Word Bank for Google Chrome

Word Bank logo

Word BankDon Johnston just announced another new product, Word Bank for Google Chrome. A similar support to Co:Writer but without the prediction features, Word Bank easily creates a word cloud or word list on a topic from an electronic document or web information. Word Bank provides a floating tool with options to customize the word list supporting use of vocabulary when writing.

How does it work? Here are some screenshots of Word Bank:

Word Bank 1

Word Bank is an extension added to your Chrome Browser. When activated, the above dialog box is available with a search tool bar allowing choices of gathering  general topic words or from a specific web page. The process is easy and the word banks can be saved for later use.

Words in the word bank are spoken aloud when selected and can be easily inserted into your document when clicked to reduce spelling and copying errors.

Options available within the settings of the Word Bank tool allows you to rename a Word Bank saved, delete it, download a word bank, print, choose a layout (alphabetical or circular- which is like a word cloud with frequency of words displayed), and provides a slider for the number of words desired.

Word Bank 2

The options of layout and number of words can help with differentiating the list from complex to simple pending the student skill level.  Although I have not trialed this with students, it appears to be another great writing support for struggling writers.

More information and a video about Word Bank can be found at Word Bank Demo Video, and Word Bank overview page.

Have you tried Word Bank? Share out what your experience!

More for your OT eTool Kit!


Posted in Assistive Technology, Dysgraphia, Dyslexia, Google Chrome, Google Docs, Text to Speech, Traumatic Brain Injury, Writing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Gazespeaker AAC Software

Reposted from The Assistive Technology Daily.

Gazespeaker AAC “Gazespeaker is a free software designed to help people with disabilities to communicate and interact with their environment and the web uniquely with their eyes.”This is a fantastic free suite for eye gaze which is developing at pace. AAC options include symbol grids (using ARASAAC) and keyboard entry – predictive text and numerous…

via Download Gazespeaker ⋆ Free Software Downloads — The Assistive Technology Daily

Another H/T to The Assistive Technology Daily for their infinite resources of everything AT!


Posted in Augmentative Communication, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

App Search Resource List – 2017

               Updated App Search Resource List


Searching for the right app can be a timely process.  Many app lists these days are dated, making it hard to sift and winnow for the right app when considering there are thousands of possibilities. Further, we now may be considering apps across Chrome, Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac when considering the multiple devices used by clients or within an educational systems for client served. All considered, it can be a difficult and timely task.
Although lists don’t hand you the answers for apps, they can provide some guidance for app choices when they come from reputable sources. When looking for apps I also strongly consider the following app details when making a choice:

  • Has the app been around for a while?
  • Has it been updated recently ? I steer clear of apps that have not been updated in the past year ( or less) as system changes are so frequent. Recent updates tell me the developer is committed to supporting the app so that it will function appropriately.
  • What are recent comments that may reflect how currently changes may affect the app function? Is it now working solidly as reflected in reviews or comments?
  • What OS is required to support it? Will it work on your current device or operating system?

Listed below is an updated list of app/extensions/resources related to assistive technology. Although there remain areas not represented, it is a current list of app search engines and resources that may be helpful to you.

OT’s with Apps eToolKit App Resource List 4-2017

If you have suggestions for current lists of apps or technology for special needs, please share!

More for your OT/AT eToolkit!



Posted in Apps for Special Needs, Assistive Technology, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Unite for Literacy Resource

Unite for Literacy is a free online picture book resource supporting non-readers of individuals of different cultures. It counteracts book scarcity for non-readers of different languages with this online resource of digital books. A community based organization supported by business who have partnered to supply online digital books to promote literacy. This is an exceptional, free resource which promotes early literacy learning via digital devices.

Unite for Literacy  offers easy to navigation of the digital book selections, ability to change language, provide narration by different languages and search by categories.

Unite for Literacy image 1

Unite for Literacy image lang 2

The interface is extremely simple with a picture menu and ability to navigate through the book shelves and within a book using arrow at the right and left sides of the screen.

Unite for Literacy pg navigation 2

Developed for computer and mobile device access, books are easily accessible by young and old as well as for individuals with sensory, intellectual or mobility challenges using the web based book library.

What a wonderful resource to support early literacy learning for all ages!

Have you used Unite for Literacy? Share with others who have the need for an early literacy resource!

More for your OT or AT eToolkit!


Posted in Accessibility, Android, Early Childhood, Education, Emergent Literacy, iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod, Reading, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Making Homework Easier – Solutions for the Disorganized Student

This repost of Jacqui Murray’s reviews how homework is made easier using one of the many learning management systems (LMS) available. As an AT Professional, many students referred have organizational challenges which may involve spatial, temporal, attentional and categorical organization difficulties interfering with completing and turning in assignments. Her review shares the challenges of our students with organization problems and how LMS support these barriers. It’s what we all experience, but she shares it from a tech standpoint through her review.

Learning management systems make it easier for students with organizational challenges to manage their work, however it does require instruction (in categorization, material management, and time management), motivation on the part of the student and appropriate devices to make that happen. Computers, mobile devices or wearables can support students with disabilities manage the many tasks required of their learning with support and instruction.

–this post was sponsored by itslearning, but the opinions are my own. When I started teaching, homework always involved paper–a worksheet, a poster, a written essay, or something else like that. The problems associated with that approach were endless, including that students couldn’t find the assignment, lost their notes, wrote the assignment down wrong, left…

via How You Can Make Homework Easier for Students — Ask a Tech Teacher

H/T to Jacqui Murray for her post and reflections of LMS.


