Saturday, September 11, 2010

Instrument Evaluation: Google Scribe

You shouldn't be too surprised, but Google came out with a cool new tool this month called Google Scribe. However, if you work with students with writing disabilities, you should definitely get excited about this new and free assistive technology that is web based and is universally accessible to all.

Google Scribe is a word prediction application that allows you to 'Type away as usual. When you like Google Scribe's suggestion, use Enter or [a] numeric shortcut to choose the suggestion.' It's just as easy as that.

For students with writing deficits such as fine motor fatigue, memory issues, or difficulties with grammar or syntax, I anticipate Google Scribe to be a seamless writing tool for students to access at any location with Internet access. Unfortunately, lack of Wifi is a challenge I foresee a student may have with this application. 

As an inclusion teacher, I like how this application can be seamlessly integrated into my writing instruction. Since it is easily accessed via the Net and I already encourage my students to use Google Docs, a student that would benefit from Google Scribe would be perceived, in class, to be using the same tool as his or her peers. To some students, this is very important. If that is the case, this particular student would be spending less time focusing on how different he or she looks and just focus on the writing task at hand. There is even an option to download this application to the Google Chrome Browser so it could be used when surfing the net too.  That is a bonus!

Unfortunately, Google Scribe is not yet integrated into Google documents unless you download the extension to use Google Scribe on all webpages. If you do not have the permission to do this without the help of your I.T. people, students would have to be sure not to close the Google Scribe webpage before they were done with their writing as there is no save option in Google Scribe. Students would have to learn how to copy and paste their final writing piece into a Google Doc or a Microsoft Word document and must learn how to save it there. This is a small price to pay for such a wonderfully designed free tool.

Google Scribe is going to be a blessing for many teachers and students this school year. 

Click here for more information on Google Scribe.  Happy Writing! 

Thanks to my friend David Grapka for passing this on to me. :) 

NYS CEC Special Education Conference

The New York State Council for Exceptional Children is holding their annual state conference in Saratoga Springs on  October 8-9, 2010.  I will be presenting two sessions at the conference. A poster session entitled: Where I.T. is A.T. and a lecture on How to Run a Successful Inclusion Class.  Please visit the council's website for more information on how to register for this event. 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Desiging UDL Contest

CAST wants to know what UDL means to you.  They are sponsoring a contest in which you describe how UDL has influenced you as a learner or as an educator. These submissions can come in a variety forms (text, audio, video, photo/drawing) - be creative, we want to see "multiple means of expression"!

Watch this video for specifics and then upload your creation at the Designing UDL Ning.  

Sunday, March 21, 2010

IEP Checklist App

There's a new app on the market for special education and it's FREE!  Check out the IEP Checklist App for  your iPhone or iTouch created by the Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center (PEATC.)  It's a helpful app for all sides of the CSE table, is a basic tool to prepare parents and teachers for their meeting.  As stated on their website:

[The] IEP Checklist is a tool for parents and teachers to consider as they develop the IEP. Not every item on the checklist is required by special education regulations. For more information, consult the Federal regulations and other information that can be found at
What do you think? 

Monday, March 15, 2010

Where I.T. is A.T.!

It was wonderful meeting many of you at the Hudson Valley NYSCATE conference and Suffolk County ASSET conference over the past few weeks.  I had a wonderful time at both events and I hope you enjoyed learning about Where I.T. is A.T.!  Here is a direct link to the wiki of resources that I shared during my presentations.  

Do you know of any other free or fee based tools that could universally benefit all learners?  If so, post your link as a comment below.  Keep in touch! 

Saturday, March 6, 2010

UDL at a Glance

Do you understand what Universal Design for Learning is?  You can learn more about UDL by watching this video.  Thanks to CAST for creating it.  Thanks to Anita Strang for passing it on.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

When Everyone Gets What They Need...

When everyone gets what they need... they can be more independent. 

The video below was created by DO-IT, an organization based out of the University of Washington. The acronym DO-IT stands for Disabilities, Opportunities, Inter-networking and Technology.
DO-IT serves to increase the participation of individuals with disabilities in challenging academic programs and careers. It promotes the use of computer and networking technologies to increase independence, productivity, and participation in education and employment.
I liked this video because it showcases individual students and introduces you to their learning tools based on their individual needs. 

Monday, February 15, 2010

Scholastic Webinars

 Thanks to the Assistive Technology Blog for passing this on. 

Join Scholastic for a series of free interactive LIVE webcasts to learn from, and speak with, expert leaders, thinkers, and practitioners, without leaving your office.

The embedded webinar below is entitled: Learning and Instruction in the 21st Century.  It is a conversation between Milton Chen, Ph.D., Executive Director of The George Lucas Educational Foundation and Tony Wagner, Ph.D., Harvard Graduate School of Education and author of The Global Achievement Gap. 

However, I'm very excited about the April 21, 2010 webinar with David Rose, Ed.D., Founding Director/Chief Scientist for CAST (Center for Applied Special Technology)  .  I am already registered and have the date saved on my calendar.  His presentation will be on The New Digital Classroom, Building Expertise through Technology.  Will I see you there?  You can register here


FM Trainer - Multi-talker Network
Inspired by 180 Days of AT/UDL Post  


You highlight my life.   


Measure and calculate.

Inspired by 180 Days of AT/UDL Post  

Monday, February 1, 2010

A Collaborative Compilation of the BEST of FREE AT Tech

I love free tools, don't you? Do you have any free online AT/UDL tools that you use with your students?  If so, then please consider sharing your best for 2010 using the Google Preso that I embedded below. The document is open for all to contribute.  Once in Google Preso, you can grab the embed code to post this resource on your own online space.  Let's create a collaborative compilation of the BEST of FREE AT Tech on the Web for 2010. You can edit the document by following this hyperlink

AT Blog Carnival

The Assistive Technology Blog Carnival is being hosted on Patrick Black's blog.  Visit the site to read a variety of posts on Assistive Technology from educators all around the globe. 
Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons: Kiwikeith

Friday, January 15, 2010


Witch finger should I use for tracking? 
Cackle. Cackle. 



Post - it.  Note - it.  Tab it. 
Get organized. 


Student With Autism is Semifinalist for a Rudy Award

Centennial Coyotes' Jesse Ortiz has been selected as a Semifinalist of the High School Football Rudy Awards. You can vote for him by visiting his page on the Rudy Awards site.  The winner of the Rudy Award receives a $10,000 college scholarship.  

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Monday, January 11, 2010

50 Best Blogs for Special Educators

Looking for some great special education resources?  
Check out the list for the 50 Best Blogs for Special Educators.

180 Days of AT/UDL

I've been co-inspired by the 365 Project and Karen Janowski's latest post on Technology in Schools to create a blog assignment for myself in which I'll take 180 pics of AT/UDL in action in the school environment.  The purpose of the 'Original' 365 Project is to collect photos that document 1 year of a life. Typical of a special education teacher, I'm going to adapt that concept.  The purpose of my project is to create a visual portfolio of the day to day tools that students may use to be successful in their learning.  This project will last for 180 days because that is the length of a typical school year.  However, this particular blog will end conveniently on June 30th of this year and it will include weekends.  Maybe next year, I'll start in September and not include Saturday and Sunday.  Want to join me?  Use the hashtag #180ATUDL2010

What is UDL?