The graphic below is from Home Remodeling for People with Disabilities: What You Need to Know — from by Michael Sledd; with thanks to Grace Valladolid for the resource

Per Grace:

  • This a comprehensive guide for people living with disabilities. It aims to help make the federal grants available to seniors, veterans, and people with cognitive and physical disabilities much easier to understand and take advantage of, particularly for remodeling homes for accessibility.
  • exists to help people make truly better decisions by clearly laying out their options, with content written by industry experts.



For another version of this graphic, see:


From DSC:
The graphic provides a great visual summary of the principles of Universal Design.

Note how these concepts are applicable in the realm of learning — per Wikipedia:

The concept and language of Universal Design for Learning was inspired by the universal design movement in architecture and product development, originally formulated by Ronald L. Mace at North Carolina State University.[5]  Universal design calls for “the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design”.[8]

These concepts benefit all learners. This is why I’m big on more choice, more control — and providing content in as many ways as possible, while offering as many pathways to successfully meeting the learning objectives as possible.



How Blippar Education supports special needs students to improve learning — from



Firstly, high school teacher Katrine Pinkpank’s class made individual, blippable posters for their Earth Day projects in April. When passers-by blipped these posters – all of which were hung in beautiful frames in the hallways – they were taken to a video of the students doing their Earth Day presentation in front of the class. One student in the class is legally blind, so the braille on his poster was used to trigger the blipp.  These hallway boards have become living, breathing, 3D tributes to the work of our students.

In Room 407, students used Blippar in many different ways. Wendy Thompson, an early adopter of the technology, used it for a Women’s History Month project where students created an app-smash between Blippar and Trading Cards. The students created trading cards about famous women in history – such as Ella Fitzgerald, Frida Kahlo, and Mary Shelley – then used Blippar to add photo galleries, hyperlinks, and videos so people passing the bulletin board could scan the cards and view pop-up content about these remarkable women.

Secondly, the class made the school newsletter blippable.

Using Blippar and Tellagami, the students created talking digital avatar videos that illustrated their post-secondary and transition goals.


From DSC:
Though this posting focuses on the use of Blippar, an augmented reality app, I also think beacons (such as from Estimote), machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, and apps like locly could be used to relay information from students, teachers, and faculty members who could record and provide presentations concerning their work — with pieces of their work being located out in the hallways or actually anywhere on a campus. When someone approaches a piece in the hallway, a pre-loaded application on that person’s mobile device — such as locly — would be activated to display a “card”/link to the video describing that piece. The author, creator, designer doesn’t need to be physically present in order to tell people about their work.


Also see:

Elements 4D
NASA’s Spacecraft 3D
Anatomy 4D


From DSC:
The folks who worked on the site have done a great job! Besides the wonderful resources therein, I really appreciated the user experience one is able to get by using their site. Check out the interface and functionality you can experience there (and which I’ve highlighted below).


We need a similar interface for matching up pedagogies with technologies.






Also, there are some excellent accessibility features:






From DSC:
When you read the article below, you’ll see why I’m proposing the aforementioned interface/service/database — a service that would be similar to Wikipedia in terms of allowing many people to contribute to it.


Why ed tech is not transforming how teachers teach  — from by Benjamin Herold
Student-centered, technology-driven instruction remains elusive for most


Public schools now provide at least one computer for every five students. They spend more than $3 billion per year on digital content. And nearly three-fourths of high school students now say they regularly use a smartphone or tablet in the classroom.

But a mountain of evidence indicates that teachers have been painfully slow to transform the ways they teach, despite that massive influx of new technology into their classrooms. The student-centered, hands-on, personalized instruction envisioned by ed-tech proponents remains the exception to the rule.


From DSC:
Swivl allows faculty members, teachers, trainers, and other Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to make recordings where the recording device swivels to follow the SME (who is holding/wearing a remote). Recordings can be automatically sent to the cloud for further processing/distribution.

