SoundAmp Giveaway

Below is a promo code for SoundAmp. To learn more about SoundAmp click here. To win the app enter the code into iTunes. The first person to enter the code will win the SoundAmp app. Once one person enters the code it will no longer work. If you do not win check back latter for another code. Good Luck.


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Breaking Down to Rebuild: Redefining the Innovative Classroom

Recently, I’ve been talking to other school districts about our iPad program and the process by which we began to integrate these devices. At each meeting, I’ve been avidly referring to the SAMR model, an innovation continuum developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura. This model describes the various levels of your technology innovation: Substitution > Augmentation > Modification > Redefinition. Think of it as the Bloom’s Taxonomy of innovation. The highest level, redefinition, is of course our goal. However the question becomes – how does one redefine a classroom?
My next suggestion has been met with mixed reactions. I tell everyone that what we've realized seems so simple yet so scary at the same time: to rebuild, one must first do some demolition. By this I mean, you have to be willing to set aside, even discard, your previous understandings of what assessment, differentiation and instruction look like, sound like and feel like. You have to be willing to start over with the new building materials available: i.e., iPads. Instead of trying to insert iPads into an already-existing structure, you must start over and rebuild a structure that utilizes the iPads in the most effective way – to redefine the way your classroom functions.
To illustrate this, I show the following graphic I created explaining my understanding of SAMR. Note that the substitution bubble is the largest, yet still does not outweigh the redefinition bubble. This is meant to demonstrate that while you may create 10, 20 even 30 lessons on the substitution level, their sum effect on your students' learning can still be less than that of 1 lesson on the redefinition level. 
As an example I go back to my argument about apps.  Content apps, like Rocket Math or Math Ninja, while very engaging only address a handful (if not only a single) set of standards. Once your student has mastered that standard, they only serve as practice. Even then, data collection from these apps is limited and the level of student cognition is often low. Consider then, a creation app like ShowMe. This app can be used to address a wide range of standards from math to science to literacy - and will engage students at the highest level of Bloom's Taxonomy - creation. Relating this back to SAMR - the content apps are all substituting or augmenting pencil and paper learning. A creation app such as ShowMe is redefining teaching and learning. Thus one redefined lesson outweighing dozens of substitution or augmentation lessons.

While the concept may seem simple, the execution is anything but. Teachers need to be inspired, then supported, then supported some more. It is frightening to be risking not only your comfort, but your students' success on something you've never tried. I always recommend that school leaders begin by taking their teachers to visit schools who are doing this well- who have already made the journey through the SAMR model - or are currently doing so.

After your team has been inspired to take a sledgehammer to their proverbial classrooms and start anew, school leaders must be ready to help the teachers pick up the pieces and support them in rebuilding a new, more innovative classroom. Frequent and relevant professional development, release time to plan and fostering active learning communities are a few of the supports that have helped me to be successful in my first year of redefining my classroom.

While this may seem a daunting task no matter the hat you wear: district leader, school leader, coach, classroom teacher - consider the reward at the end of the day. Consider what redefining your classrooms will mean to the students who learn in them.
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SoundAmp Giveaway

Below is a promo code for SoundAmp. To learn more about SoundAmp click here. To win the app enter the code into iTunes. The first person to enter the code will win the SoundAmp app. Once one person enters the code it will no longer work. If you do not win check back latter for another code. Good Luck.


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My Kids Write an App (Sort of)

This year, we have continued to try out new apps and ideas for using iPads in the classroom. Recently, we have been experimenting with three annotation apps. One of these apps had particularly caught my eye for its unique ability to screencast student annotations with audio narration of their thinking. After playing with it for a few hours, I blogged great excitement for it, immediately purchased 32 Volume Purchase Program licenses to sync it to all of my devices and mapped out a lesson to introduce it to students.

Sometime that evening, I realized that I was ignoring my promise to myself: test apps with a small "focus group" of students before unleashing it on all of my kids. However, I had already paid for 32 licenses... I crossed my fingers and prayed that a small group of students would love it. They had to; the app was amazing!

The next day, my students responded with pure venom. The app was out.

I blogged about their reactions in a post about my students' reactions to three annotation apps to share and solicit feedback from other teachers. To my surprise, the app developer himself not only responded, but requested an audience with my student reviewers! His sole intention was the improve the apps and show the students that they could have an influence on the world around them. How amazing.

The students got permission to stay after school and organized their thoughts to Skype with the app developer. The day of the Skype arrived, and my students came in quite excited. One student shared on her mood check in:

I was worried that my students would be too nervous or intimidated to give honest feedback to the developer. I should have known better - they're never shy! The students openly critiqued the app, giving specific feedback and notes about its functionality and aesthetic.  They were both polite and excited to meet with him.

