Wednesday, October 28, 2009
It will feature seasonal/holiday videos as appropriate, rounded out with "Music Every One Should Know" and music that can be tied to either my class's curriculum or to current events or news in our room. Feel free to suggest video ideas.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Imagine my surprise to discover that I was getting quite a few donations from Adam Lambert Supports Education to my Donors Choose projects. Actually one fan club in particular, ONTD_AL, had chosen one project, "Avoid the Void" to ask Adam's fans to donate to. (ONTD stands for Oh, No They Didn't - ask someone who follows American Idol to explain... I now understand, but I cannot do the story justice the way some one who followed the show live can.)
Thus far ONTD_AL has lead to 9 donations to our classroom project, which is enough for me to make Adam Lambert and his fans my idols. We celebrated Adam by making him our video of the day (VOD) star on the say we discovered we were on the ONTD_AL short list. How cool is that?
SymbolStix Online will allow subscribers to use a simple search to find and then download symbols in any of their choice of a variety of formats for import into other communication or board designing programs (Boardmaker, PhotoSYMS) or a regular office program.
The SymbolStix collection has 12,000 symbols and grows as News-2-You papers and Unique Learning System Units are produced. Currently SymbolStix are in six languages. If there isn't a symbol you need it can be requested online.
As a user of Unique Learning System, News-2-You and Proloquo2Go I am excited to get to stop taking screenshots of SymbolStix on PDFs and then cut them and paste them into Boardmaker to enlarge them for my students with low vision. This should substantially lower my work load.
I do wish there was a week long free trial to allow us to try before we buy, especially since we can get SymbolStix at PogoBoards if we wish.
Monday, October 26, 2009
I thought folks might like some pictures of it in action making some Halloween themed spin art. From left: a student using a head switch (not seen) watches as her choice of green paint is applied, student uses the regular spin art machine button to make the art spin (in a technique I like to call "armpit switch" since it is easier to "armpit switch" than it is to take out the battery interrupter), a staff explains to a student through how to apply the paint before trading jobs and having the staff hit the switch while the student drips the paint. A great time was had by all.
(I wish I had more pictures, but sadly our esteemed photographer was doing double duty in another part of the classroom. Those of you in the field will know what I mean by "stander magic".)
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Here are some of the phrases we say are find ourselves repeating in our classroom:
- "I don't want to loose my clips!" This comment is a humorous remark that means, "I need to use the ladies' room!" It is a reference to one student's reward program that allows her to wear pretty hair clips for asking for and using the restroom as needed. I think this remark reflects our attitude towards independence and personal responsibility, positive reinforcement and having a sense of humor.
- "I feel like you're not listening to me!" This is a remark a student has on his communication device as part of his upset/because/you can help me by board sets. He says it periodically - and so do the rest of us - but only when we are not feeling heard. We don't say this one in jest, only we are mean it. This reflects our seriousness about making sure everyone feels heard and role models how to handle feeling angry and ignored.
- "I'll give the berift of the doubter" This is a joking paraphrase of something a young relative of a staff member said when trying to say, "I'll give the benefit of the doubt". We often remind each other to extend the "Berift of the doubter". This shows our flexibility, acceptance of others and good humor.
P.S. I love it when years later classroom catch phrase stick with me. I still can't heard a certain brand of timer beep without wanting to offer a former student, from many years ago his, "minutes" of earned free time for being safe and engaged . The word "sight" will always make me chuckle because of a young lady who thought it started with "sh" and ended with "it" no matter how many times it was on her spelling list. "Oh sight!", was what everyone in the classroom said that year when something went wrong. Before I was a teacher I spent some time as a 1:1 teacher aide and my student and I would sing "Up Up and Away On my Beautiful Balloon" when I turned the handle on the Hoyer Lift. Guess what song I still sing to this day?
Friday, October 23, 2009
1. We gather around a large group table and discuss the recipe of the week and how it ties into the theme. This works on recall of past events.
2. Students are asked what we need to do before we cook and then we all wash our hands. This reviews basic hygiene and following a sequence.
3. Students volunteer to gather materials for the recipe. They volunteer by using their voice, voice out put switch, AAC device or raising their hand. This allows students to work on calling for attention and using a communication switch or device.
