Friday, October 26, 2012

Keeping Tabs on your iAdolescent

The first blog I wrote on TechNinja was about the importance of helping our teens be good cyber-citizens.  The amount of freedom kids can experience with technology can be scary.

Early on I provided my two boys (11 and 15) with access to technology, but with the caveat that I would be monitoring them closely. I have set up Find My iPhone on their phones. This allows me to find them quickly, and verify that they are where they say they will be. I have also synced their texting to my iMessage. This allows me to monitor their texts.

Really, I don't even check that regularly. But they know I have the ability to do so. Now, some of you may be thinking, "ewe, too invasive!", "what about their privacy?", or "how bad are your kids that you don't trust them?"... I understand those questions.  So let me say that both my boys are wonderful! They are turning into fine young men. I am immensely proud of the both of them.

I also know that adolescence is full of pitfalls! And, I do trust my boys. I trust them to behave like the teens they are. I trust them to struggle with some decisions when presented with some opportunities.  And there seem to be so many unfortunate opportunities.

Other parents have questioned me, "don't you think that they can just set up other email or text accounts?" Of course they might. But I feel that I'm setting up a standard of expectation, and backing it with action. I'm fairly confident that they've not set up alternative accounts. I generally don't comment or get involved in their text unless there is something really significant going on. I've only once had to talk with my oldest son about a text exchange. So, I try to give them some space. The oldest has even said that he doesn't mind my monitoring. I think it helps him feel safe with boundaries.

So. How set to this up?

You can set this up on any iDevice with OS6 (the latest update) or on your Mac computer if you have Mountain Lion.  Android users, sorry... I don't have any experience for you. Perhaps some one out there can send us a solution.

For an iDevice follow these steps:

First your child should 1. have the same iTunes account as you, and 2. have iMessage already set-up on his/her iDevice. Most likley they've done so, 'cause they seem to know intuitively how to do so!

Click on "Settings"

Click on "Messages"

Click on "Send & Receive"

You child's phone number should appear in your list. Click on their number, and a check mark will appear by it. 

Adding a number onto your Mac Computer is equally simple.

Againyour child should have iMessage already set-up on his/her iDevice. Open the program "Messages".

Click on "Messages" in the top left corner, and then click "Preferences".

Next, click the number that you wish to add. 

That should do it! Email me with questions or thoughts!

Happy Parenting!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New Blog Section!

Some of you may notice a new link at the top of the TechNinja blog. VideoNinja.

The purpose of this portion of Shinobijimbo: Techninja is to make available short (1 to 5 minutes) videos that show how to perform a specific task. Typically these are tasks that I get called out to a school to show. 15 minutes each way in the car, for 5 minutes of instruction. There had to be a better way.

Hence the video. If there is something you'd like to see, shoot me an email, and I will see what I can do.  I hope they prove useful to you!

Happy Therapy!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Tildee makes things easier!

Wow, wow, wow!  Here is a website that allows you to make free tutorials.  

Create an account and other's can access what you make.

I'm thinking, social stories, work schedules, and to-do lists especially for your students with Autism.

Here is a link to a tutorial I made in less than 4 minutes.  Be sure to make a free account so you can always find the tutorials you've made!

The following is from the tildee website:

What's Tildee ?
Tildee is a free tool to help you create and share instantly and easily tutorials on any subject
It's Easy !
With a clear and user friendly interface, you go straight to the point:
→ write your own tutorial.
More than that, you will be able to add maps, images and even videos to any step in a tutorial. One click and it's done !
It's not required to create an account on Tildee to start writing.
Easy to share: every tutorial has its unique short URL.
Hey, why don't you start writing now ?

 Once you've made your tutorial, you may want to put a short cut to it on your iTouch, iPhone, or iPad. For example, your student with Autism, who has started a new job at the Animal Shelter may be using multiple work schedules for feeding the cats, than the dogs, and maybe walking the dogs as well. Instead of having a bulky notebook, let's set him up with an iTouch with a link to each task tutorial.

Make your work schedules with Tildee. Then put a shortcut on his iTouch for each schedule.  Follow this link to see how to put a shortcut on your desktop.  Now your student is no longer carrying a big old cumbersome notebook!

Happy Therapy!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

IEP Detail: Devices OR Services

If you are familiar with IEP's you have no doubt run into the troublesome Yes/No boxes pictured below:
Many of us have wondered how to respond to this question, especially when we are in a "trial" stage with a student. We are not comfortable saying that Johnny needs word prediction software, because we haven't settled on that intervention at the time of writing the IEP.  But, we don't quite feel comfortable saying no either.

Tom Hinton, the Section Chief for all VI, HI, and AT services at NCDPI (North Carolina Department of Public Instruction) reminds us to pay attention to the "or services" which I highlighted in yellow above.

We may be running trials, trying different bits of software and hardware, but what remains consistent is that the student is receiving assistive technology services.  So if that is the case, check "Yes"!

Happy Therapy!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Walter Dalton Announces Education Plan, NC

This seems good for our fine state. Dalton for Governor.

Walter Dalton's 18-page education plan includes a detailed outline on his plan to increase educator pay, restore cuts to the classroom, expand early childhood education, and make higher education affordable and accessible.

To read Walter Dalton's education plan, visit this link

Dalton says: "Growing our economy is as much about creating jobs as it's about making certain we have the graduates to fill them. Our state's economic success will depend on how well we align our education system with our job needs. If we fail to make this connection, our economic future could be in jeopardy and the best jobs might move out of state or never be created at all.

While in these tough economic times state government must prioritize how it spends taxpayer money, it's during this critical period when we should be investing in public education - not turning our back on it."

Check out more on Walter Dalton here.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Case Against Assistive Technology, by Don Johnston

I absolutely love this video!  Especially the historical quotes from folks resistant to the forward march of technology.

Thanks to the folks at Don Johnston.

Happy Therapy!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Google Forms on your iDevice!

In my last blog entry, I discussed how to make a Google Form. 

Well, the forms are only as useful as they are accessible. 

I use the forms on my iPhone often, and find it's easiest to have a short-cut on the home screen. 

This video shows a quick way to get your form onto your iDevice.

The video is just over 2 minutes long.

Good luck, and Happy Therapy!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Google Forms

If five years ago someone told me I would be able to make a portable form or test which would collect data in a spread sheet, that I could make it to my exact specification I would have been skeptical.  If they told me I would be able to make such a form in just a few minutes, I would have been beyond skeptical.

Well, that's a reality now.  Google Forms provides this ability, all for free.  I use Google Forms a lot.  When I was providing direct Occupational Therapy I used the forms to track my contact notes. I currently use it to keep track of AT inventory, and my milage. I have staff using Google Forms to track student behavior, and others make quick tests. Using a built in reader, as provided by Macs and some PCs, many students benefit from having a test and the possible answers read to them.

I've attached a video here on how to make a Google Form. What forms would be useful for you? Could your teacher's use such forms? Take a look... and as usual, I'd love to hear from you all about innovative ways you are using Google Forms.  The video is about 14 minutes long.

I will blog next about how to add a short-cut to your Google Form onto an iDevice. I would have a folder on my iPhone with all my contact notes. Make sure your device is password protected if you have confidential information!

Happy Therapy!