posted on: January 31st, 2015

(News is now posted on the ATC Facebook page.)

Here is some old news:,

  • ISTE"s Past Inclusive Learning Network (ILN) Webinars include
    • iPad and the Struggling Writer
    • Locomotive Apps:Todo Math and Math Supports for the Inclusive Classroom
    • WordQ, SpeakQ and Other Writing Supports for Access
    • nABLEing All Learners with the iPad

    The most recent addition is from presenter Adam Goldberg: The Transformative Power of iPad in the Inclusive Music Making Setting

    Adam Goldberg shared the story of his evolution and quest to fully include all his students in educationally valuable, genuine hands - on music making experiences. He gave specific examples of how his adoption of current technologies, including iPad, provides the necessary tools to enable even some of the most severely challenged individuals to participate as viable music makers individually and as part of an ensemble. These examples include demonstrating the powerful modifications that can be made within specific music making apps and built-in iOS accessibility features. Mr. Goldberg discussed his soon to be published iTunes U course which combines Abstract Expressionist Art and Free Jazz to enable his P.S. 177 Technology Band to improvise freely using iPad.

    posted on: January 12th, 2015

    The AFB has posted a good comparison of the two dominant smartphone operating systems

    "It can be argued that Apple has represented the gold standard of accessibility for some time now. It is reassuring to see Google taking accessibility more seriously with its more recent Android releases that include Magnification Gestures and color inversion."

    posted on: January 2nd, 2015

    The Special Ed Tech Center in Washington has posted a comparison of e-Book readers (under What's New). Also at the site is a list of electronic text resources.

    posted on: January 2nd, 2015

    The first webinar in the Unleashing the Power of Innovation for Assistive Technology – Where have we been and where are we headed? series from the Center on Technology and Disability has been posted.

    NFB and MATP''s Web Accessibility Training Day materials are now online. Click on the session titles to hear audio archived sessions, including Google MOOC Introduction to Web Accessibility, HTML5 Accessible Design, and The Section 508 Refresh.
     

    posted on: January 2nd, 2015

    Dave Edyburn has posted his annual review of the assisitive technology literature, including research on iPads, evidence-based practice, and research using SET.

    posted on: January 2nd, 2015
    Free Webinars - More than just K-12

    Foundations of Assistive Technology from the Center on Technology and Disability
    Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015 at 12pm Pacific, 3pm Eastern

    Unleashing the Power of Innovation for Assistive Technology – Where have we been and where are we headed? from the Center on Technology and Disability
    Tuesday, January 6, 2015 at 12:30pm Pacific, 3:30pm Eastern for 30 minutes

    Developing and Implementing an Accessibility Strategy: One Organization's Lessons (So Far) from Great Lakes ADA Center
    Thu, Jan 15, 2015, at  11am Pacific,  2pm Eastern  

    Inspiring Lifelong Learning with Bookshare from AbleNet
    January 20, 2015 at 12pm Pacific, 3pm Eastern for 45 minutes
     


    Free Webinars - K-12

    What's Next? After Assistive Technology Consideration from MITS
    Thu, Jan 15, 2015, at  12:30pm Pacific,  3:30pm Eastern for 30 minutes.
    (Must register the day before.)

    Using Your Own Voice in AAC Apps from AbleNet
    January 6, 2015 8am Pacific, 11am Eastern- 30 minutes long


    UDL Supports for Diverse Learners on iOS Devices  from AbleNet
    January 15, 2015 10am Pacific, 1pm Eastern

    Let's take Action! Include all of your students by using the AbleNet Action Dictionary from AbleNet
    January 22, 2015 at 1pm Pacific, 4pm Eastern

    Special Ed Tech Center has 13 webinars in January. All start at 3:30pm Pacific, 6:30pm Eastern. Topics include:

