Monday, January 31, 2011

APP Attack! E-Reader APPS

Today we will be looking at the FREE APPS available for e-readers - specifically the Kindle and the nook.

Kindle APP - @

The Kindle is the biggest selling product at Amazon. Did you know that since the beginning of the year, Kindle books have outsold paperbacks! (see article at Business Insider). Did you also know that you don't even need a Kindle to read Kindle books! Amazon has a Kindle app for PC, Mac, BlackBerry, Android and most importantly for us today: an APP for the Apple products!

Some of the features listed on the Amazon website include:
  • Amazon's Whispersync technology automatically synchronizes your last page read, bookmarks, notes and highlights with Kindle and Kindle-compatible devices PC, Mac, iPhone, and BlackBerry
  • Customers can start reading on one device and, on another, pick up where they left off
  • Create bookmarks, notes, and highlights, and view the annotations you created on your Kindle
  • Instant word lookup on included dictionary with 250,000 entries and definitions
  • Continue downloading books while the app is in the background on iOS 4 devices.
  • Access millions of free and out-of-copyright books from Project Gutenberg, Internet Archive, and other online sources. Open supported files from Safari and Mail or use File Sharing in iTunes to transfer files to your Kindle app.
  • Improved image zoom
  • New book indicator
nook APP - @ Barnes & Noble
 what if you prefer the nook? No problem - just download this APP for your iPad.

Some of the features listed at the website include:

  • Ability to trial ANY nook book before purchasing.
  • Access to all your B&N books - books will sync between all your B&N devices
  • Control over screen brightness, color, text size and font
  • Share your books via Lend Me technology
  • Built in dictionary to search words
  • Add notes and highlights; also have the ability to search notes by keyword
Have you used the APPS mentioned above? Leave us a comment and share your experience.

Do you have a favorite APP you would like to see highlighted? Let us know - maybe you could even be a guest contributor!

Do you want to learn more about APPS? Then sign up for our APP Attack workshop on March 15th at our Ewing NJ office. For more info, click HERE.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Web 2.0 Wednesday! Free Online OCR

Are you looking for a simple way to convert documents into text you can edit?

Try Free Online OCR

According to the website:

Convert scanned images into editable text.

Free Online OCR is a free service that allows you to easily convert scanned documents, faxes, screenshots and photos into editable and searchable text, such as DOC, TXT or PDF.

The service is completely free and you don't need to register or install anything on your computer. Just select an image file and click Convert. You can immediately download the resulting document.

The features of this web tool include:

  • Precise image to text conversion
  • Keeps the layout and formatting
  • Scanned PDF to DOC conversion
  • Supports PDF, GIF, BMP, JPEG, TIFF or PNG as input
  • Supports DOC, PDF, TXT or RTF as output
  • Automatically rotates pages
  • Supports low resolution images
  • Keeps the image layer of a scanned PDF
  • Works online - no installation
  • Keeps your data confidential and secure
Try it out and leave a comment below.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

FREE Webinar:Securely Manage Student and Faculty iPads at the Point of Learning

I received this email today and thought people might be interested in this FREE resource. While this offer came from Campus Technology (focus on post secondary environment) - there may be useful strategies for the K-12 environment.


Campus Technology and BoxTone present:

FREE webinar: Securely Manage Student and Faculty iPads at the Point of Learning
February 10, 2011 @ 11AM Pacific/2PM Eastern
Register Now:

The iPad represents a powerful new way to expand learning both inside and outside the classroom, changing how students and faculty acquire, interact with and use knowledge. But with large scale deployments comes security, IT support and cost concerns, including the risk of a regulatory violation (think FERPA) or financial loss from the loss or unauthorized use of even one network-connected device. With most help desks staffs flat or shrinking, university and school system IT departments urgently need automated mobile management systems to effectively respond to the iPad explosion.This free webinar will cover how to enable, deploy, support, audit and protect access to the iPad. Key topics will include:1. How to properly secure iPad devices at the point of learning2. How to prevent the iPad from causing regulatory violations or financial loss3. How to create an IT support structure that ensures superior iPad service quality at the lowest cost

Register now-it's FREE!

Monday, January 24, 2011

APP Attack! 10 Best APPS for College Students

How about a nice list of APPS for College Students? OK... try this one from US News & World Report, sent in by Joan Wheeler (thanks Joan!)

10 Best APPS for College Students

The list includes:

  2. Pages
  3. Numbers
  4. Elements: A visual exploration
  5. Things for iPad
  6. Articles for iPad
  7. IM+
  8. Netflix
  9. Instapaper Pro
  10. Scrabble for iPad
Have you used the APPS mentioned above? Leave us a comment and share your experience.