After the discussion, the app developer generously agreed to update his app with many of my students' suggestions. The students smiled, said goodbye, but didn't seem to truly swallow the enormity of what they had accomplished as 9 and 10 year olds.

Apparently a good night's sleep aided in the digestion of this idea. All of the students returned to school the next day bouncing on their heels to talk to me. They pulled me aside and said, "Ms. Magiera! Do you know what we did?! We got to MAKE an app! We told the INVENTOR what to do! And he LISTENED!" They continued, beaming about how they felt "important" and "famous". One asked if they have classes in "app cooking" in high school.

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JotNot Scanner App (Giveaway)

JotNot Scanner is an app for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. To download JotNot click here. JotNot requires a camera in order to capture the documents. JotNot allows you to take a picture of a document and then save it as a perfectly centered PDF file. The resulting document looks as if it was scanned with a flat bed scanner. JotNot even allows users to fax the document from your iOS device. JotNot is $0.99 in the App Store. If you would like to try out JotNot you can download the lite version here.

The assistive technology blog will be giving away free copies of JotNot over the next week. Check back frequently to improve your chances of winning.

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SoundAmp Giveaway

SoundAmp is a hearing aid App for iOS devices. To learn more about SoundAmp click here. Check back here later for the chance to win promo codes for SoundAmp. If you do not win the code check back later for more codes.
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Apps for Autism (60 Minutes)

60 Minutes featured communication Apps for iPad this week. Above is the full episode. Click here to read the full story. 60 Minutes describes the episode as follows,
"Autistic people whose condition prevents them from speaking are making breakthroughs with the help of tablet computers and special applications that allow them to communicate, some for the first time. Lesley Stahl reports."
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Notability Note Taking App for iPad

Notability is a note taking app for iPad. The app is available for $0.99 in the App Store. To download the app click here. Notability allows users to take and edit notes with multimedia including audio and visual. Notability allows users to input text with a keyboard or using their finger to write each letter. Notability also allows users to draw diagrams and highlight. The following from Notability's website,
Discover happiness in capturing your ideas and pursuing your dreams. Notability, the first truly integrated note-taking app on iPad, allows you to do just that. Audio recording, advanced word processing, full-featured handwriting, PDF annotation, and auto syncing flow together seamlessly, allowing you to create comprehensive, beautiful notes, quickly and simply. Even customize the look and feel to fit you."
One of Notability's killer features is audio recording. Notability describes the audio recording feature as follows,
"Standing on a framework that automatically links notes with audio recordings, this tool is perfect for recording lectures, meetings, and interviews. A simple tap to start and your ready to record your speech, presentation, or discussion. Recording even continues when your using other apps. These recordings enhance the review process beyond words. Simply tap on a line and listen to exactly what was said when you were typing. The unique sound amplification features will make sure every word is audible wherever you are. When you finished reviewing, keep the recording for a later date, or delete it. Its your choice."
Another great new feature is the ability to edit and modify PDF files. PDF annotation is described as follows on Notability's website.
"Import lectures, presentations, and forms, straight into Notability from email attachments, the web, or you favorite cloud service. You choose the tools that best help you capture information on a PDF. Write, draw, highlight, type, in an array of colors, or add images. Take notes in text or use a writing block to create a movable canvas. All these features work together to ensure you can create notes that fit your life."
Notability is a great, low cost app for taking notes. To download Notability click here. Click read more below to learn more about Notability.

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Wolfram Alpha is a Knowledge Engine

Wolfram Alpha is an internet based Knowledge Engine. It does more than a search engine because it can do complex math and science equation, generate bar codes, graph equations, display nutritional information and much more. You can try Wolfram Alpha free by clicking here. Wolfram Alpha gives you direct answers instead of links like Bing and Google. Wolfram Alpha can even answer trivia questions like the distance to mars or the width of a football field. The results of the search are displayed in a clear and organized manner that is easy to read.

Wolfram Alpha also has dozens mobile apps for iOS and Android. To learn more about the apps click here. The Wolfram Alpha app is a mobile portal into the Wolfram Alpha knowledge base. Other apps made by Wolfram Alpha include course assistance apps to help you pass your classes and specialized reference apps.

Siri, the iPhone 4S assistant feature also uses Wolfram Alpha to answer your question. To learn more about Siri click here.

Click read more below watch a video about Wolfram Alpha.
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DocScanner Promo Code

Below is a promo code for DocScanner. To learn more about DocScanner click here. To win the app enter the code into iTunes. The first person to enter the code will win the $4.99 DocScanner app. Once one person enters the code it will no longer work.If you do not win check back tomorrow for another code. Good Luck.


