Friday, February 20, 2009

Tech Tips from an Assistive Technology Specialist

In my work as an Assistive Technology specialist, my vision is to work myself out of a job. When I am no longer necessary, that will mean that all students have access to the technology that they need to make effective progress. Unfortunately, I don't see this happening anytime soon.

In the meantime, it has never been easier to share knowledge about tools and strategies. First of all, there are so many free social networking tools that allow effortless sharing of information. Secondly, the companies themselves have provided us with many extension resources that extend our capabilities with their products. Here are a few assistive technology resources that I'd like to share. My hope is you will find them of value as you begin another week.

I have fallen back in love with IntelliTools Classroom Suite, which is now up to version 4. Yes, it is now easier than ever to use. But, the true strength of this program is the incredible activities that other educators upload to the Activity Exchange. Anything by Cindy Kerr (have you seen her In My Classroom or Treasure Hunt activities? Definitely explore these!), or Byron Wilkes from Learning Magic is worth exploring. And Region 5 just added a "Three Choice!" Activity! - They modified the Two Choice template for all of us - we now have two distractors which is awesome! Here's a quick video I created that shares some tips that help me use the Activity Exchange:

Thanks to a tweet from Dave Hohulin, I know now about the Dynavox-Mayer Johnson Implementation Toolkit. Watch the video on their website to learn about all the resources they have compiled and how easy it is to access them. This site is an incredible resource for those who are new to AAC as well as those who have a great deal of experience in the augmentative communication field.

Another great resource is provided by AbleNet, Inc. They have created the AbleNet Wiz with a numerous curriculum ideas covering a variety of content and skill areas.

The last resource I will highlight in this blog is all the extension activities that are available through Inspiration, a graphic organizing, visual thinking and learning tool. Inspiration has numerous resources available at their website. They also have created the Inspired Learning Community where you can quickly sign up to become a member, download and share lessons and ideas.

Extension activities make us look smart. And they help to integrate and implement the tools in ways that engage and help our students succeed. Are you taking full advantage of the resources?

(Please feel free to share additional resources as this is just the tip of the iceberg).


Anonymous said...

Those are great, Karen! I've always loved the Activity Ex on Intellitools.
I look forward to new blog posts...keep 'em coming!

Dave Hohulin said...

Hi Karen, thanks for the hat tip on the Dynavox post. I just wish I had come up with it :)

Bethany Diener, who was formerly with the Rehab Institute of Chicago, was a major content developer on this. She is a brilliant SLP/AAC Specialist, so I know it's solid stuff.

iTechSpec said...

Inspiration is a wonderful tool for brainstorming and organizing information. The Inspiration website now offers for FREE their online version called Webspiration. Check it out at: