Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Notebook on Print Disability Resources from Oregon Interagency AT Meeting

At our Portland, Oregon AT Interagency meeting on February 8, we discussed Accessible Instructional Materials. Below are some of the ideas and concerns that were shared on methods, tools and struggles implementing text in alternate formats and readers, etc.

Student Eligibility - Bookshare accounts need to be managed and teachers need a system to track and manage files to make sure everyone is in compliance.
Wynn, Premiere, SOLO and Natural Reader have been used. RFBD has a free individual account - (parents can sign kids up - schools can't do this) digital download now.
When it comes to an organic dysfunction, parents are going to the doctor and getting a certifiable designation letter to submit. Schools aren't getting the letters from the doctor, but they are using a form letter that gives the doctor guidelines and parents can take it when they visit.

The Don Johnston Reader - Read OutLoud is free on Bookshare to download and use to read books. It was shared that if you download files from the reader vs. doing a Bookshare title search and download, it seems to be easier.
National Geographice Young Explorer - you can go online and access the issue and you can click on the page and it will read in a nice voice. Great reasourecs for free open titles are Library 2 Go and
Teacher Curriculum Institute has titles on website. Email them and they send you a form, you return and they send file if they have the title
Pearson Publications have the online purchase file of text as option. A lot of the textbook companies will charge $7 in addition to the purchase of the book in hardcover to add the E-version. Some will throw a couple of the E version files in when a lot of books are being bought in a district.

Comments on NIMAS:
NIMAS book files with images are huge and the Read OutLoud software does the best job of all the readers at opening thye files but the books will freeze up when trying to get to page 200 - have to scroll through the pages.
There are issues with districts having locked computers so that students can't independently download anything - so there are steps to get the files downloaded and then unzipped and put on a students file area on the networked server space. The IT have to give the AT person a code and then they do the download - but not sustainable in the longrun.

Applications being used or tried:
Kurzweil 3000
Victor Reader WAVE
Natural Reader with the pay voices
Eclipse Reader
Jaws for Windows
Ruby software
Freedom Scientific, Sara - a stand alone scanner with voice output - $2000.

There are district trends to put software through an adoption process so that there is a uniform software the district uses and trains to use.

All the best,


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Monday, February 8, 2010

A Grab Bag of AT Ideas from Oregon Interagency Meeting

I am in Portland, Oregon today with all our districts and ESD's as we share on what is happening in our area with assistive technology. I have heard some great ideas and thought I would share what they are doing in summary.

Many are using the SETT model for assessing and implementing AT. They are also using the WATI consideration guide. Data collection/trials can last up to 3 months depending on the district.

ARA funds are being spent on NEO keyboards, K3000, Intel Readers. Autism kits were built using Boardmaker, Time Timers, GoTalk Ones, Clicker 5, Cheap Talk 8.

There were some great ideas. I don't have a lot of details on them, but you can see what
Proloquo2go, iTouch and administrating iTunes account - went to Costco and bought gift cards with the district credit card and then bought Proloquo2go. They have limited the code to open the iTunes account to their AT administrator.
Natural Reader is being used.
Paper Port/scanner to scan tests take and print out.
Loved this one...iTouch with the Nike sensors tied onto shoes and recording walking times and distances. They upload the data and students look at graphs and work on better distances and times. This has been developing more independence and motivation to exercise.
One ESD has developed an online data base that holds a lot of the free online Boardmaker, Intellitools activity exchange and Clicker 5 teacher-made activities in one place.
Using Office 07 Access template for asset inventory (they downloaded a free template Lending Library from the business category of online templates) to build an equipment data base.
Porta Portal - a free web based link organizer open to everyone - used by Saint Helens School District.

Redmond School District did a one day training open to certified staff and trained them on print disability and text to speech tools. The teachers left with Mp3 players, flash drives, and notebooks with directions and ideas. They did a survey later and found that not very many had used them. The team re-grouped and got a tech/IT guy to be a tech support for them. They collaborate with IT on training and getting out in classrooms to model how to use the tools. They are using Premiere Literacy software to get students with print disabilities access to text. They have been doing training of counselors for students that are on 504's and need support for vocational and college prep counseling/expulsion counseling - what AT will do to support these students and help them graduate.
Redmond has also been integrating Flip video and sharing videos for assessment and showing them to students for self-assessment. It has strengthened their program. There is a digital wish site that will give 2 for 1 when you buy if you prove you are an educator.

National Initiatives:
Gayl Bowser shared on RESNA and that they were at the ATIA conference they asked how they could be helpful to AT specialists and make IDEA mandates enforceable. she also shared on the QIAT (Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology) Summit June 22 and 23 in Fort Lauderdale FL area. If you would like to be involved in collaborating with a work group to strengthen the processes for AIM, you might want to attend. The cost is only $40 for both days and your travel and housing is on your own.

All the best,


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