Resources Archive

4 Expert Tips for Getting Your EdTech Budget Approved

Posted September 3, 2018 By Lee Learson

By Alec Sears (Reprint from EmergingEdTech)

Experts Weight in on Critical Steps for Getting Those Budget Requests Approved…

Proper training and education are vital to success in today’s world. Everyone from students to employees need effective, efficient learning processes to help guarantee continued growth. And whether it’s a K-12 school, local college, major state university, or Fortune 500 company, up-to-date technology has become an important part of that learning process.

Unfortunately, education budgets are almost universally getting tighter, and getting a new EdTech budget approved can be tough. Educators often have to negotiate and compromise in order to get any budget pushed through at all, much less the one they feel is ideal for their students or employees.

It’s not all bad news, though. There are strategies you can use to significantly improve your chances of getting a budget approved. Here are four favorites, as recommended by experts in the field.

  1. Have a Curriculum Planned for Your Equipment

As a general rule, it’s always easier to make a case for an expense when you have a concrete plan for its use. “I’ve seen so many school administrators go out and buy equipment, and then the teachers don’t know how to use them as tools in the education process,” says Sarah Boisvert, founder of Fab Lab Hub.  “Technology only works if it is integrated into the curriculum.”

Instead of creating a proposal that just asks for equipment, put together a sample curriculum demonstrating the potential value the new tech could bring to

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Reprint from The Tech Edvocate

What makes an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) unique is that it is designed for younger children and is family-oriented. An IFSP is a document that outlines a plan for young children who need early intervention services. It is customized for each child, as well as including a plan for the family. For instance, when children are receiving early intervention services, the family may also need the training to support their child’s needs.

Since an IFSP is customized for the individual, every IFSP will be different. As you begin the process of developing an IFSP, here are some apps and tools to help you.

Anatomy of an IFSP

The Understood Team has put together a complete guide to the various sections of the IFSP. The Anatomy is an

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The following are some apps that can help travelers with disabilities smooth the way.

Google Maps (iOS and Android) has an option for “wheelchair access” To access the “wheelchair accessible” routes, type your desired destination into Google Maps. Tap “Directions” then select the public transportation icon. Then tap “Options” and under the Routes section, you’ll find “wheelchair accessible” as a new route type.

Crowd-sourced apps such as AccessEarth will tell you how a business rates on everything from barrier-free entrances, to wheelchair-height tables and accessible restrooms.

Aaron Preece of the American Foundation for the Blind suggests these for people with visual impairments:

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By John Ramsay for ItProPortal

Innovations in technology are helping support workforces across the globe to become more efficient and alleviate the stress felt by workers. A prime example of this is the introduction of augmented reality to the property industry, as it allows individuals to view their furniture in a properly without physically moving it.

One sector that is under increasing pressure, due to factors such as budget cuts and high staff turnover, is the care sector. However, as technology evolves to become more intelligent, new developments are both reducing the stress of caregivers and giving the people who need care a better quality of life.

In the home

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written by Steph Fiorelli (Promevo)

Google is committed to bringing the best tech to all their users, including users with disabilities. Through assistive technology on Chrome devices and G Suite, and by supporting accessibility-based Chrome extensions, Google is making sure that all are welcome and able to use their products. Here are some of the ways they do this.

Chrome OS Assistive Technology

Did you know that Chrome devices come pre-programmed with assistive tech features? To access them, go to your settings, scroll to the bottom, and press “Advanced”. Then continue to “Accessibility”, and finally click “Manage accessibility features”. Then you’ll be able to choose which settings you want to turn on.

Here are some features to make note of:

Enable ChromeVox

ChromeVox is a screen reader that uses text-to-speech technology to help people with vision loss or reading difficulties. In addition to reading the copy on a page, ChromeVox also describes special text formats(such as the number of columns and rows in a data table) and lets users move throughout a page with keyboard commands. This way users can move the cursor around a page, even if they can’t see it.

Android tablets come with a similar screen reader called TalkBack.

Display Options

Another way of making a screen experience better for Read the remainder of this entry »

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Searching Apps Made Fast and Easy

Posted December 7, 2017 By Lee Learson

Knicket is a filter and tag based app search engine that enables the user to find the best apps and games in the app jungle. It works with an asynchronous database to provide a near real-time search experience. Knicket allows you to search the app world in depth, before downloading or purchasing an app.

This search engine allows you to choose iPhone, Android or iPad and then you select your search term such as “word prediction” or “AAC”. It can further refine the results by cost or specific tags such as “education” or “learning tool”. Knicket also allows you to search in different languages!