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DocScanner Promo Code Giveaway

Below is a promo code for DocScanner. To learn more about DocScanner click here. To win the app enter the code into iTunes. The first person to enter the code will win the $4.99 DocScanner app. Once one person enters the code it will no longer work. If you do not win check back latter for another code. Good Luck.

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Looktel Money Reader Promo Code (Giveaway)

Below is the Looktel Money reader promo code. To learn more about the Looktel Money Reader click here. To win the app enter the code into iTunes. The first person to enter the code will win the $9.99 Looktel Money Reader app. Once one person enters the code it will no longer work. If you do not win, click here to download the app.


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DocScanner OCR iPhone App (Giveaway)

DocScanner is an OCR app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. DocScanner allows you to take a picture of a document and save it as a PDF or JPEG file. To download DocScanner click here. DocScanner also positions the document so it fills the entire screen. Another DocScanner feature converts the text of the document into electronic text that can be read aloud using VoiceOver. This process is called OCR. To learn more about OCR click here. If you would like to test out DocScanner's OCR capabilities download SayText which uses the same OCR engine as DocScanner.  DocScanner allows users to scan many different types of documents including business cards, recipes, articles and even whiteboards. Once your document has been scanned you can save it to a server, Evernote or Dropbox. Norfello Oy describes the apps scanning capabilities as follows.
"DocScanner has industry leading image processing algorithms which automatically turn the picture to look like you have scanned the document with a flatbed scanner."
DocScanner is a competitor to ZoomReader which is another OCR app in the App Store. ZoomReader costs $19.99 while DocScanner costs $4.99. DocScanner has more features including Evernote and Dropbox compatibility and the option to save documents as PDF or JPEG. DocScanner also allows users to scan multiple pages into one documents while ZoomReader only allows you to scan one. ZoomReaders OCR engine does work faster and more accurately in my tests.


The Assistive Technology Blog will be giving away six copies of the DocScanner app over the next week. Promo codes will be posted to the blog over the next week. The first person to enter the code into iTunes will win the app. Once one person enters the code it will no longer work. DocScanner is a $4.99 value in the App Store.

Click read more below to see more pictures of DocScanner.

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iOS 5 Released with Many New Accessibility Features

Today, Apple released iOS 5 to the public. The update is available free though iTunes. iOS 5 includes over 200 new features along with numerous accessibility improvements. To learn more about iOS 5 accessibility click here. To read more about iPhone 4S accessibility click here. iOS 5 is compatible with iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad, iPad 2, iPod Touch 4th generation and iPod Touch 3rd generation. Some lesser known accessiblity features include a system-wide dictionary, the option to speak a selected body of text, a reader mode which filters out all distractions on the web and only leaves important content. The new update includes features to help people with visual impairments, hearing impairments, physical disabilities and learning disabilities. Below is Apple's take on iOS 5 accessiblity.
"iOS 5 comes with innovative new features that make it easier for people with mobility, hearing, vision, and cognitive disabilities to get the most from their iOS devices. iOS 5 works with specialized hardware accessories. The LED flash and custom vibration settings let you see and feel when someone’s calling. And improvements to VoiceOver include custom element labeling. These are just a few of the ways iOS 5 continues making advances in the field of accessibility."
Click read more below to see more pictures and videos of iOS 5.

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Looktel Money Reader App Updated (Giveaway)

Today the Looktel Money Reader was updated to version 2.1. The new update includes bug fixes and makes the app available in Europe. Version 2.0 added support for the Euro, Pound, Australian dollar and Canadian dollar. The Looktel Money Reader can recognize any supported bill when it is in front of the camera The Money Reader will audibly say the denomination of the bill. The Looktel Money Reader is available in the App Store for $9.99. Click here to download the Looktel Money Reader. The Money Reader is can help visually impaired people quick identify the denomination of money anywhere. To learn more about the inaccessibility of paper money click here. To learn more about the Looktel Money Reader click here.


The makers of Looktel provide promotional codes to use as give aways on this blog. Sometime in the next 48 hours one promotional code will be posted on the Assistive Technology Blog. The first reader to redeem the code wins the app. Once one person uses the code it will no longer work. If you do not win the app is availabe by purchase.  You can find it by clicking here.

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I love You(Tube): The Mathademics Channel

In the previous post, I wrote about my new math differentiation model. Today I've been putting together materials for next week's groups (specifically creating/finding videos for the flipped classroom video groups) and have been perusing the Mathademics YouTube channel. After about 15 minutes of downloading videos using (our district blocks YouTube), I am hooked.

