Wikipedia Magic

Wikipedia can be manipulated to help our students in a couple of different ways.  By choosing “simple english” from the left-hand column, the text can be simplified and filtered so that it is easier to read and more topic specific.  Near the top of the same column Wikipedia will facilitate creating an exportable, accessible e-text in any language.  These functions allow educators to easily create text material that is not only accessible for all, but current.

Will there be a mistake in some Wikipedia articles?  Yes, sometimes there are.  The benefit is that they are not in a text that will not be changed until the next adoption year.  Another concern expressed occasionally is the accuracy of the contributors.  The process to contribute to an article is different depending on the subject.  To contribute to any article requires an account and log-in.  For more information on who can contribute as well as the rules and guidelines, follow this link  Many of the articles that we as educators are asking students to research are additionally protected from public editing.  These are articles relating to most of the topics that would be found in a textbook and are written and edited by published experts in that field.  To verify that you are using one of these articles, look in the right-hand corner of the article title line for this symbol.  padlock

If you would like a tutorial on these functions, please email me: and I will send you that pdf!

Just in time for last minute shoppers!

Are you a last minute shopper?  Do you put off the gifts that are harder to decide on?  From all of us at PATINS here is a a bit of help.  (It’s what we do!)

Holiday Gift Giving Guide for Purchasing Toys for Children with Disabilities

Activation Method

  • Toys can create frustration when the activation is challenging and complex.  To alleviate frustrations, know how many steps and/or the level of pressure your child will need to activate the toy.

Appealing to the Senses

  • Some toys can be overstimulating; whereas others may lack the sensory needs for a child. Individualize toys by considering the texture and smell.  Think about color contrasts and if the toy lights up when engaged.  Will the movement and level of sounds be appealing?  


  • Toys should be easily washed and sanitized.   Check to see if the toy is resistant to moisture.  Think about if it is appropriate for the size and strength of the child.  There should be little or no risk of toy parts being easily broken into small pieces.  

Foster Independence

  • Think about toys that will need minimal or no assistance at all from another individual for the child to engage.  Purchasing switch adaptive toys or modifying toys for switch activation yourself is an excellent way to make that happen.

How the Toy will be Used

  • Make sure the toy can be used in multiple ways and that it has adjustable features based on the needs of the child.  Think about positioning and the space needed when the toy is activated.  Could the toy be mounted to a wheelchair if necessary?

Interest Level

  • Think about the interests and talents of the child.  Does the toy foster and build on those interests?  While the child may be interested in the toy in a home setting, ask yourself if the child would feel comfortable using the toy in a public setting.  Children want to fit in with their peers and/or classmates.

Can the Child Create a Gift for Someone with the Toy?

  • Being able to make and give a special gift provides the child with a sense of pride and accomplishment, and seeing the gift used year after year, confirms those positive feelings.  For instance, stringing beads to give to family members as garlands for the Christmas tree.



An Alternative to PowerPoint

Many of our students need a different way to present what they have learned.  Either they are not writers,do not like to stand up in front of others, or many other differences.  Storify offers an easy and engaging way to present a topic.

Storify Logo

Sign-up is free  You can even link this account with your Facebook and Twitter accounts.  Once you create your account, starting a “story” is easy.

  1. Choose “New Story” (a green button in the upper right hand corner).
  2. Give your story a headline and a description.
  3. Start searching the internet for your story.  Think of each article as a powerpoint slide.  Use each different piece to tell a part of your story.
  4. Drag and drop the images, Facebook postings, Gifs, Internet articles all into the middle of the page.  Reorder them as you like by also dragging and dropping them.
  5. When finished, choose publish.
  6. In the upper left hand corner there is a green button that says “Published”  Use that to look at your finished product.
  7. Within the published story view you can notify someone that you have used their post in your Storify story.  You should do this.  I always like to see when something of mine is being passed around.
  8. Still within this view you can:  Share, Make the story Private, Export it, and get a code to embed it on a web page

Most importantly, from this page you can change the template of the story and create a slide show.  Once this is done, you have a moving living presentation!

