Alltogether

AAC, AT, Families, Inclusion, Literacy, UDL

Bookshelves Please Handout

by Samuel Sennott

Saturday’s workshop was outright terrific.  The participants excitement about the curriculum project, Bookshelves Please was tangible.  I look forward to sharing about the prototyping and more about the project.  For now, a few participants did not recieve the handout.  Here it is:  bookshelves-please-handout

October 20, 2008 Posted by | Special Education | , , , , , | Leave a comment

myWebspiration Public Beta

by Samuel Sennott

mywebspiration logo

mywebspiration logo

Are you participating in the public beta test of myWebspiration. (www.mywebspiration.com)  From the makers of the graphic organizing softwares Inspiration, Kidspiration, and Inspiredata, comes the web 2.0 version of the software.  In my intial trials of using myWebspiration, my impression is that for the basics it works just like Inspiration, my graphic organizing software of choice.  Yet, gosh do I miss being able to do (contro/ command e).  That resizes your graphic.  There a few other usability features that will also be upgraded, such as undo, super small cell color fill buttons, and other problems related to overriding the browser function keys. Hey, that’s why its a beta right?  I just started a collaborative project using the sharing feature and will report on how it goes.  Overall, I think this software has great potential to give students access to the software at home, which assumes that the company continues its aggressively priced bulk liscensing options for schools.

October 6, 2008 Posted by | Assistive Technology, AT, Special Education | , , , | 6 Comments

Closing the Gap Article October/November 2008

by Samuel Sennott

Just wanted to share that my team from this summer and I had some work published in the Closing the Gap Newspaper turned magazine in the current issue, which is October/November 2008.  We are thrilled to be able to share some of the insight from our work focusing on users of AAC and writing.

A Writer, a Pencil, a Reason and a Teacher (Actually no pencil required)

By Samuel Sennott, Christina Cahill, Shelly Major, Nicole Nordal, Charity Smith-Engelin, Cassie Rubenstein and Joslyn Silverman

Preview:
After six intense weeks of Nova Southeastern University’s TLC Summer Writing Camp for users of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), one of our team members said about the students, “They love writing now! Look at them, they just can’t wait to do it.” The six-week camp was designed with the goal of helping users of AAC, ages 8 to 12, become better writers. The primary intent of the camp was to develop and implement systems, curriculum and materials that would help the students grow in the writing process, both now and into their next school year. A secondary goal was to look for potential research questions to be studied related to users of AAC and the writing process.

[View Full Article]

October 5, 2008 Posted by | Special Education | , , , , , | Leave a comment

One to One Thousand Proof of Concept

by Samuel Sennott

The Tar Heel Reader just reached the one thousand books mark this past week.  This is so exciting for students and teachers alike.  So much thanks for the work of the UNC Center for Literacy and Disability Studies and for the Computer Science work of Gary Bishop and now his class.  I think that the Tar Heel Reader offers some initial proof of concept that we can create solutions to questions and challenges that we have by working together.  In this case, everyone submitting a book or two truly makes a difference.  See how it becomes even more powerful when you get a teaming of literacy specialists with computer scientists.  The internet and low cost computing really does offer an unprecedented platform for collaboration.  I look forward to seeing this idea grow and blosom.  Also, it is exciting to consider the next steps and the refining of initial goals.

October 5, 2008 Posted by | Special Education | , , , | 1 Comment

Disney Interest Bookshelf

by Samuel Sennott

My friend and co-worker authored these Disney Interest books.

You can access the bookshelf here

September 8, 2008 Posted by | Special Education | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dalton Sherman, Dallas Schools, Enough Said, Watch the Video

by Samuel Sennott

The only things that need to be said are that Karen Janowski is my hero for always linking things like this and that the point of convergence going on in my life is way too much.

