Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Recordable Book



http://www.hallmark.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/article|10001|10051|/HallmarkSite/GoldCrownStores/GCS_HOLIDAY_GIFTS_STORYBOOKS

Just saw an ad for these and although they look like they are going to be expensive (about $30 on ebay), I might pick up a couple then cross my fingers and hope they go on sale after the holidays. There are no buttons for the kids to push, the voice starts when the page turns. (Note the little dots on the page, similar to a self leveling product put out years ago by Chuck Frame. http://www.frame-tech.com/Home.htm) You could cover the pages with your own images and the possibilities are endless! So cool!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Red Sox

As FaceBook is blocked at my son's home, and I feel the need to digitally express myself, a short non-AT post.
Dear Boston Red Sox,
I am terribly disappointed in your performance, but am trying rationalize that you simply got beat by a better, more motivated team. I have gotten spoiled by two World Series titles since the turn of the century and should probably look at history to repeat itself and not expect another one til 2012 at the earliest. I am sure I will have forgiven you by spring training, but for now, GO PATRIOTS!
eileen

Thanks!

Thanks to Ricky over at ATMac for his support of Procrastinating. He has a great site, and you should all check it out (if you didn't find me through him in the first place!) http://atmac.org/

I'm baaaack!

Wow, sorry I have been gone so long. Or not, if you find my infrequent posts painful to read. The start of the school year included my son turning 22 as well as the usual work craziness. I've had a thousand different things I've wanted to post on, but not one ounce of focus. Anywho, I've been working on mouse skills in a variety of forms with a number of students recently and here are some thoughts!

Some kids (and adults) pick up mouse skills almost automatically and others seem to need a lot of teaching, tricks, and practice before they become proficient mouse users. I thought I would share some of the things I have tried over the years that have been successful in different situations.

1. Never throw away an old one button, USB, mouse with a ball! These mice…….. okay, I’m back after a little Google search for the correct way to describe more that one mouse, and the internet overwhelmingly agrees that some people use mice and some people use mouses. I think mice sounds better, so….. anyway, these mice, make great stepping stones between switches and mouse use. I take the ball out of the mouse, use a second mouse to position the cursor over a clickable spot on a web site or game, and then, even if the student moves the modified mouse around, a click still results in a response.

2. Use the Universal Access control panel to modify the size and speed of the cursor to make it easier to see and follow. There are several either free or inexpensive utilities for making the cursor bigger, brighter or more visible that are also useful for this including Biggy Cursor by RJ Cooper ( http://www.rjcooper.com/biggy/)

3. Startrail is a neat utility that adds a visual trial of stars, moon, clovers, and makes your cursor magically delicious, drawing attention to it’s movement across the screen. At $4.95 it’s a cheap fix, and fun, especially when training someone to use a head mouse. Available for the Mac only. http://www.pawn-soft.com/

4. I love the track pad on my MacBook Pro, and have found that several kids that have had a hard time manipulating a mouse, can use a track pad successfully. I also think that it is helpful that the move and click can be separated; I usually turn off tap to click. It is possible to buy a track pad for any computer at a variety of web sites. Cirque/ Adesso is a major manufacturer (http://www.cirque.com/desktoptouchpad/touchpad-mouse-overview.aspx).

5. One last trick for now, is to use a drawing tablet and pen. Some kids pick up on the concept of the tablet as a map of the screen and holding a pen. I also use a tablet and pen to motivate kids to practice writing. Many kids who are reluctant writers will hold the pen for the tablet and scribble and explore in Kid Pix or Tux Paint for long periods of time, when they won’t color or draw with more traditional tools! The tablet I use is the Wacom Bamboo, and it also came with a wireless mouse that uses the tablet. It has the advantage of NOT being an optical (no fascinating red light) or ball mouse (no opening on the bottom), and is only active when on the tablet. This helps to some kids learn how to manage picking up and repositioning the mouse more effectively. (It looks as though Wacom has updated their product line and my exact combination is no longer available, but check out the touch… very cool. Next paycheck!) www.wacom.com

Here are some web sites for learning how to use the mouse or mouse exploration.
Mouse Exercises- http://www.seniornet.org/howto/mouseexercises/mousepractice.html a mouse use curriculum designed for seniors but appropriate for older students learning to use a mouse or learning to use an alternate mouse.

Singing horses- http://svt.se/hogafflahage/hogafflaHage_site/Kor/hestekor.swf easy, click on horse makes it sing


games- http://www.pbclibrary.org/mousing/games.htm clicking, rapid-timed clicking, and clicking and dragging, includes classic games such as Battleship, Pong, IQ test etc.

Sebastian Chevrel- http://www.seb.cc/ the experiments area of this site has several Java or Flash experiments that make wonderful mouse exploration opportunities. One of my favorites is “spacializer”, but watch out for “Peep Hole” although it might be motivating for working with older users! (PG not R)

Click and Play virtual instruments- http://monxmood.free.fr/play.htm some of these may be small on the screen, but if you adjust your screen resolution they will look bigger and be better targets!

Neave- http://www.neave.com/ another artistic site, some fun games to click around and experiment in. Some may be a bit visually too stimulating for kids with seizure disorders.

Spider- http://www.onemotion.com/flash/spider/ game in which basic mouse skills control and feed spider.

Have fun and happy mousing!!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Finally, a salad I like!

Game Salad is a free game creation program that offers a potential landslide of opportunities for adapted gaming. It claims to be easy to use, but after playing with it for a while I'd say you need to be somewhat computer and game savvy, but it does not use complicated computer codes and with some practice I am sure that myself, and many others can learn to master this tool and create some really awesome things! I anticipate creating single switch games or games that utilize the Intellikeys keyboard for movement and other actions including blowing stuff up! I can wait to play with it some more, but it is a beautiful day, and I promised myself I'd go outside!
http://gamesalad.com/landing/overview
eileen

Friday, August 21, 2009

iTracker is too cool!

I did a google search for an iSight eye tracking program last week and found iTracker. A sweet little program for the Mac (and PC) that is cheap ($30 for the Mac version) and runs quite well! It is lacking in a few functions, but according to the developer, they are adding them in the next release, but for basic head mouse users, or to just add to your tool box of things to have on hand it is quite functional and worthwhile to have on hand!
http://www.eyetwig.com/151141
Here is some video of me using it with Speaking Dynamically Pro on an iMac. Sorry for the poor quality!
More video of it in use with student soon.
"High-end" technology for the masses! Hurray!


video

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Super Quick Post


First product using wide format printer:
I recently began working with a teenager with a traumatic brain injury and thought I would try an eye gaze board with her. I created this by modifying information I found at http://www.cogain.org/faq/eye-gaze-communication-board, printing it out 2x on 11x17 paper instead of modifying both pages, and cutting out the second copy and gluing it to the appropriate spots on the back of the first copy. I won't go into any more details about client for privacy reasons, but I think the board looks pretty cool! And my printer can print up to 13x19. Psych! It's what every living room needs. This is the printer I bought for $40 at the WB Mason warehouse!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

What Kind Of Cat Are You?

As I was driving home this evening after visiting my son, I was listening to one of my favorite radio programs, the Playground on WERS (http://wers.org/music/The-Playground.cfm). WERS is available via the internet, I encourage you to tune in to their wide variety of music at all hours! The song "What Kind of Cat Are You?" by Billy Jonas came on and I began to think as I listened to the lyrics, this song would be a great starting point for a really cool Project Based Learning mini-lesson. So, I pondered for the rest of the drive, and I am now going to give you the link to Billy Jonas' web site where you can listen to the song and look at the lyrics, and some of my thoughts about activities and ways to use the song as a curriculum tool. I encourage you to think of more and post them back if you like!
http://www.billyjonas.com/index.php?page=cds&display=13
Click on song title to see lyrics.

Create your own what kind of CVC word are you song. Divide class into small diverse groups. Have them listen to the song and read the lyrics (or use text to speech) Print out lyrics in needed formats (large print, Braille, etc.) Have each group choose (or assign) a CVC word that has multiple opportunities for use in a "Cat Song." Have the students use dictionaries and encyclopedias both paper based and electronic to develop their own "Cat Song" which they will eventually record with Garage Band. Students who use AAC could use their devices to participate. Students who are more significantly involved could use a "Big Mac" or other communicator to lead the call part of the song and peers do the response for the recording. Extension activities could include vocabulary and writing activities with new words learned.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Mr. Potato Head

I am working with a preschool student who is very typical in many ways except speech production. She has a decent sign vocabulary and picked up communication symbols quickly. We began her on a Springboard Lite this spring. I was working with her last week and we were playing with Mr. Potato Head. I decided to model the use of the color page near the end of our session, and after showing her 1x, this is what she came up with, a couple miss hits, then, BAM! "I want blue shoes." Thus our Mr. Potato Head was complete with about 8 arms, 2 tongues, and 2 sets of blue shoes! (This was not a mistake, it was exactly what she wanted, she gives a false name when using the Springboard and thinks it's hysterical!)

Monday, July 20, 2009

What a Bargin!


Guess what, another post about, shopping!! I have been driving by the W.B. Mason Warehouse in South Boston for ages and the other day, purely on a whim drove in, groceries in the car, company coming, a great time for impulse shopping! I wasn't sure if they had office supplies, but the sign said they did, so I just wanted a quick look to see what they had! BONANZA!!!! Print cartridges, binders, desk supplies, all sorts of cool stuff. I bought a dozen small 3 ring binders, great for communication books (8 1/2" by 5 " I think) for 75 cents each! I bought 2 packs of clear ink jet printable window paper for a dollar each, a cartridge for my label maker ( I make my own Zoom caps) for a dollar, and wait for it.... a $300 HP wide format printer open box, but completely wrapped still for $40. I told the lovely folks at the desk I was going to keep this my little secret, but they insisted that it was better for all if I spread the word! So, for all 9 of you that read this and live in the New England area, there are bargain outlets that have supplies in South Boston and New Jersey!
http://www.wbwhattabargain.com/Default.aspx

Happy Shopping!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Leadership Day 2009

This is in response to Dangerously Irrelevant's call for posts... http://www.dangerouslyirrelevant.org/2009/07/calling-all-bloggers-leadership-day-2009.html
Learn to use what is on your computer. Create and utilize policy that will ensure every employee in your district knows what is on the computer in his or her classroom, office, lab, etc. This includes the Internet. School systems spend untold amounts of money on software, tools, technologies, unimaginable amounts of time on recreating the wheel, and store massive amounts of materials, when a good portion of those things are already available on the existing computers. They are the universal design features built into operating systems, the unused tools in standard software programs and suites, freeware, shareware, open source and Linux software, and websites. Allow access to and provide professional development in utilization of Web 2.0 technologies.

Work to close the digital divides. It still exists in many households. The current trend toward “cloud” based services is going to leave these families even further behind.

Invest in Universal Design for Learning: In addition to encouraging your staff to use more effectively what is already on the computers provide support, training and encouragement, to use those tools to enliven their teaching, and reach and include more successfully a broader range of students. Make sure that every teacher, para-professional, and related service provider can show a student how to make the text larger on the screen, and enable text to speech. When purchasing new materials make sure they meet UDL criteria (www.cast.org).

When the UDL features are not enough to provide student access make a commitment to delivering a full range of assistive technology devices and services to your learners. Have staff dedicated to Assistive Technology implementation if your district is large enough. Ensure that the proper ongoing training for staff, student, parents, and others is provided so that challenges can be resolved and the greatest chance of success is achieved.

Believe in your students.

Friday, July 10, 2009

iReadFast

Another entry in the Freeware/Shareware series.
http://gengis.110mb.com/en/index.php
iReadFast is intended to be for speed reading, but I am somewhat skeptical of it claims. I do think it might be a great tool for kids with tracking problems and as a tool for helping kids develop reading fluency. It has a ton of different settings and variables that I have only begun to explore. I am particularly intrigued by the idea of putting in Dolch or other frequently used phrases or material for kids to practice reading in a kind of fun yet challenging way. Start really slow and speed up, see how many you can get right!

video

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

whatever

We wonder why kids have such a hard time learning to read and write. I have been teaching for 20 years. I read and write at a fairly advanced level. I recently got my Masters degree with a fairly high GPA, and yet just spent 15 minutes trying to figure out whether my other blog's name was spelled correctly. Or is that spelt, no that has a little red line under it, therefore it must be wrong, unless I am writing about a certain kind of flour, and if I were, then I did indeed spell it correctly, despite the protests of my computer. And therefor looked wrong without an e at the end but didn't have a squiggle, but I added an e (therefore) and it looked better and still didn't have a squiggle, but now didn't has a squiggle, but squiggle, which really shouldn't be a word at all doesn't have a red squiggle, so when did contractions fall out of use in the English language. Oh, and by the way, it seems that either whiney or whiny is acceptable.
PS Now after previewing my post, it seems that contractions are okay, but whiney is unacceptable, despite the fact that most online dictionaries seem to list both as okay. Auuurrrrrgggghhhh. And yes that has a red squiggle under it!

Monday, July 6, 2009

There once was a young man named Sam,
Whose speech was like that of a clam,
So we got him a box,
With the name, Dynavox,
Now he’s a conversational Grand Slam!

I have been working with a SLP in our district to get a Dynavox for one of our high school students, and it finally came in last week. Sam had been using a laptop with Boardmaker Plus as a communication device while we waited for his device to come in. He is very proficient at locating vocabulary, expressing his needs, and had even begun to create his own boards. He is still working on creating longer sentences, staying on topic, and some of the finer points of conversation. I made a home visit to get the device set up and found that the family had already done a good job of setting up the device, but that the device had not shipped with Speaking Dynamically Pro. We made some initial changes and I gave them a brief rundown of the InterAACT software, but we decided to go ahead and try to get the device unlocked and put SDPro on the device as he was already well versed in its use, but to also try to use the existing software. I did a second home visit today to let them know that the unlock code was on the way and to try to merge his old boards while we were waiting. Sam brought the Dynavox out, and proudly showed me two new boards that he had programmed on his own based on printouts and manual boards from his old system! He used the “my picture” templates built in which we had briefly discussed on my first visit to make boards for his job at the aquarium! Can I just tell you I had goose bumps, I was teary, I was so excited that the family now thinks I am a total nut job! It had to be one of the most amazing moments in my career!
Just wanted to share!
eileen

Super simple free application

I was looking through some freeware/ shareware/ open source/ linux sites yesterday and came across Reading Guide, a simple little application that I am going to try with several kids in the fall. See the video and check it out.
http://download.cnet.com/ReadingGuide/3000-2056_4-203646.html?tag=mncol
I apologize if you can hear Hoda and Kathie Lee in the background, but it is summer vacation after all!


video

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Shout out!


To start with I would like to say “Congratulations, and great work!” to Sam Sennott and David Niemeijer at www.assistiveware.com for creating Proloquo2go which takes advantage of many of the iPhone and iPod touch’s advanced features, it totally rocks.

However, I would also like to give a huge SHOUT OUT to RJ Cooper who has been making Pocket PCs accessible for years and whose Point-to-Pictures Mobile software works on PDA devices running Windows Mobile 2003 or newer. He has an arrangement with the folks at Mayer-Johnson and has been able to license some of the most used symbols. His Mini-Auggie is also switch accessible. Half the time when you call for support RJ himself answers the phone. So if you have an old Pocket PC (not a Palm Pilot as he kept reminding me) hanging around, check out www.rjcooper.com . He has some great stuff for kids with a wide range of needs, but in particular for kids with low incidence disabilities.

How cool is it that we live in a day when we have so many potential options? I remember programming the WOLF and thinking it was the greatest thing going!

(image from hawaii.gov)

Monday, June 29, 2009

office supplies






I was doing some shopping the other day, shocking! I know! And came across these cool iPod Touch holders in the office supply store. They are actually a business card holder, desk organizer, and picture frame, but with a little imagination, and possibly some non-slip material, weights, and/or Velcro, make a nice stand for the Touch or other tools. All under $8. App shown is, of course, Proloquo2go which can be purchased at the iTunes app store.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Text to Speech

There are many Text-to-Speech tools on the market. A while back I was looking for one that had some very specific features. I was programming a Springboard Lite (www.prentrom.com) and I wanted to use synthesized speech rather than digitized so I needed to be able to generate a .wav file from the text, as well as create a child's voice. On top of that, it needed to be, if possible, my favorite price, FREE! After a good deal of searching I found Balabolka, http://www.cross-plus-a.com/balabolka.htm. Not only does this fully featured TTS program read text remarkably well, but it highlights, exports to a variety of audio formats, has a variety of skins that can be used to increase visual readability, and has a magnifying tool! There is also a stand alone version that can be used on a USB without installing! The author distributes Balabolka for free, but encourages you to purchase his other products in order to keep it free. I am not sure about the safety of Share-IT, but as soon as I am I think I will purchase his other product, as I am sure to do many Balabolka installs this year!
Check it out, play around with manipuating the voices. I programed a button on one student's device just recently, with a scary sounding whisper for his job at a park with a location called "Death Hollow!"
eileen

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ta Da!

