October 2013 

Article Links


Core Language Workshops 






Writing in the 21st Century


Technology Supports for Distance Learning, Hospital and Homebound Students  


Access to Florida's Transportation Disadvantaged Program for Individuals with Disabilities General Self-Help Resource Guide 

Start Menus for Windows 8


GameGoo & Zoodles  


The Common Core Conversation 


There is an App for That! 


Our Partners 



2013-2014 Events



FCEC (register)
October 17-19, 2013

FOTA (register)
November 8-9

ATIA (register)
January 28-
February 1, 2014

FETC (register)
January 28-31, 2014


TLC Regional Meetings

Region 1 
May 2, 2014

Region 2 
October 29, 2013 
May 9, 2014

Region 3 
April 11, 2014

Region 4 
April 25, 2014

Region 5 
February 28, 2014 




Technology & Learning Connections Website  


Florida's MTSS Technical Assistance Contacts 




AT & UDL Loan Library 


Exploring Technology & Learning Connections  






Read & Write Gold 




First Author 




The VGo 


The Double 


Pokkii for Windows 8 



The Best Windows 8 Start Menu Programs 







Story Patch


Shutterfly Photo Story

Book Creator


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." 

Join Our Mailing List
  CoreLanguageSave the Date 
 Strengthening Your Core Language:
Building Vocabulary Independence 

Strengthening Your Core Language:

Building Vocabulary Independence Workshops


Audience: Speech Language Pathologists, Teachers


The Technology & Learning Connections Team of the PS/RtI Project is pleased to announce the "Strengthening Your Core Language: Building Vocabulary Independence" workshops presented by Elisa Robinson and Daniel Dardiz. Elisa Robinson has a degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from USF and recently worked as an Assistive Technology Program Specialist for FAAST. Ms. Robinison currently works for the Saltillo Company. Daniel Dardiz, M.A., CCC-SLP, has worked with children who have a wide variety of neurological and cognitive disorders and has been a bilingual diagnostician and assistive technology practitioner. Mr. Dardiz currently works for the Prentke Romich Company (PRC).


Core vocabulary is the language we use to communicate on a daily basis. About 80% of the words we use are considered core. The workshop will provide an overview of core vocabulary and how it can be represented in a variety of ways using high and low tech devices. Participants will explore the link between language and literacy development and the use of core vocabulary in social and academic environments. The workshop content addresses supports for weaknesses in receptive and expressive oral language skills.


Saltillo & PRC are offering .5 CEUs (5 contact hours) approved by ASHA at no cost for SLPs. Individuals seeking CEUs will be required to complete a pretest and posttest online. The award of CEUs will require a minimum score of 80% on the posttest and the CEU certificates will be issued by ASHA.


Participants can register for the workshops at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/6WG78ZY  


Paper registration and location information is available at http://www.tlc-mtss.com/assets/coreregistrationnov2013.pdf  


These workshops will be held across the state in all five regions.  

Region 1 - November 12, 2013 - Chipley, FL

Region 2 - November 15, 2013 - Lake City, FL

Region 3 - November 1, 2013 - Orlando, FL

Region 4 - November 8, 2013 - Sarasota, FL

Region 5 - November 5, 2013 - Ft. Lauderdale, FL


All participants will receive a certificate of attendance. If you have any questions about the Strengthening Your Core Language: Building Vocabulary Independence workshops, please contact Tony Dutra (tdutra@usf.edu, 954-925-6195).

The annual Florida Council for Exceptional Children Conference will take place October 17 - 19, 2013, at the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront. Going to Bat for Kids is the conference theme. Gene Monahan, former head athletic trainer for the New York Yankees, is the keynote speaker who will show us how passion and drive can motivate us to reach our goals. On Friday, Dr. Monica Verra-Tirado, the Chief of the Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services in the Florida Department of Education, will provide an update on our continued progress on meeting the needs of all students.