August 27, 2008 Posted by | Special Education | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

84 Location Unity Dolch Word Cards

by Samuel Sennott

Here is a terrific phonics resource that includes the 84 location Unity icon sequence cards for the Dolch words, the popular high frequency word list.  It is created and shared on Gail Van Tatenhove’s website, a great Unity resource.  Also check out all of her freeware resources at: http://www.vantatenhove.com/materials.php

Go to the 84 Location Unity Dolch Word Cards: http://www.vantatenhove.com/showfolder.php?id=30

Primer Dolch Words Unity 84 Screenshot

Primer Dolch Words Unity 84 Screenshot

August 25, 2008 Posted by | Special Education | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Accessible Books Launcher

by Samuel Sennott

Do you have enough books?  Would you like some more?  How about links out to over a thousand books?  Here is a books launcher that was presented as part of the ISAAC 2008 pre-conference presentation I collaborated on with Caroline Ramsey Musselwhite titled, Writing Books for Beginning Readers . . . and Using Them to Support Real Reading.

Download the accessible-books-launcher in PDF Format

Link to a Two Switch Step Scan Capable Online Version

If you enjoy this resource and have other book websites, please email them to me at samuel.sennott@gmail.com.

As I am writing this post, I am at ISAAC at a presentation by Carole Goossens and it is so confirming to see her presenting on this same concept of using the launcher.  There really is something to using this framework.  While this particular launcher is meant as a teacher tool, look for big releases for this school year that are focused on independent student use.

August 7, 2008 Posted by | Special Education | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

I Gati Dicono (Italiano), Cats Say (English), (Arabic) القطة تقول

By Samuel Sennott

There is a great deal to share here in the coming months regarding the Books Please Project and its recent transformations.  That being said, this project is not just about the US and English, but about individuals from all around the world.  Check out the Italian, English, and Arabic Versions.

I Gati Dicono Meow

Cats Say Meow

Cats Say in Arabic

August 1, 2008 Posted by | Special Education | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Some Favorite Posts on Alltogether

by Samuel Sennott

  1. Including Samuel

  2. ASHA 2007 ALLTOGETHER LAUNCHER

  3. PRC Pictures (3,385 of them) Wow!

  4. Hannah Montana Book,

    Skateboarders Ride Transitional Book,

    Dogs by Samuel Sennott

  5. You Can Golf

  6. AAC-RERC Webcasts

  7. Video Writing Setups

  8. The Tango Tutorial: An Exercise in Not Reduplicating Training

  9. Connecting Video to Reading and Writing

  10. Tar Heel Reader: An Open Source Library of Talking Books

  11. Padded Head Switches and Loc-Line Mounting Arms

  12. AAC Considerations and the Stages Framework

  13. AAC Consideration Materials and Checklists

  14. Goossens, Crain, Elder Communication Overlay Color Reminder

  15. Art Website Launcher

  16. Math Websites Core Tools

July 26, 2008 Posted by | Special Education | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

PRC Pictures (3,385 of them) Wow!

By Samuel Sennott

PRC

Did you know that you can freely download the Prentke Romich Company’s Picture set?  Wow!  That is a powerful tool to use and a powerful tool to share with parents and teachers.

Here is the info and links from the Prentke Romich Downloads section of their website. http://www.prentrom.com/downloads

file icon PRC Pictures Hot!
Download the current PRC icons. These icons are the same for all PRC devices. They are available in BMP, GIF, and JPEG format and contained within a single ZIP file. If you need an icon for a device or for use in a PC, then use the bitmap (bmp) file. MAC users will need to use the gif or jpeg files. The files include a page of instructions for using the PRC icons.
Hits: 347

-These icons are used in their terrific line up of Augmentative and Alternative Communication Devices that include:


Springboard Lite, Vantage, Vanguard, Pathfinder, Eco-14

You can import all 3,385 pictures into your iPhoto library.  Give them a keyword tag of PRC and then make an album.  Now in MS Word 2008, they can be used easily by just linking to the iPhoto folder.  Plus that way the set can be searched by title for the desired icon.  When you download the zipped file you get the BMP, GIF, and JPEG formatted icons organized mostly by letters A to Z.  Once they are in one folder in iPhoto, dumping them back into one folder on your desktop or a flash drive may be helpful to have them in one searchable folder for varying applications/ operating systems that do not connect as easily to iPhoto as MS Word 2008 for Mac does.  That being said, two posts I have created previously relate to this resource:

  1. Microsoft Word and Slater Software’s Free Online Symbol Resource-Video Podcast
  2. Keywords in iPhoto ‘08 for Organizing Video

PRC Pictures in iPhoto

This is a Talking Visual Scene Display in PowerPoint with the PRC Picture Set in the Object Palette

July 23, 2008 Posted by | Special Education | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hannah Montana Book

by Samuel Sennott

One of my team members authored this book about Hannah Montana.  It is in between a transitional and conventional text.  Go to the online version or download the PowerPoint here: hannah-montana book.