Looking for autism apps? try https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/autism-apps/id441600681?mt=8 . This is an app that lets you search for other apps. It offers  specific categories such as “AAC” or “cause and effect” but it also lets you type your own search terms.

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Visual and Audio Cookbooks

Posted December 5, 2017 By Lee Learson

Looking for last minute gift ideas? Cooking is a fun and practical activity for everyone and an opportunity to not only increase independence, but also to put basic academic skills to use in a functional way. Determining what is needed, obtaining the ingredients and following directions to put it together are all important steps.

It not only allows individuals to be more independent, it also gives them an opportunity to put other skills like shopping and basic math to practical use. Using these skills in a real life situation, like cooking, can build self-confidence and self-reliance. And it’s fun! There will be spills and general messiness but the end result is worth it (and tasty too!).  

The following are some wonderful visual and audio cookbooks and links to on-line recipes to help you get you started. Read the remainder of this entry »

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Home Mods! Ideas, Resources & Funding

Posted November 21, 2017 By Lee Learson

Reprint From Home Advisor

Every year, more Americans living with disabilities are able to call themselves homeowners. Thanks to support and legislation such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), having a home to call one’s own is now an achievable dream for more people than ever before. For many individuals, purchasing a home is only half the battle, since the nature of someone’s disability can impact many areas of life – including the way he or she accesses, maneuvers through, and enjoys activities at home.

That’s where the option of home modification comes into play. Whether you love the house you’re currently in or have plans to build a home that’s more accommodating to your disability, there are many different home modifications you can choose to implement. If you have stairs in your household but depend on the use of a wheelchair, a beneficial modification might be a chairlift. If a family member is blind, it might be useful to install grab bars in the shower. Or if you have a child with a mental disability, you may be able to better protect him or her from illness or injury by installing locks on cabinet doors that hold harmful chemical cleaners.

While renters have the responsibility to provide reasonable accommodations to tenants with disabilities under the Fair Housing Act, many homeowners with disabilities can’t afford these expenses out-of-pocket. But did you know that there are many different national programs whose mission it is to provide you with a safe, comfortable home by donating grants to those in need? Furthermore, most states also have local programs for easing the financial burden of installing home modifications, or even building a new home that meets the needs of all of its occupants.

This guide is designed to provide information on many of the available grants to improve your quality of life at home. You will find grants that are intended for all kinds of recipients, whether your disability is one you were born with or the result of a previous medical condition. You will find information on nationwide and state specific programs, as well as suggestions on what modifications may be the most rewarding for you. Read the remainder of this entry »

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New App Wheels From CALL Scotland

Posted October 31, 2017 By Lee Learson

CALL Scotland has just released new and updated App Wheels. Separate app wheels for iPad and Android users are available on their website and they’re free!

The ‘Wheel of Apps’ are not comprehensive, but attempt to identify relevant, useful apps and to categorize them according to difficulties faced by people with learning and communication disabilities. Note that some apps address a range of difficulties. To save space, they have not placed individual apps into multiple categories, but have listed them under a single category that is particularly relevant to the app. Links on the electronic version are ‘clickable’ and will take you to iTunes, where you can find out more about the individual apps.

Their newest additions for iPad users are: Read the remainder of this entry »

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The National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) released four resources for special education teachers, administrators and advocates.

Educators Experiences With and Attitudes Towards Accessibility Features and Accommodations explores results of a survey about educators’ familiarity with and attitudes toward accessibility features and accommodations. Most respondents reported that they work with students who use accessibility accommodations, which they believe to have a positive impact on educational outcomes.

NCEO State Surveys: 2016 Survey of States: State Activities Amid Evolving Educational Policies provides a snapshot of the new initiatives, trends, accomplishments, and emerging issues during a period of new education laws and initiatives. States addressed the need for inclusive assessments while facing requirements for assessments and accountability.

Forum on Text Readers for Everyone on All Tests: Getting a Handle on What This Means reports on a forum that brought together state departments of education, school districts, testing and testing-related companies, and other educational organizations to discuss the availability of text readers for everyone on tests, the differences in terminology for text readers, ways to develop common language around text readers, and the challenges associated.

NCEO Brief: Meeting the Needs of ELs with Disabilities in Your State: Making EL Exit Decisions (#13) highlights the numbers and characteristics of English learners (EL) with disabilities and current decision-making processes for exiting these students from EL services. It provides recommendations for states as they support districts and schools in making appropriate exit decisions for ELs with disabilities.

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