Posted in Organization, Universal Design for Learning | Leave a comment

Google Quick Tip – Voice Typing in Google Slides!

Voice Typing is now available in Google Slides, however, it can only be used in the speaker notes area. A work around for using this feature for writing content for the slide is easy. Create  your text using the Voice Typing in the speaker notes and copy and paste to the slide. Of course, you would have thought of that!

Where’s the Voice Typing? You will find it under the Tool menu just like in Google Docs.

Voice typing slides

Other tool options when writing include use of  text to speech if you have Read & Write for Chrome to review your voice recognition text for accuracy. Other helpful tools available from the Tools menu include spell check, personal dictionary and Explore feature.

Great tools for our students who struggle with writing.



Posted in Assistive Technology, AT for Handwriting, Google Chrome, Voice Recognition, Writing | Leave a comment

Reminder, Alarm and Voice Reminders, Remind Me App


Research on use of visual schedules and checklists has been found to improve independence in completing work tasks and self-care skills for individuals with autism and cognitive disabilities (Koyama, Wang 2011). Use of visual schedules on PDA have also shown significant benefits to individuals with autism.  Identifying appropriate visual schedule apps and the appropriate device require evaluation of the specific needs of the user, supports and environment. Numerous visual schedule apps are available for mobile devices, each requiring match of the app features, user skills, task, environment and available and/or appropriate device for the tasks being completed.

A wide variety of apps including many visual schedule apps currently exist for both iOS and Android devices. Despite having trialed and recommended visual apps for clients, a recent evaluation required additional options for a visual schedule/visual checklist apps. This client who has been using a paper copy checklist but also benefited from  text and images. At appeared that identifying a basic checklist app with images, text and audio recording capabilities would be best and slightly  different from previously used app for   other clients with an intellectual disability. The iOS native Notes app was trialed using the checklist/radio button options with images imported, however use of Speak Selection seemed to be a bit tedious to employ. Audio recording options within the checklist was also desired, but not available in the Notes app. Although many other choices of schedule apps exist, a visual checklist appeared to be a best a best option for the client.

Results of my search for a basic checklist style of visual schedule found Reminder, Alarm and Voice Reminders, Remind Me App developed by Sergio Licea. As the developer of Aida Reminder app, previously successfully used with a different client, I was somewhat familiar with the features of the Reminder app and comfortable with a developer who has continually updated his developed apps. Presented with many visuals and also methods of output, this app for $1.99 as an in-app purchase (for no ads) and no subscription fee or login, was a strong choice for trial.

Trial of the free version found this app matching a majority of the features needed for this client and task. Here are the main reasons and features for the app choice:

  1. The app has recently been updated by the developer allowing it to work on the most current iOS operating systems.
  2. The app will work on iPhone and iPad, depending on the best device for ease of use of the client and environment.
  3. The app is easy to use and features rich for the needs of an individual with an intellectual impairment.
  4. The app also manages customized images, text, audio and symbols.
  5. Its layout is easy to view in a linear manner.
  6. It has check boxes, just like a standard paper check off list
  7. Alarms, notifications, repeated or reoccurring alarms by time, day, week can be set.

Here are some images showing the features of the Reminder, Alarm and Voice Reminders, Remind Me App :

Remind app with voice recorder, images, text pic

iPhone app image

Remind Remind Me app pic2

Remind Remind Me app pic3

The checklist can be viewed individually or from a calendar view during use. Reminders can be turned off temporarily from an editing screen as seen in the bottom image. Editing options allow images and audio to be saved for reuse. A basic symbol library is also available within the apps image library providing a fast method of set up of picture tasks. Using a mobile device with a camera however provides an easy method of customization of the pictured tasks for the user.

One limitation is the app can not be created or editing via cloud based service. It can be backed up by email however, to manage the content if the device malfunctions.

I found this app to meet the needs of the client evaluated. As aforementioned, I believe this app is quite easy to use, however will take some set up time for a job coach, teacher, therapist or parent to develop the scheduled tasks with images, pictures and audio. Once set up however, it should be pretty easy to apply to a work situation with a fairly consistent task routine.

I will be adding this to my OT mToolkit, feature match and apps lists (hopefully soon). What are your favorite visual schedule apps?

More for your OT mToolkit!


Koyama, Takanori, and Hui-Ting Wang. “Use of Activity Schedule to Promote Independent Performance of Individuals with Autism and Other Intellectual Disabilities: A Review.” Research in Developmental Disabilities 32.6 (2011): 2235-242. Web.

Rani, Nurdalilah Mohd, Rafeah Legino, and Muhamad Fairus Kamaruzaman. “A Theoretical Study on the Influence of Visual Schedule towards Children with Autism Independent Life and Its Chances through Mobile Technology.” Recent Advances in Education and Educational Technology (n.d.): n. pag. Recent Advances in Education and Educational Technology. Web. 19 Mar. 2017. <http://www.wseas.us/e-library/conferences/2015/Malaysia/EDU/EDU-16.pdf&gt;.                          


Posted in App Reviews, Apps for Special Needs, Assistive Technology, Autism, Cognitive Impairment, Customizable app, Executive Function, iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod, Organization, Visual Communication, Visual Supports | Tagged , , | Leave a comment