September 2014 
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CAST Science Writer


Universal Design for Learning: Tricks of the Trade 




Technology and Graduation 




Printeer 3-D Printer 


Skype Video Chat 










Swiftkey: Customizable Keyboard App


Cognitive Prosthetics 


Online Stopwatch 


ProSlate AAC for iPad 




There is an App for That! (Android/Apple) 


Our Partners 






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Region 1

October 10

April 23-24


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October 3

April 30-May 1

Region 3

September 19

April 16-17

Region 4


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October 27-28

May 5-6


Statewide Trainings


Environmental Communication Teaching (ECT) 



February 5, 2015



April 16, 2015


Ft. Lauderdale

April 23, 2015



Orlando, FL 
September 21-24   
Minneapolis, MN 
October 13-17

Orlando, FL 
October 16-18   

CAST UDL Fall Institute
Wakefield, MA 
November 13-14 
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January 20-23

Orlando, FL 
January 27-31
San Diego, CA 
March 2-7  
San Diego, CA
April 8-11   

Philadelphia, PA 
June 28-July 1



Technology & Learning Connections Website  


Florida's MTSS Technical Assistance Contacts 




AT & UDL Loan Library 


Exploring Technology & Learning Connections 


National Center on Universal Design for Learning


Anger Thermometer
































My Bionic Brain


Online Stopwatch









TouchMath Adventures: Jungle Addition



Google Translate




Teleprompter Pro Lite




Super 7


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"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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sciencewriterCAST Science Writer

Screen shot with this article written. Science Writer is a web-based tool designed to address writing barriers that middle and high school students face in writing research papers and lab reports. Based on research to improve written language, Science Writer guides students through each step of the writing process including drafts, revisions, edits, and the scientific process. Students are provided an organizational structure that is broken down into manageable components and have scaffolds at each step of the writing process including sentence starters and content and grammar checks. Students are able to record notes, comments, questions, and data in the journal section. Science Writer also features a text-to-speech tool for students to check their writing by hearing it read back. During the writing process, they receive help from Max, Sam, and Eko in the form of examples, reasoning, and specific hints on progress. As these animated characters guide students through the checklists, students are able to demonstrate their knowledge of science through writing.
 For more information or to sign up for a free account visit

tricksUniversal Design for Learning: Tricks of the Trade 
Providing Multiple Means of Engagement: Self-Regulation - Students vary significantly in how they are motivated, challenged, excited or interested and human emotion plays a critical role. While some students are able to self-monitor their emotions and react carefully and accurately others may face challenges in classrooms that do not offer explicit instruction and modeling in coping skills. It is important to provide a variety of tools including devices, aides, or charts, that help students collect, view, and analyze their own behavior. The variety of scaffolds should take in to consideration students with different aptitudes and prior experience. Scaffolds should be designed in such a way that learners receive timely feedback and are able to understand their progress.

Some examples of mobile technology that support self-regulation include:

red angry face, yellow annoyed face, and green calm face

Anger Thermometer is a self-monitoring tool to help students monitor their emotions and feelings. Independently or after being prompted, users select from one of three color-coded emotions. Selecting angry (red) or annoyed (yellow) generates strategies to reach a state of calm. Selecting calm (green) generates reinforcing messages. As a teaching tool, instructors can use the app with students to illicit "what if" responses to various scenarios. Anger Thermometer is available for Apple devices.


image showing a map of human body with clickable links for more information on the brain, eyes, muscles, and more

Breathe2Relax is a stress management tool that provides detailed information on the effects of stress on the body. Users are taken through breathing exercises called diaphragmatic breathing and given instructions and activities for stress management. The activities are designed to decrease fight-or-flight responses while helping with mood stabilization, anger control, and anxiety management. Breathe2Relax is available for Apple and Android devices.




dashboard of app showing pie graph and menu items The Awareness app works by randomly intercepting a person's daily routine to guide him/her through a series of questions related to habitual thoughts and feelings. Users are able to determine which activities, environments, and situations generate specific feelings through daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly reports. With the data, they are also able to identify strategies they use to disengage from unpleasant feelings while being provided coping strategies and inspirational quotes. Awareness is available for Android devices. 


For more information on Providing Multiple Means of Engagement please visit the National Center on Universal Design for Learning.