    • iPad: What’s new in AT? on January 5th
    • Lower Level Math Supports: Software and Web Tools on January 7th
    • Overview of iPad Accessibility on January 8th
    • iPad: TouchChat AAC - Overview on January 12th
    • Chrome AT Apps and Extensions: Part 1
    • Multi Level Math Supports: Apps and Adapted Tools on January 14th
    • Overview of Switch Access to the iPad on January 15th
    • Chrome AT Apps and Extensions: Part 2 on January 20th
    • Higher Level Math Supports: Software and Web Tools on January 21st
    • iPad: iOS Switch Control for Higher Level Students on January 22nd
    • iPad: TouchChat AAC –Literacy Ideas on January 26th
    • Dragon Naturally Speaking on January 28th
    • Simplified Step Scanning on the iPad on January 29th
    posted on: November 21st, 2014

    Comcast today announced the industry’s first voice-enabled television user interface, a solution that will revolutionize the way its Xfinity TV customers, especially those who are blind or low vision, navigate the X1 platform. The “talking guide” features a female voice that reads aloud selections like program titles, network names and time slots as well as DVR and On Demand settings.  The feature will be available to all X1 customers in the next few weeks.

    A for Accessibility

    About 19 million U.S. households have at least one member with a disability and according to the U.S. Census, there are 8.1 million people with a vision disability.  In 2012, Comcast hired Tom Wlodkowski as Vice President of Audience to focus on the usability of the company’s products and services by people with disabilities. (Mr. Wlodkowski has a visual impairment.)

    The talking guide “speaks” what’s on the screen as the viewer navigates the “Guide,” “Saved,” “On Demand,” and “Settings” sections of X1 and includes details like individual program descriptions and ratings from Common Sense Media and Rotten Tomatoes that help viewers decide what to watch.  Future versions of the feature will include functionality within the “Search” section of X1 and additional personalization settings like rate of speech.

    X1 customers will be able to activate the talking guide on their existing set top box by tapping the “A” button twice on their remote control.  The feature also can be turned on via the “accessibility settings” within the main settings menu. Click here to see how it works.

    Next year, Comcast plans to partner with service organizations and nonprofits to create awareness in the disability community of Voice Guidance and other accessibility features that offer a more inclusive entertainment experience.

    The talking guide is the latest in a series of innovations created in the Comcast Accessibility Lab. In addition to voice guidance and one-touch access to closed captioning, Comcast created an online help and support resource for Xfinity customers looking for information about accessibility-related topics. The webpage includes an overview of accessibility products and services, support for third-party assistive devices, information related to Braille or large-print bills and the ability to connect with accessibility support specialists.

    posted on: November 21st, 2014

    The Justice Department announced that it has entered into a settlement agreement with Ahold U.S.A. Inc. and Peapod LLC, the owners and operators of www.peapod.com, to remedy alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Peapod is America’s leading Internet grocer, delivering more than 23 million orders in 12 Midwest and East Coast states and the District of Columbia.  The agreement resolves the department’s allegations that www.peapod.com is not accessible to some individuals with disabilities, including individuals who are blind or have low vision, individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, and individuals who have physical disabilities affecting manual dexterity.

    Many individuals with disabilities use computers and other electronic devices to access the Internet with the help of assistive technologies, including text-to-speech screen reader” software programs, refreshable Braille displays, keyboard navigation and captioning.  Such technologies have been readily available and widely used for decades; however, websites must include programming for the assistive technologies to function properly for users with disabilities.  Inaccessible websites and mobile applications persist even while there are well-established industry guidelines – the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 – for making web content accessible.

    Under the agreement, Peapod is required to adopt measures to ensure that users with disabilities are able to fully and equally enjoy the various goods, services, facilities and accommodations provided through www.peapod.com including:

    • ensure that www.peapod.com site is accessible
    • designate an employee as web accessibility coordinator for www.peapod.com, who will report directly to a Peapod, LLC executive
    • retain an independent website accessibility consultant, who will annually evaluate the accessibility of the website and  its mobile applications;
    • adopt a formal web accessibility policy;
    • provide a notice on www.peapod.com  soliciting feedback from visitors on how website accessibility can be improved;
    • provide automated accessibility testing and accessibility testing by individuals with a variety of disabilities of www.peapod.com and its mobile applications;
    • provide mandatory annual training on website accessibility for Peapod’s website content personnel

    “This agreement ensures that people with disabilities will have an equal opportunity to independently and conveniently shop online for groceries,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta for the Civil Rights Division.  “We applaud Peapod for working cooperatively with the department and for its commitment to customers with disabilities.”

    Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by public accommodations in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages and accommodations of places of public accommodations.  Title III of the ADA also requires public accommodations to take necessary steps to ensure individuals with disabilities are not excluded, denied services, segregated, or otherwise treated differently because of the absence of auxiliary aids and services, such as accessible electronic information.  The Justice Department has long considered Title III and its implementing regulation to apply to the online services and communications of public accommodations.

    posted on: November 21st, 2014

    As reported by Global Accessibility News, Dropbox has announced improved accessibility features for its iOS app making it fully accessible with VoiceOver.

    From the Dropbox blog:

    "Whether you’re using Dropbox to backup your photos or fixing up a spreadsheet for work, we’ve made significant new accessibility improvements to our iOS app to make sure it’s simple and easy to get stuff done.

    iOS VoiceOver Passcode Screen

    We started by re-evaluating our app from top to bottom — assessing ease of use for everything from logging in to Dropbox, to navigating actions within the app. Then we paired our research with feedback from the AppleVis community to make even more improvements. All of these updates have helped us successfully earn the “fully accessible with VoiceOver” and “easy to navigate and use” rating from AppleVis.

    Here’s what’s new:

    • Our welcome tutorial now more clearly identifies its contents to help you sign-in. VoiceOver will announce the sign-in button, and when activated, display the sign-in screen.
    • Our thumbnails on the Photos tab are more descriptive than before and now properly announce the title of the photo.
    • We’ve made it possible for you to easily enable or disable your passcode lock, and the passcode field and digits can be selected more easily when entering your passcode.

    We added a new button to close out of the “More Actions” menu using VoiceOver, so you can get back to what you were doing in Dropbox right away."

    posted on: November 19th, 2014

    SETC events are at Pacific Daylight Savings Time. Both Washington and out of state teachers may join. You will need to create an account. See the full listing here.

    December 1, 2014
    3:30-4:30
    iPad: Top Favorite Apps for Play and Language webinar   Brenda Del Monte, MA-CCC-SLP, AAC Specialist
    December 2, 2014
    3:30-4:30
    iPad: More Top Favorite Apps for Play and Language webinar   Barb Lark, CCC-SLP, ATP
    December 3, 2014
    3:30-4:30
    Playing with Educational Software webinar   Linda Doehle, AT Specialist
    December 4, 2014
    3:30-4:30
    iPad: OT Treatment Apps webinar   Kristin Leslie MAT, OTR/L, AT Specialist
    December 8, 2014
    3:30-4:30
    Adapted Play Cars: Getting your Community Involved   Brenda Del Monte, MA-CCC-SLP, AAC Specialist
    December 9, 2014
    3:30-4:30
    Adapting Off-the-Shelf Games webinar   Barb Lark, CCC-SLP, ATP
    December 10, 2014
    3:30-4:30
    Math – It can be Fun! webinar   Linda Doehle, AT Specialist
    December 10, 2014
    5:00-6:00
    AAC in Story Reenactment webinar   Karen Foreman, MS., C.C.C. SLP,
    December 11, 2014
    3:30-4:30
    Print Alternative Through BookShare webinar   Jerry Connolly, MA, SETC Director
    December 11, 2014
    3:30-4:30
    Switch Training Resources webinar   Kristin Leslie MAT, OTR/L, AT Specialist
    posted on: October 27th, 2014

    Curious about the salaries of web accessibility practitioners? How they spend their time? The impact they are making? The barriers they face? And how much extra time do they think it takes to make websites accessible?  WebAIM received 900 valid responses to their extensive survey in July 2014. The document with some great charts is online at WebAIM.

    posted on: October 27th, 2014

    On the weekend of October 25th, 2014 the Center for Accessible Technology (CforAT), in conjunction with AT&T, hosted an "Accessibility Hackathon" at the Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley.

    For the uninitiated, a "hackathon" is an event where programmers, developers and designers come together to create teams and intensively work to develop new software products - all int hes pan of 24 hours.  The results are then judged, and prizes are awarded based on the most innovative and marketable products developed.

    At the CforAT Hack, some of the products developed included:

    • An app for assisting blind people in locating products while shopping
    • An app that ties into existing door opening technology to allow people to use proximity to open automatic doors (instead of having to hit a button)
    • An app for identifying "real world hazards"
    • An app for checking in on elderly or frail family members, and one for assisting people dealing with stressful life situations
    • An app to enable someone to use devices completely hands free by activating the voice recognition features without having ti hit buttons

    Perhaps the most important outcome of the hackathon was that these young developers, programmers and designers were all exposed to accessibility as an issue they can work on in their careers.  Everyone at the event was struck by how quickly new products can be developed, and what an enormous impact some of these technologies may have on the lives of people with disabilities. 

    A schedule of events and details may still be up at the signup.

    posted on: October 27th, 2014

    Pacer Center has at least five webinars planned for November 2014.

    Here are two of particular note:

    Smartphones, Smart Students, and Smart Ideas: How Your Smartphone Can Be a Boost to Your Education, Career Readiness, and Daily Life
    Date: Wednesday, November 05, 2014
    Time: 6:30pm-8:00pm

    Smartphones can be used for more than just games and texting; they can also help organize your life, keep track of school work, and more. Participants will learn how iPhones and Android smartphones can be part of a larger strategy to increase independence, organization, and time management skills. (Strategies/tools discussed are for students in middle school through college.)

    Register for this workshop

    An Overview of Technology for Self-Sufficiency and Independence
    Date: Wednesday, November 12, 2014
    Time: 6:30pm-8:00pm
    From unique alarm clocks to checklists for the home or workplace to lights that automatically shut off at bedtime, technology can be helpful when working toward goals for self-sufficiency. Join us to discover how technology can help individuals become more self-sufficient at home, school, and work.

    Register for this workshop. 

    posted on: October 27th, 2014

    Times given are Pacific. Both Washington and out of state teachers may join. You will need to create an account. See the full listing here.

    November 3, 2014, 3:30-4:30     Early Learning Switch Accessible Software webinar     Internet     Brenda Del Monte, MA-CCC-SLP, AAC Specialist

    November 4, 2014, 3:30-4:30     Telling Our Stories: Low and High Tech Supports for Personal Narrative Writing webinar     Internet     Barb Lark, CCC-SLP, ATP

    November 5, 2014, 5:00-6:00     Teaching Language Through Literacy: Adapted Books webinar     Internet     Karen Foreman, MS., C.C.C. SLP,

    November 10, 2014, 3:30-4:30     AAC Evaluations for Kids with Multiple Disabilities webinar     Internet     Brenda Del Monte, MA-CCC-SLP, AAC Specialist

    November 12, 2014, 3:30-4:30     Introduction to Geometer's Sketchpad webinar     Internet     Linda Doehle, AT Specialist

    November 12, 2014, 5:00-6:00     Integrating AAC in the Self-Contained Classroom webinar     Internet     Karen Foreman, MS., C.C.C. SLP,

    November 13, 2014, 3:30-4:30     Switch Training Resources webinar     Internet     Kristin Leslie MAT, OTR/L, AT Specialist

    November 17, 20143:30-4:30     Pad: GoTalkNow PLUS: AAC and Teaching Tool webinar     Internet     Brenda Del Monte, MA-CCC-SLP, AAC Specialist

    November 18, 2014, 5:00-6:00 pm     Clicker 6: Written Language Support webinar     Internet     Kristin Leslie MAT, OTR/L, AT Specialist

    November 18, 2014, 3:30-4:30     Clicker Books and Clicker Connect: Apps for Your Most Challenged Writers webinar     Internet     Barb Lark, CCC-SLP, ATP

    November 19, 2014,3:30-4:30     Classroom Suite: Multiple Possibilities for Students with Multiple Disabilities webinar     Internet     Linda Doehle, AT Specialist

    November 20, 2014, 3:30-4:30     AIM Beyond the Classroom: Accessible Instructional Materials Options webinar     Internet     Cathy Hoesterey OTR/L, Assistive Technology Specialist

    December 1, 2014, 3:30-4:30     iPad: Top Favorite Apps for Play and Language webinar     Internet     Brenda Del Monte, MA-CCC-SLP, AAC Specialist

    posted on: September 30th, 2014

    Learning Ally has more than 10 recently-archived webinars on LD, especially dyslexia, and AT.

