Monday, December 15, 2008

December AT-FYI available

The latest and greatest December AT FYI is available now!
This issue includes info on spelling and writing aids, handheld electronic dictionaries, online dictionaries, voice recognition, spellers and future events.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Really Cool World Map Site

Worldmapper is a collection of world maps, where territories are re-sized on each map according to the subject of interest. For example, there are maps showing literacy levels, CO2 emissions and religious distribution (christians vs muslims for example).

There are now nearly 600 maps! It's a very cool site to look at one country's subjects, or how the world sees one particular subject.

Monday, November 17, 2008

New AT FYI Available

The Region 5/7 AT Committee has released the November '08 AT FYI! To download the PDF, click here.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Want to download pre-made Boardmaker boards?

You can sign up at and download Boardmaker boards that other users have uploaded for public use. If you're a Boardmaker user, it's a must see!

Monday, November 03, 2008

It's votin' time!

It's almost over! Get out there!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Quest Atlantis

This quote from the Quest Atlantis site sums it up for me: 'Quest Atlantis (QA) is an international learning and teaching project that uses a 3D multi-user environment to immerse children, ages 9-15, in educational tasks. QA combines strategies used in the commercial gaming environment with lessons from educational research on learning and motivation.'

This project is run by the Indiana School of Education at Indiana University and is funded by the National Science Foundation and others.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

SpEd Forms User Group Meeting

There will be a SpEd Forms user group meeting on Tuesday, October 28 from 9:00-noon. If you are interested in attending, let me know.

Also, this is my 100th blog post!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

AT for Computer Games?

I get many questions about using assistive technology to help students use popular video game software. The site is a great resource for making AT work in the gaming world. They can help with everything from playing Monopoly to Second Life. They actually use AT to interact with the programs so they know what they are all about.

Other good sites include and

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

No tricks, just treats!

Celebrate All Hallows’ Eve by sending “ghoulish” treats to that favorite pumpkin in your patch. The students at Paul Bunyan Transition Plus have created “frightfully” fun and “boo”tifully decorated Halloween gifts containing a not too scary “brew” of treats. Hurry as “haunting” season is upon us and your favorite “ghoul or ghostie” doesn’t want to be left out in the dark. “Bewitch” them by having us deliver it as well on that “spooky” day. There will be “screams” of joy.

Deadline to place orders is Wednesday, Oct. 29 or while supplies last. Prices range from $1.00-$6.00 with orders taken via email to or by calling 454-5393 to talk with a student.

Witch hand $1 = popcorn hand with spider ring
Sucker bouquet $2 = 1 large and 2 small Halloween suckers made into a “bouquet”
Spider pumpkin $2 = non-edible pumpkin spider
Candy bags $3 = peanut/candy corn mixture in decorated cellophane bags
Witches brew $4 small or $5 large = ghost, bat, witch, and pumpkin “cauldrons” filled with candy and prizes
Goblets $4 = ghoulish goblets filled with candy and prizes
Candy corn pot $4 = clay pots painted to look like candy corn filled with peanut/candy corn mixture
Scary cactus $6 = live cactus plants decorated in ghoulish fashion

Open Source AT Software

I learned of a great Open Source (can you say 'free') site for assistive technology software at Closing the Gap. The site is

There is lots of good stuff on the site including on screen keyboards, voice activation, symbol libraries, full office suites and word prediction software. It's all free, but some have upgrades to more full featured products that have a nominal fee. At least you can try it for free.

With budgets evaporating, I think this is something everyone should at least consider.

Monday, October 20, 2008

What's a Ning?

A Ning is a type of social networking site. There are many social networking sites that students use like Facebook or MySpace.

I've created a Ning for the coop. If you'd like to participate as an early adopter, let me know! It's a great chance to play with technology you could use in a classroom.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Resident Districts Alphabetized

I've reordered the drop down list box for resident districts. They are now in alphabetical order (based on the alphabet I learned).

