Monday, September 28, 2015

 Chrome Book Apps & Accessibility: Transition Supports

Chrome books can be a great portable way to access shared documents, folders and share authors for interactive applications. A chrome book can read text, use voice typing and assist visually impaired to access documents and the web. There are even custom apps to download free from Google Play or Chrome Store.
Some applications that might be helpful:
  • sharing a folder and a teacher/job coach/developer can place directions, tutorials and current information in the folder for daily updated access.
  • Using a Google hangout to communicate during the day
  • Using text to speech to hear text read back
  • Using Voice typing to write/send questions or work summaries
  • Use Google Docs templates to work on a resume, do a job exploration topic, build a journal
  • Use search/reference tools in Google Docs to spell, find related words, quotes, look up & insert pictures, maps, etc.
  • Access online curriculum and have it read using speak text.
  • Open templates created by a teacher to fill in a worksheet, time sheet or skill set checklist.
Getting Started:
1. You need a Google account. Go here if you don't have one. 
2. Log in with your information (Gmail address and password) on a Chromebook

Beginnings: (Here is a link to this as a Google Doc if you want to type notes- download and use as template)
1. Know what tool is needed using SETT- Student, Environment, Task, Tools.
2. What makes Chrome different?
4. Apps and Extensions - Google Play Store - What is the difference between an app and an extension?
5. What is a Chrome App Launcher?
6. Where do you find apps and extensions? How do you download and add?
7. Where do I go to manage Extensions?
8. What are the native accessibility apps/tools/settings? Chrome Speak, Voice Typing, Screen magnifier, On-screen Keyboard, High Contrast, ChromeVox - Screen reader for visually impaired.
9. Favorite apps - listed below

Here is a tutorial to help you learn about basics of using a Chrome book.

Self study modules from Google are designed for teachers. Here is list of the topics in the beginning training/study.
Here is the first unit tutorial  with self-directed modules on the Apps for learning: Docs, Forms, Slides, Search; Digital Citizenship; Beyond textbooks; Unit 2 explores Google Plus,  Groups, and Search to learn in a network.

 Apps List:
Timer (set browsing time)
Announcify (read text on any webpage)
Read & Write for Google Chrome (Limited access after 30 day free trial. Teachers get full version free)
Skim it (summarizes web site text/articles)
Spreed (breaks up web text into smaller sets of words - can use to speed read or break it down)

Here is a link to a shared transition template folder.
It has a Docs template and a Sheets template for a job topic research project. Use these to practice using a Chromebook and learn the features in Docs and Sheets. The beginning overview outline is also in this folder)

Ablenet University Recorded Webinars has a 60 minute webinar on Chrome as AT by Mike Marotta- excellent-highly recommended (scroll to bottom - you have to set up a free account to view)
Mike Morotta has a web page of Chromebook resources.

Open Project Access Curriculum: You can highlight text in a worksheet and hear it read back to you.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Apps for Senory Processing Disorder, Autism and Regulation; Video Task Cueing with QR Codes and iBeacons

I have been sharing some AT apps and ideas I picked up lately and have had some DD and VR folks with DHS contact me in our region about these tools and there is quite the interest. I thought it might be good to go ahead and share them with everyone.

Sensory Processing and Regulation
I attended a workshop at Multnomah ESD on AT and Behavior Supports earlier this month. The speakers were from Seattle area and are using AT in transition plans for work with individuals that have severe behavior issues. I was introduced to a set of apps by Brian Eno a musician who has merged art and music together in an interactive ambient setting. The apps Bloom $3.99, Air $1.99 and Trope $3.99 work for iPhone and iPad and the Scapes app $11.99 is for iPad only. Scapes looks more like a construction and creative workstation with more working parts. They are being used for self-regulation and calming. Here is the link to the site, Generative Music, that explains the apps:


Video Task Cueing and QR code readers:
The workshop I attended also described the use of Task Cueing using handheld devices. Marsha Threlkeld was one of the presenters and is working with our Oregon Seamless Transition Teams as a subject expert from Washington State. She has expressed interest in coming down to Pendleton area (she has a home in Yakima) and doing some transition/AT related support if we are interested. Here is a link to one of her Power Points on implementing handheld devices and list of recommended apps.

Some task cueing for individuals that cannot initiate the scanning of QR codes or engaging a device were using Showme QR and the use of iBeacons. If anyone is more interested in learning about these tools let me know. iBeacons trigger the device automatically when in close proximity to play a video, open an app, etc. Workstations can be set up or reminders to the client/student and can be changed remotely when needed.

QR codes can be created to open content when scanned by a iPad, iPhone or handeheld device. Showmeqr interfaces to work with iBeacons and update content that is sent from the proximity beacon.

Showmeqr app $2.99 
Here is a tutorial on iBeacons and how they work and are used.
Purchasing iBeacons: Gimbal Proximity beacons - $5 each
Also see listings for beacons below: