10/14/11: TTA Grant Schools Selected! Funding Sources, Hacking Autism, Math Resources, iOS 5, FETC Virtual Conference, Top 20 Social Networks for Education, iPad Case Studies, More!

PATINS Tagxedo Image

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.


A Listing of Some Funding/Grant Sources :  www.especialneeds.com/funding-resources-special-needs-adaptive-equipment.html



Hacking Autism Image

Hacking Autism in California: (Thanks Chris)    http://www.hackingautism.org/#/apps


iOS 5 Image

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


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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


TextHelp Announces WEB APPS:  See them in action in this video:  Web Apps in action


iPad Case Studies:  in Victoria Australia:    http://www.ipadsforeducation.vic.edu.au/ipad-education-case-studies/10-warringa-park-school

Lisa Nielson’s 5 Favorite MATH RESOURCES for learners who hate math:    http://www.techlearning.com/Default.aspx?tabid=67&EntryId=3055


PATINS Regional Menu Image

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

PATINS Trainings: …also, remember to check the PATINS Training Calendar as new trainings are added all the time and they are all FREE!  http://bit.ly/PATINSCalendar

Quick Links:

  • www.myskillbott.com — 21st Century / Soft [Employability] Skills Training; and
  • www.apangea.com — 3 Levels of Intervention (latter 2 comes with LIVE, Certified Math Teachers ONLINE).
  • www.texthelp.com — a TRUE RTI Tools…a “Swiss Army Knife” of features, for example, if you have a Blind Student then you can take all their work and create a File for their MP3 Player, etc., etc., etc.
  • www.eyecuereadingreadiness.com — teaches ‘fluency’ skills by using ‘colors, shapes, coins, picture, etc.

9/9/2011: Sorry! Cell Phones in School, eBook Reader Matrix, More VI Apps, 3D Book Site, Copyright Free Images, Visual Thesaurus and Some Quick Reminders!

Apologies …to those who got the email this morning that a new blog posting was ready and then arrived here to find a 404 Error Message!  It’s been a long week!  I added a few bonus items at the end of this morning’s post for the inconvenience.

Phones & Devices In School:  I was recently in a school building giving a presentation on portable devices and literally, right outside the presentation room was this banner encouraging attendance hanging directly next to a warning against portable devices with a big, “NO.”  I couldn’t help but snap a quick photo, yes, with my iPhone.   The polarity between those two signs was almost laughable.  It really drives home the point I keep trying to make about the very obvious divide between work, play and life in general outside of the K-12 building and that within the K-12 building.  Outside, we rely on our portable devices constantly!  Yet, inside of many schools we still treat these powerful devices as if we don’t understand them, are afraid of them, etc.  After thinking about these signs on the way home I realized it would be the same as me encouraging teachers and administration to come to a training or a conference, but prohibiting all electronic devices.  … and then sitting around afterward and wondering why I was having trouble getting people to attend events.  This is bound to be a little controversial and that’s OK.  We NEED to have discussion around this issue, because it’s not going away.  One very obvious concern to me is, of course, that these devices can often level the playing field for so many students who struggle with learning and expressing knowledge in traditional ways.  I’d love some comments or even some direct emails from readers on this issue.

Attendance and Portable Devices Image

Here’s a couple articles related to the cell phone/portable device issue: 


Getting LOTS of eReader Questions!  As we RAPIDLY move toward a digital curriculum, one of the initial questions concerns which eBook Reader a student ‘should’ use.   Here’s a nice matrix that includes many, not all, eReaders:

More Apps for Vision Impairments:


A Few Bonus Links that I learned about yesterday from our friends in Ohio!  Thanks OCALI, especially Nick & Jim!

  • ZooBurst: This is an online tool for making and/or just reading 3D Books, that can incorporate a webcam!  VERY COOL possibilities here for so many state standards!
  • Ookaboo:  This is a place for you and your students to search for royalty-free images that can be used without the worry of copyright infringement, which many of you know is a huge issue to me.  Check this one out for sure!
  • Snappy Words:  This is very similar to Visuwords that I’ve probably talked with many of you about over the last 5 years.  Very cool visual thesaurus and a great tool to add to your bag of tricks.

REMEMBER: A few quick items you don’t want to forget about!








9/2/2011: Targeted Tech Assist Grant Reminder, Autism Voice Blog, Grant Writing Seminar, Mac OS Lion and Boardmaker, iPad Trick, VI Apps, New PATINS Website Reminder,

Does YOUR Indiana school district need help with any of these?