Okay, I have vanished for a little while for the 5 of you that might follow my blog. Rest assured, V A C A T I O N, is now upon us and I will be blogging like a mad woman, as my pasty pale skin has a tendency toward melanoma. So, in exploring Apps for the iPod touch this afternoon, I came across Type Drawing and its original web site, http://www.storyabout.net/typedrawing/typedrawing.php?requestedID= It's a very neat tool that takes a couple minutes to learn, but might be really motivating for some kids! Much like Wordle.
video

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Kickin' AT Old Skool!


While doing retail therapy the other day, I came across these gadgets in the tools aisle at MicroCenter. (The geek version of Macys.) I thought "Wow, low tech AT, packaged, ready to go, and reasonably priced." I picked them up, walked around with them for a while, and then since, I didn't really have anyone that needed a mouth stick or head pointer right now, I put them back a took a picture with my phone, so I could look them up on the web. Whoa! Low tech BONANAZA!
Check out the "Lite Bite" for less than $3, on one site. I'm sure with a little putty these could hold just about anything.



Next up, the Headband, looks like it would be great for kids learning eye-gaze, or as a selection tool on its own. My son participates in ART (Artistic Realization Technologies http://www.artrealization.org/index.html), and they use a tool similar to this to guide their painting. Use a laser pointer and your student or child could entertain the cat for hours!












I used to buy something very similar to these from the Danmar catalog (https://danmarproducts.c7.ixwebhosting.com/index.cfm). The neoprene sleeve might not allow a lot of flexibility in what you can put in it, but I'll bet whatever you put stays in these cool tools!
(A quick word about Danmar, they also sell a really neat clear chest support for people who use wheel chairs, my son, (Polo) has one, and it never messes up his rock star outfits!)

They do not sell direct on their site, but provide links to sites that do, also check out their lighted products like balls and Frisbees. Way cool!

http://www.niteize.com/index.php

Monday, June 1, 2009


I love this sign. Every spring they appear on Rt. 40 in Westford/Groton. I just think, "Is there any other kind of turtle crossing?"

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Lost in the shuffle


I was co:treating a student with a Speech Therapist on Friday, and we were using a Tech Talk 8. The focus of sessions for this student for some time has been to get her to consistently recognize symbols, and to scan the array and make an appropriate choice. After several minutes of moving symbols around, recording, re-recording, etc. I was hit by a sudden flash of insight. NO, not make overlays and use levels, it takes me longer to slide an overlay into that tiny slot than to just move the symbols around! But that there was a tool on the market that would easily do what I was doing. In all the excitement over dynamic display communication devices these days, there have been a couple of really exciting new lower tech devices that have entered the market recently that haven't generated a lot of publicity. I had recently had the opportunity to meet Kevin from ProxTalker and see the Logan ProxTalker up close and personal. This cool tool fills the area between static devices, and dynamic display. Check it out when you get a chance at http://www.proxtalker.com/index.html. It's a little pricey, but a great concept for those kids who need voiced output, lots of words, but aren't quite ready for branching boards, etc.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Post Ode Post

As I was sitting on my thinking throne this morning several thoughts occurred to me.
1. Why do I do my best thinking in the bathroom?
2. Writing the “Ode to Zach Who Fixed My Mac” has taken much longer than I thought, but kept my wandering attention for much longer than most non-mandatory projects do.
3. I also thought of some more ideas for what to do with it once the poem was written as I began to think about some of my favorite poets, and some of the rhymes I was working on. Eminem, can make words rhyme, in ways that baffle my ears. (Yes, he is a foul, blah, blah, blah, but he is a genius with words in MY opinion.)
4. Kapow!!! I was engaged in what I had just learned about in my Universal Design for Learning class. I was involved in a Project Based Learning experience. My Affective networks were engaged. I was using my preferred method of output and surrounded by the tools that helped me to best accomplish a task. I listened to my poem using the speech tool on Word, I didn’t worry about spelling, I used rhyming dictionaries on the Internet. I looked up the proper uses of words. I created!
5. But, was I LEARNING? How many 41-year-old adults (used loosely) do you know of will take most of a holiday weekend to write a poem about the guy who fixed her Mac? Will research words that rhyme, try new vocabulary words, listen to her poem aloud, think about using Garage Band and making a Rap, then a Pod cast, and posting them onto a blog, then realize that it is all a great promo for PBL and UDL? And not even be graded on it? Think about asking our students to do this and throw in some content and currency… Was I learning? Will THEY? You decide, I’m tired, I’m going to take a nap.

eileen

An Ode to Zach Who Fixed my Mac

An Ode to Zach Who Fixed My Mac

Twas a dark night, or day, several months ago,
When my MacBook Pro started going slow.

