Monday, November 28, 2011

Proloquo2Go (come on, you knew it was coming!)

Note that this is my response to this blog.

    It was inevitable: though most people already know about this revolutionary app, I can't help but jump on the bandwagon. Proloquo2Go is absolutely fantastic- it's the best "tech tool" out right now for the Special Education community.

    In previous years, DynaVox has given a voice to those who cannot speak; people with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, and ALS were able to use this machine to communicate with others. Unfortunately, DynaVox is EXTREMELY expensive- I'm talking thousands of dollars! Though it was a revolutionary device, the fact that most people cannot afford it is really upsetting to me.

    So Apple did what they do best: they revolutionized the revolutionary. Now, students can use iPads to access the newer and less expensive program: Proloquo2Go. Compared to the thousands of dollars that one might spend on the DynaVox, the Proloquo2Go is less than $200. So even if you buy an iPad for $500 and the app for $200, you still end up spending less on the program, and you can use the iPad for other things!

    And yes, it's worth the money. I was a student aide in high school, and I worked with the Special Education students. Two of my students used this program, not just in their Speech class, but in Mathematics, Science, and Reading class too! They loved it because they got to use and iPad in class, and they were consistently less frustrated because they were able to communicate effectively. I think I loved it as much as they did! If you are a teacher, ask your school about special grants or funding and you might be able to get yourself a class set!

    So do some research for yourself! Explore the program and read the reviews! It’s well worth your time!

My rating on this “tech tool”: 5/5 stars

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Purple Mash?

Please note that this is my response to this blog

    The name alone is intriguing. Purple Mash is an interactive website that encourages you (and your students) to create fun projects and games! There's such a wide range of tools that you can use: from postcard makers to math games to "mash-cams", this site has it all; and really, I'm not doing the site justice by listing the tools, because there are so many of them (you can check the "Purple Mash" link above for a full list of tools).
    Some tools are relevant for educational purposes, and some...well... it would take some creative thinking for some of these tools to be useful in the classroom. But perhaps you can find a way to make use of some of them!
    And if you can, then this "tech tool" has a lot of potential; however, it would be best if you knew what you wanted to create before you go on the site. The tools vary but they tend to be on the random side- you would definitely save time by planning out what you want to create. Once you know what you are looking for, Purple Mash makes it easy to find. They organize their tools really well by categorizing them by theme and age group. Realize that you are not limited to using Purple Mash for student projects- you can also use it and incorporate your creations into your lesson plans and PowerPoints.
    And if you do find a use for these tools, then know that it's free! Moreover, there are no software downloads- it's strictly through the internet. The only thing you would need to do is sign up/ make an account. From there, it's smooth sailing- Purple Mash even provides an "ideas page" for teachers. This is virtually risk free. So go ahead, explore Purple Mash!

My rating on this "tech tool": 3/5 (Not super crazy about it, but you might be!)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The LeapPad

Please note that this is my response to this blog.

    The LeapPad is my favorite "tech tool" thus far. Essentially, it is the kid-friendly version of the iPad.

    Even the physical design is iPad inspired. The LeapPad's screen is a touchscreen, and it comes with two styluses. The speaker is in the front for easy listening, and the volume controls are located on the side of the device, just like the iPad. A "home" button is located on the front of the device as well, just like the Apple product. A camera is built in and able to record videos or take pictures. This device, like its cousin from Apple, can do it all.

    And that's the point. Kids are in awe over the LeapPad because it mirrors the adult-like Ipad. It's all of the fascination without the worry. As iPads start at $500, parents are leery of loaning the device to their accident-prone child. Because the LeapPad is specifically designed to accommodate to the needs of children, it doesn't break nearly as easy. That being said, the LeapPad starts at $99, so parents can breathe easy if there were to be an accident.

    The best part about the LeapPad, though, is that it's educational. Apps can be bought, and they are often in the form of videogames, but the child is always learning. Children love videogames, but often parents worry if their child's brain is melting away. This tool combines the best of both worlds, and often the kids don't even know it.

    I would love to see this being used in the classroom, as it's relatively inexpensive and designed for educating children. However, if the LeapPad is left at home, that works too- children go home and continue to learn far after the dismissal bell has rung. I look forward to hearing more about this device in the future; it is definitely the best that I've seen.

My rating on this "tech tool": 5/5 (LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!)


Sunday, October 2, 2011


** Please note that this is a response to this video and the corresponding comments on this blog.

     I have never heard of "Chromebooks" before reading this blog. After doing some research, I have discovered that this is one of Google's newest programs. The benefits are tremendous- both for students and staff- and I'm honestly surprised that it's the first time I'm hearing about this new gadget.
      Chromebooks is a software which is specifically designed to be used in the classroom. Bought in bulk, schools are able to distribute one program to every student- this allows every student to have the same program, and thus, equal opportunity. Also, because all students have the same software, they can communicate through an instant messaging program amongst other students. They are able to discuss projects and ask questions amongst each other, allowing for more effective productivity.
       The most obvious benefit of Chromebooks is that this generation of students are particularly familiar with technology. These laptops will make learning easier, more enjoyable, and students will be better prepared to use these skills in their post-high school lives.
          Chromebooks are particularly advantageous for school staff as well. These laptops have an 8 hour battery life and they "boot-up" within seconds, ready for full use. Moreover, Google provides a central customer support, which eliminates the need to over hire IT staff. Updates for Chromebooks software is rarely necessary, which makes for easy upkeep. And best of all, the school controls what websites students can access during the day, therefore distractions are limited.
        There is, however, the issue of price. The cost of a laptop with Chromebooks starts at about $350. It is an investment that may not be affordable. Perhaps, as time goes on, the software will become less expensive. If the money is there, it is a truly great program.

My rating on this "Tech Tool": 3/5 (due to cost)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

All Abilities ePlayground

**Please note that this is my response to another teacher's blog.

       The All Abilities ePlayground is essentially an educational video game aimed to teach students with special needs. It is an excellent teaching tool; I am amazed by its capabilities as well as its adaptability. 
       The fact that the program is in the form of a video game is great because students are so excited to play that they don't even realize that they are learning. Moreover, the All Abilities ePlayground games consist of multiple levels which become increasingly more challenging: this gets them more involved in the game. To the kids, it feels like being at home on their XBox. Video games are more relatable to today's generation than textbooks or worksheets ever could be; trust me, they will want to do their work if it is in the form of a video game.  And as for the teachers, this program is a great way to get  students enthusiastic and eager about the lesson; at the same time it is allowing them to develop their skills on their own.
       In addition to the actual games within the All Abilities ePlayground, I am pleased to say that the program is super adaptable. I'm always hesitant to use programming like this, because it usually limits students with physical handicaps.  However, certain games in the All Abilities ePlayground can be set to "Blind Mode" and others can be played by blowing into a microphone. Thus, virtually all disabled students have some way to play the game. I really do appreciate that this game was designed to accommodate to all needs.
       And best of all, it's free! There will be no grants or tax dollars necessary, so it's hassle-free in that respect. Also, it is a wonderful alternative to Smartboard games or educational iPad apps as far as pricing goes. So get started!

My rating of this "tech tool": 5/5