Wisconsin Area Regional Network

Wisconsin Area Regional Network

Often, those working in the area of assistive technology end up working independently without many opportunities to network and problem solve without a team of other assistive technology specialists. Thankfully, in Wisconsin, a group of specialists have came together to create a network for everyone in working in the area of assistive technology.

Influence

Today I attended a meeting of the Wisconsin Assistive Technology Regional Network. As I looked around the room, I spotted someone I recognized…

About 8 years ago I began teaching in the public school system. Prior to that, I had taught in a Residential Treatment Facility and an Alternative School. In each of those places, there was limited to no technology use. When I came to the public school system, I was inundated with Moodle, Google, Gaggle, and more.

Hour of Code Gets Grinchy!

As a teacher, with the holidays approaching, I often spent hours trying to find activities for my students that were educational and motivating. This is no small feat during a season of distractions: the holidays coming and everything in their world changing, replete with decorations, parties, extended family visiting, gifts, schedule changes at school, more gifts, weather changes, and the looming winter break!

screenshot-grinchhourofcode.com-2018.11.27-11-05-37.png

I was therefore excited today to see a new Hour of Code activity pop into my inbox. The students I work with love coding, and with the Grinch theme, it is a perfect activity to get students thinking about processes, coding, and problem solving—all with a holiday feel.

http://grinchhourofcode.com/game.html

iOS App Price Drop: Prizmo

The iOS app Prizmo has dropped in price—likely temporarily—to $5.99. This app is usually $9.99 and provides almost instant OCR capabilities. For students who need worksheets or text read out loud, this is immeasurably beneficial.

In my trials, there were some inaccuracies and it takes some time for students to learn how to take a clear picture. However, if a student is carrying an iPad during the day, this app can work with the iPad to provide text-to-speech capability wherever and whenever the student needs it.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/prizmo-pro-scanner/id366791896?mt=8

Background Audio

As our environments become increasingly “noisy” due to hallway traffic, other movement (e.g., in the classroom), digital content, etc., it becomes harder for many students to concentrate. Affected students could have sensory needs, be on the autism spectrum, or simply be struggling with focus on a particular day.

Headphones are helpful and can be used to block out noise or listen to music, but then the issue often becomes what a student is choosing to listen to while working. Is the sound more distracting than what the student is trying to avoid?

Thankfully, there are a lot of great resources out there for background noise. Check out the graphic below listing four websites that provide a variety of free background noise options. Edit and adjust to meet your individual needs.

Background Audio Options

Welcome

I was thinking about what to write for a first blog post for this new website.  There are so many things to discuss!  I am so incredibly excited to be able to share with you all the tips, tricks, tools, and techniques that I have used in my classroom as well as with colleagues.  

Every day is an adventure as well as a chance to learn something new that can reach just one more student—and one more after that…. Please join me on the journey of exploring ways to Disrupt your Teaching.  Learn new techniques to reach more students while keeping abreast of the latest developments in high- and low-tech tools.  I'm excited to have you here.

Please feel free to explore the Professional Development pages, which will include links, presentations, videos and more.  And I hope you come back here often.  As I discover new tools, I will be pleased and honored to share them here with you.

As always, when we try something new, we are going to make mistakes and learn.  Please bear with me as I add materials and update the site. I promise to keep learning and making this site a place where you can discover, explore, and hopefully leave with an "ah ha" moment or two.