And Classroom Suite, I’m an Intellitools geek,
Would suddenly freeze, and refuse to speak,

I would click and press, the screen stayed still,
And despite my trouble shooting skill,

Nothing would happen, children’s minds would wander,
Where was the computer wonder?

I uninstalled, I reinstalled.
I deleted and updated.

I upgraded to another cat,
If you’re a Mac you know about that.

I checked permissions, and then I did,
The last thing from which I hid.

Although I knew bad news, a risk,
I ran the utility, verify disk.

And then the news that I feared most,
An error found, the hard drive its host.

Alas, alas, no system disc,
My CD drive wonky, and always a risk.

Aha! I know, a place I can go,
Mr. McGonegal, a good guy to know.

“Can I borrow your disc, and give it a try,
I’ve damaged my MacBook, I really might cry!”

So he gives me his disc, and into hiding I go,
I insert it gently, and restart just so.

The computer thinks for a moment, then the grinding is NASTY,
Much like I would imagine a cheap rhinoplasty.
(I totally threw that in for the rhyme)

For reasons unknown, it could only be fate,
I am looking beneath when with one final grate,

The disc slides back out and I catch just a peek,
Of what looks to be paper, then back in it does sneak.

“Oh, no! That’s not good!” I think in a fright.
“Mr. McGonegal will kill me when I tell him my plight.”

“I’ve ruined his disc, I’ve ruined my life,
From this day forward nothing but strife!”

“Take a deep breath, calm down,” I think to myself,
“If all else fails, you can dig into your wealth.”
(Buy a new copy in other words)

I press eject and grab the disc,
But the paper was too brisk.

I hemmed, I hawed, and then once composed,
So carefully with tools in the drive I probed,

But no luck in getting the feisty parasite,
It cleverly stayed hidden out of my site.

What to do, what to do? This has gotten much worse!
This is going to take a large chunk from my purse.

Then a flash of inspiration, not the software, no, no!
To the computer, to Firefox, to Google I go.

“Paper in slot-loading optical drive” I type,
Is there nothing too weird for Google or Skype?

A long story short, there are plenty of tips,
A Post-it retrieved it with a couple quick trips.

A communication symbol, “I want” it said,
Yes, that, Eileen, was what filled you with dread.

“Okay,” you say, “Enough of this marathon,”
“Where is this Zach, let’s get this story moving on.”

Fixing my Mac now is a challenging chore,
But just for fun I’ll try the Apple store.

I’ve not much hope for the Genius Bar,
I’ve only observed them from afar.

For real repairs, you should go pro,
Like Computer Loft, they really know.

I walk up to the concierge, ask for an appointment
“Zach’s available right now,” to my disappointment.

I gently hand this young man my Mac,
My hard drive has been the victim of an attack.

He deftly plugs in an external hard drive,
Runs a diagnostic in less than five.

(Z)“I can fix that, it will take some time,”
(E)“You can do it here, that would be sublime!”

He checks this and that, he gives it some pokes,
We joke and we laugh and make Star Trek jokes.

“Go shop for a while, when you come back we’ll test.”
So out into Burlington Mall I dash feeling blessed.

I have some lovely Chick-fil-a.
Those fries enough to make my day.

I return to see my Mac still thinking,
“about a minute,” and thinking, and thinking.

A Mac minute is a mysterious thing.
Related to time growing and shrinking.

“Don’t Panic” says Zach, “We’re doing fine.”
“42,” I think, but keep it in my mind.

At last its done, my machine reboots.
I cross my fingers, my toes, my undyed roots,

It comes alive, a planet shines,
I put that there; I know it’s mine!

“Let’s check some stuff to make sure it works,
Let’s run that program, the one that jerks.”

I open Suite, I type stuff in,
I watch the deadly rainbow spin.

I collapse and cry, I want to die,
Oh why, oh why, did I even try?