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Services Alphabetized

I've reorganized the services list in SpEd Forms into alphabetical order. I hope to keep it that way...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

New Custom Goal Bank

There is a new custom goal bank feature in SpEd Forms. We now have custom goals for EBD and Transition. For a quick, two-minute tutorial on how to use the custom goals, click here.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Firefox and SpEd Forms

SpEd Forms has completed evaluating Firefox 3 and now recommends it to users of SpEd Forms running Mac OS 10.4 (Tiger) or higher. I've been using it for several weeks and I like it.

To download Firefox 3 click here.

For Mac OS 10.1 to 10.3 they recommend Firefox available by clicking

Please note:
1. Existing users only need to upgrade if they are experiencing issues with Firefox 2 or Opera 9.0.
2. Mac OS users should avoid Firefox When printing multiple pages using Firefox extra blank pages print.

Friday, July 25, 2008

AIMSweb Grade Rollover Complete

I've completed the AIMSweb grade rollover (graduation). Grade levels were bumped up one year and students were moved to their new school where needed.

I saw quite a few obvious duplicate students. Please check to see if a student is already in the system before adding a new one.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

SpEd Forms Grade Rollover

I've completed the SpEd Forms grade rollover. All grades have been incremented one year with the exception of EC (Early Childhood).

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Shift Happens

This is a really great video that puts some perspective on what our students lives will be like and how much/fast things are changing in our world. The video, named Did You Know 2.0, is on YouTube and is a must see for all educators!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Summer Institute Workshops

We've posted the Summer Institute workshop information on our website. Click here for more information.

SpEd Forms Upgrade

I upgraded the SpEd Forms server this morning. Here's a summary of the changes:

1. When a user attempts to add a student with a MARSS ID that already exists, or change the MARSS ID to value that already exists, then the student’s name and case manager are displayed with contact information.
2. When a student pickup is completed, the user can update the district and school information for the student from the pickup screen

1. Super administrators can choose which administrators submit support requests.
2. Super administrators can choose which administrators can delete student records.

Service plans:
1. Referral Source no longer appears automatically on the IFSP
2. Measures can now be used to create data driven progress reports for goals or objectives.
3. On the IEP, a link to the "Extended School Year Services" page has been added to the ESY section of the services page.

Additional forms:
1. Finalization has been added to the following forms:
a. Notice of Team Meeting
b. Prior Written Notice
c. Notice of Educational Evaluation/Reevaluation Plan
2. Birth to 3 Referral Form:
a. A text box has been added to specify the reason for referral
b. A date for when each person was notified was added
c. A "Comments/Other Information" text box was also added
3. On the Parental Consent/Objection form the teacher can indicate who the form should be returned to.

MA Forms:
1. The MA Parental Consent form has been revised. Super administrators can choose to use version A or B in preferences.
2. District administrators have access to 835 responses.
3. Student records cannot be removed until medical billing records have been deleted.
4. Trip log details can be edited in “Create/Edit Batch Files”.

Evaluation Report:
1. SLD Templates have been updated.
2. The default cell padding in tables has been reduced to "1" from "4".
3. The Sensory Profiles and CELF-P:2, have been added to the SpEd Forms Test Templates.
4. ECSE 0-2.11 and ECSE 3-6.11 criteria and templates have been update in the SpEd Forms Templates.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Today is National Teacher Day!

On National Teacher Day, thousands of communities will take time out to honor their local educators and acknowledge the contributions they make to our lives. The National Teacher Day annual theme is, "Great Teachers Make Great Schools." The theme draws attention to the crucial role teachers play in making sure every child receives a quality education.

Thank you to the wonderful teachers in our coop who help make our schools a great place to learn and work!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Up to the MN*AT and QIAT Summit

The Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology (QIAT) summit and Up to the MN*AT will be held June 23 thru June 26. QIAT will be held at Northwestern College on the 23rd and 24th. Up to the MN*AT will be held on the 25th and 26th.

