How to use the Dictionary, Picture Dictionary, and Screen Mask Features of Read and Write in a Google Doc.

3 02 2017

This is Part 2 of a series of tutorials to assist staff and students in accessing and using Read and Write for Google.  The first tutorial covered how to use prediction, text to speech, and voice typing. 

Below is a quick tutorial on how to use the dictionary, picture dictionary, and screen mask features of Read and Write.  Enjoy!

I hope this tutorial is helpful as students and staff continue to use Read and Write for Google. The next tutorial- how to use Highlighting Tools, Collect Highlights, and how to generate vocabulary lists using Read and Write will be coming soon! Stay tuned!




Google Expeditions 

16 05 2016

Recently, the folks at Google paid a visit to our schools to show us their newest innovation- Google Expeditions. 

We weren’t sure what to expect when they came to visit. The seemingly innocent piece of cardboard is akin to a View Master, but harnesses the power of Google to create a truly immersive learning experience for children.  

Basically, Google Expeditions takes students and teachers on a virtual journey that doesn’t feel virtual at all. Students are truly immersed in the experience. This allows for a level of access for ALL learners that a book or traditional curricular materials cannot provide. You literally feel like you’re right there. 

In terms of reaching students with special needs, depending on age, if they have a seizure disorder, or other medical condition that would prevent the use of this amazing technology, the potential for students is limitless. Students are able to participate in a way they may not be able to- and understand the concepts being taught within the expedition more readily, as they are immersed in the environment that is being covered. 

Google Expeditions is better than a virtual field trip.  Our awesome Google friends Natasha and Fitz explained that there are over 300 expeditions- with more being added every day.  We were all blown away by this beta version, and are looking forward to the release.

When you’re in a classroom and students are EXCITED to learn? That’s priceless. This is the potential of Google Expeditions. 

Read and Write for Google PDF Editor

11 04 2016

Read and Write for Google has recently released an update which allows the user to edit PDF documents using word prediction or speech-to-text technology. As long as the PDF file is a non-scanned PDF file, this will work. If you have a scanned PDF file, you’ll have to convert the file using Snapverter as scanned files are images, not text (this is another lesson for another day). No longer are teachers limited to using Google Docs to access these accessibility tools for Read and Write. Overall, it’s a pretty nice update. The one feature I noticed when I tested this update was that a user has to allow the microphone each time they want to use the speech-to-text option regardless of device. I’m sure that issue will be resolved in a future update.

Check the video to see how this new update of Read and Write can work with your students that require writing support!

Google Cardboard…Plastic — Technology Integration

6 04 2016

Check out this great blog post by my former colleague and friend Nick Shuman on his tech2integrate blog!

If you haven’t checked out Google Cardboard yet, then you should. Then, browse over to Google Expeditions Pioneer Program to learn how their Cardboard technology can be leveraged in Education. Now, Google has gone to the next level with Google Cardboard…Plastic. NOTE: Plastic was released on April 1st, which in the USA is April Fool’s […]

via Google Cardboard…Plastic — Technology Integration

App of the Week- Motion Math Play Pack

27 03 2014


***It’s been quite some time since I’ve written about an App of the Week, but I found an app that is really cool and felt it was time to dust this part of the blog off. ***

Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 2.45.54 PMMotion Math Play Pack is a powerhouse mathematics app for children of all ages. Motion Math Play Pack consists of six apps rolled into one. The six apps are Match, Wings, Fractions! Questimate! Hungry Fish, and Zoom. For the $19.99 price tag, it is an investment that will pay off in the fun kids will have when using this app!

Upon opening the app, the user is greeted with a simple interface that highlights each app. From there, users can select a game,  add a user. change settings, or check a user’s score.

Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 2.49.17 PM

One of the great beauties of motion math is the ability to track progress and add multiple users. For teachers with only one iPad, this makes it easier to use with multiple students. Teachers could also create a “class” user and use Motion Math for guided practice or a whole class lesson.

Each app within Motion Math:Play Pack covers a specific foundational skill or mathematical concept.

