Thursday, March 15, 2018

Snap+ Core First Gets Even Better!

Hey Tek-Ninjas! It's been a minute. I've been deeply immersed in the Tobii Dynavox world. Learning every day and seeing users that simply blow me away. If you have followed my blog for long, you understand that I've spent my career working with young people. In my new position as an AAC Consultant, I have had the distinct honor of working with many amazing adults who are seeking their voices. I have met people whose proficiency with our eye-gaze system has left me feeling amazed and delighted. The future is bright I tell you.

But today's blog article is a bit about our AAC software, Snap+ Core First. In my opinion one of the most robust pieces of AAC software ever, and phenomenally easy to manage for caregivers and therapists alike. That ease in my mind is the difference between a device sitting on the shelf unused, or a device being customized for the given user and opening a new world.

If you own the software, or even have the free (voiceless) version, be sure to run your updates from the App or Windows store. About a month ago, for no additional cost, we pushed out the English/Spanish version. No cost I say.

And yesterday we pushed out the English/German version. Because the German iteration requires a different symbol set there is an in-app cost of $54.99.

Accessing these different languages is as simple as logging out of your user, and creating a new profile. Be sure to use the pull down menu to see the different language options.

Additions in Snap 1.3 update include:

-Localization for the German market including a Core First DE page set, morphology, prediction, and German Acapela voices

-German Metacom symbols available as an in-app purchase

-A subscription option for Snap is now available on a monthly or annual basis

If you are unfamiliar with the software you can download the voiceless version for free which make a great tool to familiarize yourself, and as an Editor version to work on client's pages without taking their devices from them. Windows 10 version is here.  For your ipad, go here.

Happy therapy! And Hajima!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Upcoming Trainings

Hey Tek-ninjas! If you are in the area, and interested in a tremendous learning opportunity oriented to
Tobii Dynavox eye gaze systems, there are a few free inservices coming up soon.

In these session participants will learn simple and functional eye gaze settings, software settings, and software selection for Tobii Dynavox Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) language and access systems. You will explore various programming and editing features to
increase gaze interaction functionality. Hardware, software, and strategic resources will be reviewed.

If you are in the western half of NC:

Check out February 14th in the morning,


Check out February 14th in the afternoon,


If you are in the eastern half of NC

Check out February 16th in the morning.

You do not need to be a North Carolina resident to participate.

I will be at the Raleigh inservices, and my colleague Jodi Schilian will be at the Charlotte inservices.
Both Jodi and I will be at the NCACA February 22nd and 23rd. 

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Indi, not just a tablet and some apps...

Hey Tek-Ninjas! Full disclosure; as I blogged before, I am a Tobii-Dynavox consultant. So, yes I am going to spotlight Tobii-Dynavox hardware and software periodically. I’m very excited about these products, I believe in them, or I would not have signed on.

One such product that I’m excited about is the Indi. It’s the size of most tablets. But built like a tank, and equipped with serious “hear me in the subway” speakers. The Indi is pre-loaded with Snap + Core First, the easiest symbol-based software for early communicators. Additionally, the Indi has capabilities that even go beyond speech communication like Environmental Control Units, Infrared, access to social media, email, and texting. This is a fully functional Windows 10 os. If you purchase it directly from the website, it retails for $999. 

 Take a look.


Thursday, November 30, 2017

Poo and I
Hey Tek-Ninjas! I have big news (for me at least) today, November 30th I have completed my last day of employment with my school district. I have been a school employee since 2001, and for the first time,  I will be stepping into the private sector. 
I have loved my work with students, teachers, therapists, and the parents. It has provided me with much joy to be a part of so many people's journey over the years. I will miss many of my colleagues and the communities I have been blessed to be a part of. 
But, I am so excited! On December 4th, I will begin working for Tobii-Dynavox as a regional Sales Consultant.  My territory will include Mid to Eastern NC, and the Hampton Roads area of VA. This adventure will allow me to reach out to a larger population, and to work with adults as well as students. Again, I am so very excited!
Tobii-Dynavox creates communication solutions that users can grow and develop with throughout their life. In short, their products are the bomb!

New chapter, wonderful opportunity!

Friday, November 17, 2017

“Language” Immersion

Hey Tek-Ninjas! I was at a terrific in-service for Augmentative Communication (AAC) today. The presenters were discussing how important it is for AAC to be continuously modeled by educators, therapists, and parents. 

The conversation got me thinking about how we teach students foreign languages. Like many others, our school district has dual language schools, both Spanish and Chinese, Everyone in those buildings are always speaking in those respective languages. This model of language immersion has proven to work.

Now consider how we teach AAC users. Are we modeling a Dual-language classroom in how we communicate? Doing so can feel intimidating, especially as we are sometimes also learning as we go. But showing this process, our own stumbling and successes can be hugely valuable for your students and colleagues, ultimately helping them feel better about their own feelings of AAC inadequacy.
I’d love to hear from any of you as to how immersive you are in your educational settings. Any tips? Pitfalls?
Happy Therapy!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Managing your Apps

Hey Tek-Ninjas! Back in September I wrote a blog article about Apple's removal of the App store from iTunes. For some of us, we really want to be able to see the icon of the App.

Well, at the time, I did not think about Apple Configurator, primarily because I use that tool to manage my Volume Purchases. Apple Configurator will work for individual installations similar to the older iTunes. 

Apple Configurator is a free download from the App store. Once downloaded, click on "Account" on the top bar, and log in to your iTunes account. 

Once logged in, you can click on the green plus, than click  on the "Apps" icon.

You will be provided the choice of choosing from the window box that appears, or choose from your mac in the bottom left corner. 

The only disappointment I'm still faced with, is that (to my knowledge) the user is not able to customize the iPad appearance using Apple Configurator. It appears that to create folders and rearrange apps, the user will need to do so directly on the iPad. 

Still, its a nice tool to have, given that iTunes no longer supports Apps. 


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Infinite Possibilities...

Hey Tek-Ninjas! Recently I had a student introduce me to a really terrific Google Extension. It's called Infinity, and it allows users to create an elegant, customizable, and intuitive home page for desktop or laptop. 

Google Infinity is designed to create a minimalist environment,  providing easy pathways to often used sites. I am using it personally with Google sites such as my mail, docs, and drive.

Chrome Browser
Infinity will require the installation of the Chrome Browser, which really is a topnotch browser anyways. Both the browser and the extension are free. They work on Macs and PCs, as well as Chromebooks. 

Once installed, anytime the user opens Chrome, they will be
Infinity Home Page
presented with the Infinity page. If they use Chrome and log into their Google account on another computer, regardless of the operating system, (Mac, PC, Chromebook) they will encounter the same Infinity page. 

With Google Infinity, walking into any public library, the user can replicate their computer experience. For many of our users, this type of continuity is crucial. 

For fun, anytime the user clicks on the pinwheel in the bottom right, a new background photo comes up. My student indicated some of the photos might be a little "inappropriate, but not too sexy" for younger students. I've yet to encounter any such issue, but I'll keep looking just in case. 

Happy Tuesday!