Screen shot of part of the Storify page shows where to change the template and the options of Grid and Presentation

Here is an example that I will be using at IBEA (Indiana Business Educators Association) Conference on Friday, 11/20/2016!

One note of warning.  When using GIF’s and pictures, this becomes un-accessible to the blind.  Keep that in mind as you choose your content.  Also make sure that any videos in the story are also closed captioned so as not to exclude learners who are deaf.
Here is a quick Story that I made on Tony Stewart to practice.  This story took less than 10 minutes to make.

Proloquo2Go is 1/2 off!

Just a quick post to let you know!

Proloquo2Go 50% discount starts now!

It is here! Proloquo2Go 4.1, with full Spanish and bilingual support, is available on the App Store now!

Proloquo2Go will be discounted with 50% until Friday, October 2, 11:00 CEST (5 am EDT, 2 am PDT, 19:00 AEST). Don’t speak Spanish? No problem, this discount is for everyone.

Get Proloquo2Go now and save US$ 125!

Proloquo2Go logo, Dancing Owl

AEM Grant Deadline 9/28 and Notes in iOS9

Are you ready to take the next step towards accurately identifying students who need reading accommodations and determining, which accommodations they receive most benefit from.  Then you need the PATINS 2015 AEMing for Achievement Grant.  PATINS – ICAM provide this guidance, technical assistance and access to uPAR and Snap & Read at no cost to your district beginning October 5th and continuing until you feel successful and comfortable or until June 30th, 2016.  You’ll have access to uPAR and Snap & Read for a full calendar year from Oct. 5th. 

To receive this grant you have to APPLY NOW!

Every Wednesday from 8-9pm I participate in #ATchat on Twitter.  This week we spoke about iOS 9 and the updates it is bringing.  Here is one of my favorites:

What’s New in iOS 9 for Accessibility, Luis Perez:

For more information:  25 new iOS 9 features that are rocking our world.

Notes on the iPad and iPhone has been upgraded.  It has some fun and functional new features like formatting and sketches!  Read all about it here:  Meet the new notes.


PATINS/ICAM and Dyslexia

Today Martha Hammond, Coordinator of Library Services for the Indiana Center for Accessible Materials (ICAM) put out an informative blog on the topic of Dyslexia, what services we provide and how to access them.  I would like to encourage everyone to read this post:   Then I would like to point you to a way to receive focused assistance in achieving your goals towards meeting all students needs.

Don't miss the target. Target with dart in the bullseye.  PATINS Project AEMing for Success Grant Logo

PATINS is proud to announce:

AEMing for Achievement Grant Opportunity!
Deadline to Apply – Sept. 28, 2015!

Bring Your District Into Compliance & Improve Student Performance.

This intensive technical assistance and guidance will help your district more accurately identify students who need reading accommodations and more specifically, which accommodations they receive most benefit from.  This is grounded largely within the national movement toward “Accessible Educational Materials” (AEM) and increased federal focus on student achievement and outcome data.  Information about the 7 AIM Indicators can be found on the CAST website. 

PATINS – ICAM provide this guidance, technical assistance and access to uPAR and Snap & Read at no cost to your district beginning October 5th and continuing until you feel successful and comfortable or until June 30th, 2016.  You’ll have access to uPAR and Snap & Read for a full calendar year from Oct. 5th.

The formal purpose of this grant opportunity is to assist LEAs in providing Accessible Educational Materials (AEM), which are specialized formats of print-based instructional materials, to students with print disabilities AND identifying students who require reading accommodations and which reading accommodations that are best for them individually. Working closely with LEA representatives, PATINS/ICAM will offer guidance on developing, improving and sustaining an effective and efficient system for providing AEM and Assistive Technology (AT) as needed, in a timely manner and in compliance with the IDEA reauthorization of 2004.

Intensive and focused assistance from the PATINS Project/Indiana Center for Accessible Materials (ICAM) will be LEA-focused and will proceed in accordance with an individualized Action Plan collaboratively developed and agreed upon by the LEA’s AEM Coordinating Committee and the PATINS Project/ICAM designated staff. Assistance will be provided to the LEA personnel involved in the provision of accessible instructional materials for students with qualifying print disabilities.

If you have any additional questions or want to share, please refer to the AEMing for Achievement Grant Opportunity Handout!  Act fast, the deadline to apply is Sept. 28, 2015!


Apply Now!



Good News, Quiz and Changes!

What do you want first?  The good news, or the bad news?  Too bad!  I only have good news, so that is all you are going to get! 🙂

Changes – With every school year there are a few personnel changes.  At PATINS, we have had some too:

  • Chadd Smith is now the Director of Technology for Washington Community Schools.  He will be greatly missed, but all of us at PATINS wish him well!  
  • Stepping up to take his place is our own Jeff Bond!  His new title is ICAM Technology Coordinator.  
  • Filling Jeff’s shoes as the Central Coordinator is Kelli Suding (previously our Data, Analytics and Networking Coordinator).  

These changes are facilitating new email addresses for many of us.  You can reach any of the PATINS/ICAM staff by our first initial and last name followed by  

Here the staff emails that have changed:

Our previous email addresses are still active for the time being, (they will be going away soon) so please add these new ones and begin using them instead.  You may have noticed Martha Hammond and Bev Lau are included on this list.  Previously their email addresses included “icam” their emails are now the same as ours!

Quiz – I have done this interesting quiz from edSurge before.  It always beats me, but, I always find interesting EdTech to explore.  This time was no different.

Quiz Results Graphic showing a beaver-like Pokemon with results:  You Scored 60%

The quiz asks you to guess whether a name is an EdTech startup or a Pokemon.  Follow this link to the quiz and see how you fare.

News – In the news this week, Alpha Sigma Alpha Sorority at Murray State University, located in western Kentucky, gained a special new sister, Alexis Cain.  SW Coordinator Sandy Stabenfeldt’s daughter Courtney is a member of that sorority and a friend of Alexis.  Watch this video for the full story and be prepared to smile!

AT According to Lewis Carroll

Today I have enlisted a guest writer for the Rapid Fire Blog.  Mr. Lewis Carroll, author of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”.  The book was written 1865 and you might think he won’t have any insight in reference to assistive tech.  I mean really, the typewriter wasn’t invented until 1873, the hearing aid in 1880!  Still, you might be surprised.

“My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.”

There are so many aspects of education where this quote has meaning.  None more pertinent than back to school time where we are reminding our students of what they already knew while encouraging them forward into a new knowledge set.

“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”

For students with AT there always seems to be a time where they want to try to fly without their supports.  The need to grow and push is the center of their existence.  As professionals, it is our job to encourage this growth and exploration while maintaining a safe path back to their supports.  Perhaps it is not just a personal choice.  As students change grade levels, new technology becomes the standard while old friends are left behind.  iPads give way to Chromebooks and as their support, we need to know where to find the tools they need across platforms.

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
“I don’t much care where –”
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

A subtle reminder to consider the Student, Environment, Task, and Tools. (Joy Zabala SETT Framework)

“Curiouser and curiouser!”     

This is the goal for all of our students.  We hope that they want to learn and access more and more information!  Recently I stumbled upon a site that just might help fuel that curiosity, Wonderopolis.  It was created by the National Center for Families and Learning and currently holds 1501 Wonders of the Day and 436 Wonder Guides.  According to their website, “our Wonders of the Day® will help you find learning moments in everyday life—ones that fit in with dinner preparations, carpool responsibilities, a stolen moment between breakfast and the bus, or within school curriculum and education programs.”  Wonderopolis has won many awards and contains engaging information and text supports for students.


“Have I gone mad?” “I’m afraid so.
You’re entirely Bonkers.
But I will tell you a secret,
All the best people are.”