“Relax,” says young Zach, with uber calm.
“It’s the partition break, I have the balm.”

“Go shopping again, I’ll repair the permissions,
Go forth, go forth, on a clothes finding mission.”

So shopping I went, and bought a nice shirt,
Some capris, some socks, but never a skirt.
(all on sale)

I return to see my Mac still thinking,
“About a minute,” and thinking, and thinking.
(yes I copied and pasted)

It’s done thinking, and Zack reboots it,
I open up Suite and prepare for a fit.

I type and it talks,
I click and it walks,

It sings and it dances,
It runs and it prances,

It jumps and it shouts,
It appropriately pouts.

I jump up and down,
I act like a clown.

I bow down before him, to say I’m not worthy,
He looks at me like; I’m a sailor with scurvy.

“Let’s update your software,” he says quietly.
Poor Zach, not quite sure what to do with someone like me.

Have I mentioned before my wireless card?
It only picks up signals with a square yard.

“Oh, that,” I said, “Well it’s rather wonky.”
But leaving it for fixing would make me quite funky.”

“We can do it right here, it will take a Mac minute.”
“I’ll go get some ice cream so I don’t fidget!”

Some chocolate yogurt, some raspberry cream,
Some chocolate sprinkles, oh what a dream.

Then back to the Apple Store to see my friend Zach,
I anxiously await his return from the back.

There he is, there he is, I scream like a girl,
Who is seeing the Beatles, her head all-awhirl.

“Let’s see if it works,” he opens my Mac,
And there are four arcs, just staring me back.

So he writes a receipt, 99 bucks with tax,
No labor, no stress, no big bucks, a few wisecracks.

I pay for my Airport card, walk out with my Mac,
From now on for me, there’s no looking back.

When it comes to my Mac,
There’s only you Zach!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

hello again hello

A couple quick resources!
"Instruction for All Students" by Paula Rutherford is a great book I found while procrastinating in the education department of the bookstore the other day. It is a great resource for so many things I can only direct you to the web site and suggest you look at the sneak peeks of the books available in the resource center.
http://www.justaskpublications.com/

Heaven only knows what I signed up for to end up on this mailing list, but this catalog had some cool books in it when it showed up with the bills the other day.
http://www.crystalspringsbooks.com/
Although the "Word Whacker" http://www.crystalspringsbooks.com/7026.html is simply a fly swatter!

eileen

Sunday, May 17, 2009

fun toy


I was strolling through Kohl's the other day doing some post graduation retail therapy and I came across this cute little gadget. "Oh," I thought, "This might make a cool little cause and effect toy, and it's on sale!" So I bought it. (Only $9.99) It takes very little movement to activate, although the light isn't super bright, it looks very cool in a slightly dimmed room. You can use just one of the posts included, and it comes to about 16" high, or all of them for a total of about 48". Even without the cool light up feature, this might come in handy for wheelchair training, hallway/ doorway control, etc.
Of course there has to be small print... beware of some flashy things with some kids with seizure disorders.
Eileen

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

cool tools for reluctant writers

Even the most reluctant writers might enjoy these:
http://www.warninglabelgenerator.com/

http://www.signgenerator.org/ -some links may not be appropriate for all audiences, and loaded with ads.

http://tombstonegenerator.com/- not for every audience, but may work with certain themes

http://bighugelabs.com/flickr/magazine.php
- how about creating a magazine cover?

coffee pots

I was getting ready for class the other morning, and it dawned on me that my Keurig coffee pot was a fine example of Universal Design, and/or Assistive Technology. The pod based coffee pod removes the fine and gross motor challenges of prying apart coffee filters, putting them in the holder, measuring and scooping coffee, dealing with a glass carafe, and depending on the model, only needs to be filled once every dozen cups or so. It brews right into the cup so no pouring is needed, another step saved. The little pods are just tossed, so fewer things to wash! Brilliant design. I wonder if we could get insurance to pay for them?
Just a thought.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

What I should be doing!

Welcome to my Blog!
Now that I am but 2 days away from finally graduating with my Masters degree and being a real assistive technology specialist I have finally decided to start a blog! After all, I have to exhibit my ability to utilize all this cool web 2.0 stuff right!??
So, what will my blog be about?
A. Miscellaneous ramblings
B. More ramblings
C. Possibly some thoughts about the practice of assistive technology in a mid-sized urban school district.
D. Cool things hopefully.