October 2015 
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Technology & Learning Connections Regional Meetings

Region 1
May 5-6, 2016

Region 2
April 27-28, 2016

Region 3
April 7-8, 2016

Region 4
April 20-21, 2016

Region 5
April 7-8, 2016

Reaching All Learners

Dec 2, 2015

Dec 9, 2015

Safety Harbor
Dec 16, 2015

Jan 20, 2016
Technology Advisory Committee Meetings

Nov 9-10, 2015

March 7-8, 2016

May 24, 2016

AT in the Classroom Train the Trainer

Nov 5-6, 2015

Environmental Communication Training (ECT)

One-Day Overview
April 7, 2016

April 21, 2016

Team Training & Facilitator Days
Oct 20, 2015
Dec 3-4, 2015
March 3-4, 2016
April 14-15, 2016
Ft. Lauderdale
Oct 27, 2015
Dec 10-11, 2015
Feb 18-19, 2016
May 2-3, 2016

Nov 5, 2015
Dec 14-15, 2015
Feb 25-26, 2016
April 25-26, 2016

Nov 9-10, 2015

Jan 13-15, 2016

Feb 2-6, 2016

June 10-12, 2015


For more information on regional meetings and training events, please contact your regional technology coordinator.

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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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banner reading technology and learning connections. Increasing student achievement through the systematic alignment of technology_ policies_ and curriculum in a multi-tiered system of supports
Hi Folks,
Please help us welcome three new technology specialists to our team, Linnzi Marks, Jay Drake, and Carlos Arredondo. Along with Sam Jeanty they provide many of the behind the scenes services that make everything possible. 

This edition of the newsletter features some great reading, writing, math, and science resources for the UDL classroom. Be sure to check out the free Microsoft Office WordTalk text-to-speech extension and the articles on science engagement, including an iOS Mobile Microscope and Tactile Learning Objects.

Interested in training activities and conferences across the state? Check out the 2015-2016 calendar in the left column or the article on this year's ATIA conference. Please contact us If you would like more information on these or other events in your region or across the state.

Thank you,
The Technology & Learning Connections Team
blindfoldBlindfold Racer
icon showing a blindfolded boy wearing a hat and redshirt holding a steering wheel. Blindfold Racer is a voice-over compatible app designed for blind and visually impaired people of all ages. This game was created by the app club at the Cushman School in Miami, Florida as part of its Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) program. With over 50 levels, players must use their ears to navigate the roadways while avoiding animals, collecting prizes, and solving audio puzzles. Not only is the game fun, but it is helpful for auditory perception training for newly blind people and teaching young blind children how to navigate their environment. Additionally, therapists can use the game for solving auditory issues and improving mental focus for sighted children. Sighted users may elect to use a blindfold or the voice-over curtain.
Expressive skills can be a barrier to a student's academic achievement and individual strengths and weaknesses vary considerably between students. While one student may excel in composition, another may write poorly, but demonstrate above average verbal story telling abilities. Others may have physical impairments, language barriers, or even organizational skill deficits that prevent them from having strong expressive skills. Reading ability also has strong implications when considering expressive skills such as writing. Providing flexibility for students such as options for physical action, options for expressive skills and fluency, and options for executive functions can help to eliminate barriers and increase student achievement.  
image of a toolbar showing a thought bubble_ the letters P_ S_ and W_ a thought bubble with a line through it_ a wrench_ sound icon_ save disk image_ a box with abc_ and the word help
WordTalk is a free text-to-speech plugin developed for use with all versions of Microsoft Word from Word 97 up to Word 2013 (except Word for Mac). Once installed, the plugin becomes a visible toolbar that provides a variety of supports including:
  • Speaks the text of the Word document (word, sentence, or paragraph).
  • Adjustable voice and speed of text.
  • Highlighted spoken text.
  • Adjustable highlight colors.
  • Talking dictionary to help decide which word spelling is most appropriate.
  • Converted text to speech can be saved as a .wav or .mp3 audio file to listen to later.
More information and installation instructions are available at http://www.wordtalk.org.uk/Home/
readwriteRead&Write Mobile
icon_ purple puzzle piece with the letters r w The Read&Write mobile app by Texthelp is a literacy support toolbar that supports struggling students in reading and writing. The keyboard's word prediction choices and dictionary include a "speak as I type" function to assist with quick and accurate typing. Users can touch a word, sentence, or whole passage and hear it read aloud while editing content. Other features include on-screen highlighting, spell checker, and a picture dictionary. This app is available for Apple and Android mobile devices. Also be sure to check out the Texthelp toolmatcher. This helpful resource is used to match learner characteristics with specific tools within Read&Write.
Acquiring and utilizing math vocabulary is an essential skill for students. Having a robust math vocabulary allows students to think about, talk about, and interact with their math environment as they explore concrete examples and assimilate new knowledge. Effective mathematics programs should build vocabulary development into lessons and assessments and some strategies may include:
  • Preteaching mathematics vocabulary.
  • Modeling vocabulary when teaching new concepts.
  • Using appropriate labels clearly and consistently.
  • Integrating vocabulary knowledge in assessments.
  • Using graphic rich and interactive games that reinforce or teach vocabulary (see the examples below).
screen shot showing a penguin in a wig on a game show pointing to a board with words
black space background with stars and several planets
screen shot shows words deciphered _having the_ and then more tiles with symbols that need to be deciphered
An educational game for younger students, they are given a synonym, antonym, or definition and asked to identify the correct word.
Students estimate gravitational forces and trajectories to send the moon on a path to spell out vocabulary words.
In this more complex vocabulary game, students must decipher the definition of a word displayed as code symbols. Hints available.