  1. Supporting the provision of appropriate, high-quality instructional materials in specialized formats.
  2. Providing specialized formats  of materials in a timely manner.
  3. Developing & Implementing written guidelines defining responsibilities and actions for specialized formats.
  4. Supporting Professional Development and Training for staff around students with print disabilities and implementation of specialized formats.
  5. Developing & Implementing a systematic process for monitoring & evaluating the provision of specialized formats.
  6. Utilizing data to guide changes that support continual improvement around the provision of specialized formats.
  7. Allocating sufficient resources to ensure the delivery & sustainability of services to students with print disabilities.

If So:  I’d strongly encourage you to look at this
Targeted Technical Assistance Grant
  from PATINS:

Grant Writing Seminar: Sept. 20 & 21, 2011 at the Central Indiana Educational Service Center. 

Autism & Having An Authentic Audience: If you’ve not seen this ABC special yet on Carly, check it out:  http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/video?id=8280703.

Mac Lion and Boardmaker or Speaking Dynamically Pro: Here’s a quick heads up from our NW Site Coordinator, Jim Lambert.  Boardmaker is not compatible as this point with Mas OS 10.7 or Lion.  They are actively working on the problem.  So, if you are a Mac and a Boardmaker/Speaking Dynamically Pro user, you probably want to wait to upgrade to the Lion operating system.

iPad Trick: Here’s a nice little tip from Tina Jones, our SE Regional Coordinator.  When/if you have a student who has trouble isolating just one finger to use on an iPad or iTouch or iPhone, you might consider covering all other fingers with a sock or buying a cheap pair of gloves as well and cutting the tip of only one of the fingers off.  This could even allow someone to lay their entire hand on the screen for support and only activate the screen with the one finger tip.

iPhone/iPad Apps for Magnification/Vision Impairments:  www.readability.com/articles/cz7xpbc2?legacy_bookmarklet=1

New PATINS Website Image Aug 2011

NEW PATINS Website! … and trainings being offered NOW!

If you haven’t noticed yet, PATINS Project has a brand new website with a new, more functional, look!  www.patinsproject.com .  A couple of things I’d like to draw your attention to with the new website:

  • Upper right hand area; there are up/down arrows allowing you to change the font size to match your needs
  • Just Below the up/down arrows, you’ll find the Regional Menu.  Here you can go straight to your PATINS Regional Site’s Page to see trainings being offered, Tips & Tricks, Contact Info, Lending Library Request Info and more!  Lots of trainings are already being scheduled.
  • Check it out, let us know what you think, we’re always interested in ideas to make it more useful to you!
  • www.patinsproject.com

8/26/2011: SMARTBoards for SLPs, Upcoming Interstate Shared Webinars, Proloquo2Go Update and other Apps, Blind-Low Vision Math Tools and more.


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!

-Sept 8, 2011.  3-4pm EST.  “Best AT Tools 2011”   Register Here: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/731819122

-See The Full Listing Here: http://www.patinsproject.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=78&Itemid=40


Digital Video and The Web… changing people’s lives:

Remember to Check Out the NEW PATINS WEBSITE! 

 “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

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

1/14/2011: Print Disabilities Webinar Recording Posted! Tennis Ball Therapy, Paperdesk App For iPad, Tech Expo 2011 Registration

Print Disabilities Webinar Posted! Many of you have been asking when and where the recording from the January 11th webinar, “Off The Page: Print Disabilities,” with Dr. Friedlander and Dr. Nellis would be posted.  Well, here you go!  On the ICAM Website, under the Resources Tab and then Archives!  Or, just click HERE: www.icam.k12.in.us/index.php?option=com_content&view=archive&Itemid=6

Now, two things I’ve really wanted to blog about for a few weeks now and just haven’t had a chance!

Tennis Ball Image

First, it seems like I keep hearing references to the advice they give on airplanes about making sure your own mask is on before trying to help others.  We also keep hearing on the news, in the blogs, on the radio, in the podcasts, that TEACHERS are THE #1 factor in determining student achievement and growth.  So, I just wanted to share with you all one of my Christmas gifts this year from my wife…. perhaps one of the best ones yet!  Yes, it’s a tennis ball.  Actually, it’s a dog toy tennis ball.  I have 3 of them.  One for my car, one for my everyday computer bag and one for my home.  I use them, by placing one between my back and the chair or seat I’m in or on the floor and gently roll those knots out of my back while I work, while I drive, while I watch TV, etc!  Give it a shot.  I can’t even tell you all how much this has helped me.   So, take care of yourselves, de-stress a little bit while you work!

Additionally, consider using this as part of a sensory diet for some of your students.  We know they often have as much stress as we do and we also know that sometimes all it takes for a child who needs to ‘fidget,’ is to allow them to fidget in a way that is more socially appropriate.  For example, I used to do things as simple as placing velcro under a desk for kids to play with, or using a therapy ball for a seat, or even allowing them to chew gum and I can tell that for some kids, these little things made all the difference in the world to the amount of instructional time they were able to actively participate in.  So, add the placing of a tennis ball behind their back to your list!