You may wonder this, or confirm it, through this school year, but remember we are here to help!

See you at the PATINS State Conference – November 4 & 5  Registration is Open



Does AT make a difference?

This is the question asked by Karen Janowski in her recent “Teaching Every Student Blog”.  As you can guess, the answer is a resounding YES!  As we start this new year it is something that we who see it every day should take the time to pass on to our peers.  The importance of Assistive Technology to our students is immediate and essential to their ability to learn.  If you are looking for examples to inspire those who have doubts, please share the following:  Karen Janowski

There are many ways to go about choosing the best assistive technology.  The following guidelines and resources are my favorite and they are all cost free!

  • PATINS  If you are a public educator in the state of Indiana, please contact your Regional Coordinator for any assistance you may need.  From suggestions to borrowing a specific piece of technology, we are there to help!
  • SETT Framework – Student, Environments, Tasks, and Tools: A guideline that puts choosing AT in perspective.
  • Reading – Does the student qualify for Accessible Educational Materials?  Would they benefit from them?
    • AIM Explorer – “a free simulation that combines grade-leveled digital text with access features common to most text readers and other supported reading software. Magnification, custom text and background colors, text-to-speech (synthetic and human), text highlighting, and layout options are presented in a logical sequence to help struggling readers decide which of these supports might help them to access and understand text.”
    • PAR (Protocol for Accommodations in Reading) – Don Johnston Inc.  “The PAR manual helps you determine the most suitable reading accommodations for specific students by assessing their individual needs. Anyone on the IEP team can administer PAR to systematize how reading accommodations are recommended on a student level or across the school district.”

There are a lot of new teachers out there this year.  Don’t assume that they are familiar with these resources and PATINS.  Continue to be a good role model for them and pass this information along as needed.

Happy New Year - with confetti Have an outstanding 2015/16!






Summertime = Training time!

The Indiana Department of Education, Summer of eLearning 2015 is on and the PATINS Project Coordinators are presenting all over.  Here’s a quick look at where to find us!  Here is a link for more details on the conferences and their content.

Where to find us!

6/8              Greencastle Tech Con. – Greencastle High School

6/9              iPossibilities and Beyond – Center Grove High School

6/9 & 10      Connecting the 4C’s Conference –  Mt. Vernon Sr. High School

6/10 & 11    WISE15 – Northfield Jr/Sr High School

6/10 & 11    Making a Splash with Digital Learning – Batesville High School

6/11 & 12    WeLearn – Yorktown High School

6/14 & 15    We R Richmond Tech Expo – Richmond High School

6/15 & 16    Empowering Students With Technology – Lawrence North High School

6/16 & 17    eLEAD Madison County – Anderson University

6/16 & 17    iPadpaloozaIN –  Noblesville High School

6/23 & 24    Digipalooza – Scottsburg Middle School

6/25 & 26    PV trAnSfoRM eLearning Conference – South Vermillion Middle School

7/8 & 9        EVSC eRevolution Teaching & Learning Conference- Evansville North H.S.

7/9              Google EdCamp – Chapel Hill 7-8th Center

7/14             Indianapolis Public Schools – Elementary Grades Special Education,

7/14 & 15    We R Richmond eLearning Expo – Richmond High School

7/14 & 15   AlicElearning Blended Learning in the eWonderland – Clark Middle School, Vincennes

7/16            Indianapolis Public Schools – Upper Grades Special Education

7/21            IntegratED – East Noble High School

7/27 & 28    e3 Tech Conference – Warsaw Community High School

7/24           Clark County Connected Conference – Jefferson High School

What are we talking about?

Good AEM Makes A Difference

Sifting Through eReader Apps

iPads and UDL


Top Ten Ways to Access the iPad

iPad Accessibility for All

Avatars in the Classroom

UDL – Unpacked and Simplified, Chromebook

Chrome Web Store and Accessibility

Would you like to see one of these trainings at your school?  Please contact any of us and we’ll make it happen!