fractionmodelFraction Models
several rectangles divided into sections representing fractions and a slider to choose the denominator and numerator

Fraction Models is an online tool presented by The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) and provides opportunities for students to explore different representations of fractions including improper fractions, mixed numbers, decimals, and percentages side-by-side. Users adjust the value of the numerator or denominator by moving the sliders or using the + or - symbols. Alternatively, values can be changed by clicking directly on the graphical representations, which can be viewed as different sets of objects.

switchmathSwitch Access Math
ocean scene with swimming turtles. Top of image shows score of 15 points and a math problem_ 5_2 _  _. Bottom of image has the numbers 7 7 6 and 7 from left to right
OctoMath by Zyrobotics is a bundle of two math apps for Apple iOS that includes switch access features. OctoMinus and OctoPlus provide a colorful and interactive backdrop for students to practice simple addition and subtraction skills. A customizable learning experience can be created by setting the difficulty level, selecting drill or challenge activities, and turning off game sounds that may be distracting to some students. Instructions and math problems are narrated and can be played in either English or Spanish. Students can interact with the game by using the device's touch screen interface or pairing the app with an external switch. Drill and challenge activity results are saved in the app and can be used by the parent or teacher for progress monitoring.
tactileTactile Learning Objects
Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) curricula often rely on the use of imagery for conveying information. Images from topographical maps, microscopes, telescopes, and satellites help convey the relationships between concepts and objects and are effective companions for printed text. To ensure students with vision impairments the same access and benefit, some schools are leveraging the power of 3D printing to create tactile learning objects. Tactile learning objects are physical representations of a particular image or concept printed with a 3D printer using special plastics. Objects can include simple raised relief and braille to complex printed items that include a variety of colors and shapes that are more engaging for sighted learners.
left size is thin white plastic showing raised relief of a plant cell with braille descriptions. Right image shows a multicolored 3D plant cell.

