CoWriter Universal: Word Prediction Software

CoWriter Word Prediction software had become a universal product that is compatible with devices like the iPad and Chromebook!

Don Johnston’s CoWriter has universal presence among all devices, from computer based to mobile devices.

Check out The Assistive Technology Daily’s post about the new Cowriter Universal product or Don Johnston website.

How exciting!

As Scooped from : AT Daily.org http://attraining.org/atdaily/2014/09/18/word-prediction-software/

Carol

See on Scoop.itOT mTool Kit

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More Styluses for Big and Little Hands

STyluses for big and little hands pic

Styluses for Big and Little Hands

As an OT, I like tool options.  Like different qualities of pencils and pens, styluses provide some of those same types of choices on the iPad. We all have our favorites tools, but it is nice to see what else is out there. So, here are just a few new chunky styluses (at least to me) available at a reasonable price (under 10.00  USD):

Kensington GummyGrip Stylus for Kids ( 9.06 to 11.92 pending color from Amazon)

Kensington Gummy Grip stylus pic
This stylus has a tripod shaft and measures 4″ in length with a diameter of about 5/8″. It has a comfortable feel with some weight so you can feel it in your hand. Available in different colors, I chose a gray stylus,  which seemed to allow it to be appropriate for more mature users (and happened to be cheaper on Amazon). The tip is as accurate as many other mid range priced stylus but is not solid. I would give this 4 stars on a scale of 5 – would be a 5 if it had a solid tip (rubber tips work well but wear out or can be damaged by students who like to pull or push hard with use).

BoxWave Touchscreen KinderStylus (7.50 and up from Amazon)

Boxwave stylus pic

BoxWave Stylus has a round shaft and is sized like a marker. It is slightly weighted with a soft tip that is as accurate as other mid priced (5.-10. range) styluses. With a round shaft, it does not provide additional grasping support or structure and is too large to add a grip.

My Favorites Styluses

The Cosmonaut stylus is one of my favorite styluses for those needing a chunky stylus due to the weight and the hard, firm tip. Although more expensive (25.00 Cosmonaut on Amazon), the firm tip makes it less pliable and less likely to be damaged, ultimately reducing the cost of replenishing styluses due to tip wear or breakage.

cosmo_hand_1

Dano AppCrayon Stylus has a great tripod grasp, light weight but has a soft tip. It is easy to grip and use for young students. Also a bit pricey (Dano AppCrayon about
24.00 on Amazon) , but found on the DanoApp Website for 9.99.

Dano Stylus

The Pencil Grip Ergo Stylus, developed by The Pencil Grip folks provides The Grip on a chunky, weighted stylus. Appropriate for young and old this provides the support for developing grasps or for more mature individuals that might be experiencing difficulty with grasping due to arthritis, pain or numbness causing difficulty holding a small writing tool. Reasonably priced ( The Pencil Grip Ergo Stylus 18.95 on Amazon ) with a comfortable, this ergo stylus is appropriate for young and old.

The Grip Pencil ergo stylus pic3

HHI Chunky Stylus Pen  made by HandHeldItems has a large shaft and definitely has weight for those individuals who need more feedback when writing. It has a soft tip but is extremely affordable at 2.99 + 2.85  shipping on Amazon. Buy several and the shipping may make it more affordable. Many teachers and fellow therapists have liked the weight of this stylus. It makes losing or issuing styluses that you might not see again not so painful. This has been one of my favorite chunky stylus finds! It also comes in a smaller size that allows the use of standard grippers on the shaft.

stylus HHI

And here is really on the cheap…
Buy a 14 Stylus Bundle  (9.99 if Amazon Prime) of styluses – for cheap to adapt.

Stylus bundle pic

Then add The Pencil Grip ( yes this works for iPad and Android) and you have a cheap stylus with grip! Buy 6 grips for 6.42 (with Amazon Prime) – certainly you may have some on hand.

The grip pics

Slide it on and – Walla!

The Grip with stylus pic

Cost will be less than 2.00/stylus with The Grip. One caveat, the quality of cheap styluses may or many not be comparable to some of the other recommended styluses, which may cause some frustration for the user.

Certainly there are other styluses for more refined drawing and writing or with other types of adaptations for students with more significant needs that are covered here.