The TLC Hands-on Lab will be open from 10:00 am until 5:30 pm on October 18, 2013. You can find us in HTC # 3 and HTC # 4 on the west side of the first floor. We invite you to come to the TLC Hands-on Lab and explore a variety of AIM, AT, and UDL resources you can use to support student achievement. TLC staff members will be on hand all day to assist visitors as they explore tools such as FASTT Math, Classroom Suite, Kurzweil, and iPads with apps that feature academic, social and psychological tools to foster engagement. We have three presentations scheduled for Friday, October 18:

11:00 - 11:50 The Incredible Teacher Resource Kit CD

 2:30 - 3:20 iPad Apps for Engagement


 3:30 - 4:30 Math & Science Tools


Fall has arrived and not far behind is the  January 2014 ATIA Orlando Conference. The Session Directory  is live and includes 13 Pre-Conference seminars and 300+ general sessions. The conference features nationally renowned speakers such as Kelly Fonner, Gayl Bowser, Joy Zabala, Kirk Behnke, Therese Willkomm, Mike Marotta, Susan McCloskey, and Linda Burkhart. The educational sessions promise to both train you on the latest technologies and trends and provide current research on best practices in AT. An added plus? Network with speakers, colleagues, and new friends.


ATIA is excited to be partnering with the Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services (BEESS) and Florida's MTSS Projects at 2014 Orlando. They have arranged a special MTSS Code that you can pass along to your network of members and families. The MTSS Code offers:

  • 5% off pre-Conferences (1st and 2nd day) for MTSS members.
  • 5% off main conference to all MTSS Family Network members.
  • Can be used in combination with early registrations discounts by November 15th or January 10th.

Parents of children with disabilities can receive a 50% discount by including a letter on the child's disability when registering.


We look forward to seeing you at ATIA Orlando, 2014!

PowerupPowerUp your teaching with PowerUp WHAT WORKS


PowerUp WHAT WORKS (www.PowerUpWhatWorks.org) is a national Center that provides "anytime, anyplace" information, materials, and resources to improve teaching and learning for struggling students and students with disabilities. The Center is operated by American Institutes for Research (AIR) in collaboration with the Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) and the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST).


PowerUp offers customizable resources, weaving together four key areas:

  • Evidence-based practices
  • Common Core State Standards (CCSS)
  • Technology in schools and classrooms
  • Personalization of learning through UDL and differentiated instruction

The PowerUp Instructional Strategy Guides provide information on how to use and differentiate evidence-based instructional strategies with technology, aligned with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). At present, there are ten English Language Arts topics and seven Math topics.


Be sure to check out this great resource!

Technology: By the Numbers  
Did You Know 4.0
Did You Know 4.0

Writing has changed significantly as technologies have improved. Writing is no longer about spending countless hours searching for information and countless more hours  on edits and rewrites. Katie McKnight, Ph.D., explains in this video how gone is the generation where the quest was to get and harvest information. The information is now readily available and students begin with the skills of synthesizing, analyzing, and representing information, which are the higher order skills needed for literacy development for reading and writing. Writing technology in the classroom does not take away from this process, but rather this technology gives students opportunities to focus on increasing their writing skills and the production of comprehensive pieces of work that demonstrate students' mastery of high order processes.    
Using Technology To Improve Literacy Skills 
Using Technology To Improve Literacy Skills
WordQ by Mayer-Johnson is a program designed to enable just about anyone to write and edit works by removing some of the obstacles that can often make writing difficult such as typing, spelling, and punctuation. The program can suggest words and provide spoken feedback so students can hear sentences repeated and detect mistakes as they go. The microphone tool can be utilized for continuous dictation or used only when you need assistance with a single word or part of a sentence. The Speak and Select tool provides students with a list of possible words and phrases and also gives the user the option to listen to each word or phrase before making his or her final selection. The Words feature, when enabled, allows users to have constant editing help by suggesting spelling and word variety. At any time the Read tool can be employed to read highlighted text in formats like web pages, emails, and instant-messaging programs (Skype). The program is available in multiple languages. 


