I am happy to say that I have FINALLY set up wireless Internet on the mountain here in Oregon where my family spends most of the summer and fall. I have been writing posts at my office and doing 2 or 3 days at a time to post automatically so I could save a little gas expense of driving to town everyday (30 miles) to do a post (since I am supposed to be in summer vacation mode). Because of having to work that way the past 2 weeks or so, I feel like I have kind of lost some continuity and relevancy in my daily posts, but now that I am sitting in my easy chair up on this beautiful mountain enjoying writing to you from my favorite setting, I can breathe a sigh of relief, relax and enjoy sharing with you on a more personal and daily level again. I can work a short amount of the day and play the rest!
New Projects, News and Interviews Coming...
Dynavox: I have had some very exciting highlights this past month, and getting to share with Ellen Witham on the AAC strategies she used with her son was one. Since she works for Dynavox, I am coordinating a Blog Talk Radio interview through them with the SLP that designed the InterACCT software for Dynavox. We will discuss the levels of communication you can graduate through and how to get the most use out of each level, as well as some of the foundational principles around the InterACCT system. Ellen will join us as well, so it should be a dynamic session for anyone using the Dynavox system or anyone considering it. I will give you more on a date as the session pulls together.
Kidthing: I have received breaking news from kidthing that is very exciting. The news was just released yesterday (July 8) and it will be my post for tomorrow. Since kidthing posts have been top-read posts and my interview with Larry a top-downloaded interview for me on Blog Talk Radio, I have wanted to keep everyone up on what is happening there - so check in tomorrow for all the details on what is going on with them.
gh Accessibility: I have been working on an interview with the CEO of gh Accessibility. We have just have to nail down a date for the interview and it should be coming up the end of July or first of August. ghAccessibility provides a player for digital talking book files that are compatible with DAISY and NIMAS formats.
DAISY Consortium: The interaction between the DAISY team and this blog has been a jumping off point for some nice correspondence via email and an invitation for the DAISY Consortium to share in an interview on No Limits 2 Learning Live. It is a go, and the plan is to have George Kerscher, the Secretary General, on to share, but again, we are coordinating schedules to get the date set and layout our topics. You can look forward to this interview sometime before summer is over - hopefully in August.
AT Summer Institute from Seaside, Oregon:
August 11, 12, & 13 I will be at our state-wide AT workshops. I will be doing a day workshop on designing interactive activities and using switch accessibility with them. While there, I will have the unique opportunity to get some folks on live for some interview sessions, so I will be planning a couple of those either as live podcasts or live interviews on Blog Talk Radio. More specifics will be coming. If you are in Oregon or Washington state and want to attend a session or all three days at Seaside, the sessions are open to anyone. Go to the summer institute page on the OTAP website for more information.
Special Education Pioneer Interviews:
I have the great fortune to have an amazing pioneer in my own family. My uncle, Hubert Thornburg, is a retired special education teacher in Oregon, now in his late seventies and living outside of Portland. While visiting he and my aunt last fall, I began to ask him questions about his past experiences in teaching. What he began to tell me was amazing. I realized that I was talking to a man who started teaching special education in the late 1950's when no one knew what it should really look like or what was best for kids. He was starting into a new field of study where special needs kids were still puzzles to be figured out. There were no protocols in place and certainly no assistive technology.
I will be going down to spend several days with family in Portland, mid-July and will be taking the time to interview him, so there is an archive of his recorded history. My plan is to release these interviews as a series of podcasts this fall so we can enjoy hearing his reflections on an era most of us can't relate to. I know I was floored to hear about things we take for granted daily in our work with special needs in education that didn't even exist at that time.
You will not want to miss these interviews. I think they will give us a huge reference point to see where we have been and what we have accomplished over the past 60 years or so. Something to look forward to - I am excited about doing that series of interviews!
Also...The Assistive Technology Blog Carnival Edition 5 will be up Monday, July 28. If you would like to submit a blog post on AT - we will just keep it open on what you would like to share - please send the link to me by Friday, July 25 at: email@example.com
There is much more, but...
There are more projects, more posts, interviews and reviews planned, but I won't write anymore about them right now. I do want you all to know though, how grateful I am that you read this blog. I don't take for granted that you have a choice of many online blogs and podcasts to read and listen to, and that out of them all, you choose to spend some time here at No Limits to Learning.
I think of many of you as family more and more as I hear from you through comments, emails and even some Mp3 voice files! My hope is to provide you with a fresh perspective on AT, special education and news about the folks that are providing us with so many great tools and services.
All the best to you!