AAC in the Cloud – Free Online Learning

aac in the cloud graphic including datesAAC in the Cloud is a new, fully-online, free AAC conference for the Augmentative and Alternative Communication community (how’s that for a mouthful). There are some great in-person conferences focused on AAC, and some more general Assistive Technology conferences that all help our community learn and grow, but there are so many people that don’t live near any of these venues, and we wanted them to have access to good AAC learning resources as well.

We all know learning to support communicators takes time, practice, and lots of reminding and rethinking and… relaxing? Probably. Anyway, we wanted to pull together the online AAC communities out there and give some hands-on, applied training and resources for everyone — experts, beginners, extended relatives, you name it!

AAC in the Cloud was held in June, 2017.  So, you think that you missed it? Think again!  Sessions were recorded and remain available online for you to view!  Just go to aacconference.com and take advantage of this powerful, free online learning!

Thanks to CoughDrop for hosting!  http://mycoughdrop.com



Take a Tech Break with Chrome Extensions

coffee cup with the word pause

We are all spending increasing amounts of time working on computers, tablets, or interacting with other technology, including phones.  It’s easy to lose track of screen time resulting in endless sitting and sedentary time!  We are all victims of the internet rabbit hole, the flood of email, website tangents and other tech-tasks that consume our minutes and hours.  This not only impacts adults, but can be troublesome for our students in our tech-embedded classrooms!  There are many apps for iPads, tablets and phones, as well as the Chrome Browser that can prompt breaks and movement.  Check out a few options for the Chrome Browser.  Simply add these extensions through the Chrome Webstore, customize the settings, and get your eyes off the screen!


Math Apps for the iPad or iPhone

idevbooks logoWith the overwhelming number of math apps available to support students, it can be daunting to find options that meet specific learning needs.  iDevBooks offers a suite of math apps that address a range of concepts including beginning operations of addition and subtraction, multiplication and division, through rounding, fractions, decimals and beginning algebra.

These apps are straight forward with video-like lessons, clarification of concepts, and practice.  Settings and features make these apps very user-friendly for students with varied abilities: wrong answers are never penalized, there are no counters, timers or any other distractions, and custom keys – to make inputting even 3 digit numbers a one-tap gesture – have replaced the traditional keyboard. There is a speed setting that can be used to make the animations and other transitions as fast or slow as the user wants.   Settings are always only one tap away and can be used to set the difficulty of the problems, colors of the interface, and other features.

Check out the iDevBooks website, find them in the iTunes app store or on their iDevBooks Facebook page, or check them out on Twitter @idevbooks

Switch Access for Older Students

Looking for switch accessible, or easy-to-access interactive sites for older learners with more complex needs?  Check out these:

SENICT Software’s – Choose from an array of games, activities focused on popular characters and stars, interactive classroom topics, and more.

Priory Woods – Switch Accessible Videos.  Check out the left column for more switch accessible activities.

Shiny Learning – Variety of single cause-and-effect games, with limited play for free, on ‘Flash Enabled’ browers (not Chrome).

Tarheel Reader Gameplay – videos and games can be advanced, or chosen, using a single switch.  Choose by skill, level or type of control.  You can even make your own!

Tarheel Reader Books– don’t forget about this switch accessible book site with audio support.  Lots of great nonfiction content.  You can now choose your computer’s built in audio voices when activating speech output.


EquatIO for Digital Math Output

EquatIO screenshot Digital supports for math have been difficult to find and slow to develop, especially those that support students’ ability to write math digitally.  Texthelp has introduced a Chrome extension that provides a tool for this.

EquatIO can be downloaded from the Chrome webstore.

All features are free for 30 days, with some premium features extended with purchase of a license.  Find licensing information at this link to pricing.
Features include:

  • Google Docs Integration
  • Speech Input
  • Handwriting recognition (2 per day with free version)
  • LaTex (math notation/forumlas)
  • Math to Speech (text to speech)
  • Resizing Images
  • Math and Chemistry “Prediction” (Premium feature)
  • Google Forms Integration (Premium feature)
I encourage you to try EquatIO if you have students who would benefit from writing math digitally, and/or is using Google Docs as a platform for work completion.  
Follow Texthelp on Twitter @texthelp


World Autism Awareness Day – App & Software Discounts

April 2, 2017 is International Autism Awareness day, so many apps will be discounted or free.  Many are listed below, however others will be available.  Check Smart Apps for Kids each day to find others.  If you have a favorite, be sure to check them out in the app store!

