Monday, October 31, 2011

APP ATTACK! Teacher Cast

Today I put out a tweet asking, what App should I review for the blog. You would think that I would get suggestions chirping at me. This was the first suggestion I received, Teacher Cast. It isn’t a drill and skill App, it is not an activity App at all. It is an information App for educators that are seeing information on technology in the classroom.

The TeacherCast does App Reviews, Podcast, Blogs and Screencast it allows you have education references all in one place so you have the latest information as it hits the social and news networks.

If you are an educator and are looking for the best ways to teach your students, look no further than TeacherCast. We bring you TeacherCast Podcasts, and AdministratorCasts with some of the best teachers in the world.

The TeacherCast Podcast: A weekly podcast featuring teachers and administrators just like you who discuss their philosophies on teaching, and how they use technology in their classrooms. There are 40 Podcast to listen to.

App Spotlights: Discussions with app developers about the Apps for education.

App Reviews: Also having teachers discuss how the app may benefit the classroom.

ScreenCasts: TeacherCast features Screencasts demonstrating todays hot Apps, as well a screencasts to showcase hidden features that can make your teaching day run smoother.

Blogs: TeacherCast features blogs written by staff, as well as other education professionals to help you decide how to best educate your students.

The App is a useful tool for educators and parents to have so they can keep up with the forever changing landscape of technology in education. The website and app gives you access to information in a fast format at a glance. Both the website and app has a very clean layout.

This is a must have for educators every click of the mouse or tap on the screen brings you information that can be used with your students or classroom management.

Cost: FREE
Company Website:
Pod Cast:

Do you want to learn more about APPS?

Do you want to learn how to implement iPads in your school?

Contact us - we can help! We will work collaboratively with your team to determine an effective course of action for your specific situation.

Email Mike Marotta, Assistant Director, ATS Dept. at

Friday, October 28, 2011

Happy Halloween .... ideas for suggestions

This isn't really a technology based post. However, Halloween is this weekend. If you are still scrambling for ideas, I hope this post helps.

Individuals with disabilities often need creative ideas to include their wheelchairs. I found some resources that you may find helpful for fast some easier than other costumes.

Here are some of my ideas:

Dictionary Page, White Pages: Take a white plastic tablecloth cut a hole out of the top so you can slip it over a person's head. Then write with a permanent marker either words from a dictionary page or white pages. (OLD SCHOOL)

Whiteboard: Same as above except you can have people can add messages.

Take a large box fit it around the wheelchair….

You can decorate it as a bed. You can add monkeys jumping on bed (10 little monkeys jumping on the bed).

Make it look like a picnic table. Place plates all around. Ants on the table.


If you make a box out of PVC:

You can do one of the following:

Puppet Show.

Fortune Teller: The old fashion fortune teller in a box.

Motorcycle :

Giant Kick Scooter. All you would need is the single handle bar that comes directly in front of the individual and a piece of cardboard with silver paint lays under the wheelchair to be the “platform”.

Here are the links to some creative ideas bookmark them for next year.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Web 2.0 Wednesday! EtherPad

Today we will look at a tool I discovered at the 2011 NJAET conference. I attended a session by Kevin Jarrett titled, "Do-It-Yourself Professional Development: Building your Personal Learning Network (PLN). (Great session, by the way, and you can check out the WIKI for the session at Connect with Kevin on Twitter @kjarrett )

During his session, we were all able to collaborate real time using this web 2.0 tool called EtherPad. This free web based word processor tool allowed us to collaborate in real time - with any changes / additions instantly sent to all our screens! Very cool tool - think about the possibility for projects.

The tool provides many of the features you would expect from a word processor: text editing features, bullets, etc. But the best feature (my opinion, of course!) is the ability to assign a color to each contributor. That way we can track participants responses and contributions to the document.

Overall a great tool - and one I plan on using extensively during some upcoming presentations.

Click HERE to see the document that we used during the NJAET session.


Monday, October 24, 2011

APP ATTACK! So Much 2 Say

I will start this blog post off by saying upfront I am not a speech therapist and I don’t pretend to be. I will also say that I like to make sure that I am well rounded and try to keep my eye open for new apps and that includes AAC apps.

