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Archive for the ‘Assistive Technology’ Category

Dr. Lisa Dieker Presents Co-Teaching in Secondary Schools, Full Day PD Workshop


Dr. Lisa Dieker

Teachers in New York City and surrounding areas can now register at the early bird rate for the upcoming professional development workshop Co-Teaching in Secondary Schools, being offered on Wednesday, March 9 in the Bronx and Thursday, March 10 in Queens. In this full day workshop (9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.) presenter Lisa Dieker will provide both general and special education teachers concrete and practical approaches for helping diverse learners in middle and high school meet high standards through collaborative teaching, universal design for learning, interdisciplinary collaboration, and the use of technology.

Participants will learn

  • Proven techniques for establishing successful co-teaching partnerships between general and special educators
  • Effective strategies for supporting students with disabilities in general education classrooms
  • How to utilize practical tools to facilitate universal design for learning (UDL) and student assessment
  • Ways in which technology can help students with special needs access the curriculum and achieve their full potential
  • How to help students learn to advocate for their technological and learning needs

Dr. Lisa Dieker is one of the nation’s most respected authorities on co-teaching and inclusion. She is an in-demand speaker, having provided over 200 workshops and 50 keynote addresses throughout the course of her career. A Pegasus Professor and Lockheed Martin Eminent Scholar Chair at the University of Central Florida in the College of Education and Human Performance, Dr. Dieker coordinates the doctoral program in special education and is Director of the Lockheed Martin Mathematics and Science Academy. She leads numerous research projects focused on systemic change of school districts across the country related to inclusive practices, co-teaching and STEM education. Dieker has received over $15 million in grant funding in and has published 6 books and 2 DVDs on her work in teacher education, along with over 50 chapters and journal articles. She currently serves on numerous editorial review boards and was the associate editor for Teaching Exceptional Children and co-editor of the Journal of International Special Needs Education. She has been awarded the Council for Exceptional Education Teacher Education Division National Service Award and Outstanding Journal Publication Award for 2015; the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) Children Advocacy Network Advocate of the Year Award; the UCF Graduate Student Mentor of the Year Award; and University of Illinois and Eastern Illinois University Outstanding Alumni of the Year Awards.

The workshop is jointly presented by The Council for Educational Innovation (CEI) and Comprehensive School Solution (CSS), a division of National Professional Resources, Inc. The early bird registration rate (through February 8) is $189 per person. For additional information and to register, please view the event website.


Assistive Technology Laminated Guide, Revised & Updated, Available Now

A newly revised version of the top-selling laminated guide, Assistive Technology: What Every Educator Needs to Know, is now available for immediate purchase.

Written by Brian Friedlander, this 6-page laminated reference guide answers both the “what” and “how” of assistive technology. It reviews the built-in accessibility features of Windows and OS X (Mac) operating systems, as well as the iOS (iPad), Android, and Chrome (Chromebooks) operating systems. It also recommends and describes specific software/apps for desktop and mobile devices that are designed to help build key skills in the areas of reading, writing, organization, and math.

Assistive-Tech-ATWE-2015-coverFind recommendations for the best

  •  Text Scanners
  • Audio/Digital Books/libraries
  • Screen Readers
  • Time/Task Management apps
  • Graphic Organizers
  • Note-Taking apps and devices
  • Speech Recognition programs
  • Word Prediction software
  • Virtual Manipulatives
  • …and more!

Purchase your copy now for $12.95 each. Bulk discounts for orders of 11 or more copies. Visit the the product page on for more details and to order now.

Making the Most of Chromebooks in the Classroom

brian-friedlander-authorBlog post by Brian Friedlander

Chromebooks by Google may look like ordinary laptop computers, but appearance is where the similarities end. In fact, Chromebooks are extraordinary and totally unique devices that start up in seconds, come with leading Google products like Search, Gmail and Docs preinstalled, offer thousands of apps and extensions, allow for effortless collaboration, and back up your work in the cloud. All that, and they are affordable, too. It is no surprise then that more and more school districts are investing in Chromebooks. These schools need to plan for training teachers and professional staff on how best to utilize this new tool for classroom instruction. Teachers will need to incorporate a new set of skills and understand how extensions and apps can be installed to round out the experience for the student. With Chromebooks, teachers will have to make the switch from the word processors they are used to Google Docs. Rather than saving files on a hard drive they will need to store them in the cloud, in Google Drive, which makes them accessible any time from any device connected to the web.  Sharing files is as easy as accessing them. Working in Drive and Docs creates a collaborative work space ideal for group projects .

