26 October 2010

New Tools for Your Toolbelts (or, Thank You Scotland, Michigan)

I talk a lot about something I call "Toolbelt Theory," here and elsewhere, because I believe - very strongly - that our responsibilities as educators includes helping our students learn how to use, adapt, invent, and choose the information and communications tools which will give them the greatest level of independent access to whatever and whomever they want and need to know, discover, enjoy, interact with across their lifespans.

With that said, there are some new tools which students - of all types - can make use of out there...

The MITS Freedom Stick is a new "Americanized" version of the AccessApps - LearnApps USB-Flash Drive system developed by RSC-Scotland North and East.

Download this onto your computer and load the suite onto a 4gb or larger flash driveand your students can carry much of their accessibility with them to and Windows PC, anywhere. We paid special attention to the Firefox Browser on the Freedom Stick, and it comes with a wide range of supports and bookmarks.

Of course you can also download the system MITS or directly from RSC-Scotland North and East and develop your own individualized or school-district wide solutions.

If you want to make Firefox accessible on your home or school computers, take a look at our MITS Add-On Collections. There are solution packs for Windows/Linux, for Mac O/S, and an additional language pack to help English Language Learners.

If your students need Word Prediction, you might want to have them compose using Google Scribe. Scribe is free and offers Word Prediction in English, Spanish, and Arabic. It is not the most sophisticated Word Prediction (it is based in letters, not phonetics), but it does a great job within those constraints (your students can always paste their writing into Ghotit for grammar checking).

Create&Convert is another solution from RSC-Scotland North and East. It joins together a group of tools for converting digital text into fully accessible electronic books, via Microsoft Word (2003 or 2007) and OpenWriter. Having your "print-disabled" students learn to create their own accessible books is an important part of building independence.

And more from RSC-Scotland North and East. My Study Bar loads onto your Windows computer and gives your students a powerful sets of tools and tutorials easily accessed through a floating toolbar.

- Ira Socol

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was wondering what similar stuff I could find in the Safari Extensions Gallery, and the pickin's were a bit slim...

The most promising end up being wrappers around bookmarklets, like Readability

Here's a nice list.