A new app on the market is So Much 2 Say. It is developed by a company Close 2 Home Apps, LLC. A little background of why this product was designed. It was designed for the owners two children who are on the spectrum. She was told “Your child doesn’t have the prerequisites for a communication device.” It was a devastating blow to hear those words. So this mom was on a mission to figure something out. With her boyfriend by her side the concept was conceived and shortly after their marriage, they gave birth to So Much 2 Say.

The app is for emergent language communicators. These are the individuals that are learning that these pictures actually mean something. They need smaller fields, they often need real photos vs drawings (not all some do better with the reverse) and are not ready for categories.

So Much 2 Say offers early beginning AAC users a platform. There are other apps in iTunes that do this but So Much 2 Say, makes it simple on the fly communication or even being used for language based activities. For example, I was working in a classroom observing a student on the spectrum and the teacher was doing music with her class. She had songs that they sang everyday and students had to pick the song that they would sing. My student was sitting in the circle and not really engaging. The student wouldn’t even make a choice of the song to sing. I asked the teacher if I could take a picture of the cards she had made for each song. I quickly made a song board with 4 choices and I included like button and a dislike button. So when the teacher was ready to ask the student for her choice, the student touched B-I-N-G-O and the teacher started to sing. But then the student kept touching Dislike. So I signaled to the teacher to stop singing. The student again touched B-I-N-G-O but this time the aide sang the song and the student touched like. We repeated this activity a few times to see if it was the teacher singing the student didn't like.

With the app you have two choices of setting up the boards categories or cards. Depending on your students' abilities or your plan of use, you select which way to set it up. I typically set mine up with categories. I like to model for the students how to get to something even if they are not expected to do it at first. My categories are: Games – Songs – Stories – Sharing. Now if a student cannot manage the field I have created the app allows me to change from a field of 1 – 2- 4-6 depending on the individual student's needs. I love the fact that I can on the fly and cards or folders can be hidden and returned to screen.

The app uses real voice not digital voice. So for each thing you add if you want a voice added to it, you need to record the sound. There are pros and cons to this. Using recorded voice, a person's voice is the voice of another. A child often has an adult voice. Sometimes a male has a female voice. These are just things we need to be conscientious about that we make sure our students with AAC needs do not all sound alike.

Company Website:

Itunes store:

Cost: $24.99


User friendly

Can customize with own photos or symbols.

Layouts are simple to modify.

The screen layout is clean and simple – great for students' visual impairments.

  • My wish list:
  • Some way to hide the edit button. I have a love hate with the edit button. It makes things super easy for me to edit but it also makes it super easy for little fingers to take there.
  • A better library. Pictures or icons that to get the person started.
  • A way to change the background color. Unless I am missing something I have only been able to see the purple. A more neutral color would be black.
  • Digital voice
  • Ability to change the background color
  • Switch access
  • Data (selection, speed)

If there is a something you would like to see added to an APP, take the time to talk to the developer of the APP. They are very often open to suggestions and feedback. If your suggestion works into their vision for their app, you very well may see it added. And you might suggest something that wasn’t in their plan but it would be a great addition. Talk to the app developers.

Do you want to learn more about APPS?

Do you want to learn how to implement iPads in your school?

Contact us - we can help! We will work collaboratively with your team to determine an effective course of action for your specific situation.

Email Mike Marotta, Assistant Director, ATS Dept. at

Thursday, October 20, 2011

TLC Spotlight -Logitech NuLOOQ Navigator

NuLooQ Navigator

The NuLOOQ navigator™ from Logitech® is designed to ease the time-intensive elements of design such as navigating images, adjusting option values, and accessing menus and to help creative users work smarter. 

It allows you to adjust brush size in Photoshop, or text attributes in InDesign, timeline in video/audio applications or just control your system volume; make fine adjustments with a feather touch using the touch sensitive circular disk. With two Finger Navigation you can gently nudge the gray ring forward, backwards, up, down, twist clockwise or counter clockwise to navigate around your digital picture, illustration, documents, spreadsheets or anything you can program. Control, what, where and how fast to navigate with just two fingers!
A simple click or tap and quickly execute your shortcut command. The integrated sensor with 1000 levels of resolution detects even the minutest motion in multiple directions simultaneously. Move the ring a small amount to move slowly or move it all the way to get to where you want quickly.