Read & Write Gold by Texthelp Systems is a text reading and writing program developed to assist children and adults with reading and writing disabilities. Specifically, the software is designed to improve reading comprehension by helping users process and comprehend large amounts of text, conduct research, and enable struggling writers to produce quality written documents. The features of the program include text reading, spell checker, word predictor, dictionary, word wizard thesaurus, and a sounds alike tool. Additionally it includes a pronunciation tutor, a fact finding tool, a fact mapping graphic organizer tool, a voice dictation tool for writing assistance, and a floating toolbar that allows users to access Read & Write Gold from within other programs such as word processing programs or pdf readers.
It also includes an MP3 converter to convert text into files for later playback.  


Co:Writer 7 by Don Johnston  is a word prediction program that works with most writing applications, such as Microsoft Word, Outlook, or WordPress. Co:Writer analyzes writing in real time and offers word choices based on the user's grammar,  phonetics, spelling, and omitted letters. The program is unique in that it is the only word prediction program to use the context of a whole sentence to predict the next word. This type of word prediction, named Linguistic Word Prediction, provides the most accurate predication available. Co:Writer assigns a grammatical value to each word in its many built-in topic dictionaries, enabling it to provide accurate predictions for multiple word tenses and usages. For students with physical disabilities, Co:Writer reduces the number of keystrokes necessary to write. It also includes built-in adjustable speed scanning, which allows students to select a word from the Co:Writer list with one click.


First Author by Don Johnston is a software program that utilizes a three-step process to enable all writers, including scribblers and letter tracers, to publish coherent and meaningful writings. The process includes choosing a topic, selecting a picture prompt, and writing with the support of built-in accommodations. The built in accommodations for students needing additional accessibility include multiple on-screen keyboards and single- and two-switch scanning. First Author also works seamlessly with Co:Writer for students who need help with grammar, spelling, and reducing keystrokes. First Author guides teachers through the process of scoring student writing samples with the built-in Developmental Writing Scale and text-type diversity measures and includes progress monitoring tools. The measures of student work include letter use per writing, cumulative letters used across all writings, total unique words by assignment, intelligible words by assignment, and time on task.


ClaroSpeak is an app from Claro Software available on iOS for iPad or iPhone. ClaroSpeak text-to-speech reader is capable of speaking any accessible text. The program incorporates a wide range of human voices and  languages. The app can also be used for proofreading text by typing directly into the program and hearing it spoken back. Alternatively, with Apple's speech recognition, the user can dictate text and then listen back to ensure accuracy. ClaroSpeak uses word prediction that takes into account word frequency and previous words. There is an initial Word Prediction list loaded on startup and ClaroSpeak can learn new words as they are typed. ClaroSpeak also includes a feature that enables the creation of audio files from any text.
 distanceTechnology Supports for Distance Learning, Hospital, and Homebound Students    

Technology has not only impacted learning in the school, but has also made a tremendous impact on the ways in which the school is brought to the students by such methods as telecommunications, video communications, online interactive whiteboards, document sharing services, and virtual worlds. Now there is a unique way to bring hospital or homebound students back to the school without actually being there through the use of remotely-driven robotic telepresence. The following videos depict two systems that allow the user to freely move about the classroom, interact with peers and teachers in real time, and even roam the school while being miles away.


VGo In Action

The VGo allows a person's presence to be replicated in a distant location such that they can interact by being seen, heard, and move around in any remote facility as if they were there.



Double by Double Robotics - Pre-order Now

The Double for iPad is a motorized stand that lets you see, hear, and move around remote locations. The touch-based interface, accelerometer, and gyroscope work to keep the 10"-wide robot stable until you're done moving it, at which point dual kickstands pop out to let the battery take a rest.
Access to Florida's Transportation Disadvantaged Program for Individuals with Disabilities General Self-Help Resource Guide

The Access to Florida's Transportation Disadvantaged Program for Individuals with Disabilities General Self-Help Resource Guide was created to provide general resource and self-help information to help facilitate access to Florida's Transportation Disadvantaged Program and services. This guide is inclusive of helpful suggestions, informational websites, applicable federal/state laws and regulations for individuals with disabilities and other interested parties. 