4. Each student is given a card (see photo of cards above) for an ingredient or other item we need for the recipe. (Staff know that the half closest to the ingredient table are to stay on the far side of the room after gathering their item until the other half of the table is finished to prevent a traffic jam.) Gathering items allows for meeting goals like ambulation/self-propulsion, matching a picture to an object, reach and grasp, exploring a new object placed on the wheelchair tray or decreasing tactile defensiveness.
5. Once back at the table we follow the recipe. There are two things we always try to include: some kind of switch activated appliance and something we can count like stirring or spreading. we use switches for the blender, food processor, grinder, mixer or battery operated flour sifter. Once we get one we will use them for our new pouring cup. Through the activity students use AAC to volunteer for turns and to comment and ask questions (well sometime, we are working on asking questions).
6. Finally we either wait for our recipe to cook and clean up OR we dig in!
By the way, thanks to my former student teacher SU for the "shopping for ingredients" idea!
Here are other things that can be done with laminated ingredients cards:
- match card to card for practice
- play memory
- play Go Fish
- play 20 Questions by having a student draw a card and having the other students ask yes/no questions (via AAC if needed) to guess what food it is (is it sweet? do you drink it? is it a snack food? do you have to cook it to eat it?)
- match card to item in grocery store
- match card to card to find out where to put an item (label cabinets/shelves/drawers with cards)
- sort into food groups/place on the food pyramid
- sort by type of packaging (bag, jar, box)
- sort into groups by how/where you pack in a grocery bag (freezer bag, on top of the bag, on the bottom of the bag, in a separate bag)
- sort by first letter (or if your students can do it, alphabetize)
- using a jig to make sets of ten (one to one correspondence and packaging skills)
1) Just because the concept of eye gaze is simple, reading eye gaze is not necessarily easy. We need practice and experience to become competent partners. Not all kids use the same techniques, in part because the end goal for each child may not look the same (see #2).
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Five out of six of my students where in school today and below you will see images of how each of those five students participated.
From left to right: A Mercury communication device by ATI with a keyguard using direct selection, a Go Talk 20+ from Attainment, four picture custom made low tech eye gaze boards, a TechTalk by AMDi and textured Yes/No board and a Yellow Big Red switch by Ablenet attached to a Step by Step Sequential Switch (not pictured).
Updated March 30, 2011
Free and Low Cost Head Tracking Software (note head trackers can usually track any body part and more so if you put reflective tape, shiny nail polish or an LED on that body part)
Note and Tips:
- Head Tracking and Eye Gaze Tracking are two very different things. Head tracking uses a camera to translate a body part movement, typically the head, into mouse movement. Eye Gaze Tracking is more complicated, using one or more cameras to translate slight movements of the eye into mouse movements. Please do not use the terms interchangeably.
- Head Tracking can generally track any body movement - a toe or finger or elbow should work as well as a head to these systems
- Many head tracking systems work better if you use a dot of metallic nail polish, aluminum foil or reflective tape (you can get this in bike stores) to make it easy for the camera to stay on one spot
- Free and low cost systems often do not have the features commercial systems have, for example you many need to install addition autoclick or dwell click software and you will not have as much (or any) access to tech support
- Camera Mouse is for Windows XP, Vista and 7, uses a webcam and is free
- Cam Space is free body part or object tracking software
- Enable ViaCam uses any webcam to track head movements
- Free Track is free, opensource head tracking software that many other programs are based on
- HeadDev is an ipen source, Windows based head/body part tracker that uses a webcam (English info)
- iTracker for Mac, uses webcam $29.99
- HeadMouse3 uses any webcam for free to do head tracking
- Open Gazer Head Tracking Version free head tracking software using a web cam
Free and Low Cost Eye Tracking Software
- ITU Gaze Tracker is a free eye gaze program for Windows that works with a webcam
- myEYE is a free eye tracking program for use on Windows with a high resolution webcam
- Open Eyes has directions to build two different user worn eye gaze systems
- Open Gazer is free eye gaze software for Linux that works with a webcam
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Ten days until Halloween! Over at Teachers Love SMART Boards there is a fantastic list of interactive Halloween resources. Most work with a touchscreen, mouse or mouse emulator if you do not have a SMART Board. Many of the Flash files also work with two switches set to tab and enter.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
- Basic Interactive Calendar at Apples for Teacher
- News-2-You Joey's Weather reviews the day, month, date, weather condition, temperature (hot, cold, cool, warm) and dressing for the weather - we enjoy pretending to be shocked that Joey the kangaroo has arrived to school sans clothing!
