Join me for #FETC18

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I am honored to participate again this year in the Future of Education Technology Conference in Orlando, FL. This will be the second year I have been a part of this conference and I am really impressed with the array of sessions and presenters.

This year, I am presenting three sessions – including the Future of EdTech Special Education Track Orientation session. I am joined for this session by Mary Shillinger and Luis Perez.

Future of EdTech Special Education Track Orientation

  • 1/24/18 – 11:00am-12:00pm; Orange County Convention Center North Room 222

Best practices employed by the Modern Special Educator … that’s the theme and focus of the 2018 Future of Ed Tech Special Education session track at FETC, which has been precisely tailored for Pupil Services Administrators, Assistive Technology Integration Specialists, and Special and General Educators. With so many program offerings, you’ll want to stop into this quick-hitting orientation! Here, Mary, Mike and Luis will help you navigate FETC programming to determine which sessions are best suited to address your professional learning needs. Workshops and concurrent sessions cover a wide range of hot topics, including accessible OER, UDL best practices, case management and compliance, virtual and blended schools, behavior and autism intervention, coding, robotics, and more. This is your chance to network with peers who have similar interests and challenges, and to strategize to make the most of your time at FETC 2018!

My other two sessions are:

Using Google Tools to Promote Universal Design for Learning

  • 1/23/18 – 10:30am-12:30pm; Orange County Convention Center North Room 220B

The use of Google tools and Chromebooks continues to explode in education. But how can you use this array of tools to promote a culture of Universal Design for Learning (UDL)? This BYOD workshop will focus on the three principles of UDL — multiple means of engagement, representation, and action and expression — to examine ways of incorporating Google tools into your UDL learning environments. From Chrome apps and extensions to Google tools such as Cardboard, Mike Marotta will highlight ways to support ALL learners in the classroom. You will explore tools to assist students in the areas of reading, writing and math, as well as with executive functioning skills that include time management, organization, task completion and focus. You’ll also receive resources to continue your learning beyond this workshop.

The Internet of Things and Assistive Technology

  • 1/25/18 – 10:00am-11:00am; Orange County Convention Center North Room 220G

The latest trend in technology is the Internet of Things. This area of technology includes wearable technology and other internet-connected devices. From fitness trackers to the Apple Watch to the Amazon Echo and virtual reality headsets, this market is poised to explode. Market research shows that wearable device shipments will soon surpass 140 million and account for nearly $16 billion in revenue. With these devices comes new opportunities to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities. Learn how these devices can assist students with organization, independence, communication, and so much more.

Hope to see you there! I will be tweeting throughout the conference – catch up with me at @mmatp


Genius Hour Comes to Technology Beyond the Classroom with Book Creator

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I have been working on a project called Technology Beyond the Classroom since last summer. The project, originally funded by the Assistive Technology Advocacy Center at Disability Rights New Jersey, focuses on working with transition age students with disabilities – age 18-25. IMG_0330

The goal of the program is to provide training to ensure that the program participants can use technology (specifically smartphones and tablets) to increase independence in the areas of community living, post secondary education and employment. The original class was six weeks long and focused mostly on the basics of using mobile devices:

  • Built in apps and their uses: Calendar, Reminders, Settings, Safari, Camera….just to name a few.
  • Accessibility features – especially Text to Speech. Many of the participants weren’t strong readers so listening to text was HUGE!

In addition to learning the apps, we spent time focused on issu514vs2j4vul-_sy344_bo1204203200_es around Digital Citizenship. Many of the students use various social media tools (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) but hadn’t had training to ensure personal safety online.

My project partner, The Arc of Monmouth, has continued the program for the consumers even after the original project was completed. Last week, we started our Winter session which has expanded to 10 weeks. I was looking to add another component to the course that we hadn’t had time for in the past: Genius Hour!

Never heard of Genius Hour?? Genius hour is participant driven learning. What are you passionate about? What do you want to learn? How do you want to change the world? Whatever the topic, the goal of Genius Hour is to develop higher level thinking skills and inspire creativity. Participants work alone, in small groups, and hopefully, with community based mentors to complete their projects. In keeping with the focus of our Technology Beyond the Classroom agenda, the final projects for the Genius Hour will allow participants to use their mobile devices and more specifically, the Book Creator app, to create an engaging, electronic book to highlight their work.

So we met during week one of class to begin the brainstorming for our project ideas. The interesting thing that struck me was the feeling that the participants had never been in charge of their20160112_082809 learning. I asked them, “What do you want to learn about?” and it took some time and some prompting to start the brainstorming going. But once it started, it didn’t disappoint!

Some ideas were just things they like: dogs, bake cookies, Madden 16. Other ideas were well thought out: How to be a personal trainer? How to do a gel manicure? Not to mention my personal favorite from Jason: How to get six pack abs?

Now that we have developed some ideas, we are moving on to the next step. Researching our topics and connecting with community based mentors for collaboration. This should be a very excited project and I will keep everyone posted on our successes.

Want some additional Genius Hour resources? Check out this amazing page from Cybraryman.