Saturday, October 31, 2009

Conference Update - ATIA Chicago - Day 2 - Wrap up

Well...Day 2 has come and gone. More great sessions and networking opportunities.

Highlights from the day:

  • "Profiling Professional Development" - presented by the AT team from Loudoun County VA. They highlighted a survey they conducted with their teachers to determine training needs. Great examples of training strategies. Best Prize of the day: Tech Tip Daily Desk Calendar! Thanks Karen and Chris.
  • Looking for a podcast about AT - check out Chris's at
  • Winner for most interesting session of the day: "Creating Accessible Text and Digital Reading on the iPOD" by Dan from PATINS (IN). Dan went through many examples of software tools (mostly free - some cheap) for both the MAC and PC platform. Great resources - great examples - great job Dan!
Overall, the first ATIA conference has been a great success and I am sure will continue on here in Chicago for many years.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Conference Update - ATIA Chicago - Day 1 - Wrap up

The first day was a success! Lots of sessions - good products in the vendor hall - excellent networking opportunities.

Some of the highlights:

  • Session called "Budget Boosters: Inexpensive Software for Reading, Writing and Studying" by Kevin Reinhardt and Sherri Parkins from Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology. Outstanding resources and I learned about my new favorite free software tool: DSpeech by Dimio. Click here for the web page. Nice Text to Speech, good voices and the ability to convert files to mp3! Great job
  • QIAT presented the new indicators focusing on Post Secondary students (QIAT Grows Up). Good application of the indicators for this population. Next up: QIAT indicators focused on employees and Voc Rehab. Looking forward to participating!
  • From the vendor hall: Don Johnston was highlighting the NEW SOLO 6 suite of programs. Check it out here. Some features that jump out right away: no more student login (YES!), new voices (much better!) and a really nice new design for Co:Writer.
Overall - Day 1 was a hit. Got to reconnect with people and learn about new and exciting options to use with people we support. I am sure it will only get better on Day 2.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Conference Update - ATIA Chicago - Day 1

Well...I am here and ready to learn! Lots of people here for the first ATIA conference held outside Florida. I am just taking a minute to figure out a plan for the day. Gotta love the Sessions-at-a-glance card. Everything highlighted below is something I am interested in - now I just have to decide which sessions to go to.

I will post throughout the conference whenever I get a chance. Well I'm off to the Utopia Room (!) for a session about Smart Boards in the inclusive classroom

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

E-Book Readers: Kindle vs. Nook

Barnes and Noble has finally released their much awaited e-book reader and Kindle-rival: the Nook.

At first glance, the devices look similar. But go a little deeper and some differences emerge. For example, the Nook has a color screen vs. the gray-scale screen of the Kindle. Also, the Nook has a touchscreen which the Kindle does not (no matter how long I use the Kindle I still try to touch items on the screen!). One feature the Nook doesn't have and the Kindle does is Text to Speech. While the TTS is not the best - it is functional for students who need auditory support for print materials.

Want to learn more about these two devices? Click here to read a review from ZDNet.

For a really nice comparison chart, click here to read an article from Gizmodo.

Now I just have to get my hands on a Nook and really check it out!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

SMART Board, Mimio, Promethean...? How do Interactive Whiteboards compare?

We get this question a lot, so I thought I would share some articles out there that do a good job of explaining the differences between Interactive White Boards (aka IWB's)

California Region IV regional center: simple, quick intro

California Region IV regional center: not an exhaustive comparison, but the most salient differences.

Tech&Learning article: provides snapshots of schools that purchased different IWB's.

find any other great comparison articles? share them here! click "comment" below.

Conference Update - NJAET

Just got back from the NJAET conference at Georgian Court University. (New Jersey Association for Education Technology)

Another great conference - kudos to the organizers!

Lots of outstanding sessions - check out the schedule at a glance here. I really enjoyed the diversity of topics - everything from iPODS in education to web 2.0 to 21st century learners. Good networking opportunities and nice vendor hall.

I presented a session entitled, "Free and Cheap Teacher Tools on the Internet". If you are interested - check out the WIKISPACES page here. Thanks to everyone who participated and shared resources!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The Netbook Project - Science

Well, the school year is in full swing and Haley has her first research project. Finally we get to see her Netbook in action. (see the original Netbook post here)

I walked in today to the scene at the right.

She explained that this is a partner project. They have to work together to complete a research project on Telescopes. The project happens both at home and school. She is collecting the facts for the project and her partner is collecting all the images. Then they will work together during school to put the project together.

I asked her how she went about finding her information and she explained the following steps:
  1. She went to Google and typed "telescope history".
  2. After reviewing the first two search results (!) - she went a Wikipedia page titled "History of Telescopes"
  3. That led to the majority of her info + another link led to the Hubble Telescope page.
Now we just need to work on paraphrasing the information and looking for sources beyond Wikipedia! Updates on her grade to follow