1/11/2013: Tech Expo 2013 Registration OPEN! South Bend Parent/Family iPad Evening, Easy Larger Text on iPad, PATINS on Facebook

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PATINS TECH EXPO 2013!  REGISTRATION is OPEN!   This year’s Tech Expo will take place on April 18, 2013 at the Fountains in Carmel, IN.  Once again, there is NO REGISTRATION FEE for Attendees!  AND, your lunch is on PATINS and your parking is FREE.


Parent/Family iPad Accessibility Evening:  Are you or do you know of a family in the South Bend, Indiana area who could benefit from an evening of Accessibility Training on the iPad?  Check into this free training opportunity on Feb. 26th at LOGAN, co-hosted by the PATINS Project and INSource.  Flyer Here: Parent iPad Night Flyer 2 26 13



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iPad Image

iPad: Larger Text: Do you always or occasionally need to see your text larger on your iPad or iPhone or iTouch?  There are a couple of really simple options.  Check out this quick Video: Larger Text on iPad Video 


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Follow PATINS on Facebook!  Our SW Coordinator, Sandy Stabenfeldt, does an awesome job of posting great articles, links, videos, and tools to the PATINS Facebook page!  Check it out and “LIKE” it today!   Just click here!   www.facebook.com/pages/PATINS-Project/355404557479?fref=ts



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:  http://www.mediaaccess.org.au/online-media/social-media/facebook

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!   http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/readability/id460156587?mt=8 

Beth Poss & Adapted Art on Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/possbeth/adaptive-art/


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:

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!

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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



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


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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


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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.

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

9/24/2010: Statewide Training Needs, PATINS Training Calendar, Facebook, DRM Podcast, Podcasting in Class, FETC Virtual Conference

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PATINS Trainings & Needs Assessment: Thank You to all  who filled out the online Training Needs Assessment for us these past couple of weeks.  This data really helps the PATINS Team to more effectively plan and coordinate our training offerings for the school year and we appreciate your time!

  • Many FREE trainings will be offered online and in person and can be found on our NEW calendar of Training Opportunities: www.patinsproject.com/training.html
  • Keep an eye on that calendar as trainings will continually be updated and added.
  • You can subscribe to that Training Calendar using these RSS tools in the bottom right corner:
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  • AND, remember you can always request additional trainings from PATINS too!  Just contact your Regional Site Coordinator here:  www.patinsproject.com/contact.html

DRM Podcast ImageNEW DRM Podcast! Are you an Indiana Digital Rights Manager (DRM) ?  PATINS and The Indiana Indiana Center for Accessible Materials (ICAM) present this podcast series of interviews with Indiana Digital Rights Managers (DRM’s) from across the state.  Hear DRM tips, tricks, frustrations, triumphs, and advice. I’ve already recorded the first interview with Kathy Brewster from Indianapolis Public Schools.  You can listen to the episodes individually on this site, subscribe to the podcast through iTunes or subscribe through your other favorite podcast software.
Check it out here:

Podcasting ImageSpeaking of Podcasting: You’ll notice there is a podcasting workshop scheduled (and we can always schedule more).  Podcasts are a great way to receive your own professional development and also a great way to communicate with your students, your student’s parents and a super-great way to engage your students in difficult curriculum by having them, for example, produce a podcast instead of a traditional paper-pencil book report.  AND… bonus; ALL podcasts in iTunes are FREE!  You do need an iTunes account, but remember last week’s blog showed you how to create one w/out a credit card.  Check out this podcasting information from Apple and then contact us to get podcasting with your class!  www.apple.com/itunes/podcasts

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Are you a Friend of PATINS Project on Facebook yet? Find PATINS on Facebook and join in on some discussions taking place.  Simply click the Facebook logo above or right here:  

FETC Conference: FREE & VIRTUAL! I’ve attended this conference virtually for the past couple of years and really enjoyed the experience.  “This amazing virtual conference will immerse you in the latest, most successful education technologies and services—at no charge, and from the convenience of your desktop!”   http://fetc.org/events/virtual-fall-2010/home.aspx?utm_source=AttendeeMktg&utm_medium=E-Mail&utm_campaign=AXFV08

State Buy Opportunities: Remember to check the PATINS State Buy page for hardware and software special deals before making purchases this Fall: www.patinsproject.com/buys.html

7/9/2010: NEW PATINS Staff Contact Details, Surfing & Autism!

