Wednesday, September 13, 2017

WARNING!!!

Hey Tek-Ninjas! If you are a user of iTunes for managing your iDevice apps, be warned, the new iTunes no longer manages apps. 

As in, there is no app tool anymore. At all. Instead, I guess you download everything wirelessly. You can still "file share" moving data to and from your apps, but no longer manage them that way.

So. Do not update your iTunes if that is a potential issue for you.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Dreamers

Hey Tek-ninjas! A lot going on in the world, and some of it is down right scary. 

If you work with DACA Dreamers, United We Dream is a tremendous resource for you and your students.  

United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation. Their powerful nonpartisan network is made up of over 100,000 immigrant youth and allies and 55
affiliate organizations in 26 states. They organize and advocate for the dignity and fair treatment of immigrant youth and families, regardless of immigration status.

If you are like me, and are committed to keeping families together, and our students in school, follow this link

That's all for now...

Friday, September 1, 2017

Change Agents

Hey Tek-Ninjas! We are at the end of our first week of school for our district. From my perspective it's been a whirl-wind of activity. Today a colleague shared this nice story with me, and I thought I'd pass it along. 

Last spring during an Exceptional Children (EC) adapted curriculum and EC Resource Professional Learning meeting, one of our school-based teams were discussing the game Hangman which was being used within a learning program called News2You (N2Y) that is offered internationally.

The team was discussing the historical messages that are associated with hanging and agreed that
"Build A Word"
they didn't want to reinforce those messages or portray them as a fun activity with their students.

So, rather than just abandon the activity, which they all deemed to have education value, they decided to advocate for their students and contact the company to request changes to the game.

They called and emailed with representatives from N2Y over several months.  After several productive conversations they were thrilled that the programmers heard their concerns and made terrific changes!

N2Y changed the name to Build a Word and the activity now focuses on building a character! Way to go N2Y!

For me, the take away from this story is that we all have the ability to be "change agents". Here is to hoping you all have great school years full of learning and rewarding relationships.

Hajimé!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Word Processor

Hey Tek-Ninjas! Last week I posted asking for help regarding the recent demise of the last sub $500 Stand-Alone-Word-Processor.

I am pleased to say, that with the help of the IT folks in our district I have a solution!

Our district is planning on re-purposing old laptops, and we will load a "Cloudready Chrome OS. This essentially turns any Mac or PC into a Chromebook. The OS can run on an older device, and does so remarkably fast, thus turning an outdated computer into a functional Chrome Book.

Next, we install the Chrome app "Note", or any other preferred/and free word processor app you like. We want a simple word processor, with minimum bells and whistles.

Finally, we turn on "Kiosk mode" so the laptop will boot only and always into the Note app. No internet, no youtube, no settings, no distractions.

The only downside is that right now, the only way to get the document off the laptop is with a fob, but that is proving to be navigable.
Hope this helps. Please let me know if you do this, especially if you make improvements/changes!

Hajimè!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Help!!

$499.00
Hey Tek-Ninjas! I'm looking for ideas. If you are an Occupational Therapist, or educator, you may have noticed recently that the makers of the Fusion Writer, WriterLearning, has gone out of business. The good folks at Alpha-Smart of course have been long gone.

So, if you are looking for a dedicated word-processor for your student who requires key-boarding, but is too distractible by a full blown computer, you are going to be in a jam. The only one I can find, the Freewrite, retails for $499, which is easily the cost of two Chromebook.

So, I'm wondering if anyone has suggestions for ready made products? Or perhaps experience locking down a word processing function on a Chromebook, Linux, or Pi unit?

Thanks, and Hajimé

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

What's the time?

Hey Tek-Ninjas! This is a quick share. Many of you classroom folks or therapists have needed timers to help students with focus, transitions, etc. I've shared this inexpensive and easy to use app a while back. 

Today I thought I'd share this free resource in the form of a website: http://www.online-stopwatch.com/classroom-timers/. As long as you can access the internet, it doesn't matter if you are using Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome, or any smartphone. 

The online stop watch is very easy to use. And, the makers offer many varied types of timers. Choose a timer that is simplistic, or find one that is whimsical, or sports themed. 

An online timer can easily be displayed on a Smartboard or other projected screen for a class. Or, for a smaller setting, the online timer can easily run on a smartphone. 

Hajimé

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The "Choice Act" isn't really about "Choice".

Another day, another call to make:

Please call your representative and ask him/her to vote NO on U.S. House Bill 610 (HR 610) introduced by three Republican reps.

This bill will effectively start the school voucher system to be used by children ages 5-17, and starts the defunding process of public schools. In addition the bill will eliminate the Elementary and Education Act of 1965 (ESSA), which is the nation's educational law and provides equal opportunity in education. ESSA is a big comprehensive program that covers programs for struggling learners, AP classes, ESL classes, classes for minorities such as Native Americans, Rural Education, Education for the Homeless, School Safety (Gun-Free schools), Monitoring and Compliance and Federal Accountability Programs.

Let me be clear, I am not categorically against Charter schools, I have worked in some truely remarkable charters. But I am categorically against charter, private, and home schools replacing public education.

The Bill also abolishes the Nutritional Act of 2012 (No Hungry Kids Act) which provides nutritional standards in school breakfast and lunch.

The bill has no wording whatsoever protecting Special Needs kids, no mention of IDEA and FAPE.

Some things ESSA does for Children with Disabilities
-Ensures access to the general education curriculum.
-Ensures access to accommodations on assessments.
-Ensures concepts of Universal Design for Learning
-Includes provisions that require local education agencies to provide evidence-based
interventions in schools with consistently underperforming subgroups.
-Requires states in Title I plans to address how they will improve conditions for learning including reducing incidents of bullying and harassment in schools, overuse of discipline practices and reduce the use of aversive behavioral interventions (such as restraints and seclusion).

So as a stated above, time to make some calls! If you are uncertain who to call, you can find your Congress-person here.

Hajimé!