    Titles include:

    • Assistive Technology for Reading Accommodations— From Low Tech to High–Tech
    • The Who, What, When and Why of Reading Instruction
    • Beyond Audiobooks
    • Dyslexia Webinar: How to Make Sure the IEP is in Tip-Top Shape
    • Helping Dyslexic Children Thrive
    • Myths About Dyslexia
    • The Big Picture: A Webinar Conversation with Kyle Redford
    • October 2, 2013
    • Webinar for Parents: Know Your Rights
    • Helping Kids with Dyslexia Handle the Homework Hour(s)
    posted on: September 30th, 2014

    Kirk Behnke and Mike Marotta of MAK Technology Solutions joined Learning Ally on 9/24/14 in a webinar focused on helping teachers understand the array of assistive technology solutions available to them to assist their students with a need for reading accommodations. These solutions range from the simple highlighter to browser extensions to simplify the reading of Web articles.

    “Design for your students – think of them first when choosing what supports to use in the classroom,” Kirk and Mike reminded us in their comprehensive webinar. Highlights of their discussion included:

        Assistive technology at a glance
        How to accomplish reading tasks with AT
        SETT framework: Students, Environments, Tasks, Tools
        Understanding your AT options with both low and high-tech applications
        Best practices for ensuring success with AT in your classroom

    The archived webinar is at Learning Ally.

    posted on: September 30th, 2014

    All presentations from the 2014 National Home and Community Services Conference held by the National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities are now online. These two address technology:

    Technology, Innovation, and Aging: How New Technology Companies are Making a Big Impact for Elders and Care Providers; and Policy Revisions to Make it Happen


    Assistive Technology: State AT Programs and Collaborations with State Medicaid Agencies

    posted on: September 30th, 2014

    The ALS Assn. presented Alisa Brownlee, Assistive Technology Professional on Accessing Your iPad with a Switch in September, 2014. The archive is available here.

    posted on: September 30th, 2014

    October 1, 2014
    3:30-4:30

    Getting Started with Boardmaker webinar

     

    Linda Doehle, AT Specialist

    October 2, 2014
    3:30-4:30

    iPad: Accessibility webinar

     

    Kristin Leslie MAT, OTR/L, AT Specialist

    October 6, 2014
    3:30-4:30

    When should 'verbal' kiddos use AAC? webinar

     

    Brenda Del Monte, MA-CCC-SLP, AAC Specialist

    October 7, 2014
    3:30-4:30

    Using Video Modeling to Support Learning for Students with ASD webinar

     

    Barb Lark, CCC-SLP, ATP

    October 8, 2014
    3:30-4:30

    Ready, Set, Action! Create Classroom videos with Movie Maker and iMovie webinar

     

    Linda Doehle, AT Specialist

    October 9, 2014
    3:30-4:30

    iPad: Fine Motor Apps webinar

     

    Kristin Leslie MAT, OTR/L, AT Specialist

    October 15, 2014
    5:00-6:00

    Expanding Student’s Communications with the P.O.D.D. webinar

     

    Karen Foreman, MS., C.C.C. SLP,

    October 20, 2014
    3:30-4:30

    Scripted Language: AAC or Verbal Communicators webinar

     

    Brenda Del Monte, MA-CCC-SLP, AAC Specialist

    October 21, 2014
    3:30-4:30

    Autism Internet Modules: Let’s Explore This Amazing Free Resource webinar

     

    Barb Lark, CCC-SLP, ATP

    October 22, 2014
    3:30-4:30

    Creative Book Builder – Create e-books and video modeling on iPad or Android tablets webinar

     