New PATINS Staff Contact Info:

Most PATINS Staff will have new contact information including email, phone, fax, physical address starting now!  I’ll keep you updated here as these changes are finalized.  Here are our new email addresses for now:

  • Vicki Hershman (PATINS Director):  vhershman@ciesc.k12.in.us
  • Glenda Thompson (Admin. Asst):  gthompson@ciesc.k12.in.us
  • Daniel G. McNulty (NE PATINS): nepatins@ciesc.k12.in.us
  • Vicky Carlin (NE Asst):  vcarlin@ciesc.k12.in.us
  • Jim Lambert (NW PATINS):  nwpatins@ciesc.k12.in.us
  • Sheri Schoenbeck (NW Asst):  sschoenbeck@ciesc.k12.in.us
  • Jeff Bond (CEN PATINS):  cepatins@ciesc.k12.in.us
  • Tina Jones (SE PATINS): sepatins@ciesc.k12.in.us
  • Sandy Stabenfeldt (SW PATINS):   swpatins@ciesc.k12.in.us
  • Carrie Ownes (SW Asst):  cowens@ciesc.k12.in.us
  • Walt Daigle (Refurbished Computers):  refurbcomputers@ciesc.k12.in.us
  • Martha Hammond (ICAM Lib. Svcs Consultant):  mhammond.icam@ciesc.k12.in.us
  • Lori Cane (ICAM Tech. Coord): lkane.icam@ciesc.k12.in.us

“There’s a Magic out There That Happens”

Autism & Surfing! Any surfer will confirm that there absolutely is a magic out there that happens!  Maybe I’ve found my dream job!   Ok, OK.. so there isn’t a lot of surfing in Indiana, but why not think outside the box now and then.  Things many of us might not ever consider doing in education or for our students with disabilities might just be the answer.  Check out this msnbc.com article that showed last evening on television: http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/story?id=3789295&page=1

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Find PATINS Project on Facebook

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

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

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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!

1/15/2009: Free Tech Expo! 101 Blog Posts! New Free Wiki Service, Technology Reluctant Teachers, ISTE on Facebook, iPhone Voiceover, #EdChat Tuesdays, Windows 7 Accessibility, Talking Powerpoin

Blog Post #101!

Last week was the 100th blog posting since I started doing this instead of sending out my weekly AT ‘newsletters’ to my contacts and I didn’t even realize it was #100 until now!  Since my 50th blog posting, I had planned to do a “Best Of” Blog post when it got to #100 and I totally forgot!   So, I think I will go through the past 101 blog postings in the next few weeks and do a “best of” at that time.

A New Wiki Service: Last week a comment was left here on the blog about a new wiki that some people may be interested in.  I’ve set up an account here myself and played with it a bit and it seems to be very user friendly, have a very nice interface and is free.  You might check it out if you’ve been thinking about starting a wiki for your school or classroom or if you have a wiki now and have been wanting to move it to an easier interface.  www.intodit.com

What’s The Point? An interesting read from Steve Anderson on something most of has have dealt with at least once.  “There is one in every school. There is one in every district. There is that one teacher, no matter what you do, no matter how much time you take, how slow you go, how much one-on-one time you spend with them, there is that one teacher who is not going to integrate technology into their classroom. They dig in their heals. They bury their heads in the sand. They shut the doors to their classroom, leaving technology (and perhaps ultimately quality learning) out in the cold.”  Read the Article here: www.guide2digitallearning.com/blog_steven_anderson/you_want_me_use_my_classroom_what_s_point

VoiceOver iPhone: Last week I blogged about the iPod Shuffle and voiceover… here’s more info on VoiceOver accessibility of the new iPhone.  This might be of particular interest to those attending my presentation at FETC yesterday.  The topic of accessibility of the iphone/itouch for people who are blind was a topic that came up during discussion at the end.

#EdChat on Twitter: “to accommodate teachers in various time zones we have two edchat discussions which take place usually around 12pm NYT (EST) and 7pm NYT (EST).”  http://teacherbootcamp.edublogs.org/2009/08/18/edchat-join-the-conversation/

Windows 7? Surprisingly enough, I’ve talked to a district in Indiana recently that has already decided to go with Windows 7 district wide.  I’m excited to see how it works out for them and hope it all goes very smoothly.  In the meantime, I thought I’d take a closer look at it myself and at least compare the Accessibility Features of the differing versions of Windows.   Compare the accessibility claims of each windows version for yourself here:

Have Your Powerpoint present itself! Quite a while back, Vicki shared this resource with us and I just have been forgetting to blog about it!   This free tool will read/speak your powerpoint presentations, text as it is typed and even hidden text.  Only works in ppt for Windows though, no Mac version.  You must have ppt 2000 or later and Windows XP.  :  http://fullmeasure.co.uk/powertalk/

ISTE on Facebook: International Society for Technology in Education has been on Facebook for a bit and there is some great info and networking going on, such as this wall posting about Presenters needing to understand backchannelingwww.iste-community.org/forum/topics/backchannelinga-skill-for.  Check out ISTE on Facebook!

