Last Chance for Tech Expo

The last call for registration for the PATINS Tech Expo is April 16th!  Are you going to be there? Do you need some good reasons?

Attending the PATINS Tech Expo is the most efficient use of your research time.  You can search the internet and read for days, or in the period of one day, see it all!

We have done all that we can to make the Expo:

1.  Low Cost –  It’s free!

2.  Comfortable – Lunch provided!

3.  Informative – More than 20 sessions backed by a full vendor hall AND a 15 minute address by the Indiana State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz.

4.  Different – Now at Wyndham Indianapolis West – 2544 Executive            Drive, Indianapolis, IN  46241

5.  Exciting – Door Prizes.  Need I say more?

All of us at PATINS are excited to see you.  When we open the doors at 9:00 am to the 2015 Tech Expo on Thursday, April 23, we will be inviting you in to an assistive technology learning experience that is geared specifically to help you serve Indiana’s students.

Follow this link to register!

 Jeff Bond and Glenda Thompson on the set of PATINS TV discussing the upcoming Tech Expo
For more information on what to expect at the Tech Expo, please tune in to the following PATINS TV Episode!

10/26/2012: Only A Few Days Left To Register! PATINS State Conference 2012, Ritz-Bennett Debate Video, iPhone as AT Article and VoiceOver Video, Money Reader App,


There still is time to register for the 2012 PATINS State Conference, which is 2 days full of exciting interactions with professionals in teaching and technology. This is a great opportunity to absorb and share not only hi-tech applications you never knew were possible, but also practical low-tech classroom solution. Even if you can get away only one day, you will gather much usable information and engage in valuable networking and sharing. We have 2 exciting keynote speakers who will make you think, and make you laugh, and make you learn. We have great give-a-ways for door prizes! PGPs will be awarded for each session you attend! Lunch is included in the registration fee, so you don’t need to leave your parking space for lunch! You can take advantage of the Government rate for overnight accommodations!  You can stop by the DRM Corner Chat area anytime and freely discuss your ICAM, PATINS and IERC needs, concerns, and/or suggestions!

And now, the Top 10 Reasons you want to attend the PATINS State Conference!

10. Learn to enhance instruction, energize your students by increasing technology in your learning environments!

9.   Hear about the Instructional Consultation Team and how to build one; no Journey is alone!

8.   Impact instruction with small steps (or big leaps) toward UDL.

7.   Revitalize/galvanize CCC meeting with solid tips from experts on how to encourage interaction and clarify the process.

6.   Compose effective Social Stories that motivate, learn how to digitize them quickly for immediate use.

5.   Design one lesson plan to reach many.

4.   Help students pave a well-marked path to a productive transition into college or post-secondary vocations.

3.   Identify Twice Exceptional Learners and help these extraordinary students succeed.

2.   You’ve been told you when it comes to accessibility, mac products are inferior to pc. Hope you didn’t believe that.

And, the number 1 reason you should attend the PATINS State Conference:

1.  You want to make your classroom/school/corporation into a vibrant, stimulating laboratory of learning for all students.

The Presentation Schedule: 

Full Conference Booklet: 

Register Online:

 Nov. 8-9, 2012, Indianapolis


Ritz Bennet Oct 2012 Debate Image Video

Ritz – Bennett Debate Video:  Just in case you missed it, here’s the Archived Video of this week’s debate between Tony Bennet & Glenda Ritz for Superintendent of Public Instruction. Watch it. Vote. Wisely.


iPhone As Assistive Tech:  A very short article/interview with 3 men who have vision impairments and a cool little 6 minute video about using VoiceOver on the iPhone, iTouch, iPad.  Very informative and worth 6 min of your time.  Lots of helpful tips and tricks for using VoiceOver in this video.  I learned several things and I thought I was a pretty descent VoiceOver user!