Now… a REALLY COOL APP for your iPads!   …or iTouches:

Paperdesk Lite: Paperdesk Lite is a free app, with the option of upgrading to the pro version for $1.99.  I have used the free one for several weeks now and decided that I liked it so much, particularly for working with kids, that I’ve just today purchased the $1.99 version.  (It’s also on all the iPads available for loan from my lending library, by the way).

It looks like this (click image to see it larger): You can see that you, or a student, could create several different ‘notebooks.’ My daughter, here, has created one for practicing spelling.

Paperdesk App Image 1

When she touches the Spelling Notebook, it opens and she can access up to 3 different pages in the free version.  More pages in the $1.99 version.  Once in the book, she can bring up the keyboard and type, she can touch the pen tool and write with her finger, or she can touch the microphone icon and record her responses or extra notes verbally!  You can password protect the notebooks.  You can print right from this app and/or email pages!  I like it.  It seems to be the perfect balance between user friendliness and simplicity and functional, useful tools.   (click image to see it larger)

Paperdesk App Image 2


PATINS Tech Expo 2011!  Online Registrations Now Available here:  

10/29/2010: CASE Conference, TapSpeak, New AIM Resources, Listening App, New Devices in Lending Libraries!!!

NEW FREE Equipment! …to borrow! The  PATINS Lending Libraries have some brand new equipment you might want to know about:

DynavoxXpress Image

Dynavox Xpress AAC Device

NextGenBraillerNext Generation Perkins Braille

Icon Mobile Manager ImageIcon Mobile Manager

Go Talk Express 32 ImageGo 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

Daniel CASE 2010CASE 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.

Are YOU Ready to Learn  (and teach) Online??? Speaking of which, there are SEVERAL NIMAS & ROL FREE Trainings ALL DAY on Monday:  www.patinsproject.com/training.html

A More Couple Apps To Check Out

TapSpeak Choice: http://conleysolutions.com/wordpress/?page_id=282&ref=nf

Listening App: (Thanks Vicki!) http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/soundamp-r/id318126109?mt=8

NEW Resources from the National AIM Center (Accessible Instructional Materials):

Have a Great Weekend Image

8/20/2010: Accessibility Specific Apps Special, ROL University Edition, My Thoughts on iPhone Accessibility

iPhone Accessibility Image

My Experiences with Built-In iPhone  Accessibility Tools: Check out all the Built-In Accessibility features that come on the iPhone/iPad without needing any other equipment or software.  I’ve been playing with the settings on my phone and have a few thoughts.  www.apple.com/iphone/features/accessibility.html

  1. Many of you know that I spend A LOT of time in my car.  About 800 hours per school year to and from my office to be exact! This is a lot of time that I could be using more efficiently and these accessibility features built into the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch are so helpful to me!  No, I do not have a vision or hearing impairment and yet I still benefit tremendously from these accessibility features.  UDL???
  2. So, I on my iPhone, I go into Settings, General and then Accessibility.
  3. In Accessibility, I set Triple-click Home (at the very bottom) to VoiceOver. By doing this, every time I press the Home button at the bottom of my iPhone 3 times, Voiceover turns on and pretty much EVERYTHING on my phone can be read out loud to me!  Another 3 presses of the Home button turns it back off.  There are other accessibility settings in here, but I’ll focus on VoiceOver for right now.
  4. So, now that my phone is set to use VoiceOver anytime I hit Home 3X, I can be anywhere on my phone: my email, my google docs, my texting, my skype, my twitter, etc., and have my iPhone READ TO ME!
  5. I am constantly emailing myself documents that I want to have read to me on the drive to or from my office.  I simply navigate to that email and open the text, then hit Home 3X and touch where I want the iPhone to start reading!
  6. This is built-into one of the most popular mainstream devices of all time!  This is no longer Special Education Technology.  It is real life, it is useful and we should be teaching ALL of our students to utilize it to it’s fullest!

A Few Accessibility-Specific Apps:

Transition To College: Do you have students with print disabilities transitioning from high school to college?  Check out the press release for Read:OutLoud University Edition.  Good info to at least pass on to parents as students leave the K-12 building.


Accessibility-Specific Apps:

Transition To College: Do you have students with print disabilities transitioning from high school to college?  Check out the press release for Read:OutLoud University Edition.  Good info to at least pass on to parents as students leave the K-12 building.


7/2/2010: Interactive Whiteboards a Waste, 6 Educational Apps, 100 Way to Study w/iPod Touch, Create Your Avatar!