Do you have a favorite APP you would like to see highlighted? Let us know - maybe you could even be a guest contributor!

Do you want to learn more about APPS? Then sign up for our APP Attack workshop on March 15th at our Ewing NJ office. For more info, click HERE.

Friday, January 21, 2011

TLC Spotlight - QuickTalker

They're here........

We are very excited, we have finally received our QuickTalker12, and QuickTalker23 for the Technology Lending Center.

 QuickTalker Communication Devices are a fun, gender neutral solution for beginning communicators. They feature a sleek design with rounded edges and common sense controls. The QuickTalker's rugged casing will withstand many years of use and the built-in handle makes it a breeze to transport between classes or locations. A variety of grid sizes and message locations make give the QuickTalker the flexibility to customize the level and learning experience for each student.  The two that we have for our Lending Center are the QuickTalker12 and the QuickTalker23.   See Below Specs:

QuickTalker 12
Message Locations: 9
Recording Time: 12 minutes

QuickTalker 23
Message Locations: 20
Recording Time: 20 minutes

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, January 20, 2011

Take time to celebrate successes

When our consumer's goals are met, we are successful. I wanted to share a great story of a consumer who had a very successful trial with an iPad.

This student is in 12th grade and is on track to graduate in June. He has already enrolled in his county's community college with the ambition to be an accountant. He is very good with numbers and is excited about his career choice.

This student has a rare physical disability and uses a power wheelchair for mobility. Due to his disability, he has difficulty speaking and uses an AAC device to communicate. This young man was brought to my attention because he was not using his current AAC device at all. He has a Lightwriter, but he is not a great speller. Additionally, the device is kept in a bag on his power wheelchair - not easily accessible for spontaneous communication (or any communication for that matter).

He currently relies on his 1:1 aide, who has known him many years, to communicate for him. The aide reported that she was able to understand him even though very few other people could. Next year, as is life after K-12, he will not have his aide and his family and the school staff are very concerned about how he will communicate with others at college.

The goal was to find a device that was lightweight, that could be either mounted or used on his power wheelchair tray and that he could easily use to communicate. He and his team decided to trial the iPad, with various apps, available to him through our Technology Lending Center. This trial was extremely successful and the student has decided that he will use the iPad instead of the Lightwriter.

The student reports that he feels much more confident and comfortable about entering college with a consistent and reliable method of access.

Celebrate the successes!

Explore the Ability in Disability, in Philly!

The Please Touch Museum has a hands-on exhibit that goes beyond your typical disability awareness experience.  Yes, you can ride in a manual wheelchair, and try your hand navigating a "multisensory" city walk.  But you can also learn some sign language, create art using touch and sound, and try a hand-pedaled bike.  In other words, you're not just looking at the negative aspects of a disability, but also exploring different ways of doing things.

And best of all, they include a universal design feature: "Experience design challenges, discover multiple ways to accomplish tasks and learn how things can be designed to work for the largest number of people"  January 22 - Apriil 24.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Web 2.0 Wednesday! Thoughtboxes

Are you looking for a simple web application to help you keep track of things?

Then try Thoughtboxes

According to the website:

Thoughtboxes lets you have as many lists as you want, all on the same screen. You can give each of them a name, color code them, and move them around whenever you like.
Check it out and let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

Monday, January 17, 2011

New Feature! APP Attack!

Starting today, we are excited to announce a new weekly feature on our blog! Every Monday, check back for the latest APP Attack! With the iPad being mentioned in every other tech news story, it's no wonder there are so many APPS available.

Our staff will highlight at least one new APP each week and provide you with a quick review. Hopefully, these will help guide you towards a good match between the features of the APP and your needs.

To get us started off right, here are a handful of APPS that we have found helpful when working with students and adults with disabilities.

IEP Checklist

This FREE APP provides guidance to parents and teachers as they develop the student's IEP.

Tap Speak Button

This simple $9.99 APP allows you to mimic the function of the Big Mack Switch. Simply record a message and then press the button to hear your message. Great for cause and effect activities!

Model Me Going Places 2

This FREE APP can be used as a visual teaching tool to assist an individual with a disability as they navigate the community. Simply click on the desired location and step through the pictures of people modeling appropriate behavior for that setting.

Have you used the APPS mentioned above? Leave us a comment and share your experience.

Do you have a favorite APP you would like to see highlighted? Let us know - maybe you could even be a guest contributor!

Do you want to learn more about APPS? Then sign up for our APP Attack workshop on March 15th at our Ewing NJ office. For more info, click HERE.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

AAC: Redesigning Scanning With Animation and Sound Cues

The following post was written by Karen Gliniecki, AAC specialist, Advancing Opportunities

I recently attended a seminar at the ASHA convention which encouraged those of us involved in AAC to take a fresh look at scanning systems. This seminar was presented by John McCarthy from Ohio U. During the seminar two changes in scanning were proposed. The first was to add animation to visually highlight the scanned items. The second was to utilize sound cues, often environmental sounds relevant to the message, to provide scanned auditory cues. As I reminisced about several failed attempts to introduce auditory scanning to potential AAC users, I began to wonder if the “sound cues” approach would reduce some of the confusion that auditory scanners and their communication partners face. I also began to wonder about applying this type of auditory cueing strategy to an auditory fishing format. It has been my experience that many potential auditory scanning/fishing users and their communication partners have difficulty differentiating between the auditory cues and the intended messages. I look forward to further research in this area.

To visit the Ohio University Augmentative and Alternative Communication Lab - click HERE

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Web 2.0 Wednesday! Picture of a

Are you looking for a site where you can find royalty free pictures that you can use in presentations, projects, etc.??

Then try picture of a

This website hosts a variety of picture in the following categories:

Simply enter your key words in the search box and the site will point you towards your pictures. Once you find one you like, right click on it and copy it into your presentation or save it to your computer. It's that easy!

Try it out and let us know what you think by leaving a comment.

Friday, January 07, 2011

TLC Spotlight - iPad Defender Series Case

 The Otterbox - iPad Defender Series Case
  A tough case to protect your not so tough ipad. 

Drop-proof your magical, new must-have gadget with the OtterBox Defender Series for Apple® iPad™! This cutting-edge case incorporates three layers of hardcore protection plus some advanced features. Stowing your iPad away for the night or for your commute? Simply remove the back polycarbonate cover and snap it over the face for ultimate touch screen protection.

The built-in stand will come in handy while trying to watch a movie or video, and creates a comfortable browsing experience. When using your iPad on a flat surface, the silicone grip pads on the bottom will hold your device securely in place. We also designed this case to accommodate the optional iPad dock accessory! Take your iPad everywhere you go knowing that it is safe from the occasional drop, bump and/or scratch.


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, January 05, 2011

Web 2.0 Wednesday! Tiny Letter

Have you been looking for a simple way to share information with many people at once? Have you thought about using an email newsletter service (e-blast such as Constant Contact) but don't want to pay the fees?
Well .... why not try Tiny Letter!

This FREE website will allow you to create text newsletters and send them instantly to anyone who has subscribed. How simple is that!

Once you create an account, you can get an embed code to allow you to have a SUBSCRIBE button on your webpage. Or, simply import email addresses into the system (up to 200 per day!) and then you are all set.

Do you want to subscribe to our newsletter? Click here to get on the list.

Try it out and leave a comment below to tell us what you think.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

FREE Dynavox Training! January 12, 2011

The Assistive Technology Services department at Advancing Opportunities is proud to announce a FREE Dynavox training on January 12, 2011 at our Ewing, NJ office.

Series 5 Intermediate Training (V, Vmax, EyeMax)
Date: January 12, 2011
Time: 9:00 AM — 3:00 PM
Click HERE for directions to our office.

This training covers many time saving programming techniques using page editor. Participants will learn how to create and modify visual scenes, incorporate the photo album, import real pictures, import music, videos and transfer pages. The intermediate training is meant to build on skills learned in the beginner class.

Each participant or team must bring a DynaVox Series 5 V, Vmax or EyeMax to participate in the class. USB flash drives are also necessary as we will be transferring files and loading real pictures. If you do not have access to a Series 5 device, you may bring a laptop. Series 5 Software can be downloaded from the DynaVox download center or loaded on when you arrive the day of the class.

Do you want to attend? Visit the Dyanvox website to register for this workshop

Monday, January 03, 2011

Not all Voice Activated Intercoms are created equal

I have a consumer who lives in a two story home. This would not be a problem, except that he requires full assistance to get out of bed. He has extremely limited mobility and dexterity. Additionally, his wife spends the majority of her day downstairs while he is upstairs. One last thing; he has a very soft voice and cannot call her for assistance when he needs it.

They wanted an intercom system to be able to communicate between floors. So I thought, WRONGLY, "How hard can it be to find a Voice Activated intercom system?" Apparently it is very hard because many intercom systems are labeled "Voice Activated" when they really aren't. I found many that required the user to press and hold a button to activate the voice activation. Right, I scratched my head too.

However, after much searching, our own TLC Coordinator, Janet Zoda came to the rescue with this TRULY voice activated two way radio.

The consumer has been using it for 2 weeks and loves it. He said that it really worked great and has been a life saver. Another satisfied consumer.

So buyer beware! When something says "Voice Activated" do the research to find out if it really is. Or just use this 2 way radio that worked for this consumer. Hopefully this post will save someone a LOT of time.