Money Reader App Image Money Reader App: Not free, it’s $6.99, but looks really cool if you have a a vision impairment or just need some assistance identifying money:



10/9/12: Special Mid-Week Posting: Keep Breathing, PATINS State Conference Updates, CIESC-IDOE Back To School Resource Fair, Parent-Family iPad Evening in Indy

Well, to say things have been busy the last couple weeks would be a severe understatement!  I do apologize for missing the last couple of weeks with the blog though and have lots to share.  This one, actually should have posted Friday and didn’t, but here it is and I’ll do my best to get another posting out this Friday.


scuba cycle image

First, and quite appropriate to my life recently, is a discussion I’ve had with some colleagues in other states and in some Indiana districts that relates to one of my other lives as a scuba diver!  KEEP BREATHING.  While it may sound silly/obvious at first, it’s the best advice around amongst scuba divers.  Seriously, new or overwhelmed divers can have a tendency to forget to breath!  So, when the air is compressed at depth, then held in because they forget to breath and then expands rapidly as the stressed diver rushes to the surface in panic… well, the lungs explode.  This Fall, like many starts to the school year of the past, can be particularly stressful as we all try to do 15 different jobs at once.  So, remember that the most important thing may just be to stay exactly where you are for a moment and remind yourself to keep breathing.  😉


PATINS State Conference Announcements!  

It’s Getting Closer and Closer!  We’ve got an awesome lineup of speakers that include such national presenters as Joy Zabala, Scott Marfilius, Kelly Fonner, Mystie Rail, Anne Rowe, Judi Sweeney, Jason Carroll and MANY others!  We also have two highly inspirational and entertaining keynote presenters!  The conference booklet is now available to you as a downloadable PDF.  It’s pretty large and might take a couple minutes to download, but is well worth it.  Registration for the conference is $75/day and includes your breakfast and lunch!  Registration is required and will close on Nov. 1st, so don’t delay!  There will be 2 hands on lab rooms going all day, both days and 6 other concurrent session rooms going on all day, both days!   Great Door Prizes (iPads!) will be given away each day!  For the first time ever, there will be a “DRM Corner-Chat” on both days where you can casually bring your questions, ideas, concerns, success stories to the ICAM & IERC experts!  Download the Conference Booklet and register at the links below!

Presentation Schedule

Full Conference Booklet (including presentation schedule)

Conference Registration:


CIESC IMage Flyer

CIESC / IDOE Back To School Resource Fair!  TOMORROW!!!

The Indiana Department of Education and the Central Indiana Education Service Center are hosting this event for all interested teachers and administrators.  What: This open house style event will be an opportunity for educators to gather resources, ask questions, and provide feedback on Indiana’s newest education initiatives. IDOE representatives will be on hand to provide information and answer questions about: Teacher Evaluation, A-F School Accountability, Indiana’s Common Core, REPA II, eLearning.   Download/View the PDF Flyer here: CIESC IDOE Resource Fair Flyer




Oct 29 Parent iPad Evening Image

PARENT-Family iPad Training Evening Announced!

This great evening opportunity, co-hosted by the PATINS ProjectINSource, which is primarily intended for parents & families, will offer several ways to improve the accessibility of the iPad for children experiencing Vision, Hearing, Physical, Cognitive, or Communication challenges.  Limited to the 20 registrations!  Content of this evening presentation will be tailored to the specific and unique needs of the registrants to the greatest extent possible.

Virtual National Presenter: Dr. Theresa Willkomm, a.k.a. The MacGyver of Assistive Technology! University of New Hampshire
On Site Presenters: Jeff Bond, Jim Lambert, Daniel McNulty – PATINS Project

When: Monday October 29, 2012 from 6:00 – 7:30pm

Where: CIESC (Central IN Educational Service Center) 6321 La Pas Trail, Indianapolis, IN 46268

Register Here: 

Download Flyer Here: Parent Night Flyer2 10 29 12










9/14/2012: State Conference Presenters Announced! Flipped Classrooms; Some Early Discussion Resources, TTA Grant Closing Sept 28!

Schedule of Presentations Announced!
PATINS State Conference 2012

Flipping The Classroom: 

This Fall, we’ve already been contacted a few times about districts that have “flipped” some or all of their classrooms.  If you’re not familiar with this concept yet, it’s basically reversing instruction and work-time.  A good portion of instruction takes place at home through videos or other media and then work, application, practice happens at school.  My initial thoughts on this are VERY mixed.  While I feel that there are some exciting aspects to this “flipping,” I also think that it poses VERY DIFFICULT situations for ensuring ACCESSIBILITY for ALL students.  At this point, I would like to encourage districts thinking of going this route to slow down and make sure that accessibility and UDL are a big part of the discussion before any decisions are made.  I’d also like to let everyone know that PATINS is beginning to tackle this concept and starting to put together some ideas and tools that could help.  In the meantime, here’s a few Initial Reads & Resources on Flipped Classrooms: 


TTA Grant Applications Due in 2 Weeks!
-Let PATINS Help Make Your District More Accessible to ALL Students-

