Readtopia is Live!

Posted June 18, 2017 By Lee Learson

By Don Johnston

It has been a long time coming, and a work of deep passion for students with autism and complex needs. When you see it, you will see this passion, and it will become apparent that this is something special in our work to transform education for individuals with disabilities.

 

What is Readtopia? It’s a comprehensive reading, ELA, social studies, and science curriculum for middle and high school special education classrooms.

 

What’s different? Readtopia helps teachers bring first-hand experiential learning into the classroom, so students can bridge the gap between learning through reading, and learning through experiencing.

 

This is a different level of instruction. It’s the type of instruction you would have wanted when you were in school. It takes the learner around the world to truly experience Read the remainder of this entry »

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A New Free E-Book from Make Beliefs Comix

Posted June 14, 2017 By Lee Learson

“Plant Your Dream Seeds: A Way to Grow Hope in Your Life” can be used by students to express in writing their deepest and hopes and dreams. This book of writing prompts is the latest addition to the interactive books section of MakeBeliefsComix.com and can be downloaded at: http://www.makebeliefscomix.com/eBooks/  Just click on the cover.

On its pages students will find writing prompts to help them think about the important things that they want to see happen in their lives.  By filling in the pages they will be able to Read the remainder of this entry »

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DocsPlus is Here!

Posted June 12, 2017 By Lee Learson

Cricksoft announces the launch of DocsPlus! This exciting new writing tool for middle school, high school, and college students will be replacing WriteOnline. DocsPlus is a student-friendly word processor designed to help struggling writers to independently tackle curriculum writing tasks:

Help students organize their ideas and plan writing tasks with the built-in mind mapping tool and audio note creator.

Offer subject-specific writing frames and word banks to support your learners as they tackle new writing genres and try to incorporate more relevant vocabulary into their work.

Encourage students to actively review their own work with the DocsPlus speech feedback tool.

Save time and money that would otherwise be spent on scribes and readers by using DocsPlus to support students who require additional access arrangements during exams.

If you would like a free copy of DocsPlus, email to USinfo@cricksoft.com or call 1 866 332 7425.

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Apps for Creating Stories

Posted May 28, 2017 By Lee Learson

Looking for great story creating apps? Here’s a rundown (with links) of some of the best! Story telling is a great way to encourage kids to write and hear themselves speak too. It provides an opportunity for kids to be imaginative and creative while learning the foundations of writing and storytelling. Creating their own stories can be used not only for telling stories about events, but for writing social stories, sequencing daily living skills, creating schedules and so much more. The following are just a few of the wide variety of story creating apps available. Read the remainder of this entry »

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Written by Keith Lambert, Education World Associate Contributing Editor. Lambert is an English / Language Arts teacher in Connecticut (Reprint from Education World)

In the new age of technology and the push for 21st century skills in our classrooms, it’s easy for teachers to feel intimidated. New tech appears every day, but “new” tech doesn’t always mean “better” tech. How do we sort through it all? On top of that, much of this new tech requires resources and funding that might not yet be available to school districts. Math teachers, in particular, face a challenging task of wanting to integrate computer literacy, while still teaching and supporting many of the foundational skills for math work. Students often need to show their work, which, without tablets, can be a challenge on a digital forum. The wide variety of math software available on the market today tends to require a separate type of literacy altogether, which can be both tough to learn and time-intensive. Khan has been revolutionary in differentiating math learning, supplying both video lessons and a vast amount of practice for students, easily monitored and facilitated by teachers. 

However, what about interactive, manipulatable math tools that support learning? Where are the digital math support programs that can assist in math learning, as opposed to outsourcing the direct teaching to the device? More importantly, can our students access them without pricey licensing fees, new hardware, or complicated apps? Today, Education World shares three free easy-to-use sites that assist math learning in the teacher-facilitated modern classroom.

