Technology & Learning Connections
February, 2013

Article Links




BYOD: Strategies for Success


The Next Generation of Assessments  


Upcoming Events


TLC Regional Meetings 

Region 1: May 14

Region 2: April 10  

Region 3: April 12
Region 4: April 26

Region 5: April 26




Promising Pathways    


Ft. Myers April 13, 2013 


Karen Kangas    

Positioning Severe Impairments to Support Engagement  


(All registrations) 



May 7, 2013   



May 9, 2013



May 10, 2013



May 13, 2013 



May 15, 2013


(WWE) Working with the Experts


Registration is now open for Special Education Legal Issues In Occupational and Physical Therapy Services with Julie Weatherly, Esq.   


Panama City
March 4, 2013


March 5, 2013

March 6, 2013  


March 7, 2013  


Details and registration instructions are on the WWE website at:




Technology & Learning Connections Website  


Florida's MTSS Technical Assistance Contacts 




AT & UDL Loan Library 




Idioms in Use   


Little Story Maker   




Exploring Technology & Learning Connections 

people with gears
"Technology & Learning Connections - MTSS: Increasing student 
achievement through the systemic alignment of technology, policies, 
and curriculum in a multi-tiered system of supports." 

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Technology in a MTSS  
All students should be active and independent learners, regardless of the level of supports being provided. When selecting technology for use at any level of intervention some points to consider are:
  • Can the the student independently choose and apply the supports? For example, text-to-speech options, graphic organizers, calculators.  
  • Does it increase student engagement? Does it support intrinsic motivation, a positive classroom and school climate?
  • Is the technology "mobile" enough to move between classrooms? Can the student continue to use the technology after a transition? 
  • Does the technology provide supports for all students with disabilities?
  • Are all instructional materials in accessible formats and media?
  • Does the technology support multicultural information? 
STEM & LEGO lego

Legos in some form or fashion have been in existence for close to 80 years. They have expanded from simple wood block toys, to stackable plastics, to moveable plastic pieces, to computer animation and television. More recently LEGO has expanded its LEGO Education Program to include an increased focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) from elementary through high school and expanded its Teacher Education Program. Since some of their STEM products include more advanced robotics they have become the foundation for many after school LEGO robotic programs.




The DUPLO Early Simple Machines Set allows students to build fun and simple models such as a seesaw, rolling vehicles, spinning top, raft, and other movable part items. They experience pulleys, levers, gears, and wheels and axles while exploring energy, buoyancy, and balance.  


The WeDo set introduces young students to robotics and when combined with the LEGO Robotics Software students will be able to build models featuring working motors and sensors and be able program their models.

The Mindstorms set enables students to build and program real-life robotic solutions. Like all LEGO products, even the most advanced contain full-color visual building instructions which allows non-readers the same building opportunities. The Mindstorms Robotics provides cross-curricular opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, gives students opportunities for creativity in design, and enables students to build complex control systems.
BYOD (Bring your own device): 
Strategies for Success  article2 

Much attention has been given lately to the rise of BYOD programs and whether they are destined to work or fail. Proponents of BYOD like the programs as budgets keep dwindling, students already bring devices to school, and technology isn't getting cheaper. In a recent article in Tech & Learning magazine, the author explored strategies from three school districts in how they are addressing the issues. Certainly one of the issues is the availability of devices for all students. In one school district this was addressed by having the most affluent families provide devices for their children, middle-income families were given the option to purchase or lease devices at a prearranged, discounted price, and students from low-income families were given devices purchased by a Texas state bond program. To address usage, more access points were added to the wireless network, along with anchor mobility. The network recognizes if you are not on a district wireless device and routes you into tunneled Internet access at no extra cost. Security is also addressed in this manner since everything goes through their filtering and once students are online they are directed to the district's online learning portal.


In another district they decided to openly embrace the idea of students bringing their cell phones to school and created an open environment to support the initiative. Students are required to register their device's MAC address and complete a statement that they will comply with the AUP. Security is addressed in this district by keeping the wireless and wired networks separate which allows either or both to be shut down in an instance of a security threat.


At the lowest end of the implementation spectrum, one school district has given teachers the power to allow BYOD programs one classroom at a time, after consultation with colleagues and the building principal. In this particular district the device is not the key, but the support for the devices. The district is a Google Docs district and many of the students share devices. Essentially all a student needs is a browser and an open wifi. To see the complete article please go to:

 The Next Generation of Assessmentsassess

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded grant money to two different organizations in the development of assessments scheduled to replace systems being utilized within current state and federal accountability standards. The new assessments are slated for release in 2014-2015. Makers of the assessments indicate they will feature complex, multipart tasks which will include technology integration such as executing electronic searches, solving applied math problems that require using modern tools such as statistical packages and dynamic graphing software and the assessments will require students to comprehend and analyze texts across all content areas at a higher level. Most students will complete the assessments on computers or other digital devices and receive the results within two weeks (Doorey, 2012).  