  • This is a unique opportunity to have dedicate PATINS Coordinators working directly and intensively with your district to make sure it is as accessible and efficient as possible with regard to the 7 AIM Indicators, which can be found here:  
  • You SHOULD consider this opportunity IF: 
    • You’ve run into difficulty finding accessible instructional materials for students
    • You’ve not been able to provide alternate formats in a timely manner. 
    • You Don’t have Policies & Procedures in place regarding the flow & application of AIM
    • You have DRMs that are overwhelmed and frustrated. 
    • You have students not performing to potential because they cannot access the curriculum. 
    • You are not collecting data on AIM and it’s impact.   
    • You’ve purchased publisher’s materials that are NOT accessible. 
    • You have no idea what accessible materials are!  :) 
  • If you have questions: Daniel McNulty, PATINS/ICAM Director:  or  317-387-4153
  • APPLY HERE:    BY SEPT. 28!

8/10/12: Apple Special Ed. Seminar! VI Teacher Audio Interviews, Whitley County Autism Walk, Alternatives To Powerpoint, 2 Great Upcoming Events

Apple Special Ed. Seminar September 13:  Co-Sponsored by PATINS Project and ICASE

ICAM VI Teacher Audio Interviews: If you’ve not yet heard any of the audio interviews that Martha and the ICAM staff are doing with outstanding teachers of the visually impaired, check these out!

iPad Document Camera: A pretty cool stand that will turn your iPad into a Document Camera.  Could be quite useful in some classrooms, where the teacher is walking around with an iPad anyway, to make things larger for increased accessibility to examples, demonstrations, etc.


Whitley County Autism Walk: Sunday Oct. 7, 2:00pm.  1 mile, $10, Includes Walk T-Shirt!


6-Week Long UDL Course from ISTE: 

10 Alternatives To Powerpoint: 

Two More Events to keep an eye on!

  • Nov. 8-9   PATINS State Conference Returns!  Save The Date.  Watch here and on the PATINS Website for Registration info very soon!  AND, we’re still wanting a few more teachers, therapists, admin, IT staff, who are working toward accessibility and are willing to share!  The Call For Proposals will absolutely close 1 week from today on Aug. 17 2012.  Get your Proposal in NOW, by clicking this link:
  • End of Sept/Beg. of Oct.  Parent Webinar nights with ISTE presenters that PATINS will be co-sponsoring with INSOURCE.  Watch for more information on this next week and start thinking about parents that you think could benefit.  There will be 2 locations; one in Indianapolis and one in South Bend.  Space will be limited to 20 parents at each site.

7/19/2012: Announcing NEW ICAM Blog! Big PATINS Changes Reminder, A Few Dates To Put On The Calendar Now!

NEW ICAM Blog Announced! Martha Hammond at the ICAM has started blogging all things AIM, NIMAS & ICAM related on Thursdays via the brand new “ICAM Dispatch.”  I think it’d be a wise decision to take 5 minutes and check it out, subscribe just like you do to this blog and leave Martha some comments, suggestions, etc.  …especially if you are a DRM or serving students with print disabilities.

 First Friday Walk For Autism:  Aug. 3.  This wonderful event helps raise awareness and funds for families in Grant County
living with autism.

Aug. 7:  PATINS Live TV Returns at 11:45am EST

Nov. 8-9: Save The Date:  PATINS 2012 State Conference!  Flyer Here: State Conf 2012 Flyer 1 CFP

ASAP: Still a little time to get your proposal in to present at the PATINS State Conference Nov. 8-9.  Contact me with questions:

A Reminder:
Big PATINS Project Changes!

Several things have now officially changed within the PATINS Project organization that I want to make sure you’re aware of as we get closer and closer to the start of the 12-13 school year.