Chromebooks in the Classroom laminated guideWhat happens, though if you are working with students with special needs and all your go-to apps are for the Windows and Macintosh operating system? This can pose a real issue with regards to a student’s I.E.P.  How are you going to put together a solution to match the student’s needs when working in this new environment? While working with Chromebooks can be liberating, until you know how to master this new tool, it can be a frustrating experience. This is why Mike Marotta and I developed this quick reference guideChromebooks in the Classroom: Changing the Landscape of Education. In six concise pages we explain how to best utilize Chromebooks in your classroom. It includes a list and description of apps and extensions to maximize your productivity and your students’ productivity and learning. In the guide we explain how to make the most out of your investment and how the Chromebook can be used across the curriculum in subjects to support reading, note taking, STEM, and executive functioning. We explain how you can extend your Chromebooks by connecting document cameras and scientific probes from some of the leading educational technology companies. So whether you are not the getting the most out of your Chromebook, or just need a resource to guide and supplement training, pick up a copy of Chromebooks in the Classroom: Changing the Landscape of Education from National Professional Resources. Order online by visiting the Chromebooks in the Classroom product page, or call 1-800-453-7461.

“Chromebooks in the Classroom” Authors at Assistive Technology Conference

In the new 6-page laminated reference guide, Chromebooks in the Classroom: Changing the Landscape of Education, authors Brian S. Friedlander & Mike Marotta introduce teachers to Chromebooks by Google and review how they can be used in the classroom to provide universal supports across the curriculum to all learners, eliminating the need for specialized assistive technology devices for students with special needs.


Brian S. Friedlander & Mike Marotta, authors of Chromebooks in the Classroom

The authors, pictured here with an early draft of the guide, presented last week at the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) annual conference in Orlando, FL.

The guide is available for pre-order by calling (800) 453-7461. It will be be by February 1 available for immediate shipment and online ordering at

New Guide, Technology for Transition and Postsecondary Success: Supporting Executive Function, Now Available!

Learn how readily available technology tools can be used to help students who struggle with executive function successfully transition from high school to college or the workplace!

Authors Gillian Hayes and Stephen Hosaflook have developed this quick-reference guide to help guidance counselors, transition teams, job TTEFcounselors and other professionals identify free and low-cost applications and software that support executive function skills, such as time and task management, organization, and self-regulation. These skills are crucial for carrying out daily routines and accomplish school and work-related goals.

Technology for Transition and Postsecondary Success: Supporting Executive Function provides easy to follow instructions for how to use

  • Digital calendars
  • Task lists/To-Do list apps
  • Productivity software
  • Meditation and mindfulness applications
  • Self-monitoring applications

The authors also provide useful tips on mobile device etiquette, composing professional emails, and staying safe online.

Read more about the guide and purchase at

About the authors:

HayesheadshotGillian R. Hayes, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences, in the School of Education, and in the School of Medicine at The University of California, Irvine. She is the Robert A. and Barbara L. Kleist Chair in Informatics as well as the Director of Technology Research at the Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders. For the last decade, she has dedicated much of her research to the design, development, and evaluation of technologies in support of children with special needs and their families and teachers. She is the Chief Technology Officer at Tiwahe Technology.


IMG_4067Stephen W. Hosaflook, MS is the CEO of Tiwahe Technology, a consulting and design firm specializing in technologies for children and families coping with neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism and ADHD. He is a Certified Assistive Technology Specialist and has been working with children with autism for over a decade. Together with co-author Gillian R. Hayes he offers school districts and organizations customized workshops on using technology to promote executive function and facilitate postsecondary transition.

Using iPads in the Classroom with General and Special Education Students

From small rural schools to large urban ones, from preschool to high school, and from special education to general education classrooms, iPads are becoming a staple of many classrooms.  Studies have shown that iPads facilitate student engagement and help students improve skills.  A large, recently published study found a long list of benefits to students, including increasing motivation, fostering student learning and performance, nurturing creativity, facilitating student assessment, assisting with organization, improving pedagogical support, among others. In the blogosphere and on social media, educators enthusiastically share experiences and tips for making use of the iPad in the classroom.

Autism-iPad-layout-AAIPThe iPad is an especially hot topic in the realm of special education, with countless potential benefits for students with disabilities.  For the better part of three decades, computers have been used as powerful assistive technology tools. The highly portable, customizable touch-screen iPad has taken assistive technology to a whole new level. Thousands of specially designed iPad apps can help students with special needs in myriad ways, from increasing access to the curriculum to enhancing communication skills to improving behavior. But with all of the iPad’s features and options, educators need practical advice on how to get started with the iPad and how to use it to address particular student needs.

brian-friedlander-authorDr. Brian Friedlander, a school psychologist, professor of special education, and assistive technology blogger, has designed two quick-reference laminated guides to help teachers start using the iPad with special needs students quickly and easily: iPad: Enhancing Learning & Communication for Students with Special Needs, and Autism and the iPad: Strengthening Communication and Behavior.

Friedlander is also the author of the laminated guides Assistive Technology: What Every Educator Needs to Know, and Instructional Technology for 21st Century Skills.