Also, here is the word analysis:

Core: Can, is, be, my, the, a, like, I, with
Fringe: Fun, cool, dog, named, great, friends, sing, dance, keyboard, guitars, posters, 3-D movie,
Names: Hannah Montana, Roadie

Hannah Montana

by ShellyBelly

from Flickr

July 22, 2008 Posted by | Special Education | , , , , | 5 Comments

Fablevision Books

by Samuel Sennott

Check out the Fablevision collection of books to read online.  You can find them at: http://www.fablevision.com/place/library/index.html .  There is some two switch accessibility with tab and enter.  Other than that you must use a mouse click.  There are some decent conventional texts here to explore.

The Adventures of Sticky Burr by John Lechner A comic adventure for all ages, featuring Sticky Burr, a little forest burr with a mind of his own. The adventure continues each week, so stay tuned!
The Blue Shoe by Peter H. Reynolds The classic story that inspired the award-winning film. It’s about one shoe’s quest for a sole mate and the choices made regarding personal relationships.
The Clever Stick by John Lechner
A fable about expressing oneself, and overcoming obstacles. It’s a story about life and art, featuring a very clever stick.
Living Forever by Peter H, Reynolds
A charming illustrative tale revolving around inspiration and creativity, dedicated to everybody who has contributed something to the world and to those who benefited by those contributions.
The North Star by Peter H. Reynolds
A touching tale of following one’s path. Peter uses whimsical metaphors and allegories to express the choices one makes in the journey of life. This story and philosophy is so big it’s got its own website!
Playing From The Heart by Peter H. Reynolds
Sometimes the promise of a skill doesn’t always mean a total life-calling. Things do have a way of working themselves out, though. Peter’s short story of a talented lad and his encouraging dad best describes that situation.

The Blue Shoe
by Peter H. Reynolds

Deep Spring
by Peter H. Reynolds

The Eyebrow Story
by Peter H. Reynolds

Benjamin’s Bowtie
by Noah Z. Jones

Download Classic Mac Version (ben.sit – 328k)
Download Windows Version (ben.zip – 312k)

Tess’s Tree
by Jess Brallier

Benty
by Delores Esposito

July 22, 2008 Posted by | Special Education | , , , , | 2 Comments

Hoover’s New Wheels on the AEX

by Samuel Sennott

Check out another generous offering by Byron Wilkes of Learning Magic Inc.  The exchange is filled with gems like this. The AEX or Intellitools Activity Exchange can be found at:  http://aex.intellitools.com

I saw the exchange was acting up, so here is the direct links to the resource on the Learning Magic Site.

Hoover’s New Wheels


enlarge image

This activity is based upon a true story about a dog named Hoover who unfortunately suffered a broken back in a ‘freak accident’. Paralyzed in the hind portion of his body, he was forced to hop along on his front legs. Well that was true until a colleague of mine and I were able to fit him with some “new wheels”.

This activity helps illustrate that being in a wheelchair is not that limiting.

Hoover has been an inspiration to many of us who know him. Even when he hopped along and dragged his legs behind him he continued to be happy and thrived in his environment. But now with his new wheels he is able to chase the pesky squirrels that live in his yard again.

Note: There is a companion activity in the Goodies section entitled “Hoover’s Newest Wheelchair”, which documents a later upgrade to a newer wheelchair as well.

The activity is created in one of the writing templates from our “The Writing Bin” CD. On the CD there are six unique templates which allow you to create activities that will provide both reading and writing opportunities for your students. There are also over thirty finished activities available on the CD for your use.

This activity was built in Classroom Suite v. 3.2. The activity can be run on the ITAN Player. But IntelliPics Studio 3® is needed to perform data capture, automatic grading and portfolio management, as well as any editing or changes to the activity itself.