What stylus do you recommend?

Carol

Posted in Accessories, Android, Drawing, iPad, Pre-writing, Stylus | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Maze Activity App Suggestions – From the Voice(s) of Experience

Marble math apps

Marble Math Apps

Thanks to comments from a recent post entitled “Mazes Activities – Magnetic Maze Boards or an App?“, I received some good suggestions of apps with bilateral, maze activities embedded with academic tasks.
HT (hat tip) to Dana C. and Michelle P. who suggested the following two favored apps that provide visual motor tasks with academic, math content:

Marble Math appMarble Math App (2.99; iPhone/ iPad) for 9-12 year olds, developed by Artgig Studios, provides a maze activity while solving math concepts.

Marble Math pic1

Marble Math Jr iconMarble Math Junior (2.99; iPhone/iPad), created by Artgig Studios is for 5-8 year olds. Provides a game math app with a maze format.

Marble math jr pic1

What a great way to include visual motor and academic learning!

For more information visit Artgig.com .

Thank you Dana and Michelle for their voice of OT experience!

Carol

Posted in App Reviews, Apps for OT's, Bilateral Control, iPad, iPhone, Math, Visual Motor | Leave a comment

More Brain Break Resources

Brain Breaks canva

Your Therapy Source is a rich website and blog with an incredible amount of therapy ideas, forms and research information developed by Margaret Rice. I admire her extensive resources and her blog which provides great ideas and research related to pediatric therapy.
Your Therapy Source also provides brain break resources well work perusing. Free and some low cost brain break materials for therapists and teachers to use are available. Here are some activities that are suggested that work well for therapists or teachers who need quick warm up activities:
1. A popular title is Mini Movement Breaks

2. Brain Breaks resource cards

3. Freebie – Roll Some Fun - I have used this and kids love it!

For those who prefer hard copy activity sheets, activities can be downloaded and saved or printed. I have to admit, having the Roll Some Fun Sheets printed and posted on the wall is also a handy resource!

Check out more resources for OT’s and PT’s at Your Therapy Source .

Thank you Margaret for sharing your resources.

Carol

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Touch+ – Makes Any Surface Multitouch

A small, sleek bar that “sees” your hands, the Ractiv Touch+ (formerly Haptix) makes any surface multitouch and more! Touch+ is the first to let you control your computer from any surface and with simple hand gestures. From web browsing to designing, Touch+ makes interaction simple, practical, and powerful.

Scooped from: http://attraining.org/atdaily/2014/09/08/surface-multitouch/

AT Daily shares another new technology find that provides access to your computer from any surface. It will be interesting to see this as it rolls out.

Thanks to Assistive Technology Daily who scours for all things AT and shares it with all of us!

Carol

As scooped on Scoop.itOT mTool Kit

Posted in Accessibility, Assistive Technology, Motion Activation | Leave a comment

Brain Break Resources for the Classroom and in Therapy

Brain Breaks canvaBrain Breaks

Research on the benefits of exercise on learning have long been established (Jensen, 2003; Medina, 2008). Brain breaks are just one form of those used in classrooms. Brain breaks have implications for students with special needs such as those with ADHD, ASD who benefit from breaks to help with self-regulation as well as the typical student due to the brain’s need to intake information and then reorganize that information. In Judy Willis’s article, Researched Based Strategies to Ignite Student Learning (2006), calls brain breaks “syn-naps”, or opportunities of the synaptic information to be reorganize and processed for retention. Willis also cites taking “syn-naps” prevents overloading of the circuits to allow for making meaning of information and maintains positive emotional states.

Other known benefits of brain breaks:

  • Circulation – Movement increases heart rate, oxygenation to the brain and relieve muscle tension (Jensen, 2003)
  • Movement give new spatial meaning to information processed (Jensen, 2003)

Here are some great resources for brain breaks to use in the classroom or at the start of therapy for Brain break Resources for individual therapy or the classroom.

1. GoNoodle.com

Gonoodle imageGoNoodle is a free online resources that provides brain break video guided activities 2-3 minutes in length for the classroom.