    Linda Doehle, AT Specialist

    October 27, 2014
    3:30-4:30

    iPad: Autismate AAC App webinar

     

    Brenda Del Monte, MA-CCC-SLP, AAC Specialist

    October 28, 2014
    3:30-4:30

    Optimizing Your Use of SETC Services/Resources webinar

     

    Sue Wright

    October 29, 2014
    3:30-4:30

    Dragon Naturally Speaking webinar

     

    Jerry Connolly, MA, SETC Director

    October 29, 2014
    5:00-6:00

    Twitter 101 for AT Specialists webinar

     

    Cathy Hoesterey OTR/L, Assistive Technology Specialist

    October 30, 2014
    3:30-4:30

    iPad: Scene Speak webinar

     

    Kristin Leslie MAT, OTR/L, AT Specialist

    November 3, 2014
    3:30-4:30

    Early Learning Switch Accessible Software webinar

     

    Brenda Del Monte, MA-CCC-SLP, AAC Specialist

    posted on: September 24th, 2014

    On Wednesday, Apple released iOS 8, a brand-new operating system chock-full of both well known and hidden shortcuts that will likely make your life easier. But beyond the camera’s new time-lapse feature and other fun goodies, there lies a completely revamped set of tools for people with sight and hearing impairments.

    Read the full article

    posted on: September 10th, 2014

    This series discusses the many ways in which users can enable the accessibility options on an iPhone and iPad. For example, the author notes that "with iOS, Apple has added features to specifically help those with visual impairments, including blindness, color blindness and low vision; with auditory impairments, including deafness in one or both ears; physical or motor skill impairments, including limited coordination or range of motion; and learning challenges, including autism and dyslexia.

    http://www.imore.com/how-use-accessibility-iphone-and-ipad-ultimate-guide

    posted on: August 29th, 2014

    BlindSide is "an audio-only adventure game, set in a fully-immersive 3D world you’ll never see. Put on your headphones, close your eyes, and explore the darkness. Listen as the world rotates around you!" It's selling for Mac or PC at $3.99.

    BBC Technology News has reported on the development of games from Blind Legend that will be free to download - in either French or English - on iTunes in 2015. Binaural audio and intuitive game-play are features that create a unique, immersive experience.  A demo is online.

    posted on: June 10th, 2014

    In a study that may apply to many people with disabilties as well, seniors who used the internet were found to have a 30% drop in a key measure of depression, compared to those who did not. This large-scale longitudinal study in the US was reported in the Journal of Gerontology in March, 2014.

    posted on: June 10th, 2014

    Billion Words March is a year-long campaign to champion access to streamed TV shows and movies for 360 million people worldwide with deafness and hearing loss. It's hosted by VIKI,  a global TV site powered by a volunteer community of fans who caption. Viki has volunteers working in 200 language and allows crowdsourcing correction of posted captions.

    posted on: June 10th, 2014

    Professor Norm Coombs of EASI has shared articles on a phone and a cell phone provider designed for people with visual impairments. The Project-Ray Smart Phone is an Android device that has simplified features and was reviewed by the AFB.

    Odin Mobile is a new cell phone carrier specifically for people who are blind
    or  low vision. Odin  is a nationwide provider of cellular service, and the first cell phone company dedicated to serving people who are visually impaired. No contract required.

    posted on: June 10th, 2014

    Congrats to the winners of the FCC’s third annual Awards for  Advancement in Accessibility, which recognizes  outstanding private and public sector ventures in communications technology accessibility and innovation. Here are a few of the winners:

    YouDescribe, developed by the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, is a website and application protocol  interface (API) for creating and playing crowd-sourced, synchronized video descriptions of YouTube videos.

    Texas Multi-Agency Office 2010 Training Collaboration "Creating Accessible Microsoft Office 2010 Documents" developed by the Texas Multi-Agency Office 2010  Training Collaboration, and hosted by the Texas Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities, is a free,  Web-based set of accessible training modules offering step-by-step instructions for creating captioned videos,  MP-3 voice recordings and transcripts in Word and PDF formats. The collaborative effort takes advantage of  social media and low-cost technology to teach accessible design of popular electronic document formats in the  workplace.

    Easy Chirp, developed by Dennis Lembree, is a free Web app that facilitates communicating via Twitter and is  optimized for users with disabilities. Optimization examples include: proper coding for screen reader use by  people who are blind, high contrast; large text and zoom support for people with low vision; and other aspects to  better enable access by people with motor and cognitive disabilities. Most recently, Easy Chirp added a feature  which provides a method to tweet an image with alternative text.

    posted on: May 12th, 2014

    Georgia's Tools for Life program presented "AT Strategies and Solutions for Aging Well" in March 2014. The audio and pdf archive are now available.

    posted on: May 1st, 2014
    A recently released study by the Pew Research Internet Project shows that seniors with disabilities are about 15% less likely to go online, have broadband at home, or own an advanced digital device. They may be skeptical of the advantages of online resources.
    An important finding is that a large majority of those who are not yet online say that they will not explore it on their own, but want some assistance. As reported in the Raising the Floor newsletter, "This "social adoption" model may inspire new approaches to nurturing online adoption via positive interactions with peers, friends, familiar community institutions and families."
    posted on: May 1st, 2014
    Thotra, a new startup spun off from the University of Toronto, is preparing to release a system that processes hard-to-understand speech, such as strong accents, stuttering, and the effects of some forms of cerebral palsy. The system analyzes the stream of speech similar to how speech recognition is performed, identifies specific artifacts that make the speech hard to understand, and provides some remediation before sending the speech stream on to the listener.  It is a mobile technology with a cloud based platform available for individuals, speech therapists, language instructors and can be embedded for enterprise use.
    posted on: April 30th, 2014

    Made-for-iPhone hearing aids come with a host of new features, including location specific adjustments, a "live microphone" feature that is good in noisy places, and spoken output from the iPhone delivered directly to the hearing aid. See a description at Re/Code.

    posted on: April 23rd, 2014

    The Special Education Technology Center at Central Washington University has two to four webinars each week this spring (2014). They have not limited these free webinars, so out of state teachers may join. You will need to create an account.

    May 2014 topics include:

     

    May 5, 2014, iPad: Free and Cheap AAC Apps webinar
     
    May 6, 2014: Making Off-the-Shelf Games Accessible webinar
     
    May 8, 2014: Switch Training Progression 
     
    May 12, 2014: iPad: Free and Cheap Educational Apps
     
    May 13, 2014: Creating Accessible Jeopardy Games
     
    May 14, 2014: Creating a Virtual Field trip
     
    May 15, 2014: iPad: Switch Accessible Apps 
     
    May 19, 2014: iPad: Top Ten Favorite Apps for SLP Treatment 
     
    May 20, 2014: NIMAS/Bookshare 
     
    May 22, 2014: Clicker 6: Switch Access 
     
     
    May 29, 2014: iPad Apps That Help Me Tap
     
     
    All sessions are from 3:30-4:30 PST. If you need assistance please contact our office at 509.963.3350 or e-mail Sue Wright at  wrightsu@cwu.edu.
    posted on: April 21st, 2014

    A searchable library of archived webinars is available at the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD). For example, an EIEC Webinar: The Use of Assistive Technology in Early Intervention was presented by Philippa Campbell, Ph.D., Thomas Jefferson University, Tots-n-Tech program in March 2012.

     
    posted on: March 6th, 2014

     

    BridgingApps was created by parents and therapists who began using the iPad with children who have special needs. They have created Insignio, a custom-built app tool and stocked it with over 1200 apps. You can search for apps and lists, save searches and share lists. With Insignio you can create and organize apps in a list, add notes to each app in a list, comment and rate apps, and be directed to Google Play and iTunes stores to purchase apps. Insignio allows users to access app reviews conducted by therapists and special education teachers. The BridgingApps review system was conceived using nationally recognized assessment tools and focuses on skill, not age or diagnosis. 