My request to you is:
Can you extend the Swivl app to not only provide recordings, but to provide rough draft transcripts of those recordings as well?

This could be very helpful for accessibility reasons, but also to provide students/learners with a type of media that they prefer (video, audio, and/or text).





From DSC:
A note to Double Robotics — can you work towards implementing M2M communications?

That is, when our Telepresence Robot from Double Robotics approaches a door, we need for sensors on the door and on the robot to initiate communications with each other in order for the door to open (and to close after __ seconds). If a security clearance code is necessary, the remote student or the robot needs to be able to transmit the code.

When the robot approaches an elevator, we need for sensors near the elevator and on the robot to initiate communications with each other in order for the elevator to be summoned and then for the elevator’s doors to open. We then need for the remote student/robot to be able to tell the elevator which floor it wants to go to and to close the elevator door (if if hasn’t already done so).

Such scenarios imply that we need:

  1. Industry standards for such communications
  2. Standards that include security clearances (i.e., “OK, I’ll let you into this floor of this public building.” or “No, I can’t open up this door without you sending me a security clearance code.”)
  3. Secure means of communications


 -- wheels for your iPad



A major request/upgrade might also include:

  • The ability for the Double App on the iPad to make recordings, have an auto send option to send those recordings to the cloud, and then provide transcripts for those recordings. This could be very helpful for accessibility reasons, but also to provide students/learners with a type of media that they prefer (video, audio, and/or text).




Ed Tech World on Notice: Miami U disability discrimination lawsuit could have major effect — from by Phil Hill


This week the US Department of Justice, citing Title II of ADA, decided to intervene in a private lawsuit filed against Miami University of Ohio regarding disability discrimination based on ed tech usage. Call this a major escalation and just ask the for-profit industry how big an effect DOJ intervention can be. From the complaint:

Miami University uses technologies in its curricular and co-curricular programs, services, and activities that are inaccessible to qualified individuals with disabilities, including current and former students who have vision, hearing, or learning disabilities. Miami University has failed to make these technologies accessible to such individuals and has otherwise failed to ensure that individuals with disabilities can interact with Miami University’s websites and access course assignments, textbooks, and other curricular and co-curricular materials on an equal basis with non-disabled students. These failures have deprived current and former students and others with disabilities a full and equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from all of Miami University’s educational opportunities.


New from Educause:
Higher Ed IT Buyers Guide





Quickly search 50+ product and service categories, access thousands of IT solutions specific to the higher ed community, and send multiple RFPs—all in one place. This new Buyers Guide provides a central, go-to online resource for supporting your key purchasing decisions as they relate to your campus’s strategic IT initiatives.

Find the Right Vendors for Higher Education’s Top Strategic Technologies

Three of the Top 10 Strategic Technologies identified by the higher education community this year are mobile computing, business intelligence, and business performance analytics.* The new Buyers Guide connects you to many of the IT vendors your campus can partner with in the following categories related to these leading technologies, as well as many more.

View all 50+ product and service categories.




With a special thanks to Krista Spahr,
Senior Instructional Designer at Calvin College,
for this resource



March 1, 2015 | The De Young, one of San Francisco’s fine art museums, now has two robots that open the museum up to those who cannot attend, including the physically handicapped. John Blackstone reports on the state-of-the-art in museum tour guides, and interviews robotics activist Henry Evans, a former Silicon Valley executive who is now almost completely paralyzed, and who worked with the museum to make touring by robot a reality.


A collection of curated items:


Socratic questioning: 30 thought-provoking questions to ask your students — from by Saga Briggs



Open Educational Resources – from the Babson Survey Research Group by I. Elaine Allen, Ph.D. and Jeff Seaman, Ph.D.

Opening the Curriculum: Open Education Resources in U.S. Higher Education, 2014

This report, funded by a grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation with additional support from Pearson, examines the attitudes, opinions, and use of Open Educational Resources (OER) among teaching faculty in U.S. higher education. Some of the key findings:


Opening the Curriculum: Open Education Resources in U.S. Higher Education, 2014



Katie Novak: Universal Design for Learning, an introduction — from
Dr Katie Novak is a Reading curriculum coordinator and an independent ‘Universal Design for Learning’ (UDL) consultant. Universal Design for Learning is a framework that allows teachers to meet the needs of all learners in the classroom, and in this keynote speech at ULearn14 Katie outlines the background to UDL and demonstrates how UDL enables teachers to take rigorous curriculum and make it accessible to all students.

What is UDL?
UDL Guidelines




Five inspiring EdTekTalks — from by Diana Fingal

Harvard researchers spent six years studying innovative entrepreneurs to find out how their creative processes work. What they found was that the number one skill all innovators practice regularly is connecting across a variety of disciplines. In other words, innovators are people who cross-pollinate, or use ideas from other industries to spark their own creativity.

With that in mind, ISTE reached out to inspiring people from a range of fields and asked them to share their insights in mini-keynotes called EdTekTalks. This provocative series of five talks includes futurists, designers and entrepreneurs from beyond the world of ed tech.



Berklee College of Music Opens Major WSDG-Designed Audio Teaching Complex in 160 Mass. Ave. Tower — from; via @eduwiretech


BOSTON, MASS.  Berklee College of Music opened the doors to its 160 Massachusetts Avenue,residence tower in January 2014.  The building now features one of the largest, most progressive, and versatile professional audio teaching/production/performance complexes in the U.S.  Over three years and $100 million have been invested in the development and construction of this cusp point educational compound.  Situated over four dedicated floors in a striking, sixteen-story, 155,000 sq. ft.  William Rawn Associates building, the ten-studio Walters-Storyk Design Group – designed, audio education component represents a pinnacle of contemporary studio planning.



7 Simple Ways You Can Help Students Pay Attention In A Traditional Classroom — from

  1. Use the 10:2 method (2 minutes of response for every 10 minutes of instruction.)
  2. Incorporate movement into your lessons
  3. Pick up the pace
  4. Provide frequent feedback
  5. Allow 5-7 seconds of “think time”
  6. Have students use the 3-2-1 method of summarizing
  7. Periodically pause mid-sentence
 — a free text-to-speech app; with thanks to Mr. Jim Lerman for the Scoop and to Miguel Guhlin for the post on it

Excerpt from the Voxdox website (emphasis DSC):

  • Voxdox is a new free text to speech app, available now for iOS, Android and Kindle.
  • Voxdox will read aloud any form of text for you in your choice of human voice.
  • Voxdox is a PDF reader and a PDF Translator. A smart PDF to Speech system converts your documents to quality speech. Import your PDF documents convert their text to voice.
  • Voxdox is also an eBook reader that supports EPUB, PRC, MOBI and MBP format eBooks, and an audio book creator that can turn any kind of text to a talking book in just a few clicks.
  • Voxdox can be used as a document scanner utilizing your device’s camera. Just take a picture of any document in almost any language, translate it to a different language if you wish to do so, and convert its text to speech.
  • Voxdox gives you the choice – listen to your document or simply read it – all audio materials are also presented in text form.
  • Converting text to voice has never been easier. Let your phone or tablet read aloud for you!


From DSC:
I have not used this tool — but if it’s good, it would be a powerful tool for helping a lot of people out there! Especially those seeking an OCR –> to Microsoft Word –> to speech type of deal. And like it often goes with accessibility-related items, what started out as an accessibility-related item moves into the mainstream to help even more people out (more choice; more control of how I “take in”/absorb the content).






Microsoft’s Kinect is now a sign language translator — from by Neal Ungerleider
Researchers in China have turned Microsoft Kinect into a real-time translator for sign language.





Humanoid robot demonstrates sign language — from by Jason Falconer



The 6 simplest web accessibility tests anyone can do — from


To truly understand accessibility and accessible web development requires extensive knowledge of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, the DOM & BOM, accessibility APIs, assistive technologies, and how people with disabilities use computers. I’ve dedicated my career to it and find out the more I know the less I understand.

What about those for whom accessibility isn’t their career choice? What about those who don’t want to know things like the complicated interplay between markup, DOM interfaces, and accessibility API role mappings? What about people who want to know: “How does my website perform for people with people with disabilities?” Here you go. 6 tests that anyone can do without any development knowledge.


From DSC:

  • What if you want to allow some remote students to come on into your face-to-face classroom?
  • What if you want to allow those remote students to be seen and communicated with at eye level?
  • What if you want Remote Student A to join Group 1, and Remote Student B to join Group 2?

Well…how about using one of these devices  in order to do so!


New video collaboration robot: TelePresence gets moving — from by Dave Evans


That is why Cisco’s new joint effort with iRobot—demonstrated publicly this week for the first time—is so exciting: We’ve created a mobile Cisco TelePresence unit that brings collaboration to you—or, conversely, brings you to wherever you need to collaborate. Called iRobot Ava 500, this high-definition video collaboration robot combines Cisco TelePresence with iRobot’s mobility and self-navigation capabilities, enabling freedom of movement and spontaneous interactions with people thousands of miles away.



iRobot Ava™ 500 Video Collaboration Robot — published on Jun 10, 2013
iRobot and Cisco have teamed to bring the Ava 500 video collaboration robot to market. The robot blends iRobot’s autonomous navigation with Cisco’s TelePresence to enable people working off-site to participate in meetings and presentations where movement and location spontaneity are important. The new robot is also designed to enable mobile visual access to manufacturing facilities, laboratories, customer experience centers and other remote facilities.



Double Robotics Double



MantaroBot™ TeleMe




From Attack of the Telepresence Robots! — from BYTE  by Rick Lehrbaum





MantaroBot “TeleMe” VGo Communications “VGo” Anybots “QB” Suitable Technologies “Beam”




RP-7i Remote Presence Robot


Also see:


The folks needed to create the next generation of learning: Computers can’t touch this. [Christian]

From DSC:
What we need is a major hackathon — or an organization with deep pockets — that can bring together folks from a variety of disciplines including:

  • Subject Matter Experts
  • Instructional Designers
  • Cognitive Psychologists
  • Computer Scientists and/or those exerienced with learning analytics/data mining, Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Those gifted in film/media/videography/photography
  • Great storytellers/writers (including writing for transmedia-based learning experiences)
  • Folks who can create engaging, educational games
  • Designers
    • Web
    • Graphic
    • Interface
    • User experience
    • User interaction
    • Those gifted in creating multimedia-based content
  • Musicians
  • Human Computer Interaction (HCI) experts
  • Mobile learning experts
  • Those knowledgeable with second screens/M2M communications
  • Animators
  • Illustrators
  • Social media experts
  • Accessibility experts
  • Researchers
  • Those gifted in creating augmented reality-based apps
  • Legal/copyright experts
  • & others

We need for these specialists to collaborate in order to create the next generation of learning.  Anyone who can bring these skillsets together and experiment with creating materials will have significantly contributed something to the current generations and to future generations! 

And, in the words of M.C. Hammer,  computers “can’t touch this!”  Why? Because “learning is messy!”

What fields did I miss?
Please leave your thoughts and
feedback in the comments section.





31 top apps for education from FETC 2013 — from The Journal by Stephen Noonoo


Like last year, this year’s popular App Shootout at FETC 2013 tossed around dozens of useful apps for teachers and students. Once again the closeout session was led by ed tech pros Gail Lovely, Hall Davidson, and Jenna Linskens, who each presented apps in three different categories of their choosing, including their favorite “wow” apps. Read on for a selection of the most buzzed about apps for Apple devices. For even more app ideas, visit the shootout’s Web site and complete app list Google Doc.

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