“If a child can't learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.”
-- Ignacio Estrada

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

RJ Cooper


RJ's Story (from website)
During my 3 years of Electrical Engineering (w/digital emphasis) at the University of Utah, I started working with special students at local schools in and around Salt Lake City. I realized that not many R & D people were working with materials for persons with severe disabilities. I began researching, and eventually developing materials that responded to requests of spec. ed. teachers, speech/language pathologists, and professionals that I began networking with around the world. I moved to CA in 1986 and finished my B.A. in Developmental Psychology, while continuing my research, this time at RH Dana Exceptional Needs Facility in Dana Point. At the same time, I began writing my column for the internationally recognized publication, Closing The Gap. I started, and continue, to make materials that are requested by others, many that know more about needs than myself. I research & develop these materials in actual settings, with actual people, for professionals and parents that have shown a belief in my work. Trying to respond to your requests and keeping pace with ever-developing technology have proven to be my greatest challenges.

This company creates "special software and hardware products for persons with special needs" (quote from website). RJ Cooper specializes in creating "custom" adapted equipment. The company offers free CDs with software demos.They offer have simple cause and effect software to adapted game controllers to a large selection of iPad adaptations. If you are new to assistive technology, you may want to check out this site to see what is available. Although I have not purchased from this company, I can say that is detail to what teacher's want/need is what makes RJ Cooper different from other companies out there.


Monday, February 14, 2011

hiyah - Free educational software


This website was created by a mother who saw a need for software that could be easily manipulated by children who could not use a mouse. The site offers free educational software in high interest, basic academics, and holiday themes. The site offers 2 ways to access the software: download or play online. If running Windows, downloading the programs will give you increased speed and the animation will be better. An additional bonus is no internet connection needed. If not running Windows or do not want to download, you can play programs online with lower resolution, the animations are somewhat distorted, and an internet connection is needed. (Information is a summary from website; consult website for additional information). Although I have not tried this, I would suggest downloading the programs to a USB flash drive. This way it could be portable from computer to computer. I will update post when I am able to trial saving to a flash drive.

Many of the programs use the SPACE bar to activate. They are compatible with a single switch of the switch interface has a SPACE bar setting.

Leave a comment if you try these programs and let me know how they work for your child!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011



Starfall is a website that we use quite frequently with our Smartboard as well as individually with students on the classroom computers. Starfall's activities range from simple letter exploration activities to beginning reading activities with word families to reading activities. They also have a collection of theme and seasonal activities that the students enjoy. It is a nice website if you are looking for differentiated activities within one website. It does not work well with switch access and we have found it most effective during whole group activities.

In the classroom, we primarily use the letter exploration and calendar section. The letter exploration section helps teach the students how to activate the Smartboard (touch, touch and drag, etc.) and it gives them the ability to make their own choices. The calendar activity allows for errorless learning and it assists the student by providing verbal and visual prompts for them to activate the correct answer. It gives all the students an opportunity to participate in the classroom activities and the students enjoy those successes.

If you check out Starfall or are a current user, leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Thursday, February 3, 2011


In an effort to share classroom activities and ideas with parents, students, and colleagues...
In an effort to show what cool things can be done within a classroom...
In an effort to move into the 21st century of technology in schools...
In an effort to demonstrate that the use of technology can engage ALL learners and help them participate and become an active member of the school environment...

Thanks to the inspiration after attending a recent TECH conference...
This blog was created!

Welcome and Enjoy!
Melanie Broxterman, Intervention Specialist
Evendale Elementary