    posted on: March 6th, 2014

    American Foundation for the Blind is offering free access to a webinar on Braille. The Unified English Braille (UEB) code has been adopted in the United States and an implementation plan is being developed. In this free webinar participants will learn more about the UEB, its similarity to current code, and what is and isn't changing. Participants will be informed about the implementation plan and how they can get involved. The webinar presented by Dr. Frances Mary D’Andrea, current Chair of the Braille Authority of North America (BANA), is designed for educators, transcribers, and parents of students with visual impairments. (2014)

    posted on: March 6th, 2014

    Open source software and instructions for a brain-control interface for a power wheelchair are being shared by Emotiv. The system includes an electric wheelchair, a laptop computer, an Arduino, an interface circuit, an EEG headset, and a collection of ready-made and custom software. Instructions can be downloaded and the comments on the posting could be valuable as well.

    posted on: March 4th, 2014
     Dragon Dictate for Mac 4.0 now has transcription capabilities, allowing for speech-to-text conversion from pre-recorded audio files. Dragon Dictate is a well-known tool for converting speech to text. With new support for pre-recorded audio files, the software can "transcribe from any pre-recorded single-speaker audio file," according to Nuance. "This new transcription capability is fast, accurate and easy. And perfect for writers, creative professionals, students, educators, field workers, business executives — any user — who needs to access content from various audio files, such as podcasts, and other distinct formats of single speakers. For instance, teaching assistants and students can record lectures at close range and turn them into text, and field workers can now transcribe recordings of their interviews directly from their digital recorder or smartphone."
     
    Dragon Dictate for Mac 4.0 is available now for OS X 10.8 or later. It retails for $199.99 for a single license, but volume licensing terms are also available.
    posted on: March 3rd, 2014

    Don Johnston Inc. has a line up of free product-related webinars in March and April, 2014.

    Zach Bender will then demonstrate Co:Writer word prediction and explain how it includes supports that comply with your state’s guidelines.

     
    Dr. Denise DeCoste will guide you through her FREE “Protocol for Accommodations in Reading” (PAR). It helps IEP team members compare independent reading levels to human read aloud and text reader accommodation conditions. This process helps make informed decisions about read aloud supports—traditionally one of the two most common accommodations.
     
    Janet Sturm, Ph. D, CCC-SLP will share stories about students who were never expected to write, like Antonio and Sean. Now, as teenagers, they are expressing themselves through writing, despite their various disabilities.
     
    Hear technology coordinator Mary Ann McGinn share how her district addressed this challenge through Start-to-Finish CORE Curriculum, a comprehensive literature-based reading curriculum.
     
    Darren Avey, Assistive Technology Specialist, will outline the programs he implemented in 32 Texas schools to prepare for testing accommodation changes.  He will share stories about what worked well and what didn’t.
    posted on: March 3rd, 2014

    This archived webinar from January 2014 is from ISTE. There is a handout, as well.

    Filter through your list of apps to create a core that truly provide all your students with a successful experience in learning, communication and engagement using the iPad. This session will demonstrate how I apply that filter to a sampling of apps that can be utilized across all subjects throughout the school experience.

    Dan Herlihy,Connective Technology Solutions
    posted on: January 30th, 2014

    Did you know that IEP teams are only 50% likely to choose the most appropriate reading accommodation for a student unless they have an empirical screening process in place?

    Protocol for Accommodations in Reading (PAR) is a diagnostic tool used to help determine which reading accommodations might be appropriate for a student who struggles with reading.

    PAR helps you make more informed reading accommodation decisions by using graded passages that allow you to compare reading comprehension performance across 3 reading conditions (student read aloud, adult read aloud and text reader). Examiners should use standardized reading test scores as a starting place for administering PAR. Anyone on the IEP team can administer PAR to systematize how reading accommodations are recommended on a student level or across the school district. 
     
    Don Johnston Inc. has both an on-demand webinar on PAR, asl well as live webinars planned for March and April, 2014.
    posted on: January 30th, 2014

    YouTube has again improved the functionality of their captioning tool for videos that you have posted on the site. The instructions are much the same but now, as you caption, the site will automatically pause the video while you are typing. This allows you to listen to exactly the amount that you can remember before you type it out, and saves hitting a pause key.