• Motion Math: Fractions! Covers fractions, decimals, percents, and pie charts.
• Motion Math: Zoom.  Is a number line like no other- completely interactive and fun. Covers integers, negatives, and decimals. Place value is addressed eloquently in this app, and the pace is pretty quick- but fun!
• Motion Math: Hungry Fish. Feed the fish in this interactive addition and subtraction game that becomes increasingly complex with each play! Helps to build mental math concepts in addition and subtraction and becomes complex to where a user can add and subtract positive and negative integers.
• Motion Math: Wings. Covers multiplication concepts in different visual forms. Users must “fly” their bird to the correct answer, construct the multiplicaton tables, multiply quantities, and more. The longer one plays, the more challenging it is!
• Questimate! Is a truly unique way to cover the concept of estimation. Users create a question, estimate the answer, find out who is closer, uncover the answer via web source or interactive example. The game continues in different modalities- for example, a question may be represented in a visual example where a user will have to pinch the image to estimate the answer.
• Motion Math: Match. Match the equations and make them disappear in this hugely engaging game of building foundational skills and automaticity in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

Testing this app was a blast. There is great potential in this app to use with a variety of students for a multitude of purposes. I can’t wait to try it out with kids!

Common Core Aligned, Motion Math Play Pack offers a lot of bang for the price. Volume Purchasing Program is available for Educational Institutions. Overall, it’s quite a stellar app.


Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 3.11.14 PMScreen Shot 2014-03-27 at 3.06.40 PM








There’s an App for That!

19 11 2013

Have you ever heard of an infographic? It’s basically a visual representation of information. I was recently asked to look over this infographic and found the information on it quite useful- in particular to basic AT and apps. Check it out:

Learning Apps


10 05 2012

What does it mean to appreciate?


1. Recognize the full worth of.

2. Be grateful for (someone or something).

This week is Teacher Appreciation week. While I am all for celebrating the great things that teachers do – and there are a lot of things –  merely having a week? Well, it’s  not enough. When I think back to the teachers that influenced me, there were some great ones. My 8th grade English teacher, my first grade teacher and my High School English teacher, made me feel like I could do anything. My 3rd grade teacher influenced me as well. She tried to instill in me that I could not do anything. So, I had something to prove.

How you treat students and the people around you has a resounding effect. We may not be aware of it, or even realize the impact our actions and words may have on someone, but they’re there. Appreciating our students for who they are and what skills they possess, as well as creating an environment where learning is an adventure worth having – that’s what it should be about.

To show my appreciation,  I am showcasing some people in the last week that have taught me something- and they aren’t “teachers” in the conventional sense. But I appreciate what they have taught me as I listened to their stories.

Chris Jones is a young man about to graduate from High School and attend Wentworth Institute of Technology. A self-described technology enthusiast and web developer, his site illustrates that truly, anything is possible. While listening to his story at last week’s Apple Update Session, he gave us 5 tips. They are:

1. Set your own boundaries.

2. Search, Discover, repeat. Google is a great tool. Soon you’re learning things and you don’t even know it.

3. Love to teach, love to learn. You can teach and teach, but the more you learn, the more you can teach.

4. Take every opportunity, no matter how big or small it is. You never really know where an opportunity is going to go unless you take it.

5. Pursue your dream and don’t let anyone or anything stand in the way. Learn from your mistakes.

 Such a smart young man. I don’t think I was quite that smart at his age.

I had the honor of presenting at the Spring MEOTA conference on customizing the iPad to meet therapy and learning needs. While I was excited to present, I was even more excited to have the opportunity to hear Travis Roy speak.

In reflecting about his message, I am still awe-struck and inspired at what he said.  Looking beyond the superficial and seeing the true person inside. Travis clearly has an amazing spirit, and his kindness can be easily seen in how he speaks to people.

He is candid about his accident, his rehabilitation, and how therapists, family, and friends helped in some dark moments. He is living proof  that a positive attitude, a change in perspective, and how you face adversity matters in life.

Realizing the impact of Assistive Technology on his life, and wanting to find a cure for Spinal Cord Injuries, he started The Travis Roy Foundation , which provides Assistive Technology to individuals with Spinal Cord Injuries. and is also focused on finding a cure for  Spinal Cord Injuries.
Reading and seeing the impact of the foundation is really awesome. One of my favorite items from the site are the greeting cards that are painted by Travis. They are beautiful.
Lastly, the smallest token of appreciation can have the greatest impact.
A broken printer left a student unable to access their work. As a result, a new one was ordered, and fortunately arrived quickly. When I got the notification that it was at the school, I went to set it up. Tests with the device worked, and we were eager to put the printer in the classroom. Once it was set up, the student was able to test it. Upon hearing the sounds of work being printed for the teacher to see, the student exclaimed, “Oh! You’ve made my day! Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
That simple token of appreciation goes a long way. That printer, which is considered a simple piece of technology to some, was a landline to this student to show the teacher what they knew.
So, appreciate. You never know what will come of it.