ClassDojo is a web-based and mobile app designed for teachers, parents, and students to actively monitor and collaborate on student tasks, behaviors, and attendance.
screen shot of student avatars and behavioral points Classroom management accounts allow the teacher to create and edit students, assign class-wide and individual target behaviors, capture data, generate reports, and assign parent and student accounts. Reports are available by student, class, behavior, and attendance and can be printed or sent to parents electronically. Parents also have the option of accessing their child's progress data anytime through the parent portal. ClassDojo has a messaging feature that allows for  one-way messages to all parents or private two-way messages. Messages are sent through ClassDojo to prevent unwanted exchanges of private contact information and teachers can request 'read receipts'. Class and individual student accounts can be shared with other teachers enabling them to compare data across settings. Collaborating teachers are able to give points, view student reports, and use messaging with connected parents.
shaggy cartoon character

For students, it's a visually appealing and interactive program where they can check their daily progress and create the avatar they will be represented by. 

ClassDojo is available on the web and for Apple and Android devices. 

More information is available at
In the article Technology and Graduation Rate: A Direct Correlation, Matthew Lynch, Ed.D.,  discusses factors that have contributed to increasing graduation rates and the role that technology has played with those increases. Technology can afford a second chance for students who have failed traditional methods by means such as remote classes from home, remedial classes in computer labs, or by enrolling in full-time online schools, public or private. These types of formats favor students who have difficulty with a normal school schedule, particularly teenage parents, students with short-term or long-term illnesses, teens with substance abuse struggles, or those who have had poor academic performance due to learning disabilities or bullying. Technology also increases the engagement and flexibility of students' learning experiences. Using software, web applications, or mobile apps provides a variety of learning scaffolds that students are able to self-select based on their own preferences and limitations. Technology is also a means for a teacher to customize lessons for individual students. This increased engagement and flexibility keeps students in the classroom for longer periods of time. Dr. Lynch concludes by describing how technology is also impacting college campuses where its use is widespread and includes everything from class registration to taking online modules. 

For the complete article and related resources please go to 


Algodoo is a 2D-simulation program for exploring physics, building inventions, designing games, and experimenting. Creative features include simple drawing tools such as boxes, circles, and polygons and specialized drawing tools such as gears, brushes, planes, ropes, and chains. Users can add motion and effect with features such as fluids, springs, hinges, motors, thrusters, light rays, tracers, and optics and lenses. Gravity, friction, restitution, refraction, and attraction of objects can also be manipulated. Algodoo allows for analysis of creations with graphs of visual forces, velocities and momentum, and X/Y component and angle representations. screen shot showing car, gears, pulleys, and other random shapes and editing tools  


Users can join the Algobox community and post their creations or browse and download more than 50,000 unique and interactive creations.


Algodoo is available as a free download for Windows and Mac and as a paid app for Mac and iPad users.  


More information is available at  

the device with 4 printed figures including a green fish, orange swirling circle, green rocket, and orange chess piece Printeer is a soon to be released 3-D printer specifically designed for use with younger groups. Students will be able to see their own creations go from the drawing board to solid objects. The 3-D printer is designed to be accessible with an iPad, where students are able to design, view in 3-D, and print their projects. The Printeer app will not require advanced technical skills in CAD, but it is compatible with traditional CAD software. Objects are printed with a non-toxic PLA plastic filament. The printer is constructed with a clear case to prevent contact with heated and moving parts and allows students to view how motors, pulleys, and sliders work together to form a complex machine.


More information is available at


skypeSkype Video Chat
blue cloud with white lettering spelling skype Skype is an online communication and collaboration tool that includes text, voice, and video. Users can instant message, hold phone conferences, share files and photos or even conduct a group video call. Skype's group video calling is now included as a feature of the free download version and up to ten people can participate at one time. Skype is available on laptop, TV, Xbox One, tablets and smart phones.

For more information or to access the free download please visit



InterTwinkles is a series of tools that promote real-time collaboration and problem-solving for groups.  The tools are based on ongoing research and were created to help groups reach the type of deep understanding that fosters consensus decision-making.  


InterTwinkles' tools include:


Points of Unity is a collaborative voting tool to see what everyone agrees on and helps groups establish a set of shared values and principles. Points or ideas are added to the common board where they can be voted on. 


The FireStarter tool can be used for icebreakers, introductions, and as an opportunity for participants to get to know each other. After the facilitator has posted a comment or question users pin their answer to the FireStarter board. Other users can view and "Twinkle" the post.


TwinklePad is a shared document-editing tool powered by Etherpad. Etherpad is a customizable open source online editor that provides editing in real-time. Each user is identified by text highlighted in a different color so it is easy to see who has typed what.


DotStorm is a collaborative wall inspired by the use of sticky-note brainstorming. With DotStorm the user can draw, group, write, and attach pictures, tags, and even vote on notes. DotStorm synchronizes in real-time with all computers using it so notes can be shared instantly.


The Progressive Clock tracks the time of speakers based on demographic data. This could be used to identify structural inequalities that may take place within groups or meetings. The data collected can be used to reflect on the group's dynamics and as starting point for reflection and conversation.


Resolve is the final tool and is used to accept or reject proposals after the group has already discussed issues, researched opinions, and heard various points of view. Proposals can be edited, thoughts shared, and there is a visual vote tally to see what people think.

LiveBinders are virtual 3-ring binders useful for collaborating, organizing, and sharing. The tabbed binders support a variety of content including web links, documents, spreadsheets, and surveys. This also includes Google Forms, PowerPoint, SlideShare, and Prezi.

Some example uses of LiveBinders include:

screen shot showing colored tabs with too small to read letters

  • Posting mathematic assignments and exercises
  • Organizing social studies and science videos
  • Organizing notes from a variety of classes
  • Collaborating with other teachers
  • Student-created e-portfolios with sample work
  • Providing flipped learning material
  • Posting homework support
  • Providing parent information
  • Sharing photos
  • Resource for online professional development 

Users can keep their binders private and share them with select users or make them public. Public binders are categorized as business, educational, or personal and are searchable by topic. 


LiveBinders is a web application that is also accessible with Apple and Android apps. More information is available at 

Reddit is a social networking and news website composed of popular and trending Internet content. Readers vote on posts, submit commentaries, and post texts or links to articles and videos. Account holders can create Subreddits, which are custom-made sub-forums. Subreddit content is controlled by the creator who can limit who views it, determine who posts or votes, and limit the type and source of content.  


More information is available at 


front of hemingway book the old man and the sea showing a seaside village


FreeBookNotes is a study guide search engine for books, plays, and poems. The website hosts a vast collection of free book notes, study guides, book summaries, chapter summaries, and analyses. Full study guides and other support resources are available for popular titles such as To Kill a Mockingbird, The Grapes of Wrath, Animal Farm, 1984, Romeo and Juliet and many more.

More information is available at
The SwiftKey is an online keyboard app for mobile devices that features word prediction and the ability to customize keyboards. SwiftKey learns as the user types and over time produces more accurate and personalized word predictions. Keyboards can be split, resized, and undocked. Users can add and save various setups and themes to be used for specific circumstances. Swiftkey supports 65 languages and up to three at one time. It also includes a collection of 800 emoji characters and emoji prediction.
This app is available for Android devices and will be available with Apple iOS8. 

More information is available at 

cognitiveCognitive Prosthetics

PEAT, the Planning and Execution Assistant and Trainer, is an Android app designed to help users with initiating memory, attention, sequencing, distractibility, and perseveration. The system uses a variety of tools including notes and checklists, which are linkable to other information such as text, apps, pictures, and recordings. The program reminds users to start and stop tasks while monitoring their progress. 

More information is available at 



BioZen is an Android app that uses multiple body sensors to provide real-time biofeedback data from a variety of sources including EEG, EMG, GSR, ECG, respiratory, rate, and skin temperature. Sensors are also available that display a variety of brain wave bands including Delta, Theta, Alpha, Beta, and Gamma. Real-time data can be used to self-modify states of meditation and attention. 


More information is available at 


ipad with keyboard and a tabbed organization system shown on the screenMy Bionic Brain is a customized life manager and day planner integrated and delivered on an iPad. The program is designed to assist persons with organization and productivity by providing scaffolds for memory, organization, time management, and decision-making. The system can also be customized to meet the individualized needs of persons with mild, moderate, and severe brain injury.


More information is available at

different timers including an hour glass, runners, burning fuse, and candle
Online Stopwatch is a collection of visually appealing animated timers available online or as a free download for PC or Mac. The collection of stopwatches and timers includes countdown timers, split/lap timers, an egg timer, cash clocks, chess timers, a variety of EXPLOSIVE timers, and many more. Traditional and digital clocks and alarms are also available.

More information and download instructions are available at 
proslateProSlate AAC for iPad

image showing the front of the proslate with a green cover and the back of the proslate with a black cover and flexable handles and stands

The ProSlate10 and ProSlate 8 by Forbes Rehab Services, Inc. (FRS) are AAC devices that use an iPad or iPad Mini as its core platform. These devices include:

  • FRS FlexAble Handle & Stand - allows infinite angle adjustment and can be folded flat or extended by users with limited dexterity abilities.
  • FRS SoundPOD Wearable Voice Output Module - removable speaker that magnetically docks to the ProSlate or can be worn using a neck lanyard to project the device's output voice from the user's body.
  • Preloaded AAC apps - including Grid Player, PRC Lamp, Proloquo2Go, SonoFlex, TouchChat, and more
  • Keyguards - available packages include Multi-Chat 15, Word Power 42, Word Power 80, Word Power 20, and a custom 8 location keyguard.
More information can be found at Forbes Rehab Services, Inc.

Assistive technology industry association logo  

The ATIA 2015 Conference will be held on January 27 - January 31, 2015 at the Caribe Royale Hotel in Orlando, Florida, and is an excellent professional development opportunity.  


There are hundreds of educational sessions to choose from, including 15 one-day and two-day Pre-Conference Seminars and an extensive Exhibit Hall with 75+ booths showcasing the very latest in assistive technology.  Complimentary CEUs are included in the registration fees, with specialist ACVREP, AOTA, and ASHA CEUs also available.


The educational sessions are organized within the following strands; Accessibility, Assistive Technology for Improved Function, Augmentative and Alternative Communication, Core Standards, Education/Learning, Everyday Technology, International, Leadership, Research, Sensory Impairment, Workplace and Vocational Rehabilitation, and Educational Program Chair.


Florida's Multi-Tier System of Supports (MTSS) is an Alliance Partner with ATIA.  Districts and universities can use the MTSS Alliance Partner Code "APD5" when registering to receive a 5% discount off of the published conference registration.  


Pre-Conference Seminars with leading experts are available at the published fees: $275 for 1 day or $495 for 2-day seminars through 11/14/14 and $300 for 1 day and $530 for 2-day seminars after 11/14/14.


MTSS Parent Network

Parents receive a 50% discount on conference registration and a 50% discount on registration for pre-conference seminars. To register as a Parent with supporting documentation, go to: 


Free Exhibit Hall Pass

There is FREE access to the Exhibit Hall. To see the complete list of vendors please visit 


To register in advance and save waiting in line on-site, go to: .   


appsThere is an App for That! (Android/Apple)

Co:Writer is a word prediction writing tool that aids with phonetic and inventive spelling, grammar, and vocabulary. As letters are typed, Co:Writer predicts the intended word with a selection of word suggestions. These suggestions can be read aloud with a swipe. Documents can be saved or exported. This app is available for Apple devices

TouchMath Adventures: Jungle Addition is an interactive math app. Users take on the role of an explorer to unravel mysteries through a combination of computation and reward-based gameplay. Skills include touching/counting patterns, counting to 20, number sequencing to 20, beginning addition with objects, and TouchPoint sums up to 18. This app is available for Apple devices.

Google Translate translates over 80 languages and provides options for information input and display. Users can add words or phrases by speaking, typing, writing, or taking a picture. Translations are returned as printed text or read out loud with human voice. This app is available for Apple and Android devices. Camera input is only available for Android devices.

Teleprompter Pro Lite is a teleprompter system for tablets and smartphones. Users can create scripts in-app or import text files in the paid version that can be used to aid in presentations or public speaking. Playback features include adjustable fonts, colors, and text size. Users can also control the scrolling speed. This app is available for Apple and Android devices.

Super 7 is an engaging app that promotes skill development in mathematical concepts through game play. Users continuously try to create the answer 7 by combining a variety of numbered discs.  Each disc is either a positive or negative integer and they can be combined using addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. This app is available for Apple devices.

partnersOur Partners
The Technology & Learning Connections Team is a part of the Problem Solving/ Response to Intervention Project. Services include the alignment of accessible instructional materials, assistive technology, and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in a multi-tiered system of supports.  

FDLRS logo
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.

LATS logo
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 Florida 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.