  • Adjust brush size in one pixel increments in Adobe® Photoshop® CS2 without ever moving a slider or clicking on a shortcut key
  • Fine-tune font attributes such as leading, tracking and more in Adobe InDesign® CS2 without using the option bar
  • Scroll and zoom your documents, spreadsheets, digital pictures or more with the smallest movement of the gray ring
  • Scrub timelines in Final Cut Pro® or iMovie quickly or slowly
  • Change volume or music tracks in iTunes™ quickly while it runs in the background
  • NuLOOQ navigator is user configurable for virtually any application
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, October 19, 2011

Web 2.0 Wednesday! Voki

As part of our Web 2.0 Wednesday series, today we will highlight another webinar presented by our friends at Region 4 ESC in Texas.

Today's episode of 1001 Super Tools for Teachers focuses on VOKI.

Listen to the recorded webinar by clicking HERE.

Download the handout by clicking HERE.

Don't forget to sign up for the next live webinar on Kerpoof.
October 25th @ 11:45 AM

Here is the link:

The Webinar is FREE so sign up today!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Livescribe Pulse Pen - The story of a user - Thinking outside the Box

As an assistive technology consultant I work with individuals with all ability levels related to their disabilities or technology knowledge. I have the pleasure of helping individuals figure out how technology fits into their lives. Often I am like the seamstress helping the individual select the tool that meets their needs almost perfectly. As the seamstress, my job is also to nip, tuck and add special details to make it just exactly what the person needs. There are times that I am handed a piece of technology that I need to retrofit. Sometimes as the seamstress, I must say that I am sorry but this piece will not work the way you expect because there is far too much nipping, tucking and it doesn’t allow me the special details you wish to have. But there are times, that as a the seamstress, I get to look and evaluate the structure of how an item is meant to work and say “Yes, I think we might be able to nip, tuck and add that little extra for you”.

Recently, I had the experience of retrofitting a piece of technology to an adult who has poor vision and traumatic brain injury. Her family found at the store and they a Livescribe pulse pen. They thought this would be a perfect device for their mom because she always forgets things and cannot see what she is writing. When I was presented with the pen, I was confused. As the seamstress, it would be similar to be handed a bridesmaid gown and asked “Can you change this so I can wear it for daily wear?” I put all the typical responses aside because I knew my client was excited about this new tool. She didn’t know what it could do but her family told her it would be perfect.

The first thing I needed to figure out was, how did Elsie see herself using the pen. It is nice that everyone has a vision of how it can be used but Elsie is the end user. The best meaning vision is her vision. Her vision was to be able to able to take a person phone number down and use it later, when she goes to the doctor remember her medications and how often she takes them, and to follow any changes in care. The biggest one was to document when she made calls who she spoke with, when she called, when they said they would call her back and so on. Her vision was very different than the families.

The second thing I needed to contend with is Elsie’s vision and the complications from her brain injury. Elsie’s vision I am told is 20/100. She has difficulty seeing shades of color. If you have ever opened a Livescribe notebook, the pages have a shade of blue because of the millions of little dots per line that help the pen do its magic. For Elsie this is not a great thing because she cannot see the line she is supposed to be working on. This is a bone of contention with Elsie because she can see her words are slopping all over the page although she cannot read the words she can write. The brain injury has left her with the inability to decipher the letters. When she explains it to me, she says they are just lines that move in different directions sometimes looking like pictures. After listening to Elsie talk about how her vision and brain injury affects her ability to read what she wrote, I asked her Elsie can you still draw? With that she lifted the pen and drew this amazing picture of cat with fine detail. So the idea was born, that Elsie would not write words on the paper she would draw a picture of the conversation.

We sat and brainstormed different symbols that would have meaning for Elsie. The first symbol was easy, a phone and the symbol for number. Elsie is always losing my phone number so we practiced her new way of taking notes. As Elsie was drawing a picture of the phone I gave my name, agency name, and what services I provided for her. When she started to draw the number sign, I gave her my cell phone number. Now she has a way to call me when she needs help. She taps on the symbol on the phone and she gets my name. When she clicks on the number sign she gets my number. Elsie loves that she can tap backwards and pause so she can dial.

The second symbol was her medication. We brainstormed different things and this is what we came up with. Elsie thought the shape of the pill would be great except all her pills are round. We finally decided on a medication bottle and a clock. The medication bottle she would draw and as she was drawing she or a family member would name the medication. Next to the medication bottle she would draw a clock so she could say Morning, Noon, Dinner or Bed. If she needed to take the medication more than once a day, she would make two clocks.

Now the biggest hurdle I think we needed to figure out was Elsie had a dream. She wants to write a book about her life and experiences. Elsie is someone that has amazing stories to share but because she struggles with the computer, she finds doing this task extremely difficult. Since she has the Livescribe pen we decided to use the pen to record her stories. Now because of her head injury sometimes her thoughts get confused. The pen allows her to describe the event, experience or thought and one of her friends or family members transcribes it onto the computer. When the thoughts don’t go together, then they write the thought in a different color and highlight it so Elsie can decide what to do with it.

Although the Livescribe pen is a retrofitted technology we found ways to think outside of the box for their use. We have created a specialized notebooks for doctors, address book and her thought journal. They are small enough to fit into her bag so she can carry them anywhere she goes. We have made some tweaks along the way to help others. We asked the pharmacist to print extra labels for her medication on the back of her page, she sticks the labels. For professionals working with Elsie she attacks a business card to the back of the page. This allows for individuals with sight to help Elis when needed. We also made special paper for Elsie. We printed pages out and then sent them through a photo copier so we could copy nice dark lines on the paper from a plastic writing grid. This allows Elis to continue to practice her penmanship. Her penmanship is beautiful and legible and laborious but it is meaningful to Elis.

How are you using the Livescribe pen?

APP Attack! Apps for Handwritten Notes


Today's post will highlight Apps that let you take handwritten notes directly on your iPad.

This list of Apps is from Gregory Swanson's blog "Apps in Education" - which is a great resource Linkfor Apps. For more resources, follow Gregory on Twitter - @inov8ed

The apps in this post allow you to write directly on the screen, organize notebooks for different subjects, draw diagrams within notes, manage / organize notes, and much more!

Check it out!

Apps for Handwritten Notes

Do you want to learn more about APPS?

Do you want to learn how to implement iPads in your school?

Contact us - we can help! We will work collaboratively with your team to determine an effective course of action for your specific situation.

Email Mike Marotta, Assistant Director, ATS Dept. at

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Web 2.0 Wednesday! Livebinders

As part of our Web 2.0 Wednesday series, today we will highlight another webinar presented by our friends at Region 4 ESC in Texas.

Today's episode of 1001 Super Tools for Teachers focuses on Livebinders.

Listen to the recorded webinar by clicking HERE.

Download the handout by clicking HERE.

Don't forget to sign up for the live webinar today on Kerpoof.
October 26th @ 11:45 AM

Here is the link:

The Webinar is FREE so sign up today!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

To The Cloud: Web 2.0 in the Classroom

Today I presented a session at the annual NJAET (New Jersey Association for Education Technology) conference entitled, "To The Cloud: Web 2.0 Tools in the Classroom".

The response was great (thanks to everyone in the session!) and for everyone who couldn't be there- follow the link below to my WIKI page to see what we covered.

To The Cloud: Web 2.0 Tools in the Classroom WIKI

The conference was well attended and there were some great sessions on Web 2.0 tools and iPads in Education. If you get a chance to attend in the future - don't miss it!

Monday, October 10, 2011

APP Attack! Intellipad

When I was preparing for an APP ATTACK presentation, I was on a mission to find an app that would allow me to create picture prompts, had word prediction, text to speech and customization keyboards. I figure if I was going to dream big I might as well as put all my expectations out there. I didn’t actually think that my list of expectations would be met however I had to search for the infamous needle in the haystack. I think I found a product that gives me what I was seeking for.

The app is called Intellipad. No it is not a tool put out by Intellitools (Cambium Learning). The product reminds me more Clicker 5 writing grids. You can customize the writing grids as a word wall for topic writing or create errorless sentences writing for students. The limit of options is limited only by your imagination. I like how this tool because it scaffolds the writing process for most students in your classroom. You can also add human speech to the grids you create.

The app has word prediction, spell check and text to speech which all can be turned off under settings within the app. The word prediction appears on top of the keyboard. It shows 4 words at a time. You cannot change the number of words that show. The word prediction does have speech. You have to have good fine motor to be able to press the speaker.

You can also create picture supported writing by importing a picture into the writing pad. The picture is justified to the left. You can import any photo from your photo gallery (taken or from the internet).