  1. The SE PATINS Site has moved from Madison to Columbus, IN and as you may know, Tina Jones ( SE Site Coordinator for past 17 years) has retired.  Tina will be missed by many people!  Tina’s replacement as the new SE Site Coordinator is Sandi Mahl.   The email you are currently using to reach the SE Site ( will remain the same, but will be received by Sandi now instead of Tina Jones.  We hope you’ll help us welcome Sandi to the PATINS Team!  More on Sandi to come!  Kelli Suding will be assisting Sandi at the SE Site and Kelli’s email is:  The new SE Physical & Mailing Address: 1200 Central Avenue, Columbus, IN 47201
  2. The NE PATINS Site has also moved, but just a couple miles down the road to the Wabash City Schools Admin Building.  I have handed over the NE Site Coordinator position Julie Kuhn!  We’re also excited to welcome Julie to the PATINS team and more details on her will also be coming soon!  Much like the SE, the NE Coordinator email will still be (, but it will no longer come to me.  It will go only to Julie!  Brandon Culver has also transitioned out of the NE Assistant position and Emily Booth has transitioned in.  Her email is  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. Vicki Hershman has also officially retired 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 have now assumed the role of PATINS State Director.  My new email is: and you may begin using it now.  The Central PATINS location and phone numbers will not change:  Contact Us Page Here
  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 continue to 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 three very valuable PATINS Staff.  Vicki, Tina, and Brandon will all be missed greatly.  I am excited and very optimistic about the new staff joining us and I view this as an exciting opportunity to evolve, adapt & grow!   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 in this coming school year in my new role as well.



5/25/2012: State Conference Call For Papers, SpeakToIt App, Web 2.0 Tools


Submit A Proposal Soon! 
PATINS State Conference 2012

PATINS State Conference 2012 LogoAre You Doing Great Things?  You PROBABLY are and may not even realize it or might not consider it that great, but just think about it for a moment.

  • Could another educator somewhere in IN 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!


Speaktoit:  A friend of mine, who is legally blind, is pretty techy and likes to do things with is phone like update facebook and twitter, navigate websites, send texts and emails, etc.  He’s got an Android phone an uses an app called Speaktoit Assistant.  We’ve been playing with it on the weekends now for a few months and it seems to do most of what he needs his phone to do.  It has an Apple version as well and they state that soon, there will be Windows Phone, Blackberry, and Bada versions.  It’s about a dollar.  Here:

Web 2.0 Tools for Teachers:  According to Jane Hart’s surveys (a crowd-sourced vote over the last 5 years), the 5 most popular web 2.0 tools for teachers in the UK are listed below.  How much are you using any of these 5 powerful free tools?  Anyone care to share how they are using any of these?  Anyone specifically prohibited from using any of these tools in your schools?  Make comments here on the blog and share your ideas.

  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Google Docs
  • Skype
  • WordPress

And here is one that is not so well known yet, but may be worth checking out:

5/11/2012: Winner of the iPevo Camera! Readability App, AppWriter – Dyslexie, Adapted Art on Pinterest, Upcoming Opportunities from Apple, Facebook Accessibility, Present at the PATINS State Conference!

P2V Camera ImageDid you know?  PATINS has a prize drawing for all those that participate in our Training Follow Up Surveys.  Sue Buse from Merrillville Community School Corporation was chosen as the lucky winner for this past quarter and received a Point 2 View USB Camera! Congratualations!


 AppWriter/Dyslexie Font:  A really cool, but not free ($20) app found awhile back by our SW Coordinator, Sandy.

Facebook and Accessibility Resource:

Readability App:  You may have heard me talk about Readability for web browsers before and I’m sure I’ve blogged about it in the past as a way to make reading on the internet much more accessible, easier, and more efficient.  Well, about a month ago the Readability App was released and is free! 

Beth Poss & Adapted Art on Pinterest:


PATINS State Conference 2012 LogoAre You Doing Great Things?  You PROBABLY are and may not even realize it or might not consider it that great, but just think about it for a moment.  Could another educator somewhere in IN 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!


Some Upcoming Opportunities from Apple:

“Our next round of events focusing on Special Needs will be hosted in

Wichita, KS, Omaha, NE and Rosemont, IL.  It’s not designed to be a “training” but instead

a learning opportunity for schools to learn more as they make assistive

technology decisions.”  -Joseph Lee, Apple, Inc.

Here are the URL’s to register:

4/27/2012: AIM To Start Early Part 3 Webinar Video is Ready! 2012 Tech Expo Last Week, Submit To Present At the PATINS State Conference Nov 2012!

AIM To Start Early: AIM for Young Children with Scott Marfilius and Kelly Fonner  Part 3 WEBINAR RECORDING NOW AVAILABLE.  It has been captioned and is ready for viewing and taking the PGP certification.