For the brochure and registration information, click here.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Para eLink Training

Once again, the Paul Bunyan Education Coop is offering the Para eLink class, which is one way that paraprofessionals can become “highly qualified” as defined by the federal “No Child Left Behind” law. This class is open to anyone currently employed as a special education or Title I paraprofessional who has not yet met NCLB requirements for employment as well as those who would like to work as a K-12 paraprofessional in the future. We need your help to make sure that everyone who wants to take the class is aware that it is being offered. If you know someone who would like to enroll, please give them a copy of the flyer. Thank you for help in getting the word out!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Naughty Auties?!

CNN has been running a series this week on Autism. If you haven't been following it, go to their website and give it a look.

They have a good piece on an Autism group, Naughty Auties, in Second Life. Second Life is an interesting piece of free software. Users create an avatar to represent themselves online. Then they can travel thru Second Life and shop, chat with others, fly around, or even go into orbit. What I find interesting is that when you're on Second Life, there are no 'handicaps'. If you are in a wheelchair in real life, you can fly, just like everyone else, in Second Life. It's another good example of 'bridge tech'.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

ComLink Wireless Personal Hearing Assistant

I was at the Region 5/7 AT meeting this morning and we had a presentation on the ComLink personal hearing assistant. It's a low-cost (under $200), wireless hearing product. It's something to look at as it much less expensive compared to a traditional FM system, and it doesn't overlap with FM frequencies.
Click here to download the brochure.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Do you Facebook?

This is the first in a series of posts about technologies that your students are probably familiar with, but you might not be. My intent is to give you a 'heads up' so you can go explore the technology yourself. The label for these posts will be 'Bridge Tech'.
Facebook is a social networking site like MySpace. It allows people to communicate and stay connected. It has tools similar to email, but also allows you to say what you're doing today, who your 'friends' are, post pictures, say what events you have in your calendar and what groups you belong to. Your friends can post on your wall, poke you, and even send you presents! This site is very popular with students through college level and beyond.
I have a Facebook account so look me up! I'll be your friend!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Welcome Dr. Carol Pasanen!

We'd like to welcome Dr. Carol Pasanen to our staff as our new Data Management Coordinator. Dr. Pasanen will be serving all our districts and charter schools by coordinating data collection and analysis across the coop.
Welcome Dr. Pasanen!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Charting the Cs Registration Brochure

The Charting the Cs brochure is available. It contains the conference details including breakout sessions and registration information. To download it, click here.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Interested in Charting the Cs?

If you are interested in attending Charting the Cs this year, please let Mark Oehrlein (me) or Margaret Knebel know. We will have a limited supply of scholarships to cover the cost of the conference and they will be awarded first-come first-served. It will be in April 28-29 in Alexandria.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Updated SpEd Forms User Guide Available

The SpEd Forms User Guide has been revised and is available online at:
SpEd Forms users can access the guide directly from the program by clicking on the “User Guide” link in the right hand corner of the main menu.

A printable PDF version is available from download from:

Friday, January 11, 2008

Charting the Cs - 2008

Charting the Cs will be held at the Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center in Alexandria, MN, April 28 and 29, 2008. Keep your calendar's open! This is a great, low cost AT conference.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Service Start and End Dates

I’ve had a few questions about the service start and end date fields and I’d like to clarify a few things.
There are date fields on the ‘Edit Setup’ page and the ‘Special Education Data Sheet’ for ‘Service Start Date’ and ‘Service End Date’. These dates are linked in the database, so if you change them on one form, they will change on the other.
The service start date should be the earliest date that a service starts for the IEP. The service end date should be the latest date a service ends on the IEP. These dates are needed for MARSS status reporting and don’t explicitly exist on the IEP.
Since a student can have a variety of services with potentially different start and end dates, these fields require manual entry. When you create a new IEP, you will need to manually update these fields on the student's setup page or the Special Education Data Sheet.
These fields do NOT get checked at validation time because they are not on the actual IEP.
Here's a short video showing where the dates are in SpEd Forms.