Friday, February 12, 2016

iDevice Assistive Features

Hey Tek-Ninjas! Many of you are already familiar with the built in features of the iDevices (iPhones, iPads, and iTouches). But just in case you haven't seen the latest bells and whistles, I want to direct you to Apple's very helpful page. 

This "stuff" is amazing, and all part of your iDevice! These devices offer great supports for folks with issues around vision, hearing, motor skills, and learning and literacy. Make sure you are maximizing your technology's potential.

Hajime!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Free Materials from Handwriting Without Tears

Hey Tek-Ninjas! Most Occupational Therapist's I talk with are big fans of Jan Olson's Handwriting Without Tears, and not just because she is an Occupational Therapist herself, but the program is excellent, affordable, and spans pre-writing skills, print, cursive, and even key boarding.

Recently a colleague shared with me HWT's free online resource. This is really terrific, and I wanted to make sure you all are aware of the site, regardless of whether or not you use HWT, there is some great stuff here.

Hajime!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Typing Support


Lessons
Hey Tek-Ninjas! Let's talk about keyboarding a bit.

I typically don't jump into keyboarding instruction until sometime in the 3rd or 4th grades. Occasionally, given compelling reasons, I may start earlier. The biggest predictor to keyboarding success is consistent exposure.  I will generally recommend 10-15 minute skill drill 3-5 days per week, with the idea that learning to keyboard is a process.

To support this process, I want to tell you about a free online typing site. KidzType is an amazing site filled with great instruction and games for reinforcement. 

KidzType touts the benefits of touch typing, and that is the focus of the instruction.  However, even for folks who are entrenched in a hunt & peck method, or single handed typing (secondary to a physical issue) the site can help users increase both speed and accuracy. 


Games
Remember, if you are keyboarding on an iPad, most folks benefit from an external keyboard. Also, because the site is Flash based, iPad users will need a Flash enabled browser such as Photon

Hajime!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Making Connections for your Team

Hey Tek-Ninjas! Today I'd like to tell you about a new service called Connections For Autism (CFA). CFA is a subscription-based, online platform for any and all educators. CFA provides educators with a wide array of tools to meet the needs of students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The service was created by a skilled multi-disciplinary team here in Chapel Hill. The team consists veterans from TEACCH, an Autism Specialist, Speech therapist, Occupational Therapist, Special Educator, Elementary Math Curriculum Specialist, Regular Ed Teacher, and a parent of a child with Autism.  The tools include IEP goals aligned to Common Core Standards, assessment and progress monitoring forms, and a tremendous selection of differentiated materials to support evidence-based practices. 

TRANSPARENCY DISCLAIMER:
I have been invited to
 have involvement in further growing CFA. So, yes, this time I do have some personal investment in the product being successful. I came on board because I was so impressed with the thoroughness and sophistication of this service. In addition, I have worked with several of the contributors over the years and count them as some of the best in their respective fields. 

The depth and breadth of support CFA offers for IEP teams is remarkable. 

The service includes approximately 400 IEP goals, and all goals have progress monitoring forms. In addition, all non academic goals (behavior, social and communication, daily living and time management) have initial informal assessments. CFA provides several hundred downloadable materials which are all tied to multiple goals. 

This service could stand alone as a complete product. However, the design is that the service will continue to grow and revise as necessary. 

If you work with children on the spectrum this tool could really help shape your evaluations, interventions, and service delivery, insuring best practice, whether you work in a public, charter, private, or home school setting. 

Hajime!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Math Support: Mod Math Gets Even Better!

Hey Tek-Ninjas! Back in September of 2014 I wrote about a number of tech supports for math. 

I was particularly impressed with Mod Math, though wished it had some higher level functions. At the time, I spoke with Dawn from Mod Math, and learned that the company was in the process of developing algebraic functions for the app. 

Well. That's been done. Mod Math continues to be a free app. And now, it is better than ever. Be sure to take a look at it, likely it can help some of your students struggling with the writing process of mathematics. 

Happy Therapy!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Seuss Prescription

iTune Books
Hey Tek-Ninjas, as a child I was a fan of Dr. Seuss. Today,  I still am a fan.  There have for some time been a number of his books available for iDevices and other platforms. The books are chock full of interactive features that are sure to interest young learners. The books come at many different price points, some with "in-app purchases", and occasionally a few free. 

These books allow for reading along with highlighted narration, read it yourself, or to utilize auto play. You may want to equip your students with headphones if they are using the app during reading time. You may also wish to use Guided Access, to make sure inquisitive explorers from leaving the app for other activities.

Touch a picture, gets names
The "books" encourage users to tap on the various aspects of the pictures, exposing the reader to concepts of rhyming, phonics, and reading comprehension. Eventually, on each page you can find a star which opens a learning component. 

Spelling
Most recently I revisited the iPad version of Green Eggs. It is an engaging take on the classic. Your students will want to come back to it more than once. 

Take a look at the many offerings and see if Dr. Seuss might help some of your readers in class!

Happy therapy!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Self-promotion...

Hey Tek-Ninjas! I am shamelessly hocking my artwork for the holidays.

Midnight today ends "shameless pimping my work" day. Y'all go buy a print or two! 

Save 50% off any image. Offer ends December 8th at midnight. Use the code: JINGLE50. 
http://www.imagekind.com/art/stunning/jim-tignor/artwork-on/fine-art-prints