2/11/2011: Readability, SHIFT Planning, iPad Evaluation in Education, Plug Into PATINS, Shorten URLs Easily

2011 PATINS TECH EXPO April 13
(No Cost & PGP’s)



SHIFT: It seems like I’ve been meeting quite a lot lately with school district teams interested in creating plans for systemic change within, so when I came across this SHIFT model from Don Johnston a couple weeks ago at ATIA, I thought it was certainly worth sharing:  www.donjohnston.com/prof_services/shift/index.html

Join The Discussion! This month, a discussion about barriers that exist in a digital curriculum is taking place in the Accessible Instructional Materials Community on The Learning Connection!  Join in!

iPad Evaluation in Education:

Are you As PLUGGED-IN to the PATINS Project As You Could Be?

PATINS is on YouTube with a really nice video series on Accessible Instructional Materials Considerations, in iTunes with the ICAM-DRM Podcast Series, on Twitter and Facebook with frequent tips and tricks and of course, there are lots of great free resources on the ICAM Website.  Click any of the images below to explore! 


iTunes Image DRM Podcast Link




Finally For This Week, My 2 New Favorite Web Based Tools:

  1. bit.ly: Ever have REALLY long url’s that you’re trying to share?  Use this to shorten them, and even customize them.  Really useful when you’re limited to 140 characters like with Twitter!  For example, look what it did to the URL for the PATINS Second Life Island:

  • Readability: This is an example of what’s referred to as a bookmarklet.  It allows you to create a bookmark for use in your web browser, but this bookmark doesn’t necessarily mark a spot on the internet, instead when you’re on a website and you click this Readability Bookmarklet, it instantly strips down the site into a very readable format that you can specify!   Check it out:  www.readability.com

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

10/22/10: ICE Conference, 35th Anniversary of IDEA, AIM National Center State Comparison, Digital Story Telling with 2nd Graders, Quick NIMAS File Tip,

ICE 2010 Conference: Having had the opportunity to attend the ICE Conference this year, I have several free apps worth sharing.  Check some of these out, by:

1.  Go to the iTunes Store and click on Power Search on the left side under Quick Links:


2.  Then, select APPS from the drop-down on the left:


3.  Now, type in the keywords I’ve listed below into the first search box.


  • Math Quizzer: Chalkboard like.
  • Alien Equation
  • Number Sense
  • Multiply Free
  • Clocks For Kids
  • Shape Builder
  • Graph It
  • Envision Math (Pearson)
  • Math Formulas
  • Number Munchers
  • Math Fact Drills
  • iLive Math & Science
  • Math Missing
  • Coin Math!!
  • Lemonade Tycoon
  • Kg Counting
  • Kids Numbers Game
  • Addition Coach
  • Hangmath
  • Chicktionary
  • Word Warp
  • Pocket Phonics
  • ABC Tracing and More
  • Reading A-Z Books (12 free)

Got IDEAS? If you have a personal experience with IDEA, or have witnessed its impact, we hope to hear from you! As part of our celebration, we are welcoming stories, poetry, photography, art work and video clips from individuals with disabilities, students, teachers, principals, researchers, parents, teacher trainers and others across the country for possible inclusion during the celebration. Submissions will be accepted through November 8, 2010, on OSERS’ 35th anniversary of IDEA Web site. The website is now live!  You can access it through the link here:  www.osep-meeting.org/idea35th

Check out Indiana & Compare to other States: The National Center on Accessible Instructional Materials has a nice resource here.  Check out Indiana.

Digital Story Telling with Second Graders! This week , I began the process of Digital Story Telling for a class of 2nd graders.  We began by having the students shoot digital photos while on a field trip to a local Camp, documenting their activities, animal tracks, leaves, flowers, nuts, etc.  I have to say this went extremely well.  The students were quite respectful of the school’s digital cameras, were very proficient at using them (some great little photogs!)  and we didn’t have a single problem with damage, drops, lost parts, etc.  I will continue with this class in a couple of weeks by working with the teachers to implement Digital Story Telling using some free software, the student’s own digital images, text, sounds, music, etc.  Eventually, we will share these with an authentic audience by posting the videos on the teacher’s blog.  Whether or not the sound of that sounds intimidating to you, I think most teachers would have to agree that it really doesn’t even compare to something like, “OK, class, now get your empty book and we’re going to write about our experience on the field trip.”

  • Digital Story Telling is a FREE ONLINE workshop that is coming up as well: January 7, 2010 3:00pm-4:30pm  (After School).  Remember to check out our online training calendar here and also to request specific trainings from us at other times! www.patinsproject.com/training.html

17 Digital Story & Literacy Resources for Kids: Speaking of Digital Story Telling, here’s 17 resources Sandy found that are worth sharing!

QUICK TIP (Thanks again Sandy):  For NIMAS files and Victor Reader Streams; Sandy let us know this week that if you have a textbook nimas file thatis bigger than 5mb, you cannot put it in the $VRDTB folder on the Victor Reader Stream like you would with other, smaller book files.  This should be corrected in an upcoming version updates, but for now you can put the XML file in $VRText; which supports 100mb size files.

Have a Great Weekend Image

9/17/10: iTunes Account w/out Credit Card, Learning Connections Groups, AT – Access – IEPs & the Law, PATINS Lending Libraries


Learning Connections! Don’t forget to join the Learning Connections Communities: Accessible Instructional Materials,” ICAM,” andAT & UDL.

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!

Survey Here: www.surveymonkey.com/s/2010NeedsAssessment1


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:

(1) Wheelchairs.

(2) Braces.

(3) Glasses.

(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:

(1) item;

(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.

(3) Selecting, designing, fitting, customizing, adapting, applying, maintaining, repairing, or replacing assistive technology devices.

(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.

(4) The:

(A) academic;

(B) developmental;

(C) communication; and

(D) functional;

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.

– 84 –

(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!

Have a Great Weekend Image


PATINS_Island Labeled Map

(Download a larger version of the PATINS ISLAND map above by clicking on it)

As you know, you may request a training, workshop, or presentation from PATINS Staff at any time.  However, as a state, we are moving rapidly away from face-to-face trainings and beginning to utilize more online tools.
PATINS would like some input from you as we schedule trainings for the 2010-2011 school year. Your input is greatly appreciated and will help us to prepare for and schedule trainings that will benefit you most!

Please take 2 or 3 minutes to complete this Training Needs Assessment For us?
Click Here: www.surveymonkey.com/s/2010NeedsAssessment1

Of course, I’ve been blogging about Second Life, Skype and virtual learning for several years now, but many education professionals seem to have put it on the back burner unfortunately.  Well, the time has come when educators really have to be ready, willing and able to not only learn online, but also begin to think about TEACHING online!  The survey above will greatly help us in planning online trainings for you and your school during this 2010-2011 school year and we really appreciate your time in filling out that survey.

PATINS has several methods for providing you the live training you need, when face-to-face training simply is not an option.  These are ALL FREE for you to use with us.   These include:

  • Second Life…for an immersive, 3D, workshop-like, interactive experience
  • Skype for person to person video calling
  • Tokbox for multiple person video conferencing
  • GoToMeeting for desktop sharing and voice conversations

We also have several other options such as:

  • A weekly or monthly live show type of format
  • Video tutorials accessible 24/7
  • A NIMAS/ICAM podcast
  • and much more in the works!   Let us know what, how and when will best serve your needs!

Remember:  PATINS has plenty of information including Video Demonstrations on our website for getting started with Second Life, so that you can come visit the Training Facilities we’ve built on the PATINS Second Life Island: www.patinsproject.com/SLEventsCalendar.html

The PATINS Island location is: http://slurl.com/secondlife/PATINS%20Project%20Island/112/102/26

Here’s a link to a document of ours that lists about 50 other educational locations in Second Lifewww.patinsproject.com/SecondLife/SLLandmarks.pdf

Virtuality to Attract & Train 21st Century Teachers:  An Interesting Article in THE JOURNAL; “When Pamela Whitehouse heard about Teach WV, West Virginia’s plan to attract new K-12 teachers and update professional development approaches, the WVU instructional technologist wanted to get involved. She and her team are building spaces in virtual worlds where teachers can experiment with new ways of engaging students.”  Read more here: http://thejournal.com/articles/2010/08/04/tapping-virtuality-to-attract-and-train-21st-century-teachers.aspx

Mass. School District Launching Statewide Virtual School: Another interesting read in THE JOURNAL: http://thejournal.com/articles/2010/08/24/massachusetts-district-to-launch-statewide-virtual-school.aspx

Here’s Some Upcoming (non-PATINS) events online that you may want to know about:

ISTE Island (Second Life): Kyle Gomboy from Reaction Grid speaks (for free) on educators using RG and even hear from a panel of educators currently working there.  Sept. 21, 2010 at 5pm slt, which is 8pm est.  The ISTE Island location in Second Life is: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/ISTE%20Island/92/75/30

AIM (Accessible Instructional Materials) Webinars: The National Center on AIM provides on-going interactive opportunities to develop and extend knowledge about accessible instructional materials through monthly webinars. September webinars will include the monthly “AIM Basics” session and an updated version of a popular spring session, “AIM Center Supports for Decision-Making Teams.”

School Security Virtual Summit: September 21, 10:30 to 3:30 pm  FREERegister Here

Making Assistive Technology Work with Viewer 2:  On Virtual Ability Island in Second Life.  Two Dates:

  • Wednesday, Sept. 1, 5 pm SLT  (8pm EST)
  • Thursday, Sept. 2, 7:30 am SLT and 2 pm SLT (5pm EST)

The following will be discussed:

  • use of joysticks (What kinds are used? How well do they work in SL?).
  • mouse alternatives (What are they? How well do they work in SL?).
  • controls/ buttons that need to be close to each other in the user interface.
  • kinds of skins (appearances of user interface).
  • creating user stories to aid developers.