 

Here’s a short video explaining GoNoodle:

GoNoodle brain break video activities are categorized in three different activity categories:

  • Calm
  • Focus
  • Energize

Membership is required, with ample activities available for free. Pay for subscription is also available.  This is a great resource that you can play and project using your computer or iPad (using a VGA connector for iPad) connected to a class digital projector. A link on your iPad home screen or Android table to the GoNoodle.com website also allows you to choose and play the video activities on your tablet in a one on one or small group basis. Here is an example of a calming GoNoodle.com video activity:

2. JAM (Just a Minute) School Program

Just a Minute program  JAM program provides one minute exercises for health and exercise breaks to the classroom. Free membership.

Here is an example of a video from JAM School:

JAM activities can also be played using Wi-Fi connectivity on your iPad for small groups or one to one intervention with students.

3.  YouTube videos

Youtube pic Create a YouTube account and create a playlist of videos that provide brain break activities of your choosing. Download the free YouTube app for iPad/iPhone or Android device to access your chosen playlist of brain break activities. Of course there are many to choose from. When in YouTube do a search for “brain breaks” and many videos will be available for your selection.

Here is a Pinterest with suggested “School brain breaks and music while working” with suggested YouTube videos and other resources to peruse: http://www.pinterest.com/pmbronn/school-brain-breaks-music-while-working/

4. Teacher Pay Teachers.com  

Teachers pay Teachers imageTeachers Pay Teachers.com is also an inexpensive option to find brain break activities for free or purchase. A simple search using “Brain Break” yields a long list. Many of the activity lists are PDF files with descriptions of the activities. Save the PDF file to your  iBook for easy retrieval, to Google Drive,  Adobe Reader app (free on iPad or for Android ) or your favorite PDF or document management app on your iPad. Access to activities can be at your finger tips where ever you are with a mobile device.

5. MeMoves video and app

MeMoves app icon

Previously blogged about, MeMoves is a video on CD (59.99) that provides movement and music to aid focus, calming and joy. Although a MeMoves app is available, the video is preferred for projecting on the screen. Here is a video on MeMove activities:

Brain breaks and movement breaks area a great addition to therapy and for classrooms. For therapists consulting on students who have self-regulation, behavioral or attentional challenges, brain breaks can be another tool to help with student engagement.  There are great resources out there on this research based intervention as well as testaments by teachers and therapists on its use. Mrs. Koene, LD teacher at Sheboygan Falls School District shared how engaged her students were with the use of GoNoodle activities. She has added this resource to her learning tools along with therapy ball, fidgets and active learning activites in her resource room. Thank you to Mrs. Koene for her feedback about the use of the website activities!

Big HT to  Mrs. Vepraska, OTR who shared GoNoodle with me months ago! What a fabulous resource.

What resources do you use for brain break activities?

Carol

References:

Medina, John J. Brain Rules. New York: Pear, 2008. Print.

Jensen, Eric. “Moving with the Brain in Mind.” (2003): n. pag. Web. 13 Sept. 2014. .

Willis, Judy. Research-based Strategies to Ignite Student Learning: Insights from a Neurologist and Classroom Teacher. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2006. Print.

Posted in Android, Clinic Based Interventions, Early Childhood, Education, Elementary School, Emotions, Focused attention, iPad, iPhone, Mental Health, Middle School, Mobile Device Use, Movement, Movement Apps, Occupational Therapy, Primary Grades, Research, School Based Interventions, Self-regulation, Special education, Special Education Teacher, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

How One Dyslexic Speed Reads

Dr. Matthew Schneps is one of the most respected scientists in the research of dyslexia. He heads up Laboratory for Visual Learning, a joint program of Harvard University and University of Massachu…

Source: www.voicedream.com

Winston S. Chen, developer of Voice Dream Reader app, shares the personal experience of how a person with dyslexia speed reads using his highlighting and text to speech in a somewhat different manner. Read Winston’s interview and explanation of how this works for this unique case. Or is it unique? Maybe it could be more typical for some dyslexics?

 

Voice Dream Reader is one of my favorite and highly recommended apps for reading. Winston Chen has developed this app to a level comparable to no other iOS app that supports struggling readers. 

 

For middle, high school and college students this is the app I recommend to access text. 

Carol

See on Scoop.itOT mTool Kit

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments