Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Web 2.0 Wednesday: Typing Web

Visit this website for free on line typing tutorials. Great for any age and ability level.

Typing Web

For educators, the site also has a Teacher Portal.

According to the website:

TypingWeb's proven typing curriculum, combined with the ability to manage, grade, and report on your students.

  • Absolutely, 100%, FREE
  • Grade and track progress and improvement.
  • Create & manage your student roster.
  • TypingWeb's full, engaging typing curriculum.
  • Save your school tons of money!
  • Perfect for schools, companies, & parents.
Have you used this site? Leave a comment and tell us about your experience.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Digital Book Report

Here is an exciting way to encourage students to read a book and interpret it: Alan Sitimer’s Digital Book Report Contest.

Have your students pick their favorite book or a book from your lesson plan and create a song, performance, or debate. Tell them to crack open their creativity and use music, props, and costumes! But make sure that it covers the core standards.
Entries must be in by October 28.

Winners will receive a portion of $20,000 in prizes and, of course, bragging rights.

Alan Sitomer, creator of BookJam, was named California’s 2007 Teacher of the Year. He is also the author of many books that engage young adult readers.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Podcast: A Universal Design for Learning Approach to RtI

This is one in a series of podcasts recorded live at the Texas Assistive Technology Network (TATN) Statewide conference this past June. These podcasts feature nationally known speakers talking about a wide range of topics related to assistive technology.

This episode features Kelly Fonner and the title of the podcast is: A Universal Design for Learning Approach to RtI.

Click HERE to listen to the audio podcast.

Click HERE for the interview transcription.

Do YOU have an idea for a future podcast? Leave a comment with your suggestion for either a speaker or a topic. We will work to honor those requests in future podcasts.

Happy Listening!

Friday, September 24, 2010

TLC Spotlight - LapDawg Pug

Whats new in the TLC...




The LapDawg Pug - The LapDawg Pug is designed to hold your laptop just like a mini-table for your bed, chair, or couch. Features: Built in silent USB powered cooling fan, right and left felted mouse pad areas, adjustable laptop viewing angles up to 40 degres and 3 adjustable height levels. The LapDawg Pug, protects your body from the heat of your laptop, promotes healthier ergonomic postures, removes the wait of your laptop from your lap, reduces neck and lower back stress. Check out the video.

video
What do you think? Do you want to TRY IT before you BUY IT? Then join our Technology Lending Center. Click here to join today!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Do you want to organize your paper and digital files?

How many of us wish we could be more organized? OK...put your hands down and check this new USB thumb drive from Verbatim.



Called the Clip It USB drive - this memory drive is available in either 2GB or 4GB memory. The design feature that makes this USB drive so unique is that it is not only a USB drive but it is a paper clip too!

Even with the increase in digital files - we all still have paper files to keep track of. This type of support will allow anyone with organizational issues to keep paper files and digital files in the same place. No more searching for the digital file that corresponds to a piece of paper or vice versa. The available color coding could be an additional support for remembering where information is.

What do you think? Will this device help people with organizational issues? Leave a comment and tell us what you think.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Video: The Case Against AT

Here is a great video that is worth sharing.





Please feel free to share with others.

Web 2.0 Wednesday: Busy Teacher

For this week's web resource, we will highlight a website that offers teachers free, printable worksheets.

Check out Busy Teacher!

There are thousands of free worksheets available at the site, sorted into the following categories:
  • Grammar
  • Vocabulary
  • Speaking
  • Reading
  • Listening
  • Writing
  • Pronunciation
  • Teaching Ideas
Visit the website and look around. Did you find something useful? Let us know by leaving a comment.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Podcast: “First Steps” for Families Implementing AAC Systems -A Model Program


This is one in a series of podcasts recorded live at the Texas Assistive Technology Network (TATN) Statewide conference this past June. These podcasts feature nationally known speakers talking about a wide range of topics related to assistive technology.

This episode features Tracy Kovach and the title of the podcast is “First Steps” for Families Implementing AAC Systems: A Model Program.

Click HERE to listen to the audio podcast.

Click HERE for the interview transcription.

Do YOU have an idea for a future podcast? Leave a comment with your suggestion for either a speaker or a topic. We will work to honor those requests in future podcasts.

Happy Listening!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Voki in the Classroom


Get a Voki now!

TLC Spotlight - iPazzPort Handheld Keyboard

What's New in the TLC...

iPazzPort Bluetooth handheld keyboard and Mouse Touchpad.

This portable Hand Held Keyboard comes with a tiny QWERTY keypad allowing you to transmit keystrokes to your computer from up to 30-feet away via a 2.4GHz radio frequency. You can even use this in the dark, it has a built in back light feature! This is great for someone in need of a compact keyboard with high expectations. The 2.8-inch wireless touch pad can control your computer cursor from across the room. Now you can have your Keyboard with you at all times.



This Keyboard with built in Touch pad is great for one handed typist who need all the keys close and easy to use, now with the built in touch pad it gives you everything at your fingertip in a very small area. Don't struggle to type on a Mini Keyboard or even a one handed Keyboard. This Keyboard has everything you need in a Wireless Hand held devices that can be taken anywhere.



Features: Wireless remote control of your PC - Enhances Internet TVviewing with Remote Control ”just like your TV remote control” - Adds a professional lecturing and teaching tool to presentations - Convenient sizee. Plug and play. Backlit keyboard for convenient operation in darkened room - large PAD for handwrite.


What do you think? Do you want to TRY IT before you BUY IT? Then join our Technology Lending Center. Click here to join today!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Web 2.0 Wednesday: Simplenote!

Are you looking for a way to organize your notes? Do you want to have your notes available to you everywhere you go? Then check out Simplenote!

From the website, here are 10 reasons to use Simplenote:

  1. Access your notes anywhere:Your notes synchronize with your mobile device, your computer, and any modern web browser. It's automatic and secure.
  2. Sharing and Publishing: Keep a shared grocery list with your family or housemates. Or publish some notes from your class or meeting.
  3. Go Back in Time: You can access multiple backups of your notes. Just drag the version slider to go back in time.
  4. Organize Using Tags and Pins: Apply tags to your notes so you can browse them as folders, or pin important notes to the top of your list.
  5. Instantly Search Your Notes: Type whatever you're looking for, and your list updates instantly. You'll never misplace an important thought again.
  6. Enjoy Plenty of Space: There's lots of free storage for your notes.
  7. Use a Growing Variety of Extras: Simplenote is an open platform. People are building lots of cool things you can use to extend your experience.
  8. Excellent Ads: We've partnered with the amazing Fusion Network to bring you minimal, relevant ads..... Premium subscribers have the option to disable them.
  9. Secure Transfers: Your notes are encrypted when they synchronize. Don't settle for anything less.
  10. It's FREE: Completely!
Visit the website and check it out. Have you used this tool already? Leave a comment and tell us about it.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Podcast: Accessible Instructional Materials 101 - The Cliff Notes Version

This is one in a series of podcasts recorded live at the Texas Assistive Technology Network (TATN) Statewide conference this past June. These podcasts feature nationally known speakers talking about a wide range of topics related to assistive technology.

This episode features two speakers for the price of one: Joy Zabala and Diana Carl. The title of the podcast is Accessible Instructional Materials 101: The Cliff Notes Version .

Click HERE to listen to the audio podcast.

Click HERE for the interview transcription.

Do YOU have an idea for a future podcast? Leave a comment with your suggestion for either a speaker or a topic. We will work to honor those requests in future podcasts.

Happy Listening!

Friday, September 10, 2010

TLC Spotlight - Livescribe Echo Smartpen

NEW! Livescribe Echo Smartpen - With a sleek new design and enhanced features, the Echo smartpen is Livescribe's most powerful and easy to use smartpen yet.
Building on the Pulse Smartpen’s success, the Echo Smartpen has many of the same features, while adding a few new ones. Sporting a sleek, easier to hold design, the Echo Smartpen features:

Increased storage capacity – 4GB or 8GB - Micro-USB connector – Transfers notes and audio while recharging the Smartpen -3.5mm jack – Allows for connection of your favorite headphones Password protection - Launch Line – Access and launch applications in seconds - Custom Smartpen Name – Display a custom name on the OLED display - Pencast Import/Export – Share notes with anyone using the Livescribe Desktop.

What do you think? Do you want to TRY IT before you BUY IT? Then join our Technology Lending Center. Click here to join today!



Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Web 2.0 Wednesday: Tools for Screencasts!



Welcome back to the school year! We are going to kick off this year with a giant helping of screencast resources. You can use screencasts for all kinds of things: recording powerpoint presentations, making video tutorials for your students, etc.

Want some other ideas about screencasting? Check out the Screencasting Handbook website.

In keeping with our Web 2.0 theme - some of these tools will be free; but others may have a cost. In the descriptions below, I will identify the free vs cost and also web based vs. windows vs. mac.

Enjoy and Welcome Back

FREE - NO DOWNLOAD
  • Screenjelly – NO Download - all web based! FREE. According to the website: "Screenjelly records your screen activity with your voice so you can spread it via Twitter or email. Use it to quickly share cool apps or software tips, report a bug, or just show stuff you like. To start recording, click on the red button. No need to install or download anything"
  • Screenr – NO Download - all web based! FREE. According to the website: "Web-based recorder-nothing to download. Record on your Mac or PC. Plays everywhere on the web, even iPhones. Start now-it's completely FREE."
    ScreenCastle – NO Download - all web based! FREE. According to the website: "to launch the screencast recorder and record a screencast directly from you browser, please click the button on the right." It doesn't get much easier than that!
  • Screencast-O-Matic - NO Download - all web based! FREE. According to the website: "Screencast-O-Matic is the original online screen recorder for creating screen capture video recordings (aka screencasts) with free hosting all from your browser with no install!"
  • Screen Toaster - NO Download - all web based! FREE. According to the website: "Register & use it anywhere, anytime. No download. Compatible with Windows, Mac OS X, Linux. Capture videos of onscreen action in one click. Record screencasts, tutorials, demos, training, lectures and more. Share and stream videos online in Flash. Embed them on blogs and webpages or send them by email"
DOWNLOAD
  • AVIScreen - FREE; Windows. According to the website: "AviScreen is an application for capturing screen activity (ScreenCast) in the form of AVI video or images. Beside the usual options defining the capture area, AviScreen has a unique feature called “follow the cursor”. Using this mode you can produce a video or image of relatively small dimensions while covering all mouse activity over the whole screen area."
  • Jing – Windows or MAC; FREE Version or Pro Version, Pro - $14.95/year. According to the website: "Take a picture or make a short video of what you see on your computer monitor. Share it instantly via web, email, IM, Twitter or your blog. Simple and free, Jing is the perfect way to enhance your fast-paced online conversations."
  • Screen Flow – MAC; Free Trial, $99 to buy. According to the website: "With ScreenFlow screencasting software, you can capture the contents of your entire desktop at the same time as your video camera, microphone and computer's audio. Sophisticated editing tools allow you to create incredible screencasts in no time.The finished result is a QuickTime or Windows Media movie, ready for publishing to your website or blog."
  • SnapZpro – MAC; Free Trial, $69 to buy. According to the website: "Snapz Pro X allows you to effortlessly record anything on your screen, saving it as a QuickTime® movie or screenshot that can be e-mailed, put up on the web, or passed around however you want."
  • Camtasia Studio – Windows or MAC; Free Trial, $299.00 to buy. According to the website: "Camtasia Studio gives you the power to easily record your screen, PowerPoint presentations, voice, and Web camera video to create compelling video tutorials, training presentations, and rich sales demonstrations for Web and CD-ROM delivery."
  • Screenium – MAC; $ 29 to buy. According to the website: "Record exactly what you see on your screen and make it a screencast. Whether you're tech support looking for a smart way of visually documenting the solution to a recurring problem, if you long to capture and distribute your university lectures or plain simply want to show the world your browser game high score via YouTube.com - Screenium will get out of your way and simply capture the video for you."
  • Screen Flick – MAC; $25 to buy. According to the website: "Screenflick features high performance screen capturing for smooth, fluid motion up to 60 fps. Screenflick can record any portion of the screen, simultaneously recording audio from internal or external microphones and the system audio. An excellent utility for software screencasters and software trainers, Screenflick offers the ability to display keyboard commands, and highlights mouse clicks to better communicate which actions are being performed during screen recording. Unlike other solutions, Screenflick allows you to record a movie once and compress it as many times as you want at different resolutions, qualities, and with or without audio, offering you the maximum amount of flexibility when choosing which presentation options to offer to movie viewers."
Do you know of any other resources? Leave a comment.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

An Open Letter to Special Needs Professionals

As school begins - and we begin working with new families - we don't always recognize their perspective.

Click this link to read a blog post by a parent of a student with special needs.

Very powerful stuff.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Seven Steps to Start the School Year Right!


With the start of school coming either this week or next - check out these 7 ideas from Maurice Elias, Director of the Social-Emotional Learning Lab at Rutgers to make students feel comfortable at the start of the school year.


Number One

Make a special effort to greet children in a positive and uplifting way at the start of school. Create a festive atmosphere, not a "get down to business" factory atmosphere.

Number Two

Highlight all the good and exciting things that will be happening at the beginning of the school year, as well as throughout the year.

Number Three

Give students a chance to share good memories about the summer, what they are looking forward to for the new school year, and something about themselves that they would like classmates to know. Time spent helping the students in a class bond in positive ways will bring large dividend later in the year as students work together in pairs, teams, and groups.

Number Four

Allow students to have input into setting the rules for the classroom, in terms of both "do's" and "don'ts."

Number Five

Give students an opportunity each day to reflect on what they are learning. Ask them to keep a journal and write down, at the end of the day, three things they are taking with them from the school day. Have them keep daily journals in one or some or all subject areas where, at the end of a class period or unit or project, they write down three things they are taking away from that unit of work.

Number Six

Parents, the parallel of all these apply to you. Keep the first days of school very positive. Allow time for routines to kick in. Don't get upset if your child is running late, or forgets things. Make it clear that you understand and expect by the end of the first week of school, routines will be set and work well. Ask your child for suggestions about ways to modify the routines that are not going well.

Also, after school, ask your child to share the best parts of the school day. Later, ask you child what they are looking forward to most the next day. Please note the words, "best" and "most." These are relative terms, so there will be a "best" part of a bad day and something to look forward to "most" even where the day is dreaded. In that way, you keep the focus positive. Remember, school is much more than classes. Asking about hallways, announcements, and things other than academic classes may garner special conversations.

Number Seven

Teachers and parents should share what the school is doing around social-emotional and character development, health, and such key areas as prevention of harassment, intimidation, and bullying. Parents, if you are not given this information proactively, seek it out. Teachers, your best hope for continuity and reinforcement of school messages out of school is if parents know what it is that their children are being taught!

The essence of SEL is to be sure that the adults dealing with children understand that the gateway to learning is through children's social and emotional skills and experiences. Opening that gateway at the start of the school year will lead to a smoother path during all subsequent days.

For more information, check out Maurice's Blog here.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

iPad in action: One Mother's Story

Now that the iPad has been out for some time - personal stories are beginning to emerge related to the use of this device with people with disabilities.

Check out this blog post by Shannon Des Roches Rosa entitled, The Ipad: a Near Miracle for my Son with Autism.

Shannon describes winning the iPad in a raffle for $5 (!) and realizing how it increased the independence of her son Leo. According to her blog posting:

"Before the iPad, Leo's autism made him dependent on others for entertainment, play, learning, and communication. With the iPad, Leo electrifies the air around him with independence and daily new skills. People who know Leo are amazed when they see this new boy rocking that iPad."
Check out her entire blog post - especially to see the videos of Leo and the iPad. Great stuff!





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