Contact Us.    Build an Avatar.    Get Online.     Let Us Know How We Can Help

8/13/2010: (Visual Impairment Special) FREE Audio Books, Touch Screen Usage with a Visual Impairment, Apps to Learn Braille.

Free Audio Books! www.techsupportalert.com/free-books-audio?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+gizmosbest+%28Gizmo%27s+Best-ever+Freeware%29

I’ve had some questions recently about using the popular touch-screen types of devices as a blind or visually impaired user and I’ve come across some videos on the subject.  Check these out:

  • Using Nokia Touch Screen Phone:

  • Using iPhone 4G with Braille Display: the video quality here is lacking a bit, but the point he is making is strong, using the iPhone’s VoiceOver and Bluetooth refreshable braille!

  • iPad as a new Note Taker for Blind Users for under $1000:

  • If you are sighted and want to learn braille, there are some apps for that!
  1. Braille Taps will teach you braille in Japanese or English (.99): http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/brailletaps/id305571461?mt=8
  2. Braille 123 (free): http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/braille-123/id352442070?mt=8
  3. Braille Driller (free): http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/braille-driller/id354092789?mt=8
  4. Basic Braille (.99): http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/basic-braille/id326561497?mt=8
  5. iBraille (free): English to Braille or Braille to English.   Free App.  Could be really cool paired with a bluetooth refreshable braille board: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ibraille/id339514511?mt=8
  • David Woodbridge on Using VoiceOver on iPhone 3 /iPad:Cool Demo of using gestures on these devices to access them quite well!

Next Week:  My personal thoughts and experiences with the iPhone Accessibility and more!

5/14/2010: Search For Accessible Books, SL Economy Stats! Tech Expo Photos, Accessibility Personal Stories, iPad Accessibility, iPad Apps, SL Viewer 2,

Hopefully, you made it to the PATINS Tech Expo last Tuesday.  Either way, keep your eyes, ears and QR Code Readers ready for information on next year’s events!
Here’s a few photos from the Tech Expo:

Tech Expo Video StillPATINS Tech Expo Last Tuesday; A few photoshttp://video214.co/play/zLNXG0LE00LojLNfCoHmrQ/s/dark

Accessibility Changes Lives: I’m pretty sure I’ve blogged about this Accessibility resource for Mac computers before, but check out this newer section on personal stories: http://atmac.org/accessibility-changes-lives/

iPad & Accessibility: More from the same resource listed above all about the iPad!  http://atmac.org/ipad-assistive-technology-disability-round-up

Second Life Economy: You’ve probably heard me speak or read my postings on the amount of money exchanged in Second Life before, but here’s some more up to date stats for Quarter 1 of 2010:

  • User-to-User Transactions totaled US$160 million, a 30% increase year-to-year and an all-time high
  • Total Sales on Xstreet reached US$2.3 million, an 82% increase year-to-year and a 24% increase over the previous quarter
  • Total L$ exchanged on the LindeX totaled US$31 million, a 9% increase year-to-year
  • Residents active in the Economy reached 517,349 in March, a 2010 high
  • Monthly Unique Users with Repeat Logins peaked in March at 826,214, a 13% increase year-to-year and an all-time high

…a pretty clear indication to me that this sort of technology, Second Life in particular, is not going away.  Large financial exchanges are happening here and if this much business is taking place, I think we almost have to assume that as educators we must have an awareness at the very least and also be preparing our students to work and train in online virtual immersive environments.  Are we?

Drop Box for iPad: iPad support added for the iPad!  Thanks Jim! FREE! http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dropbox/id327630330?mt=8

A couple other Apps worth checking out (Thanks again Jim):

Second Life Viewer 2.1: on the way!  http://blogs.secondlife.com/community/technology/blog/2010/05/05/on-the-road-to-viewer-21 Hopefully, you’re already using Viewer 2 when you come to most training events on the PATINS Island.  Many people are not used to viewer 2 yet and there are certainly some legitimate complaints about it, but the shared media it offers is powerful!  And we are utilizing Shared Media features of Viewer 2 on the PATINS Island.  Each seat in our Main Auditorium, for example, now has a personal web browser for attendees!  You must be using SL Viewer 2 to utilize them though.

NIMAC Search Image

NIMAC Search Image

Search For Accessible Books: In addition to NIMAS files, which are ideal for your students not able to access printed books, there are many  other resources available to you and many of them are FREE.  Don’t forget that anyone, DRM or Not, is free to use the Library Search feature on the ICAM website:  www.icam.k12.in.us/library.php. Even Non-DRM’s can search the actual NIMAC Library that houses the NIMAS Source Files Federally to see if a particular textbook exists before requesting that your DRM download it.