- This interactive calendar is a little more age appropriate for slightly older users and still reviews the same info (not dressing for the weather)
- Whiteboard central offers this drag and drop, error correcting calendar set
- SMART Board users can download an interactive calendar at Sparkle Box
Monday, October 19, 2009
The newest AAC (and other device) wheelchair mount in the field now has its own website. The site features product information, videos, user stories, pricing information, comparison charts, and more.
My two favorite things about the Move'n Mounter are that the user, even with minimum arm range of motion or strength, can easily move their device and the device can be rotated so you can do quick setting adjustments or programming without removing it from the user's wheelchair. My least favorite thing is that I have found it difficult to get device vendors and therapists to think outside the Deassy mount box. (I also like Deassy Mounts, but the Move'n Mount may be the better option for users who will be able to use it to move their devices when they can't move a Deassy mount.)
Hopefully Move'n Mounter is going to add some information on funding their mount via health insurance or medicaid.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
More and more AT users who need specialized software are able to carry what they need from computer to computer on a flash drive. In addition using portable versions of common applications like Firefox and Thunderbird allow you to maintain your accessibility settings and add-ons from one computer to the next. Wouldn't it be great if school, college and public libraries offered flash drives of AT software for use? How cool would it be if disability support services created a flash drive from each student who could benefit from such software, trained that student on the software and allowed the student to use his or her flash drive of portable AT Apps on any computer? (In a presentation once I had the head of IT for a district complain that free software for schools isn't free because of the time in takes to install and monitor it, flashdrives full of accessible software was my answer.)
AT Apps to run from a flash drive:
- AccessApps a suite of accessibility programs
- Click-N-Type Portable Onscreen Keyboard with Word Prediction
- eCalc is a large key on screen calculator
- eTextReader allows you to read the plain text of Project Gutenburg Files
- Onscreen Keyboard Portable transfer you home Windows Onscreen Keyboard settings to any computer
Package Factory to convert many program (like Classroom Suite Player) to run from a U3 SanCruz thumb drive. Here are my instructions on how to do that.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
If you support a learner who uses a Prentch-Romich communication device or if you and your team are considering a PRC device for a student there are two new sites you should know about AAC Language Lab and The Center for AAC and Autism.
AAC Language Lab offers information on language stages, PRC AAC Devices and the Unity Language System and teaching resources.
The Center for AAC and Autism focuses on Language Acquisition through Motor Planning or LAMP. Offering resources for using this technique for teachers, SLPs and parents.
They continue to have their funding assistance, offer their PRC Symbol Set for free download, activities on the Intellitools Exchange and Podcasts.
In other news PRC will soon begin offering the Clarity Symbol Set, formerly called LibSyms in the US (currently already offered in the UK and Australia). Here is my review of the Clarity Symbol set when it was called LibSyms, obviously the pricing and upgrade info no longer apply. Here are the Clarity Symbols for Airport, Be, Blond and Awful.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Ablenet has announced the new Powerlink 4 enviromental control device at Closing the Gap. No longer the teal box we are used to the new Powerlink 4 is upgraded for today. The new Powerlink is compatiable with the wireless Jelly Beamers and Big Beamers. The Powerlink 4 will cost $230.00 and will begin shipping in early 2010. A Powerlink 4 and two wireless Jelly Beamers can be ordered for at a discounted rate until the end of the year (12/31/09).
(Note to Ablenet folks - could someone clarify the discounted race, in the e-mail it was $307 and online it is $357. Thanks.)