Facebook Image

Facebook Image

Are you a Friend of PATINS Project on Facebook yet?

Interactive White Boards a Waste? …not if you asked me!  However, there are some heated debates about this very issue within the educational technology circles.  Here’s one.  Check it out, become aware and weigh in!  www.techlearning.com/blogs.aspx?id=31098 I’ve found the success of any technology in any classroom is directly related to the time and effort the educator in that room is willing to put forth in addition to the teaching style of that particular teacher.  I love have students up out of their seats coming to the Interactive White Board, but I’ve visited effective teachers’ classrooms who just don’t prefer to teacher that way and are quite effective using a slate.  What are your thoughts?

Educational Apps: Here’s a few I’ve come across recently.

  1. Trace: (Free) Draw your own platforms to navigate past obstacles.
  2. Typing Class: ($4.99) Practice to improve your on-screen keyboard typing speed and accuracy. 
  3. My Writing Nook: ($2.99 for iTouch) ($4.99 for iPad) Write anywhere with a font editor, password protection, dictionary, and more.  For the more serious on-the-go writer. 
  4. Letter Tracer: ($.99) Trace letters/numbers on screen with your finger, including voice-over!
  5. Pocket Whiteboard: ($.99) Save your drawings as images, stroke by stroke replay, more.
  6. Word Magic: ($.99)  Kids fill in missing letters based on picture that is given, word is then read out loud.  Nominated for best educational app. 

100 Ways to Learn/Study with iPod Touch: http://oedb.org/library/beginning-online-learning/100-ways-to-use-your-ipod-to-learn-and-study-better

Remember: Summer is a perfect time to create yourself an avatar in Second Life and come explore the happenings on the PATINS Project Island! It’s looking very much like all travel in Indiana could be seriously restricted next school year indicating a real need to be doing more and more online.  The PATINS Island is a great tool for online meetings, trainings, conferences, presentations AND it’s open to other organizations for use.  See guidelines for outside organizational use of the island here: www.patinsproject.com/SecondLife/PolicyGuidelines2010.pdf

Have a Safe & Fun 4th of July Weekend Everyone!

4/16/2010: Can You Read Me Now? Concept Mapping, Cheating Students By Banning iPods? 24 FREE Apps for April! An EASY Accommodation for MS Word, A YOUNG iPadder, Video Tour Of PATINS SL Island, Animation.


Can you read the above image? Many of your students probably can!  They are also communicating with one another using these QR-Codes and unless you can read them, you have no idea what they are saying!!!   Scary?  Perhaps.  Exciting and bursting with possibilities?  ABSOLUTELY!

  • So, here’s your mission: You need to locate a free : QR-Reader to decode the message I’ve placed into the above image.  You can do it on your computer or by using a free app and your phone’s camera.
  • The first person to tell me what the message is will receive a Classy Black PATINS Zippered Bag full of Assistive Tech Trial Software!
  • If you can not only decipher the message, but also create your own QR Coded Message and send one back to me, in addition to receiving the bag, I’ll dedicate the next blog posting entirely to the topic of YOUR choice!

Some “Coding” Tools You may find helpful:

  • A free QR Code Generator and Reader: http://qrcode.kaywa.com (I created the above QR Code with this one)
  • Another Free Reader I’m currently trying on my iPhone:  www.neoreader.com (This one will also create codes)

2.5 Year Old Uses iPad: (Thanks John!) http://laughingsquid.com/a-2-5-year-old-uses-an-ipad-for-the-first-time

Concept Mapping: Don’t forget about Bubbl and MyWebspiration (both free).  I got this question from several folks this week looking for free concept mapping tools.

PATINS Staff Avatars Image

PATINS Staff Avatars Image

Tour The Island Video: Take a video tour of the entire PATINS Project Second Life Island even if you haven’t yet created an avatar.  This is a recording of the tour I gave during the 48 hour Virtual Worlds Best Practices In Education Conference that more than 5000 avatars attended on March 12-13:  www.patinsproject.com/Videos/VWBPE2010IslandTour

Quick EASY Accommodation for MS Word: …nice little video tutorial from our friend David Davis in Florida: www.efdlrs.com/~videos/word_overlay

Xtranormal: Create Animations/Movies!   So much fun!  www.xtranormal.com

PATINS Second Life Events Calendar: Check out scheduled events on the island here:  www.patinsproject.com/SLEventsCalendar.html

iPods In YOUR School?

Kindergarten.com has 24 FREE Apps (Thanks Jim): Download from iTunes app store. These are only free for April (Autism Awareness Month). Search for Kindergarten.com or

Register For the Tech Expo on April 20, 2010 HERE (you have to decode the QR Code)