Friday, April 30, 2010
Microsoft has created a free plugin for Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007 and 2010 called Mouse Mischief. It allows multiple mouse cursors in PowerPoints, so you can give several students their own mouse and have them engaged with your presentation. Watch the demonstration (warning: like most MS marketing videos, it's a bit cheesy) to see how students can answer questions and interact with slideshows in your lessons. If your district (or your personal laptop) has a newer version of PowerPoint, you will surely want to try this freebie out. http://www.microsoft.com/multipoint/mouse-mischief/
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Cloud-based note-keeping software Evernote recently profiled in its blog a user with traumatic brain injury who uses the software as a sort of prosthetic memory. In the feedback section, several other people with memory problems also sung the praises of Evernote. I also recommend it for students who have difficulty taking notes in class. They can photograph the teacher's notes from the chalkboard. Once uploaded into Evernote, all text, whether printed or handwritten, is recognized by the system and is searchable. The student doesn't need to worry about organizing a binder full of notes from different classes (although it can help if he adds tags to notes he uploads). If he just types in "Othello" for example, all his notes containing "Othello" (including those written by his English teacher and captured with his smartphone's camera) will come up, and when he clicks on one, it will be displayed with all instances of "Othello" highlighted. Evernote comes in free and paid/premium versions.
HelpKidzLearn.com has a bunch of simple, free, online activities and games that can be controlled with a switch or a mouse. Just look for the little red switch icon in the menus for switch-accessibility.
Besides games, there are stories and creative activities that let the user design a model railroad, a greeting card, or a sand castle, with switches (or mouse).
Be sure also to check out the section for Parents, where you'll find links to more switch-accessible activities, and also a free download for creating an interactive visual timetable; it's easy to use, with many pictures included, plus the ability to import your own pictures.