend on Facebook and thought it was a great little visual to help you remember 3 of the most basic Keyboard Shortcuts.  Of course, on the Mac, just change the CTRL to CMD and they work just the same!


New Equipment For Loan From the PATINS Libraries!  Remember, it’s always free and easy to borrow from us!   Just go here:

  • A Few more iPads!
  • Sensor Switch Evaluation Kit
  • Aumed Aumex LCD Color Video Magnifier
  • Mount n Mover Complete Evaluation Kit
  • Dynavox Maestro
  • Pebble Portable CCTV
  • Motorola Xoom
  • Samsung Galaxy TAB
  • TextSpeak TS Wireless AAC
  • Optelec Clear Reader

8/12/2011: Welcome Back To School, Technical Assist Grant, New DRM Online Training, Various Available Grants, Inspirational Video!

Welcome Back To School …for many of you!

PATINS Targeted Technical Assistance Grants:  There seems to be some confusion out there about 2 related but unconnected Grants that were recently announced.  There was a grant that was due to IDOE on 8/10 this week.  There is a separate and different grant through the PATINS Project that is due October 3, 2011 called the Targeted Technical Assistance Grant for Indiana public K-12 districts.  Read about it and apply here!     http://nepatins.edublogs.org/2011/08/05/technical-assistance-grants-due-october-3/      Contact us with questions.

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


A Little Inspiration & Perhaps... food for thought as we begin this new school year.  A moving TED talk from Caroline Casey

 “The effectiveness of a group is not determined by the individual’s IQ in the group, but by how the group communicates… by how often individuals communicate with one another.”   -David Brooks

5/27/2011: New Featured Teacher Video! AAC and Whiteboard Apps, Upcoming Autism Training Info, Wrapping Up,

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:

  1. PATINS Online AT Overview Course Module (at your own pace): www.patinsproject.com/AT%20Overview%20Course/AT%20Overview%20Files/index.htm
  2. Many PATINS Trainings are already being scheduled for next year, beginning in August.  Keep an eye on the PATINS Website as these are made public: www.patinsproject.com
  3. Speaking of the PATINS Website; watch for a brand new, more efficient and user-friendly look coming very soon! Same address:  www.patinsproject.com
  4. Watch This Blog: I’ll continue to post short updates each Friday over the summer months!  There are some exciting announcements coming that you won’t want to miss!
  5. Introduce a Friend or Colleague to PATINS (5 Minute Video): www.teachindy.com/watch_video.php?v=4cfd9bd6e1daf7f

FEATURED TEACHER Video Interview: Mrs. Nelson, a Logansport teacher, has an amazing story about a struggling reader who reaches her as a sophomore essentially unable to read.

MORE AAC Apps for the iPad/iTouch/iPhone:

Verbally: …”the first FREE iPad app to provide a complete assistive speech solution for creative communication”   http://verballyapp.com/

TouchChat: Not free, but looks very full-featured and can include word prediction.  We will have this app on our lending library devices soon:  http://www.silver-kite.com/touchChat/

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/

Upcoming Autism Spectrum Disorder Training Info:

Vendor Offered Discounts: Remember to check often, the PATINS Vendor Offered Discounts page before making purchases.  These are continually updated. www.patinsproject.com/buys.html

5/6/2011: Roger Ebert, “Remaking My Voice,” Apple Voiceover, Air Display, Free Legal Music Downloads, Cell Phones in Class Ideas, Next Gen Digital Book,

Roger Ebert, “Remaking My Voice”: www.ted.com/talks/roger_ebert_remaking_my_voice.html Consider for a moment, the importance of having a voice and what having a voice really means. “Online, everyone speaks at the same speed.”  Do you provide ways for your students to have a voice online?  Do you need help coming up with ways for your students to have online voices?

Air Display: Very cool! Not free, but I can think of all kinds of uses for this in classrooms!  What ideas do you have?


Free, Legal Music Downloads: www.jamendo.com/en

Cell Phones in Class Ideas: www.cellphonesinlearning.com/p/lesson-ideas.html

Next Generation Digital Book: While I don’t think this book is perfect, with regard to accessibility, it’s very cool and very clearly demonstrates where this market is headed quickly.

Next Week:

  • New Featured Teacher Video Interview with a Logansport teacher!
  • ICAM Webinar video recording
  • Lots More!

2/25/2011: No Snowdays Online, Your Docs to ePubs, Feedbooks, Education Killing Creativity, Allow Kids To Fail? Proloquo Keyguards, How/Where Do You Work?

School’s Always In Session: With all the lovely weather this winter and ALL the snow days that MANY Indiana schools have experienced, I thought this was particularly relevant.  You’ve been reading my thoughts here on the blog about online 3D immersive environments and learning now for several years, but now it’s showing up in many places!  One question that HAS to be asked, that I think so many people are afraid to even acknowledge is, “if students can obtain the material and instruction w/out coming to a physical classroom, then why are we still spending money on the physical classroom?” Of course, I realize the answer to that is highly complex and it requires an answer to, “can students obtain the materials and instruction w/out coming to a physical space.”   Read the article here: www.techlearning.com/Blogs/36642

Convert Your Docs to ePubs:

Feedbooks:  Another source to search for texts if you cannot find them from the ICAM (Indiana Center for Accessible Materials)

Proloquo2Go KEYGUARDS: Yep…here’s the first in a likely flood to come:  www.laseredpics.biz/servlet/the-2547/proloquo-proloquo2go-keyguard-adaptive/Detail

Education Killing Creativity: “If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” This is from a few years back, but certainly worth watching/listening to again.  Some of you have probably heard me lately in recent training sessions talking about creativity and jobs and the status of education.  I figured this goes well with that dish.  www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html

Allow Kids To Fail:  Going right along with the above concept on killing creativity, here’s another audio/video delight worth your time.  “Get comfortable with… the idea of allowing kids to fail as part of the learning process.”  “we have become infatuated with the notion that there is only one right answer, such as with bubble tests.” www.ted.com/talks/diana_laufenberg_3_ways_to_teach.html


~POLL For The Week~

(results discussed and expanded upon next week)

Where do you go when you REALLY need to get some good work done?
Respond Here:  www.surveymonkey.com/s/WhereHowDoYouWork