The conversion of images to a printable 3D file can require a level of expertise and specialized software. However, as 3D printing becomes more mainstream, so have a variety of online communities that provide file sharing. MakerBot Thingiverse is one example that hosts thousands of searchable, ready to print 3D files.
microscopeiOS Microscope
handheld microscope pointing down at an ant next to 3 display screens showing the same image of an ant
The ProScope Mobile Microscope is wireless microscope designed for iOS mobile classrooms and schools and is compatible with iPad, iPhone, and iPod. The device can be configured on a secure static IP WiFi that will allow over 250 Apple iOS devices to simultaneously view live images. These images can only be viewed through the companion app AirMicroPad and each individual student is able to adjust the desired resolution of his or her own device. Students can also capture screen stills into the device's photo library.
anatomy3D Human Anatomy
Zygote 3D Anatomy Atlas & Dissection Lab is an interactive app designed for intricate studies of the human body. All body systems are accurately replicated and can be viewed in any combination in 3D or the user can focus on specific organs, regions, or tissues for closer examination. Navigation features include rotate, zoom, move, and removing single or multiple objects from the view.  With specially designed tools, "tissue samples" can be cut from selected areas and studied independently. These samples can be rotated and viewed from multiple angles. User created anatomical views can be saved for continuing studies. This app is available for Apple devices. 
3 images from left to right. a male torso_ nongendered torso with circulatory system highlighted_ and on right an aortic semilunar valve
childlocateChild Locator
black base unit with device showing a digital readout and a watch on the same base unit
Freedom4Kids is an alert monitor and location unit designed for kids. The device consists of a watch with a specially designed locking strap and mobile RF receiver. The RF receiver acts as a mobile safe zone that is customizable with ranges up to 30m indoors and 200m outdoors. If a child wanders out of the safe zone both audible and visual alerts are activated, the watch automatically connects to the mobile network, and then the watch sends out its location by email and SMS. The watch can also be programmed to connect to a call center and its location can be viewed on Google Maps through a secure customer portal. The watch is also equipped with a panic button that can be activated by the child.   
Assistive technology industry association logo 
The ATIA 2016 Conference will be held February 3 - February 6, 2016 at the Caribe Royale Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. This conference is an excellent professional development opportunity with hundreds of educational sessions to choose from, including over 20 pre-conference seminars. Session strands include Accessibility, Assistive Technology for Improved Function, AT and College and Career Readiness Standards, Augmentative and Alternative Communication, Education/Learning, Everyday Technology, International, Leadership, Research, Sensory Impairment, and Workplace and Vocational Rehabilitation. Complimentary CEUs are included in the registration fees and are available for ACVREP, AOTA, and ASHA.
Florida's Multi-Tier System of Supports (MTSS) is an Alliance Partner with ATIA.  Districts and universities can use the MTSS Alliance Partner Code "APD6" when registering to receive a 5% discount off of the published conference registration. 

Parents of a child with a disability receive a 50% discount on conference registration and a 50% discount on registration for pre-conference seminars with supporting documentation.  More information can be found on the fee schedule or registration links listed below.
Free Exhibit Hall Pass
There is FREE access to the exhibit hall, which includes 75+ booths showcasing the very latest in assistive technology. Search vendors

The ATIA fee schedule lists available registration types and discounts.

appsThere is an App for That!
apple app logo
With millions of apps available today how can you swiftly and efficiently review and select learning apps for your classroom? The following apps and handout provide directories and/or search engines that help you narrow down your search and save you time and money.
3 by 3 grid of small circles connected by lines with APPCrawlr below
AppCrawlr is a search engine for Android, Apple and Windows mobile devices. Apps are sortable by price, category, topic, skill, audience, feature, and more. An education category features topics that include study tools, vocabulary, problem solving, language learning, social skills, time and task management, and physical fitness. 
multicolored ribbon extending from lower left to upper right
Autism Apps for Apple mobile devices is a directory of apps commonly used with students with disabilities. App descriptions include reviews by parents, specialists, and first-hand experienced users. Over 30 searchable categories include subject area, social skills, communication, visual schedules as well as ABA, assessment, data collection, and IEP. 
white fan like shapes on a blue background
Apps for Special Education is a listing by the Spectronics Inclusive Learning Technologies consult team. Categories include reading & writing, mathematics, early learning, cause & effect, visual supports, social stories, life skills, positive behavior support, and classroom organization. Each app includes a description with implementation ideas, price, device compatibility, reporting and feedback data, and comments.
blue clipart person standing next to a large clipart mobile device
Increasing Engagement with Mobile Technology Mobile devices, such as the iPhone and iPad, offer tremendous supports in the areas of academic, psychological, and social engagement. This flyer includes examples of apps that can be used to ensure that students with disabilities are fully engaged and included in the move to a digital and mobile technology based curriculum.

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 Child Find, 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.