PowerLink 4 features:
- Easy set up with built-in display and a simple new design
- Powerful access with six modes of control
- Accurate programming and data collection like never before
- Flexible outlets allow custom positioning of up to two appliances, activating independently
- Linkable™ wireless technology for use with multiple Big or Jelly Beamer switches (from up to 30 feet away)
- Two switch input jacks
- Position on table-top or wall-mounted
- Count (direct with data collection of number of activations)
- Two Switch (direct but two switches must be held down at once for interaction or safety)
- Timed Seconds (0-99)
- Timed Minutes (0-99)
- Latch (one hit on, next hit off)
Essentially MailMyWeb allows you to surf the web in your e-mail client. What could be cooler? Registration is required. MailMyWeb is currently in public beta.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
The other day a trip to the local thrift store proved fruitful with the find of a $4.00 Lite Brite FX Flash Art Machine, which usually costs about $25.00. (In working condition, complete with all the parts and batteries!)
The cool thing about the Lite Bright FX Flash Art Machine is that it is just like a regular home spin art machine only it also has black lights and music. (We won't be using the lights in out class, spinning lights cause some problems for some of my students.) We will be using a battery interrupter to make the Lite Brite FX Flash Art Machine Switch Accessible and using Boardmaker to make choice boards for the students to pick colors and how much paint to put on their art.
Just in case you don't luck out and find a spin art machine in your local thrift store here are some links for you:
Free Online Spin Art Games
Monday, October 12, 2009
A Sliding Puzzle for Helen is a free, one switch activated slider puzzle that comes out of the A Game for Helen contest. The only other special needs slider puzzle I know of is Flip It Slider by MKP and it only works with touch screen or mouse.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
It has been broadly noted that of the 36 child deaths from H1N1 67% (this is about 9% higher than the yearly seasonal flu) had a high risk medical condition and 92% of those with a high risk medical condition were children with neurodevelopmental conditions.Of the 02% who had a neurodevelopmental condition 59% had multiple neurodevelopmental disabilities and 41% had chronic pulmonary problems. Many of these children also had a hospital accquired infection like MRSA when they died. (From The Surveillance of Pediatric Deaths Associated with the 2009 H1N1 Epidemic by the CDC.)
What this means is that our students with severe and multiple disabilities are at very high risk should they become infected with the H1N1 flu, or really any influenza infection. Already some strains of the virus are resistant to anti-viral medication, so prevention is our number on weapon. We as teachers, working with our supervisors and program or classroom nurses are at the forefront of ensuring that our students do not become infected with any strain of flu virus, including H1N1 at school.
Prevention Guidelines (from the CDC)
- If you are ill, stay home until fever is gone without medication for 24 hours
- If students are sick they should be required to stay home until temperature is normal for 24 hours without medication
- Frequently wash your hands with soap and water and assist students with hand washing following hand washing guidelines (warm water, use soap, rub for twenty seconds, etc.)
- If soap and water is not available use an alcohol based sanitizer frequently (rub until dry)
- Wash/sanitize all the areas of your hands palms, backs, between fingers, fingertips, thumb & wrist, nails
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth and wash hands after touching face
- When coughing or sneezing over mouth/nose with a tissue and dispose of immediately in waste basket, then wash hands
- H1N1 can survive 2-8 hours on surfaces, decontamination can be done using heat 167-212°F, chlorine (bleach), hydrogen peroxide, detergents (soap), iodophors (iodine-based antiseptics), and alcohol (such as alcohol based cleaners/sanitizers)
- Surfaces like phones, keyboards, and doorknobs (not to mention switches) should be cleaned with alcohol wipes or anti-flu cleaning wipe often
- Clothes and linens can be washed with other items using regular laundry detergent and tumbled dry on high heat, care should be taken not to "hug" the dirty laundry to you before washing and wash hands after handling dirty laundry
- Eating utensils should be washed in a dish washer or by hand using soap and water
- For the record you cannot catch H1N1 from eating pork or pork products
H1N1 Symptoms (from the CDC)
- sore throat
- runny or stuffy nose
- body aches
- some people may have vomiting and diarrhea
Other Flu Links
- CDC on H1N1
- weekly flu tracking from the CDC
- swine flu plush toy
- talking to kids about H1N1
- how to wash and sanitize your hands poster
- Handwashing Sign Kit for Schools
- Handwashing Curriculum
- H1N1 ABC Song
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Over six months ago I wrote a Donors Choose grant application for an iPod Touch for my classroom and about a month ago it was fulfilled. A few weeks ago it arrived. A week after that I purchased an iMainGo speaker case (which I will need to replace as we seem to have gotten a dud - I have had many iMainGos and it is an awesome solution, but this one has been terrible). One of the things our classroom staff marveled at was how quickly some of our students mastered turning up the volume while music was playing!