Start Menus for Windows 8

To actively compete with the user-friendly Android and iOS mobile platforms, Microsoft recently revamped their Windows platform with the hopes of improving user experience.  One significant change is how users access the content of their device through a tiled grid instead of the much accustomed start menu. There are a variety of third party vendors that now provide a star menu add on for Windows 8.


Pokkii for Windows 8: This free download allows users to open programs, files, the control panel, and power options with one click of the Pokki start button. Users can search and organize their favorite apps and websites on the desktop like on a smartphone.


Start8: This $4.99 download is a recreation of a Windows 7-style start menu with Windows 8 enhancements. It includes the most popular desktop features, a configurable start menu, customizable appearances, hotkey controls, document and file location, search features, common shortcuts, program views, and easy accessibility to power options.


To view other Windows 8 Start menu programs check out PCWorld's article, The Best Windows 8 Start Menu Programs.


GameGoo & Zoodles  

gamegooGameGoo, developed by Earobics, is a collection of educational games based on education and literacy research. Earobics incorporates multisensory reading interventions that help raise academic achievement while keeping students engaged with their learning through rich stories and characters. These engaging learning games cover areas such as vocabulary, synonyms, antonyms, syllables, phonics, spelling and many more. Additionally these games help increase fine motor skills, physical development, concept development, and introduce keyboarding and early computer literacy. For even more educational games visit Zoodles. Zoodles is kid-friendly, web-based and app environment that showcases educational games and videos that are ad free, customizable, and child friendly.

The Common Core Conversation  

The Common Core Conversation is a webpage dedicated to providing information and resources relevant to implementation of the standards. The site includes a listing of all of the common core standards and a state-by-state interactive map of what is happening with common core standards across the United States. Resources include tools for accessing the technology standards, general resources for all subject areas including English and language arts, math, science, social studies, world languages, ESL and more.

appsThere is An App for That!
Story Patch
comes with over 800 illustrations and characters that are customizable. Photos can be imported from the iPad's photo library to use as backdrops in a story. After the story has been created, it can be shared as a PDF version with just a tap of a button. It also includes a set of story themes that younger children can use to create stories with help.
is a simple way to create talking photo albums and talking books. Each page in a Pictello Story can contain a picture, up to five lines of text, and recorded sound or text-to-speech using high-quality voices. Registered Pictello users can share stories  using iTunes File Sharing or via WiFi with other Pictello users.  

Shutterfly Photo Story for iPad allows users to make a photo book that can be held, heard and shared. Photos can be imported from anywhere, each page allows up to 30 seconds of audio, and text can be added. Digital versions can be shared through Facebook and email. Printed versions of the book can be ordered and will come with a QR code that once scanned will show the digital version including sound.


Book Creator for iPad allows users to create an entire ePub book from scratch and then publish it in iBooks, iTunes, Dropbox, AirPrint, or as a PDF. Users are able to quickly add pictures from the Photos app, or grab them from the web, then move, resize, and rotate them. Text editing and formatting as well as importing video, music, and recorded speech are included features.

Fotobabble lets users capture moments in real-time and share through email, Facebook or Twitter. Users simply snap or select a photo, speak into the microphone to record voice, enhance the photo with visual effects, and share. Sharing Talking Photos is faster than video, easier than typing, and more engaging and personalized than sending a picture alone.

partnersOur Partners
The TLC Team includes 5 Regional Technology Coordinators, 5 Regional Technology Specialists, and 5 Regional Local Assistive Technology Specialists (RLATS). Services include the alignment of accessible instructional materials, assistive technology, and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in a multi-tiered system of supports.

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.