I was able to cut and paste text into the word processing piece and have the speech read the text. The speech is Acapela voices which are great voices. The speech is slower than 170 wpm I would guess that it is set about 140 wpm. There is no way to adjust the rate of speech. You do have 6 different voices to select from.

I must not forget that this app also has a way for users to share keyboards and notepads. This is extremely powerful if it is used as other share pieces are. You can have customized writing grids, keyboards and notepads at your fingertips.

There are some things that I would like to see changed. The word prediction and spell check are not phonetic based tools. The most common errors that students with disabilities make were not corrected. The font size is a fair size (12 point font) however I would like to see an option to increase the font size so individuals that need larger font can select the size they need. I would like to have grids be able to speak and not send. Not all students have the ability to read the words so I would like the student to be able to check before they select. I would love pictures to be able to be used for writing not just a writing prompt. This is the dangers of finding something close to what you are looking for. There are so many pieces that you still want.

At $19.00 it is on the expensive side of an app however it is worth it if you need to have all the options offered in this app. I haven’t come across an app like this.

Link to App Store:

Link to Company website:

Please let me know if you have any other suggestions for apps that allow you this much control and customization. I would love to see them.

Do you want to learn more about APPS?

Do you want to learn how to implement iPads in your school?

Contact us - we can help! Email -

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Thanks, Steve

Each morning, before diving into the mess on my desk, I usually cruise my blog roll – an odd mix of marketing, technology and disability related posts. All three spheres were reeling with the sad news of Steve Jobs’ death this morning. The unanimous sentiment from the bloggers with disabilities, “Thank you for making my life better.”

Just yesterday at Advancing Opportunities, we had a classroom full of teachers taking our App Attack workshop. With iPads in front of them, they were discovering the device’s accessibility features and practicing with apps that make life and learning more accessible for people with all types of disabilities.

Every measure of independence gained with an Apple product is a tribute to his visionary genius. We will be celebrating his life for a long, long time to come.

TLC Spotlight - RUBY Handheld Video Magnifier

RUBY Handheld Video Magnifier


For the many people who need help reading text and seeing details because of low vision, traditional magnifying glasses work only up to a point. The RUBY video magnifier takes handheld magnification to the next level and beyond. The RUBY’s 4.3-inch, full color, high brightness video screen makes it outstanding for reading bills, letters, checks, and receipts. It is so small and unobtrusive that it easily slips into a pocket or purse as the perfect traveling companion for visiting the grocery store, the pharmacy, the bank, the library, bookstore, restaurant, or anywhere else

RUBY features:

Flip out the convenient handle and use the RUBY like a conventional magnifying glass, holding it above a page or object – but see everything with enhanced contrast and NO DISTORTION.

Press the Freeze Frame button to capture an image and bring it close for comfortable reading - even change the magnification on the still image. This is ideal for reading labels of food products on high store or pantry shelves. Take the RUBY to the library or bookstore, and suddenly you can read the titles of books on arm-length-high rows. At the metro station, you can hold it flat to a wall-posted schedule board, push the Freeze Frame button, then bring the RUBY close and take your time carefully reading route information. You will find so many uses for the Freeze Frame feature.

Change the text and background colors individually to suit your most comfortable reading. The RUBY features full color mode and four enhanced contrast modes for reading: black text on a white background; white text on a black background; yellow text on a blue background; or yellow text on a black background.

Check out the RUBY in action...

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, October 05, 2011

Web 2.0 Wednesday! Tarheel Reader

As part of our Web 2.0 Wednesday series, today we will highlight another webinar presented by our friends at Region 4 ESC in Texas.

Today's episode of 1001 Super Tools for Teachers focuses on Tarheel Reader and PowerPoint.

Listen to the recorded webinar by clicking HERE.

Download the handout by clicking HERE.

Don't forget to sign up for the live webinar today on Kerpoof.
October 26th @ 11:45 AM

Here is the link:

The Webinar is FREE so sign up today!

Monday, October 03, 2011

APP Attack! ePUBs and iBooks

Today's post will highlight resources shared by Katie Krueger ( @KHirt )
Meg Wilson ( @iPodsibilities ) at EdCampNYC. These resources focus on ePub books and apps that allow you to create engaging materials for students of all abilities.

Let's Talk ePub and iBooks