Monday, March 31, 2008

AT Blog Carnival Edition #1

Assistive Technology Blog Carnival: Edition #1

Welcome to the first ever Blog Carnival on Assistive Technology!

The first edition deadline sneaked up on us pretty fast, but I would like to share some great posts by folks that are becoming good friends in the AT blog arena. Before I do, as the host, I would like to share a little about myself and how I use Assistive technology.

This Week's Host: Lon Thornburg

Since I have decided to start this blog carnival, I will host it here until someone else wants to guest-host. The idea is that you can be a host and share all the links we get in from your blog so you get all the visitors and they can find out how great your blog is too if they haven't discovered it yet. I envision lots of great blogs and posts and friendships coming out of this as time goes by. I would release this on my home blog, but since this is the carnival home, I will do it here.

I am a teacher, administrator and an assistive technology specialist. I work for the Umatilla Morrow County Education Service District in Pendleton, Oregon. I cover about a third of the state of Oregon as the only AT specialist. I work with OT's, PT's, Autism, Speech, Vision and Hearing and Eary Intervention and Early Childhood specialists. I do a lot of professional development and teach at the occasional State-wide conferences - usually doing lab workshops on interactive applications for software, helping teachers and specialists design and build their own activities.

My wife and I own and run a small retreat center that is a little mountain hotel built in 1897 for the Union Pacific Railroad. We have groups (quilters, scrap-bookers, church groups, planning meetings, teachers groups, etc.) that come stay for many different kinds of meetings and weekend retreats. We have a boy who will start first grade in the fall of 2008.

I LOVE working with AT. I feel like I am really making a difference for children and helping classrooms and families get things together to improve life for their kids. I had a stroke last year that put me in the hospital and I experienced some disabilities that have been subtle but have meant some adaptation on my part. That experience has made me look at AT in a different light. I have put together things so that if something happens again, and I would be permanently disabled I have things ready to go - just in case.

For AT, I personally use Dragon Naturally Speaking, Read Please as a text reader sometimes - and like using Odiogo on my blog. See "My Reading Chair" blog to see how I have used Odiogo there. (I will have to try the application suggested by Larry Ferzallo in his submission below.) I have a Track IR camera eye and a reflective dot on a baseball cap I can use with the free Click-n-type Keyboard from Lakefolks. I use a Virtual Magnifying Glass free software also for looking at certain things and using when doing professional training and workshops where I want people to see close up on the screen with a data projector.

Well, that gives you an introducation to me. Now I would like to share the contributors for our first carnival...

Ricky Buchanan is an amazing user of AT in Australia. We first communicated in January I think, when she sent me a nice email after reading my No Limits to Life blog that is for adults, perspectives on life, disability, etc. She has some wonderful artwork she has done and my son has been inspired to paint her a picture in return sometime. Check it out as the art is on a page that is linked from her personal site space. You can get there from her ATmac blog. I have enjoyed getting to know her and browse her blog. If you have a Mac, you will want to get her blog posts. She shares how she uses AT.

Larry Ferlazzo submitted his post on a new text to speech tool... Read the Words. He has a site dedicated to ELL and language learners and education onEduBlogs. I am just getting to know him and we have exchanged some emails. I am going to spend some more time browsing and reading there for information for the ELL,ESL folks I work with. I will be referring them to him too.

Since our submissions are just starting, I have listed below a few people that are doing work I admire. Their blogs are timely and full of great information:

Dr. Brian Friedlander was one of my college professors in my Masters Program and he has left some nice comments on my blog. He was very encouraging to me when I was starting out and he was gracious enough to announce my blog on his which has increased my visitors. I want to link to him here: Assistivetek Dr.Friedlander has some wonderful posts and up to the minute new release info as things occur. Check him out.

Paul Hamilton has a blog on Free Resources. I have gone there to find some great help and information. When looking at his picture on the "About" page, I was thinking that MAYBE we met at an ASHA conference on Assistive Technology in Seattle, WA a few years ago. He looks familiar and He is from Vancouver, BC. I remember visiting with an AT specialist from Vancouver when I was there. We will have to figure that one out.

Another blog that I go to frequently is Special Education Law Blog By Charles Fox. I wrote a series on parent advocacy and he was gracious enough to comment on it and post a section block quote from it on his blog. We were both online writing our blogs that day and had a great interchange of conversation and introduction. I look forward to future contributions he makes to his blog. His blog is also a great archive of legal information if you need to research something.

Kate Ahern has Teaching Learners with Multiple Needs . I recently discovered her blog just as she stopped posting indefinitely because of care for her sister. Her sister passed away from critical complications to a brain injury. Her blog was nominated for an award for top educational blog of 2007. Quite an honor. There is a HUGE list of links to vendors, associations, free tutorials, activities, etc. I hope to visit with her and get to know her one day.

I hope you enjoy this first edition of Assistive Technology Blog Carnival. Next month, the deadline for submissions will be the last Friday of April and the blog will come out on the next Monday. I hope some of you that read will submit.

Thanks for visiting and all the best to you!


Unknown said...

Lon, great carnival beginnings but you have me listed as male again - could you fix that please? I keep meaning to put a pic up on ATMac so it's not so ambiguous but I don't look particularly female either so I'm not sure it'd help!

- Ricky

Lon said...

I TOTALLY apologize Ricky, and the error has been fixed! There is an example of a classic assumption that I try not to make, but thanks for being gracious about it. I won't be making that mistake again!

Unknown said...

I'm not fussed about assumptions Lon - in fact I use "Ricky" with this spelling specifically because it's non-specific and people assume I'm male. It can be handy at times... It sucks, but even in 2008, there's enough people around who can't handle a computer/tech expert who's not just disabled and queer but female too! I think I break too many of their internal rules :/

I'll try to submit something to every carnival if I have appropriate posts, this is definitely something I'd like to be involved in! And if you're ever available for online chat then come find me.

Warmest Regards,

Kate said...

Thanks for the nice words Lon. I admire your blog to and have it in my RSS. I am back blogging, with days off here and there when grief is bigger than blogging desire.

Kate from Teaching Learners with Multiple Special Needs Blog

Unknown said...

Could you please shift my link so it's pointing to:

I updated the website structure and forgot to let you know.

Thanks! Cheers,

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