Our iPod Touch has quickly become one of the most valuable tools in out classroom. It is loaded with the following:
- hundreds of songs from my iTunes library
- dozens of Audible.com books from my library
- podcasts from They Might Be Giants, Storynory and more
- Proloquo2Go augmentative and alternative communication application
- Flicktunes app which allows music to be controlled by just grazing fingers across the screen
- Free Drum Pad
- Behavior Tracker Pro
- and more
- as a reward for positive behavior
- as a way to increase student exposure to music
- for students to listen to books and poems while stretching or resting
- as a way to distract students and thus increase prone stander tolerance
- as a way for our students to be just like the other kids
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
recycled blog post from 12/19/06
· Use the same manners you would with anyone else,
o Rude is rude.
· Ask before you help,
o Sometimes independence is more important than ease or speed.
· Please don’t lean or hang on the wheelchair without permission,
o How would you like it if someone hung on you?
· Speak to the person in the wheelchair
o Not to the person with him or her.
· Make yourself eye to eye,
o You may want to sit or kneel.
· Shake hands, give a squeeze on the shoulder,
o But never a pat on the head.
· A person who uses a wheelchair is a wheelchair user,
o Not “confined to a wheelchair” or a “victim of a wheelchair”.
· Always ask before moving someone’s wheelchair,
o Whether or not he or she is in it.
· Be aware of the person's capabilities,
o Some users can walk with aid and use wheelchairs to save energy and move quickly.
· It is ok to use terms like "gotta run" and “went for a walk” when speaking to a person who uses a wheelchair,
o The wheelchair user probably uses the same words.
· It is okay to ask polite questions,
o Much more okay than staring.
· A wheelchair gives mobility and freedom,o It is not, in and of it self, sad or a tragedy.
Monday, October 5, 2009
We have all adapted cooking lessons by putting recipes or other related messages on a sequential voice output switch, using a power adapter (PowerLink) and switch to control a blender, mixer or food processor and many of us have also tried out an adaptive pouring cup.
In the past few weeks we have been trying out another fabulous cooking adaption. A $14.00 battery operated flour sifter adapted with an off the shelf battery adapter and a switch we already had. The result, lots of flour sifting fun!
Classroom staff are already planning to use it to make powered sugar designs on cakes and things in the future and it may fit in well to make it "snow" in our "tundra" dioramas for this month's Unique Learning System unit.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
When I first started teaching I used a commercial planbook, but it never really met my needs as a self-contained classroom teacher. In more recent years I have created a template in Microsoft Word or Open Office, printed it out weekly and penciled in my lessons, enclosing the pages in a three ring binder, which I use as a plan book.
This week I will be trialing Planbook Edu, a free, online planbook. The free Planbook Edu includes the ability to plan for one class (which is all most of us severe special needs teachers have), access from any internet connected computer, nothing to install, and WYSIWYG editing.
It is the "premium" features that I really like and I have a feeling that after the seven day free trial of using the "premium" Planbook Edu I will pay the $20.00 to upgrade. These features include printing from your browser, attaching up to a 2MB file to each block of the plan book, sharing your plans, exporting to MS Word or PDF and built in spell check.
The 2MB file attachment isn't big enough for most Unique Learning or News-2-You files, but is just fine for craft instructions and recipes. I am already finding it helpful to download these types of things on my laptop at home and attach to the Planbook Edu so I can print on my work computer.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
The phone rings. Who will it to be?
My phone doesn't ring much, but that txt is probably my dad.
When shopping at the grocery store, do you return your cart?
Sometimes. I probably should shoot for always.
In a social setting, are you more of a talker or a listener?