Person First Language: I know this technically doesn’t have a lot to do with assistive or accessible technologies, but it just so happens that some people I hear doing this MOST, are folks involved in technology of some sort.  I’m just struggling to understand why so many people are still not using person first language.  For example, today I got an email with a link to a USA Today story entitled: “iPhone applications can help the autistic.” Really?  “the autistic?”   How about, “Children or People with autism can benefit from iPhone Apps.”  It is a good article about a good device (iTouch) and a good piece of AAC software for it (Proloquo2Go).   Assistive and Accessible Technologies help people… they don’t help disabilities.

Plan Now:

The PATINS Tech Expo has once again been scheduled for April 20, 2010 from 9am – 4pm at the Jr. Achievement Building in Indianapolis. NO COST to attend! DOOR PRIZES!

Have a Great Weekend!

12/18/2009: Happy Thanksgiving? THANK YOU from PATINS, Open Source Screen Reader NVDA, Remember YOU HAVE Text To Speech Already, and more.

I know I’ve been really bad about updating this blog the last few Fridays in a row!  Things have been quite busy and I apologize.  I hope everyone returned to their classrooms and offices well fed and rested after the Thanksgiving Holiday and are now ready to rest for a few more days before tackling the second semester!    Among MANY other things, I am thankful for all of the educators I work with, talk with, email with and collaborate with who continue to demonstrate daily, their belief that all children can learn and if they are not, it’s because we haven’t provided them access or been creative enough, determined enough or skillful enough with their instruction.

On that note, I think it’s especially important during the upcoming second semester that we all do our best to remain positive, creative and enthusiastic about our instruction and the access we provide our students to it.  Here are a few tools I’ve learned about recently that might be worth checking into while you have a little downtime over the Holiday Break!

NVDA: “a free and open source screen reader for the Microsoft Windows operating system. Providing feedback via synthetic speech and Braille, it enables blind or vision impaired people to access computers running Windows for no more cost than a sighted person. Major features include support for over 20 languages and the ability to run entirely from a USB drive with no installation.”

I met an assistive technology expert on the PATINS Second Life Island one evening from out east somewhere and he shared this tool with me.  He was just searching Second Life for assistive tech related islands and PATINS is where he ended up.  So, we talked for a while and he complimented us on the island build and our efforts in Indiana to think outside the box in order to provide quality technical training and PD online via Second Life.  He continued, telling me how his significant other was blind and felt very strongly that this open source screen reader was just as good as the one she’d paid $1200 for.  Not being a true user of this technology myself, I’m not sure I’m qualified to provided a detailed comparison, but many of you ARE!   Please give it a try and post your comments and feedback here when you can so that others can benefit as well.   http://www.nvda-project.org/

THANK YOU sincerely to all of you who sent letters to Vicki’s office in support of the PATINS Project.  We are doing everything we can to continue providing free services to Indiana K-12 public schools to improve access, participation and progress in the general curriculum by ALL students.  WE APPRECIATE YOUR SUPPORT.

No Cost Text to Speech


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Even though I’ve been blogging about this for 15 months now and it has been sent directly to all my contacts and straight to administration, etc., I am still running into school staff almost daily who are unaware of the opportunity Indiana has provided them with regard to the Don Johnston Read:Outloud Text To Speech Software.  In addition to simple and easy to use Text To Speech, Read:Outloud opens NIMAS textbooks like a dream and offers many more learning and teaching tools like a talking dictionary, talking bibliographer, notes, digital bookmarking, and more.  AND, PATINS staff is available to provide training for your staff on this software as well as free trainings from Don Johnston and also self-paced training online.  …even an option for you to get 3 CRUs just for learning to use the software.

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FREE Dragon Dictate on iPhone: If you use an iPhone, you really must check into this.  I’m using it daily myself.  www.dragonmobileapps.com

Interesting Thoughts: Here on NOT requiring our students to “power down” when they come to school:

ICT: Once again, my good friend Chris from Mississinewa has shared with me a cool resource.  Especially check out some of these tools/resource materials for use with students in their early years: http://ictearlyyears.e2bn.org/resources.html

ISTE Connects: A really nice resource to check out when you have time.  ISTE is the International Society for Technology in Education and does a lot of really great things for teachers and learners.  ISTE has had an island in Second Life dedicated to helping teachers grow for quite some time now.  www.isteconnects.org

PATINS-Project Staff in Second Life Image
PATINS-Project Staff in Second Life Image

Second Life PATINS Island: A little time over break might be perfect for becoming a little more familiar with our PATINS Island for the purpose of technical training, professional development and online meetings.  If you would like me to meet you on our island on break I will be happy to do so.  I will be in SL quite a bit over break anyway, building the University of Indianapolis’s Island, which they plan to start teaching in by January!  Here’s a bunch of resources to get you started in SL:

Region 8 ESC On Facebook:

Have a great Holiday Break everyone and I look forward to working with you again soon!

Have A Great Holiday