March 1st is fast approaching and unless Congress acts that means all education programs, and many other important federal programs will be cut by 5.1% on March 2nd.
With only THREE days until Sequestration cuts take affect, NOW is the time to reach out to your members of Congress. Tell them to stop cuts to education and other programs that are vital to children and youth with disabilities, their families and the professionals who work with them.
To see state by state data on the impact of Sequestration, please see these profiles released by the White House.
How can you help? Send a letter to your members of Congress today through CEC’s Legislative Action Center. Tell Congress that a temporary fix is not enough – we must protect our investments in children, youth and education.
National CASE Conference Highlights: I had planned to share some points from the CASE Conference today, but the conference is still going on the 2nds half of today and tomorrow, I will wait until next week.
iOS 6 Features Explained: Here’s a short video made by our friend Joseph Lee, demonstrating Text To Speech and Guided Access in the new iOS6 software for the iDevices. Guided Access can be used to restrict a student to one app. Generally speaking, I’m fairly anti-restriction, but I recognize that there are conditions which may required it. Here’s the video: https://www.dropbox.com/s/3hzwht1uoka9av7/Guided%20Access%20and%20Text%20to%20Speech.m4v
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.
TWITTER FEED: If you’re interested in looking back at the Tweets from this conference, here is the Twitter Hashtag: #ATIA11
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)?
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
TWITTER FEED: If you’re interested in looking back at the Tweets from this conference, here is theTwitter Hashtag: #CASE11
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: www.youtube.com/user/PATINSProject
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.