Required Software: IntelliTools Classroom Suite® v. 3.2.
Grades 3-5.  Curriculum area: Language Arts.   File size: 23 MB
Download button

July 19, 2008 Posted by | Special Education | , , , , | Leave a comment

You Can Golf

by Samuel Sennott

So your summer camp is winding down, or maybe you are stuck inside in an extended year program.  Maybe your home with your children during a few weeks they have off from camp.  Why not take a golf break?  Make a day of it:  Do guided reading with the book about Tiger Woods.  Check out the videos from YouTube.  Talk about it.  Write about it.  Spell some words at the level the student is at.  Then break out the Nintendo Wii if you can get one and play 3 or 9 holes.  Take some pictures while your doing it and do some more writing later that day or another.  Enjoy! http://otot.wikispaces.com/Tiger+Woods

Books

Tiger Woods Cover From Book, Tiger Head shot, looking, and swinging
Tiger Woods Cover From Book, Tiger Head shot, looking, and swinging

Transitional Text

Readings

Videos

Writing

I_can_golf_chart_shot.png

  • Use a graphic organizer to brainstorm what you want to write about.

http://aex.intellitools.com/searchdetails.php?act_key=basicwebgraphicorganizer

Screenshot of Basic Web Graphic Organizer
Screenshot of Basic Web Graphic Organizer

Working With Words

Motivation Connection

  • Play Nintendo Wii Sports Golf.

external image 1859304076_b6cea6a05a.jpg?v=0
photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kara/1859304076/

July 17, 2008 Posted by | Special Education | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

AAC-RERC Webcasts

by Samuel Sennott

Check out the excellent offerings of AAC-RERC Webcasts, which can be found here http://www.aac-rerc.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=113&Itemid=130:

Janice Light Photo

Maximizing the Literacy Skills of Individuals who Require AAC

Janice Light (Penn State University) describes the components of effective literacy interventions for individuals who require AAC.

Michael Williams Photo

How Far We’ve Come, How Far We’ve Got to Go: Tales from the Trenches

Michael B. Williams (ACI), a long time practitioner of the art of augmented communication uses historical biography to elucidate many of the key social and technological issues in AAC today.

Colin Portnuff Photo

AAC: A User’s Perspective

Colin Portnuff talks about receiving his diagnosis – Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) – and the application of speech and voice technology in AAC.

David Buekelman photo

AAC for Aphasia: A Review of Visual Scenes Display Project

David Beukelman (University of Nebraska) describes recent research on effective AAC interventions for adults with Aphasia.

Beth Anne Luciani

AAC and College Life: Just Do It!

Beth Anne Luciani (California University of Pennsylvania) describes the benefits and the challenges of college life for individuals who use AAC.

Janice Light photo

AAC Interventions to Maximize Language Development for Young Children

Janice Light (Penn State University) describes the components of effective interventions for young children who use AAC.

Lew Golinker photo

Overview of the Health-based Funding Programs that Cover Speech Generating Devices

Lew Golinker (AT Law Center) provides an overview of funding issues in AAC.

Seating and Positioning for Individuals who use AT

Aileen Costigan (Penn State University) provides an introduction to important issues in seating and positioning for individuals who use assistive technology (AT).

David McNaughton photo

Supporting Successful Transitions for Individuals who use AAC.

David McNaughton (Penn State University) describes key supports to successful transitions for individual who use AAC

Adding Projects for People with Disabilities to Engineering Design Classes

Kevin Caves describes strategies he has used for adding projects for people with disabilities to engineering design classes.

July 16, 2008 Posted by | Special Education | , , , , | Leave a comment

Ebook List Posted on ACOLUG

by Samuel Sennott

Russel Cross recently posted a great list of accessible books on the ACOLUG (Augmentative Communication Online Users Group) Listserv.  Check it out:

http://www.gutenberg.org/ – project gutenburg – html, text (FREE)

http://www.ebooks.com/ – ebooks – Microsoft reader, Mobipocket, Adobe

http://etext.library.adelaide.edu.au/ – University of Adelaide – html, txt (FREE)

http://www.ereader.com/ – ereader – ereader format (use with Palm, Mob, Mac, PC) – has best DRM I have seen IMHO – can copy as much as you like but must enter name and credit card number every time.

