This week started out slower than last week, especially as I did not have to drive to Phoenix and there was no work or school on Monday. So my internship started on Wednesday this week. We worked in the office during the morning, getting setup with official ADE ESS email and filling out expense reports for reimbursement for mileage to and from Phoenix and past two weeks. The expense forms were far more tedious and precise that I’m accustomed to, and I really believed that PRC’s accounting department was extremely strict. They are very relaxed as compared to the ADE ESS accountants, but eventually the forms were completed and submitted. It’s nice working in an office where you have easy access to a fax machine, copier, and the appropriate people for signatures.
After that I learned about the app, Co:Writer by Don Johnston. As long as I’ve known Ann she’s been talking about Co:Writer, so I really wanted to better understand the app and how to use it. It’s relatively simple to mater, and it a great way to assist a student with poor literacy skills in writing. The aspect I liked the most was that it had a dictionary, and more dictionaries and word lists that can be added per assignment. So a student at any grade level can have an appropriate word list selected at their desired grade level, and they can use the internet dictionary added for the topic to fill in the word prediction area with appropriate words for the writing assignment.
The other big app of the week was Voice Dream Writer. This app functions very similarly to Co:Writer, but it has some additional support for those that are visually impaired or dyslexic. It lacks the dictionary options, but it’s half the cost ($10 instead of $20 for Co:Writer), so it has a nice niche for many.
Thursday we went to a middle school in Tucson and helped a family and educational team with some options for a student needing support in Math at the Algebra level. Apparently there are not many options available for Assistive Technology for Math, so we were rather limited in the known and available options. We tried a few apps and talked about a computer program they already had success with. The issue was that the computer program cost $50 and the district was having difficulty finding the funds to purchase this program. Interestingly they had no problem finding money for computers and apps and had a surplus of Apple money, just not for this particularly computer program.
The main issue for why we were called out was because the student had difficulty in his writing and controlling where he wrote in the space of a page. Ann suggested Wikisticks, which can create barriers on the paper, but are removable after he is done with his work. This is a faster and easier solution to puffy paint, which would require time to dry and is a more permanent and noticeable solution. We are continuing to investigate other apps in hopes of finding a good computer/app option. There are a few apps that will convert handwriting into mathematical equations, but they all tend to then solve the math problem. We were looking for an option that would convert his handwriting, but then allow him to solve the problem and show his work, without doing the calculations for him. I started an email conversation with a company called WolfAlpha who makes a potential app, but will keep doing research next week to see if it might work for the student.
Friday we met with one of the 2014-2015 grant teams in Tucson. They were discussing how to official setup their AT team and how to start the process of providing AT support and education on a district level. Their district consists of 8 schools, which on one hand is a lot, and on the other is extremely small compared to many districts. My notes from this day and the other days are included below.
Question of the day/week
Can a boyfriend/partner of a deceased mother/partner made educational decisions for a child residing with them, assuming the state has not yet stepped in?
IDEA does not specifically define that the guardian in making educational decision has to be the legal guardian. So if the boyfriend is living with the child and there are no known living parents, then the boyfriend can make educational decisions for the child with a disability.
7th grade, algebra 1
writing speed an issue in math
19 words per min, but really good motor planning for typing
difficulty with vertical and horizontal spacing due to ataxia (diagnosis)
wiki sticks, creating a wax barrier on the paper. leaves no residue on paper after.
or puff paint, and make grids. but more permanent and needs time to dry
math tech support
apple school district
***software program efox
symbaloo-math support. but not appropriate for this student. Don’t want calculations, too much low level math. Student has a problem with writing, and writing a math proof.
wants: handwriting recognition. but no calculating for the student.
do not need math equations read outloud.
myscriptcalculator. converts bad handwriting into equations, but then it solves them.
math paper app
algebra touch app $2
speech to text
dragon dictate- dragon 11 didn’t work for this student, no intelligibility issues
slower cadence of speech
janellle bauerle -nau lending librarian for the state of Arizona.
equation editor. Students will have to learn to use these in the future with state testing, so helpful to learn it now
two broke at girls, video examples for making AT
program for handwriting conversion with math?
learn how to make an app
check on clearance to use lending library. who are designated borrowers
crazy for chrome- presentation for different google chrome extensions
CTI-curriculum technology integrator
followup presentation February 13 at orange grove middle school, “crazy for chrome”-google chrome presentation
“Chrome extensions make things a lot easier for students who struggle through all content areas, especially if you are using computers in education”. sales pitch- appropriate for all teachers, not just special ed.
ceu’s will be provided.
too long, didn’t read- google chrome app. creates summary of page.
rewordify.com- website- copy and paste text into a window, it will change and simplify complex words.
TLC Group, Flowing Wells 8 schools total
Protocols and procedures:
AT Forms and system for school districts starting an AT program for their district
AT Referral form:
Camp Plug and Play- in Tucson $450 for the week, including lodging
Flowing Wells schools is starting up their procedures and working on adopting it and how to make it effective and smooth in the transition.
identifying roles, who does what and what time can be set aside for work by each team member?
-Meet once a quarter during a professional development time to get the team together
can equipment go home with families?
no, “sped money, for the district.”
law says it is allowed to go home, and be with the student. if they need it to access the curriculum, or for homework purposes.
cannot deny the student free and public education and means to get that education.
helpful with aims-a science testing
iep pro works better on chrome too according to at team
google has accounts for students, so any computer they use would have the same extensions included instantly.
Free Web Based resources
The practical and fun guide to assistive technology book
“people are more inclined to use things when they’re empowered to use them”
common core is now called…..
elementary math support-especially word problems
How do we go about choosing a formal AT assessment?
there is no formal at assessment, so start with SETT Framework
Protocol for accessing reading: assessment from Don Johnston
AT assessment is more like a narrative, what works, what doesn’t work….
AT assessments are very different concepts to get accustomed to as oppsed to the slightly more rigid framework when going through an AAC eval. AT is more open ended and flexible with far fewer restrictions.
“island of inclusion”
2 broke AT girls- at videos on youtube
footrests: phone book and duct tape
movement seats- two tennis balls on two legs of a chair
tension bands- cheap jump rope or bungee cord