If I don't know anyone I am quiet, but if I know people I am quite verbose.
Do you take compliments well?
Not always. Ok, fine, not usually.
Do you play Sudoku?
Nope. It involves numbers, linear thinking and problem solving. Someone hand me my colored pencils.
If abandoned alone in the wilderness, would you survive?
For maybe a day or two.
Did you ever go to camp as a kid?
Oh, yeah. Girl scout camp, basketball camp, tennis camp, student leadership camp, community service camp, swim camp, theater camp and probably some others. My parents worked, I had to go somewhere.
What was your favorite game as a kid?
I wasn't much of a game player, I was more likely to read, draw, do crafts or in the summer time swim.
Use three words to describe yourself?
caring, sensitive, committed
Do any songs make you cry?
Depends on the context, Little Girl Blue covered by Janis Joplin, For Good from Wicked, In the Arms of an Angel by Sarah McLaughlin
Are you continuing your education?
At some point I would like to pursue my doctorate, but I find the idea of leaving the classroom unbearable.
Do you know how to shoot a gun?
No, and that is one constitutional right I intend to never use.
Have you ever taken pictures in a photo booth?
Yes, usually during Community Based Instruction with students!
How often do you read books?
I am never NOT in the middle of a book.
Do you think more about the past, present or future?
Probably a pretty equal division.
What is your favorite children’s book?
As a little girl I loved Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs! The illustrations fascinated me. As a 'tween I loved The Girl with the Silver Eyes, I really wanted to be able to move things by thinking about it.
What color are your eyes?
green, one has a freckle in the iris
How tall are you?
Where is your dream house located?
Near the ocean.
If your house was on fire, what would be the first thing you grabbed?
As long as all the people and my beloved cat are safe I don't need anything material.
When was the last time you were at Olive Garden?
I've only been once when I was out of state to go to a wake. It was maybe 2 and a half years ago.
Where was the furthest place you traveled today?
I went south to Methuen, Mass (maybe 10 miles) to go to the bank and then North to Plaistow, NH (about 5 miles) to buy some laminating pouches, but they didn't have the ones I like.
Do you like mustard?
Do you prefer to sleep or eat?
Does that have to be a choice? Can I do both? I mean not at once.
Do you look like your mom or dad?
My sister. We are both a nice blend of both sides of the family.
How long does it take you in the shower?
3 minutes. I don't like to get up early enough for anything longer!
Can you do the splits?
What movie do you want to see right now?
Whip It. I love Drew Barrymore. We have the same birthday.
What did you do for New Year’s?
I went to bed.
Do you think The Grudge was scary?
No idea what The Grudge is.
Do you own a camera phone?
My Blackberry takes pictures, but not very good ones.
Was your mom a cheerleader?
That is soooooo funny!
What’s the last letter of your middle name?
How many hours of sleep do you get a night?
I aim for 8. I get 6-7.
Do you like Care Bears?
Not really, but I was a little girl in the 80's so it was basically required.
What do you buy at the movies?
Popcorn and Diet Coke.
Do you know how to play poker?
No, don't like playing cards, I like to knit and watch others play.
Do you wear your seat belt?
What do you wear to sleep?
yoga pants and a v-neck
Anything big ever happen in your hometown?
Original home invented Chelmsford Ginger Ale. Current Home Town was the birthplace of John Greenleaf Whitter (the writer) and had the first Macy's.
How many meals do you eat a day?
Is your tongue pierced?
Once upon a time it was. Actually twice upon a time. But not anymore.
Do you always read MySpace bulletins?
Do you like funny or serious people better?
Both, I have room in my life for all sorts of people.
Ever been to L.A.?
Never, not even a lay over.
Did you eat a cookie today?
Yup, chocolate chip. It was so-so.
Do you use cuss words in other languages?
Yes. In ASL, Spanish and Arabic. Though I am fluent in none of those languages.
Do you steal or pay for your music downloads?
I pay. Mostly because I am lazy, it is more work to find them for free and deal with protecting from viruses and malware.
Do you hate chocolate?
What? Hate chocolate? Who on earth would ask such a think?
What do you and your parents fight about the most?