http://www.fictionwise.com/ – Microsoft reader, Mobipocket, Adobe, Palm reader, fiction wise reader?

http://www.amazon.com – Adobe, Microsoft reader

http://etext.virginia.edu/ebooks/ – Microsoft, Palm – (FREE)

http://manybooks.net/ – eReader, PDF, Plucker, iSilo, Doc, or zTXT (FREE)

http://www.memoware.com/ – Formats, so many it insane (FREE) http://www.memoware.com/mw.cgi/?screen=help_format

http://www.pdabookstore.com/ – Memoware bookstore – many formats

http://www.pdabookstore.com/servlet/mw?t=help_help&si=4

http://www.buddhanet.net/ebooks.htm – Adobe (FREE)

http://www.adobe.com/epaper/ebooks/ebookmall/index.html – huge list of pay sites using Adobe

http://www.awe-struck.net/ – romance & sci-fi – HTML, PDF,Rocket, REB, Microsoft Reader,Pocket PC PDA, Mobipocket, EBookman, Hiebook

http://www.planetpdf.com/free_pdf_e…p?CurrentPage=1 – PDFs (FREE)

http://www.powells.com/ebookstore/ebooks.html – Microsoft, Adobe, Palm

http://www.double-dragon-ebooks.com/ – Rocket-eBook, Hiebook, Adobe PDF, MS-Reader, Mobipocket, iSilo, Franklin eBookMan, and Palm Doc.

http://www.diesel-ebooks.com/ – Microsoft, Adobe, Palm

http://www.bob-e-books.com/ – Microsoft, Rocket, Softbook

http://esspc-ebooks.com/default.htm – Microsoft PC Reader, Mobipocket

http://www.bookrags.com/ebooks/ – PDF, RTF, HTML (Free?)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/clas…oks/index.shtml – HTML (FREE but only Dr Who books?)

http://ebooks.whsmith.co.uk/151ABB2…/en/Default.htm – Adobe, Microsoft, Mobipocket

http://www.ebooks3.com/ – html (FREE)

July 13, 2008 Posted by | Special Education | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

WebAnywhere: A Screen Reader on the Go

by Samuel Sennott

Things are surely getting interesting with the release of WebAnywhere, the screen reader on the go. This just may be a sign of things shifting to the power of open source/ freeware and the University connection aspect of the AT work.  I look forward to speaking with some friends who are blind about this.  I was on and using this screen reader in less than one minute.  Check it out.

Pulled from various parts of their website, found at:  http://webanywhere.cs.washington.edu/

WebAnywhere:  A Screen reader on the go

Launch it: Try the WebAnywhere Alpha Release

A 2008 presentation by a team member on the project:

WebAnywhere: A Screen Reader On-the-Go, 2008

Presented by Jeffrey P. Bigham on 10/15/2007. Link: WebAnywhere PPT.

The cheat sheet:

You interact with WebAnywhere using the keyboard. A selection of keyboard commands that are currently supported is listed below. Pressing SHIFT in combination with them reverses the direction of the search, searching backward from the current cursor position instead of forward from it.

  • CTRL-L – move the cursor to the location box where you can type a URL to visit.
  • Arrow Down – read the next element on the page.
  • Arrow Up – read the previous element on the page.
  • CTRL-H – skip to the next heading.
  • CTRL-I – skip to the next input element.
  • CTRL-R – skip to the next row by cell when in a table.
  • CTRL-D – skip to the next column by cell when in a table.
  • Page Down – read continuously from the current position.
  • Home – read continuously, starting over from the beginning of the page.
  • CTRL – silence WebAnywhere and pause the system.