 

1.  Desmos

Not only does Desmos provide free online four-function, scientific, and graphing calculators for student use (no more losing your calculator), it carries a wide variety of full interactive—almost game-like—lessons. Providing nothing more than your email, Desmos allows teachers to Read the remainder of this entry »

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May is Better Hearing and Speech Month

Posted April 30, 2017 By Lee Learson

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month!  In celebration, OSEP’s Early Childhood Assistive Technology Model Demonstration grantees and Center on Technology and Disability is partnering with the Office of Head Start’s Early Childhood Hearing Outreach (ECHO) Initiative to join the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) in celebrating this year’s theme “Communication:  The Key to Connection.”  Throughout the month of May, ASHA partners with national and local stakeholders to engage in a multifaceted public education campaign to raise awareness about the critical need to intervene early when young children are identified with communication disorders.  The Coffee Break Webinars will focus on Read the remainder of this entry »

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Readtopia™ Coming Soon!

Posted April 24, 2017 By Lee Learson

Don Johnston, Inc. will be releasing Readtopia and make learning to read an experience! Readtopia™ is a comprehensive reading curriculum for middle and high school students with autism and other complex needs. It brings first-hand experiential learning into the classroom—teaching students standards-aligned social studies, ELA, and science content.

For many, reading is not a natural act, but everyone naturally derives learning from first-hand experience. The purpose of Readtopia is to bring first-hand experiential learning into the classroom, so students can bridge the gap between learning through reading, and learning through experiencing.

In so doing it taps students’ natural learning capabilities, and channel them into reading capabilities so students can begin to more fully participate both in school and in life. Readtopia takes students on-location throughout the world as they learn to read through original video, activities, and graphic novels. Read the remainder of this entry »

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Many of us use Microsoft Office products on a daily basis. Writing documents, creating spreadsheets, sending and receiving emails, and creating and presenting presentations is a part of everyone’s life. Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint makes things easier for us!

Although it is important that we present good content in attractive, easy, and readable formats, it is equally important to make our content accessible for people with disabilities.

Fortunately, all Microsoft Office products have built in capabilities to make our content accessible. In addition, Microsoft also provides rules and best practices, and helps us check our content with the Accessibility Checker and other tools (like Color Contrast Analyzer) to ensure content follows accessibility guidelines.

Below you will find four different links that will show you how to create accessible content with Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. They are short, and easy to read but give a plethora of information on how content can be made accessible with just a few clicks. 

Direct links to accessibility guides:

Microsoft Word

Microsoft Excel

Microsoft PowerPoint

Microsoft Outlook

 

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ShortcutWorld.com is an open, wiki-style Reference Database for Keyboard Shortcuts. Using Keyboard Shortcuts on a daily basis is the mother of all productivity techniques. With this project, ShortcutWorld.com is building an open Hotkey Reference Database with the goal to cover as many Applications on as many Platforms and in as many Languages as possible.

Their goal is to get millions of users out there to be more productive. Please read the Frequently Asked Questions to learn more how the site works and how you can contribute.

Here’s an example of what’s available on the site… Read the remainder of this entry »

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By Shelby Rogers (Interesting Engineering)

A new pair of glasses could help revolutionize computer usage in those with restricted mobility. The tech startup GlassOuse uses a modified pair of glasses to help people with no hands or no usage of their hands use technology.

Millions of people suffer from debilitating physical disabilities around the world. From amputations to strokes to neurological injury, these disabilities force people to reconfigure their lives. For someone who can’t use his hands, technology can be one of the most challenging aspects of a new life. Constantly texting on phones, researching online, or even posting a simple Tweet become infinitely more difficult. The company notes that over 30 million people can’t use their smart devices due to their disability. GlassOuse looks to be the universal device to assist with almost any technological need someone could have.

The glasses track head movement to move the cursor accordingly. A durable bite part clicks on whatever someone needs. The clicker is sensitive enough to register small bites yet durable enough to withstand more pressure. The battery cell can be used for up to 15 days of usage without a need for recharge. The app connects to Android and iOS systems as well as Windows PCs, Macs and Linus PCs.

GlassOuse founder Mehmet Turker has an immensely personal connection to the product. Read the remainder of this entry »

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