Proloquo2Go (April 2, 3, 4) – 50% discount, regularly $249.99
Gateway to Language – an in app purchase for P2G will also be 50%
Proloquo4Text (April 2, 3, 4) – 50% discount, regularly $119.99
Pictello (April 2, 3, 4) – 50% discount, regularly $19.99
Keeble (April 2, 3, 4) – 50% discount, regularly $24.99
Speak for Yourself! (March 31-April 4) – 50% discount, regularly $299.99
LAMP Words for Life (April 2, 3) – 50% discount, regularly $299.99
Avaz Pro (April 1-15) – 50% discount, regularly $119.99
Total Talk AAC (thru April) 50% discount thru April
AACORN AAC – regularly $119.99go to website, scroll to the bottom, to claim discount at
this link:  AACORN AAC Website
Coughdrop AAC – (March 31-April 7) – 50% off lifetime subscription, regularly $200 (sign
up at this link:  Coughdrop Subscription)
Alexicom Elements AAC apps (April 1-8) Move the decimal sale to get the discounted
Elements Child Pre – $19.99 to $1.99
Elements Child Home – $19.99 to $1.99
Elements Child School – $49.99 to $4.99
Elements Teen Home – $19.99 to $1.99
Elements Adult Home – $19.99 to $1.99
Elements StoryMaker – $9.99 to $.99
Elements Core 280 – $9.99 to $.99
Tobii Dynavox apps and software – (March 29-April 5) 50% discount
Compass – regularly $179.99
PODD (Based on Compass) – regularly $299.99
Compass with Gateway – regularly $299.99
Compass with Eye Tracking – regularly $499.99
Communicator 5 – regularly $699.99
Snap Scene – regularly $49.99
Boardmaker Online and Boardmaker disc software – 25% discount (use code BLUE25
at checkout)
Zones of Regulation – (April 3) – 50% discount, regularly $4.99
Zones of Regulation – Exploring Emotions (April 3) – 50% discount, regularly $4.99

New Periodic Table of iPad Apps

Thanks to Mark Anderson,@ICTEvangelist, for compiling and creating the new Periodic Table of iPad apps.  This compilation of apps is targeted at younger students, and focused on apps that provide opportunity to use creativity to express learning, to test learning, and to share and publish content.  iPads have so much more potential than just allowing users to consume information, and this list of apps offers 8 categories of options.  Find Mark’s post with the table at this link: Periodic Table of Apps.

Google Voice Typing Now in Google Slides

Google Slides Tools Menu

Many of us have been using Google Voice Typing with Google Docs.  It is now available in Google Slides also!  Find it in the same location: under the Tools tab.  It’s important to note that the Voice Typing will  only input text into the Speaker Notes section, however a simple “copy + paste” will allow the text to be transferred to the slide.  This can be a terrific solution for some students who struggle with writing, especially keyboarding and handwriting.

Find more information and “how to’s” at this link for Google Voice Typing Support.

Online Math Manipulatives

OnlineMathManipulativesHI-1024x568We generally understand that manipulatives are a CRITICAL part of our elementary and special education classrooms. They offer students a real, hands-on way to explore a mathematical concept and build their own meaning. Online manipulatives are internet-based math tools that allow for modeling that helps to move students from the concrete to the representational mode of thinking. These math tools are often free resources sponsored by textbook companies and other organizations to generate alternative ways to represent math content. There are SO many ways to use online math manipulatives.

Catherine Reed hosts The Brown Bag Teacher Blog and has published a nice list of online math manipulatives from websites to digital learning tools.  These online tools are very conducive for use in whole or small group instruction, student practice, and home use of digital tools to support learning.

Follow The Brown Bag Teacher on Twitter for more classroom ideas! @brownbagteacher

LAMP Words for Life Intro & Tutorials

LAMPMany speech pathologists and special education teachers are now using the LAMP Words for Life app as an AAC solution for students who are nonverbal.  And, an increasing number of students are coming to school with devices, such as an iPad with the LAMP Words for Life app or a dedicated PRC Alternative Communication device.

If you are looking for a live, face-to-face workshop, The Center for AAC and Autism offers trainings throughout the country.

However, if you don’t have access to a live training in your area, or just need to gain an immediate understanding of the LAMP or LAMP Words for Life language systems, then the links below may help you understand the system and some basics for supporting your students.  These can also be helpful to share with a student’s teacher, paraprofessional, or parent:


A very helpful set of short video tutorials can be found here (video #11 is an hour long Introduction to Lamp Words for Life): Link here to LAMP Tutorial Videos