Monday, September 9, 2013

Annual Transition Checklist

Lately I have been receiving more and more information through video and I find that I comprehend better.  Therefore I have created a video blog on the use of an Annual Transition Checklist Form

Annual Transition Checlist Responses - Please make a copy.

Check out the website.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Employability Assessments: Summative and Formative

Career Connections, a four plus program focused on supportive employment developed a skills assessment which I have converted to both a summative and formative assessment.  I have created a video on how to use the assessments.  I plan to do more videos rather than blogging as I prefer to learn from videos such as the videos from Google Gooru where I have learned such cool functions as Query which solves the problem of inserted rows on insert.  Please view the video and visit my site as I update the current assessments with the Query function.

Career Connections: Assessment Rubric for Employability Skills

Formative Career Connections: Assessment Rubric for Employability Skill

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Assistive Technology Consideration Checklist

I recently attended AT summer workshop at the University of Iowa presented by ICATER. The workshop began with a dyslexia simulation that lasted about 45 minutes. Within the first 10 minutes I wanted to quit. I wanted to leave right away. The simulation increased my empathy and returned me to a question I often ponder. When do students give up?  The simulation placed me in an environment in which I could not demonstrate my ability. I knew the environment was temporary, afterwards there would be lunch and we would check out some cool AT stuff. Remediation versus compensation. I often repeat the saying, “A learning disability is a weakness in a sea of strength”. Students need to access their strengths while their weaknesses are addressed or they will disengage.  As a high school special education teacher often I find accessible technology is not used due to lack of motivation. Students have disengaged. They no longer believe in their sea of strengths. Remediation and Compensation must be employed simultaneously.  If not, students will give up hope.  Would you be more motivated to actively participate in a reading program if you knew you were capable of comprehending the same material when presented in an audio format? What happens to a student’s motivation to learn when material is presented only in their area of weakness? Assistive technology must be considered annually.  The growth of technology is exponential. I can remember playing Pong and the excitement of having more than three television stations.  Now I am using dictation which is part of the accessibility package on my MacBook operating system to compose this message. New technology is coming out daily. We need to rethink how we define comprehension or composition. Does it matter if one can read the text or demonstrate knowledge through typing keys on a computer? What if we put as much time as teachers into finding the ways students can learn and demonstrate their knowledge as we do trying to remediate their learning disabilities?  The same technology that many of us use as convenience can remove barriers for others. We must consider the use of technology at every annual IEP.  Using a document such as the Assistive Technology Consideration Checklist engages the IEP team in the process of looking at assistive technology.  The process can be just as important if not more important than the data it produces.  The checklist takes less than five minutes to complete. Please make a copy and use it for all IEPS.  For more assistive technology assessment, please visit my website.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Facilitate Parental Involvement: Ask Questions

Recently I read Daniel Pink's new book, To Sell is Human. Pink writes extensively about how individuals in the Education and Medical professions sell everyday by motivating people to take action that benefits them or others. He argues that asking questions is a the most efficient method to achieve a purchase than presenting the benefits. As I read the book I continued to reflect how transition assessment is much more than the data put on the Individual Education Plan. The process can facilitate parental involvement when initiated by the teacher. But can parent involvement be initiated by the parent? What if parents completed assessments and shared them with teachers and other service providers? Daniel Pink discusses that in todays world the seller does not have an advantage over the buyer when purchasing a product due to the availability of information. For example, when one purchases a car they can search the prices and consumer reports and have as much information as the car dealer. But does this equality of information exists in the area of special education? One could argue that many times the parent has more information than the service provider. Another argument could be advanced that neither service provider or parent has all the information needed. Parent Based Transition Assessments is a list of 42 assessments that allow the information from the assessments to be sent to multiple emails.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Sharing Picture Vocabulary created with Read&Write Chrome Extension

I have not received any compensation from textHELP, the creators of Read and Write Chrome Extension but I am grateful that they are currently offering this extension for FREE! I am sure I will find many uses for this extension but the one I am currently most excited about is picture vocabulary.  Given it is an extension it can be added to the personal accounts of students and with minimal training given to students and parents used over the summer vacation to increase and maintain vocabulary.  As I was creating a document for a student I realized that the document I created could be used by many more students if I shared my work.  Others can copy and make edits as needed.  No added work for me in sharing and if others shared their picture vocabulary lass work for me.  This led me to publish the Picture Vocabulary document 
to allow for the sharing of picture vocabulary created with Read and Write Chrome Extension. This is a great tool that works with google docs.  If you do not have it, get it now.  If you need help creating your own watch the following video:

Creating Picture Vocabulary with Read and Write Chrome Extension

After you have created a picture vocabulary list share with me at and I will add it to the list and please visit my Assistive Technology page.

Friday, April 19, 2013

New Assistive Technology Page on my website

Last December I was approached by Julie Freed, an Assistive Technology Consultant, to find a way to increase the use of Assistive Technology by empowering the special education teacher.  She was probably just trying to get me to stop pestering her about the use of google forms but I was persistent and or collaboration led me to the world of the QIAT list serve and another world of acronyms.  When I discovered WATI's ASNAT (Wisconsin Assistive Technology Institutes Initiative's Assessing Student Needs for Assistive Technology) I knew that I had found the tools to increase the use of technology and began an enlightening correspondence with Jill Gierach, Former director of the currently unfunded WATI.  All of which led to the production of an online version of the ASNAT and a presentation on April 16, 2013 at the Building Bridges Conference in Iowa City.  Please visit my new page.