PARCC is one of the organizations that has been awarded grant money and has published its commitment to accessibility for all students. In part this will include built in supports that are not possible with paper-based tests.  They list, for example, that students will be able to control the size of the text in a question to meet their needs and students will have access to certain word processing tools to write their essays. PARCC states that while external accommodations may still be needed for some students to demonstrate what they know and can do, use of principles of Universal Design and the built-in supports will increase access to the greatest number of students taking the assessments. For more information on the PARCC assessments please visit:


Doorey, N. A. (2012). Coming soon: A new generation of assessments. Educational Leadership, volume 70, 28-34.

Positioning Severe Impairments to Support Engagement  - with Karen Kangas 
Karen Kangas is an occupational therapist with 30 + years of experience working with the evaluation and treatment of unique positioning needs of all individuals. Her contributions to the field of occupational therapy include:
  • Established training strategies with teachers/therapists/parents, and/or primary caregivers.
  • Advanced assessment processes for individuals who are severely disabled. 
Karen instructs using a "hands-on" approach through the use of sensory-motor integration, body positioning, and neurophysiology and workshop highlights will include instruction in:
  • Perform seating assessment for task performance.
  • Identify seating equipment needed for "postural management" vs. "postural control".
  • Identify mobility and access treatment strategies.
  • Apply and implement treatment strategies for mobility and access.
  • Perform a task analysis of an activity as the student's seating/positioning needs change.

Aventura, May 7, 2013   

Orlando, May 9, 2013

Tampa, May 10, 2013

Gainesville, May 13, 2013 

Pensacola, May 15, 2013        


Registration is now available at:
GoNow Case
gonow case
The GoNow Case for iPad is a solid plastic casing that keeps the iPad safe from bumps and drops. It has also been designed to channel and redirect sound to the front, yielding a more consistent and richer audio performance without the need for adding electronics. Volume is increased by an average of 3.2dB across all measured frequencies. The front of the case includes a switch to access the magnetic lock/unlock feature built into iPads as well as the other controls being accessible. This and other cases for a variety of devices can be found at the AT-UDL store in the Carrying Case/ Stand section of the store. 


Did You Know?

WolframAlpha "The world's definitive source for instant expert knowledge and computation."

By covering thousands of domains and using a vast collection of algorithms and data to compute answers and generate reports. It is a computational knowledge engine that can also interact with Siri. 

Idioms in Use: Featuring 750 idioms with definitions, examples, voicing, and a quiz. This app is helpful for for those trying to learn the ins and outs of the colloquial laced English language.  

little story makerLittle Story Maker: This easy to use app allows users to make photographs into stories by recording audio and compiling the photos into a talking photo album.


The AT-UDL  library now has books available for loan for professional development. Select titles include:


The Practical (and Fun) Guide to Assistive Technology in Public Schools: Building or Improving Your District's AT Team by Christopher R. Bugaj and Sally Norton-Darr


Digital Teaching Platforms: Customizing Classroom Learning for Each Student (Technology, Education-Connections (the Tec Series))

by Chris Dede and John Richards


Leading 21st-Century Schools: Harnessing Technology for Engagement and Achievement by Lynne M. Schrum and Barbara B. Levin


Teaching Digital Natives: Partnering for Real Learning by Marc Prensky


21st Century Skills: Rethinking How Students Learn (Leading Edge) by James Bellanca and Ron Brandt


The Learning Edge: What Technology Can Do to Educate All Children (Technology, Education-Connections) by Alan Bain and Mark E. Weston


 There are also various titles related to AAC and assessment.
Our Partners

The TLC Team includes 5 Regional Technology Coordinators, 5 Regional Technology Specialists, and 5 Regional Local Assistive Technology Specialists (RLATS).  


Our local service partners include:  


The Florida Diagnostic & Learning Resources System (FDLRS): providing services in the areas of Childfind, HRD, Parent Services, and Technology; including local TA&D, professional development, and capacity building in the areas

of accessible instructional materials, assistive & Instructional

 technologies, UDL, and virtual learning.


Local Assistive Technology Specialists (LATS): providing local support for assistive technology assessments, evaluations, and related assistive technology services.



Together we are working to help all schools implement a universal, differentiated core curriculum based on the Common Core State Standards.   

This newsletter was funded by the Florida Department of Education Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services through federal assistance under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), Part B funds. The information included does not reflect any specific endorsement by any parties involved. Please email Gary Pearcy for further information.