Watch it right here:

OR watch this video, the first 2 parts of this series, and  ALL of the other PATINS Videos here:  


2012 PATINS Tech Expo last Thursday was attended by about nearly 600 people and went extremely well!  We had

PATINS State Conference 2012 LogoSubmit To Present!  …at the 2012 PATINS State Conference!  Call For Proposals is OPEN and now with the Tech Expo behind us, we can focus our attention on the return of the State Conference to Indianapolis!  We have two amazing and exciting Keynote Speakers already booked, a great location and are looking for those of you who are doing exciting things in your classrooms and schools to provide Accessible Instruction to all of your students!  At the VERY LEAST, mark your calendars now for November 8-9, 2012, Downtown Indianapolis!


Next Week: STEM Apps and Software, Some Important Dates and more!


11/11/2011: ATIA Chicago, CASE 2011, Waiting for Someone Else, PATINS Info

ATIA Chicago: This year I presented 3 sessions at ATIA Chicago and would be happy to replicate these trainings for your district here in Indiana at your request.  Just ask!  Here are some Key Points from the Assistive Technology Industry Association Chicago Conference.  

  1. TWITTER FEED: If you’re interested in looking back at the Tweets from this conference, here is the Twitter Hashtag: #ATIA11
  2. Text To Speech and/or Text To Audio represents a nice step in the direction of providing instructional materials to all students in a format they can best access.  We seem to be doing a pretty descent job with that part in many areas of the state.  NOW, we have to be able to take our “techie” hats off and put our “teacher” hats back on.  We have to still teach reading skills.  Giving an iPad to a student with a NIMAS book converted to an ePub and using VoiceOver is great, but it’s not enough.  We still have to teach reading comprehension skills to that student, using that medium.
  • There are FAR more kids reading online than offline now.  Do you feel that reading online is the same as reading offline or does it involve some different/additional skills?  If so, are you teaching those skills specific to the type of reading that the majority of kids are doing (online reading)?
  • Further, studies have shown that some of the best offline readers are the worst readers online and vice verse.  This, I think, offers some very serious considerations for educators who think they are teaching reading in schools.  Check this out:   Also, related article “7 Myths about BYOD,”
  • 70% of people have cell phones.  70%!   That’s huge.  How is that number impacting what you’re doing in school?

CASE 2011: This year I presented 1 sessions at CASE and would be happy to replicate this training for your district here in Indiana at your request.  Just ask!  Some Key Points from the Council of Administrators of Special Education National Conference

  1.  TWITTER FEED: If you’re interested in looking back at the Tweets from this conference, here is theTwitter Hashtag: #CASE11
  2. Planning, Planning, Planning.   The need to be systematic in thinking in a way that INCLUDES training and professional development of staff is KEY to success.  This, to me, seemed to be a definite theme here at the CASE Conference and was strongly reinforced this morning when I learned of a school district deciding to take back all of the 1:1 devices they’d given to students because of some difficulties.  Planning to implement something like 150 iPads to students MUST include a plan for training of the professionals.  However, be cautious of planning TOO MUCH for TOO LONG.  There must be a balance and on one side we have the district recalling 2000 devices because of a possible lack of planning and on the other side we have the district who’s had 20 iPads and laptops sitting in boxes for 1.5 years because their plan isn’t ready yet.  I don’t feel it’s that difficult to come up with a good middle-ground.  Some other key points from the conference that are worth considering.
  • #1 Concern of co-teachers regarding implementation of alternate formats?  TIME
  • There’s really only ONE purpose for what we do in schools.  It is ALWAYS to improve achievement.
  • If there are any policies in a district that are not directly aligned with improved student achievement, reconsider those policies immediately.
  • IEP Decisions regarding AT, AIM or anything else should not depend on a vote.  They should require CONSENSUS.
  • 7000 Students in the US drop out of school every day.  This is believed to often stem from reading difficulties.
  • When a student is working hard on phonetic decoding, most working memory is used and not available for comprehension.
  • Even for those of us who have a deep belief that All Students CAN learn, the time has come for us to realize that the word , “CAN” puts the emphasis on the system.  If we change “CAN” to “WILL,” more of the onus on the individual, the teacher, the facilitator, etc.  In your head, change your “CAN” to “WILL LEARN,” on a daily basis.
  • And Finally, a quote and an accompanying short video:
    • John Sculley 1987,  “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”  (Apple)

Stuck?  Still Waiting For Someone Else To Fix Things For You?


Lately, I’ve gotten many requests from new educators and also experienced educators who just aren’t familiar with PATINS, which is great!  So, I thought I’d share this short 5-min video again.  Please feel free to share it with others and also check out all of the PATINS videos on AIM at our YouTube Channel here:

PATINS Informational 5-Minute Video:

More Next Week!