Tuesday, June 23, 2009

ATIA 2010 Orlando Call for Presentations Open Now!

Come enjoy sunny Orlando and present at the 2010 ATIA Conference in Orlando!

(OK, it's not always sunny, but even 60 degrees beats 5 below zero!)

The call for presentations is open until July 3 and you can learn more and submit electronically by clicking here.

Professional Development

I've been hearing different reports from districts, so I want to ask you:

How will you be addressing your professional development needs during the coming year?

Have your professional development budgets been slashed?

Are you allowed to attend conferences/out of district trainings?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

ATIA Chicago Call for Presentations Extended!

OK, all you Assistive Techies - here's an unprecedented opportunity to present in a national forum - the ATIA 2009 Chicago Conference!

The call for presentations has been extended to April 13, 2009. Submit your presentation today!

You can click here for more information or the link below:


Thursday, March 05, 2009

WATI Materials - FREE!

OK, part of me is happy that we get INCREDIBLE materials for free, but a bigger part of me is very, very sad.

WATI, the Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative, one of the motherships of Assistive Technology, has lost its grant funding. In the interest of brevity and lower blood pressure, I will not opine further...

The only bright shining light about this situation is that all of the amazing, incredible, outstanding, brilliant materials that WATI has put together over the years are now available to you for free. You heard me correctly, FREE!

Yes, "Assessing Students Needs for Assistive Technology" (4th ed.) is there. So is "How Do You Know It, How Can You Show It?" And so much more!!! You can download these materials as PDF documents by clicking here, or visiting the link below.


A big "thank you" to WATI for their many years of serving students and teachers in Wisconsin and around the country. You will be missed :(

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Exploratree - Amazing Graphic Organizer

I love my Twitter network. Just love them. What an amazing group of brilliant minds. One of those brilliant minds is @AngelaMaiers.

Angela shares a plethora of wonderful sites (she is an educational consultant, and you can learn more about her services to schools by clicking here)

Anyhoo... One of the websites that Angela shared yesterday just knocked my socks off. If you have students who benefit from organizing their thoughts visually, you'll want to explore Exploratree.org.uk Registration is free and it offers some absolutely beautiful templates, and the ability to create your own graphic organizers.

Check out Exploratree.org.uk

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Balabolka - Free Text-to-Speech App

Hold onto your hats for a very exciting find! (hat tip to my friend Leann Todd from Sedgewick County Area Educational Services Interlocal Cooperative in Goddard, KS by way of a presentation at ATIA 2009)

Balabolka, is a freeware text-to-speech application that runs on Windows platforms from 98 - Vista. It uses the voices that you have installed on your computer (including wonderful non-English voices - perfect for use with non-English text from Wikipedia or that you've copied from Google Translate).

There are a host of other features, too. Variable font size, magnifier, pronunciation exception, start, stop, and pause. It will read DOC, RTF, PDF, FB2 and HTML files, and you can alter the font color, background color, and skin of the app.

Now for my favorite features: You can install it as a desktop app or run it off of a portable USB drive. No installation on the host computer is needed! AND, if that weren't enough? It will also convert text into WMA, OGG, MP3, and WAV files.

Am I gushing? I feel like I'm gushing...

There is so much more that this app can do - check it out for yourself!

Click here or the link below to download Balabolka!


Friday, February 20, 2009

TechMatrix Research

A big hurdle that we've run up against in providing AT is the new mandate that the tools we select be based upon peer-reviewed research when practicable.

OK. Where do I even start?

How about TechMatrix.org?

If you've never been to TechMatrix.org, ya gotta go there. Whenever I've trained AT teams about Assessment, and we've walked through the SETT framework, and the team members just don't know what tools are available to fit the features that their students need.

On TechMatrix, you can search for AT, Reading, Writing, and Math tools. AND, you can generate a matrix of tools by feature. When you've generated your matrix, you will see your list of tools that offer those features across the top and a list of features on the left side.

If you click on the name of the tool at the top of the page, it will take you to another webpage that will give you additional information about the tool (webpage, price range, etc.) It will also give you a tab that lists features, and a third tab that lists... Research.

And the amazing thing is that the research is based on the features that the tool offers, not the tool itself.

I've tried to upload a Jing screencast of this tool and am currently wrestling with the size. I'll post it as soon as I win ;)

Dynavox's Implementation Toolkit

I am currently sitting in a presentation by Dynavox representative Bethany Diener about Dynavox's new training resource, the Implementation Toolkit.

All I can say is, "Wow!" Whether you use a Dynavox product or not, check out this site. There are so many incredible resources for assessing AAC needs, training users on their devices, training communication partners, where to even start, etc.

Please click here or the link below to visit this incredible site.


Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Top 10 Web 2.0 Tools for Young Children

From the THE Journal, here are the Top Ten Web 2.0 Tools for Young Children. Check it out by clicking here or visiting: http://www.thejournal.com/articles/23898