July 9, 2008 Posted by | Special Education | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Need for a Bookshelf/ Launcher

by Samuel Sennott

I envision a bookshelf/ launcher that is powerful, flexible, open and user friendly across multiple platforms.  It is so needed right now, but as we explode into the Bookshare age it will become vital. I have some pretty cool workups to share over the coming weeks, but see the one created for the Accessible Book Collection for a proof of concept:  https://alltogether.wordpress.com/2008/06/11/a-bookshelf-for-the-accessibile-book-collections-ics-formatted-books/


July 8, 2008 Posted by | Special Education | , , , | 2 Comments

Video Writing Setups

by Samuel Sennott

Check out the videos we have collected during our AAC writers camp. Below is pulled from the wikispace demo created as a part of the framework being developed.  http://otot.wikispaces.com/Writing+Setups

To reiterate:

  1. You can so powerfully build background knowledge in the Guided Reading and Self Selected Reading Domains.
  2. Videos are a powerful motivator in the writing process, especially for beginning writers

Writing Setups

Under Construction, Check Back Frequently for Updates: 5.29.08
More Videos and Directions Have Been Added (Thanks Team) 6.4.08
GO_TO_WRITING_SETUPS_BUTTON.pngGET_ALTERNATIVE_PENCIL_DIRECTIONS_BUTTON.pngGet_Lesson_Directions.png
You are at Writing Setups—————– Alternative Pencil Directions ————–Get Lesson Directions

Chart Writing

Animals

Art

Books

Music

Sports

Cooking

Nature

Other

July 8, 2008 Posted by | Special Education | , , , | Leave a comment

One to 180

by Samuel Sennott

One to One Thousand is a concept that I believe will powerfully help the field of special education. The basic premise is that if a thousand people each work for an hour on a project with agreed upon standards, then they can create something that one person working for a thousand hours, could never create. It gets pretty in-depth from there, but I am excited to share how the theory is shaping up in some upcoming presentations, papers, and webcasts.

That being said, it is fun watching the theory unfold over on the terrific collaboration between UNC’s Center for Literacy and Disability Studies and the Computer Science Department, the Tar Heel Reader. Look at how quickly an open source library of books is growing, by checking out a snip from a post on the site’s homepage:

“The graph below shows the amazing growth of the collection thanks to the contributions of many authors.

Total 4 14 20 66 164 180
Week 1 2 3 4 5 6

We’ve had 66111 page views from 1470 different computers worldwide.”

June 30, 2008 Posted by | Special Education | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Universally Accessible Demands Accessibility for All of… with Jim Fruchterman

by Samuel Sennott

This talk by Jim Fruchterman, CEO of Benetech, is part of the terrific Google Tech Talks Series. Check it out.

June 23, 2008 Posted by | Special Education | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Connecting Video to Reading and Writing

by Samuel Sennott

Connecting video to reading and writing is powerful. Last summer, I saw that power so clearly in the camp program I led. The camp was your basic extended year program revamped into a fun literacy based camp. One of the classrooms had mainly children with autism spectrum disorders. When we completed the pre-assessments, the students nearly threw the books back into our faces. There was at least a few tears during the developmental spelling test administered. Based on this initial assessment, I knew it was key to focus on the appreciation/enjoyment of literacy, so I turned to the self selected reading block. I brought in Apple laptops to each student and fired up the now classic Otis Goes to the Beach story. We showed it as a whole group to kick off the lesson. As you read, Otis comes to life with real videos of him getting ready for his walk, crying because he is so excited, swimming, and chewing. The children were transfixed. Every day, one particular student asked me why Otis is crying. Then he would say, “because he’s happy?” Within a few weeks, the students were reading PowerPoint based books on a daily basis and greatly enjoying it. One student who did not want to have anything to do with writing, started using PowerPoint to author because we could import pictures relevant to him. The rationale behind transitional texts is to draw the reader to attend to the text. I believe that connecting video can do this as well.

Yet, videos are not just for getting attention. They can be powerful for building background knowledge in both the reading and writing process. See a previous post that was regarding a guided reading lesson for Leo the Late Bloomer. Using YouTube can bring concepts to life. What a great way to do the activation of knowledge section of your guided reading lesson. Also the extensive Discovery Education/United Streaming site is rich with content.

Videos can motivate writing. The students in the AAC writers camp I am leading this summer are going wild for journaling about the videos they connect to. I believe that for my students, this is a perfect lead in to the SRSD strategy POW and TREE. Writing a persuasive essay about the video including a topic sentence, reasons, and an ending is potentially a way to tip the motivational scale during this process.

Check out the set of videos we are using this summer to motivate and fuel our journaling process:

GO_TO_WRITING_SETUPS_BUTTON.png

http://otot.wikispaces.com/Writing+Setups

In summary, video can be powerful to draw attention, build background knowledge, and build motivation in reading and writing. There is so much more to be studied, researched, implemented, and written about regarding this topic. I look forward to engaging in the process.

June 22, 2008 Posted by | Special Education | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tar Heel Reader: An Open Source Library of Talking Books

by Samuel Sennott

Children, teenagers, and adults need books to be able to learn to read and getting accessible books to them is the goal of the Tar Heel Reader. This open source library of books that are switch accessible, talking, internet accessible, and downloadable will grow exponentially due to the terrific job Gary Bishop, a computer scientist from UNC Chapel Hill, has done designing the Worpress powered interface. This combination of efforts between computer science and education is phenomenal. He presently teaches a course in Computer Science focused on accessible software and hardware. Karen Erickson, Gretchen Hanser and Gary Bishop have been meeting and collaborating for quite some time. It is inspiring to me to see as an example as I emerge into the research phase of my teaching practice. From earlier efforts from this team of computer scientists, The Tar Heel Typer and Dance Dance Revolution mods, to the present and into the future, they surely serve as a powerful example of what we can do as educators to team up with computer science programs. Karen Erickson and David Koppenhaver have worked tirelessly on the concept of creating accessible texts that are age appropriate, rich in quality, and powerful in the literacy instructional process. See the Beginning Literacy Framework by Karen Erickson, Caroline Ramsey Musselwhite, and Ruth Ziolkowski to understand types of texts helpful to early readers. This project has the potential to make texts available to people in a way only possible with the advent of the internet and the concepts behind the Read/Write web and Web 2.0.

I believe in this project and concept with all my heart and am more than happy to be now seeing it come into the world. As I step forward from teacher to both teacher and researcher, I have seen a very powerful lesson: combine your dreams, visions, gifts and technical skills with others who have other dreams, visions, gifts, and technical skills and you can create and help more than ever imagined.

So start getting these books to your students and start authoring. Remember if one thousand people each work for one hour on a project with agreed upon standards you can create…

Go to the Tar Heel Reader

Let’s See the Books and How it Works!

Here is how you choose a book.

Here is a page from a book:

You have multiple options for accessing the books:

  • on the web
  • download the PowerPoint File
  • Open Office Impress File
  • Flash File

Speech can be enabled or disabled.

Switch Scanning

Switch Scanners can access the books with various keystrokes, including most of they keys on the keyboard. (soon to be optimized to go forward and back)

The power of this project is in the exponential amount of material to be available for all types of individuals learning to read. I have been working on this concept quite a bit and I believe that this is a One to One Thousand scenario. One key concept is the availability of age appropriate texts on an unprecedented level.

Here is how the book building process works:

  • You use images from the Creative Commons section of Yahoo’s Flickr.

  • The images are automatically cited. See how it works here.
  • You add your text to each page you create.

  • Add some keyword tags, such as words about the content, if it is an enrichment, transitional, or conventional text, or anything else you would like.
  • Click to post your book. A talking book that is switch accessible and and able to be downloaded offline is created.
  • It is that simple. No more PP notes citations, large file problems, conversion nightmares! Hallelujah.

Let us rally behind this amazing project in a way never before seen! Let’s go! We can do it all together!

Go to the Tar Heel Reader

June 19, 2008 Posted by | Special Education | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Skateboarders Ride Transitional Book

by Samuel Sennott

As there is much big news to report on the accessible books front, I will be cleaning out the closet of all the drafted posts of this type. Check out this engaging book. Direct selectors can use the navigational arrows, and switch scanners can use the arrow keys to navigate.

Download the Book

skateboardersride.transistional

Download the Talking Book

skateboardersride.transistional.talking

Build Background Knowledge and Writing Motivation with Videos

Skateboarding Bulldog Tyson
1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-abbze6T3Cs
2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziDeUbifKIM
Skateboarding Tricks
1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FrISkXDElQ
2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uf3n4pqsboE&feature=related (Super Slow Motion!)
3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b10b3JZmC-E&feature=related Best Tricks Ever 2

June 19, 2008 Posted by | Special Education | , , , , , | 2 Comments