I don't really fight with my dad. On occassion we annoy each other and then we say, "I am finding ____ annoying perhaps you could ____ instead." I realize we are terribly boring. We can't help it.
Are you a gullible person?
Do you need a boyfriend/girlfriend to be happy?
I love being unattached.
If you could have any job (assuming you have the skills) what would it be?
Likely the one I have, but with a shorter commute.
Are you easy to get along with?
Isn't this question better asked to people who know me?
What is your favorite time of day?
About 8:30 AM on weekdays, when we are done with morning positioning and the posibilities of another great school day are in front of me.
A few months ago, as part of a post on the free resources at Tripico I wrote about their online calculator which works with keyboard, mouse, mouse emulator (i.e. head or eye tracker, joystick) or two switches set to tab and enter. (A note about using tab/enter - typically you to mouse click once on a key on the calculator to start tab/enter working correctly.)
Here is a more complete list of online calculators with multiple means of access for our learners
- MyCalculator is nice because there is nothing else on the page to distract our learners, however it is a little small on the page - works with mouse or mouse emulator, tab/enter switches. touch screen or interactive whiteboard, MetaCalc also has nothing else on the page to act as a distraction, has the same accessibility, but is larger.
- Tripico Simple Calculator is a large, color coded calculator accesible through mouse, mouse emulator, touch screen, interactive white board or two switches set to tab/enter
- PBS Kids Talking Calculator speaks each button as it is pressed - works with mouse or mouse emulator, tab/enter switches, touch screen or interactive whiteboard
- Calculators for Free Visually Impaired Calculator is a large, black on white on-screen calculator - works with mouse or mouse emulator, tab/enter switchers, touch screen or interactive whiteboard
- Ableside Primary has a very large on screen calculator that works with mouse or mouse emulator, touch screen or interactive whiteboard, it also works with tab/enter switches but the buttons do not tab through in a logical order so it takes some getting used to, but there is a great "click" noise that provides auditory feedback
- Calcutype is switch accessible math word processor/calculator for more advanced users
- Big Calc is a large, on screen calculator accisible through mouse, mouse emulator, keyboard, alternative keyboard, touch screen or alternative keyboard
- Talk and Scan is a one switch solution from RJ Cooper for about $120
- Dynavox/Mayer-Johnson sells CalcuScan a fully accessible, including single switch solution,for a PC or the Dynavox V for about $90
- GoKeyTech offers software that both teachers and offers access to a calculator, which is fully accessible via all means including single switch, Calculator Tutor is about $40
Friday, October 2, 2009
Imagine one of your learners swiping his hand across the SMART Board to to make a glowing song and then clicking a switch (set to "space bar") to clear that song and make another!
If you are lucky enough to have an iPod touch or iPhone for your classroom you can do pretty much the same thing wigh the app Melodica or in color with the app Tripper. Another cool app that doesn't look like these (it is prettier), but meets the same purpose is Bloom (and I think it sounds beautiful).
Thanks to NCS Tech for the Tone Matrix tip.
Actually today was not one of those days, however we (the para-professionals and I) had a number mini-incidents which we responded to with good humor. The day ended with trying to break into my car because... well, obviously, I locked myself out.
We did figure out (by watching the AAA man) that next time we can likely break into the car using the following items from the classroom: a foot wedge from a Rifton stander, a long strip of laminated paper and some sand paper. If that included some Velcro it would be the ultimate special needs solution!
By the way wasn't it sooooooo nice of one of the paraprofessionals to take this super flattering shot of me breaking into my car. Too bad I have no shame!
The Mulberry Symbol Set is a free collection of picture symbols available from Straight Street. After registering and logging in for free you can search for single symbols or you can download the entire set. There are currently about 800 Mulberry Symbols and there should be 3000 by this time next year. The Mulberry Symbol set is included in the new Pogo Board program and also is perfect for importing into Boardmaker or the free PhotoSyms program. In fact between Mulberry Symbols, Sclera Symbols and PhotoSyms people can have everything they need to make printed boards for free. Another free set of software that would be perfect for using Mulberry Symbols is the EdWord and EdWeb programs from Sense.