This YouTube channel features screencast lessons made by real teachers like you and me. I've been making all of my own for the past year - and while not too difficult, this can be time consuming. Here I've found a great host of videos to download, free and easy! What's more, they are sorted into channels according to teacher (if you find someone who has a similar approach to teaching as you, and want to find more videos by him/her) or by math strand (number sense, geometry, algebra, etc.)!

You can even make your own channel to share your own videos (something I plan to do when I have a free weekend).

Check it out!
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Differentiated Math, v5.2

In the years that I've been teaching math through differentiated groups, my routines and strategies are ever-evolving. Each summer I spend time reflecting on how the year went, pouring over data and student anecdotal feedback to determine what could be improved the following fall.

Ever since injecting my classroom with a rush of technology, I've found myself having these reflection and rebuilding sessions more often. Currently our school is on a 2-week fall intersession. This time off has encouraged me to consider how our new tech-niques (get it? tech? techniques? ha!) and the introduction of the Promethean board can positively impact the routines in our classroom. In this first quarter of school, we have been refining several new math activities and routines using the iPads; now I'm ready to consider how we can make them a more effective and efficient part of our math period.

After a lot of brainstorming - considering what would be best for the students yet manageable for me as their teacher, I came up with a rough draft of a plan. Below is the latest version of math grouping in room 313. As this is my fifth year of differentiated math grouping and the second iteration of the model this year, I have dubbed it version 5.2. 

I invite any comments, questions or ideas for further improvement and promise to write more as I see successes and... less than successes. Special thanks to Autumn Laidler for being a thought partner and to Dan Meyer - whose blog reminds me to try and keep it real when teaching math.

Differentiated Math, version 5.2

Math Block: 70 minutes, daily
Number of teachers in the room: 2
Curriculum: 4th and 5th grade Everyday Mathematics (EM)
Number of Students: 32

Everyday Math Lesson (30 minutes)
> EM Mental Math & Reflexes Routine - iPads as slates w/ MentalNote App (2-3m)

> EM Math Message (5m)

> EM Lesson & Math Discussion (15-20m)

> Exit Ticket / RSA - EM daily formative assessment (3-5m)

Differentiated Groups (40 minutes) 
> Teacher Center 1: EM Lesson Targeted Review
- Who: Based on Exit Ticket; teacher will use the Google form's conditional highlighting to determine which students need to be in this group immediately after they submit their responses
- Length: Two to three 10-20 minute centers
- Where: Tables 1 and 4 - at Promethean Board
- What: This is the part of the lesson that most teachers continue to teach whole-group... so their entire 60-minute block is a mixture of whole-group instruction and workbook practice. I've found that breaking up the group after half an hour and doing this more focused differentiated instruction is more effective for my students. During this group, I will teach content from lesson objectives utilizing the Promethean Board's interactive features and student iPads / SplashTop app.

> Teacher Center 2: Strand work 
- Who: Students will be able to work on math strands in which they need extra practice. This will be informed by their MAP test RIT score and daily formative assessments from class.
- Length: Two to three 10-20 minute centers
- Where: Meeting Table
- What: Teacher creates five word problems to address strand content. The first word problem will be a "Do Now" for the students to work through collaboratively (and will be a pre-assessment to help gauge student learning during this center). The second will be a "I do" model problem. The third and fourth problems will be "We do" problems for the students to "chew" through concepts. The fifth problem will be the exit ticket formative assessment to determine if the student gained any understanding from the group.

> Student Independent Work: Personal Learning Plan
- Who: All students not working at a teacher center
- Length: Full Differentiated Block
- Where: At seats
- What: Personal Learning Plan will follow the same four activities weekly. PLP to be distributed through Edmodo.

Student Personal Learning Plan (M-Th); Friday is self-assessment day 

> Goals of the Personal Learning Plans:
- To increase student self-efficacy
- To increase student curiosity in and enjoyment of math
- To support our school in its quest to increase student test scores (Regardless of personal beliefs, this is a task that must be addressed as a high needs school in a large urban district.)

> To be assigned weekly - students work through plan at their own pace.

> To be assigned to students via Edmodo (student completes Edmodo reflection after each activity)

> Each student will be assigned variations on the following four activities, weekly:
1- Instructional Level: Flipped Classroom - Content Videos Students watch content videos on their iPad for further practice in week areas. Then they complete a short assessment on Study Island to assess whether the video had a positive impact on their understanding. Initially these videos will be assigned, but my hope is that my students can eventually self-select videos based on their own understanding of their learning needs.
2- Instructional Level: Real-world math problem posed by photo or video (see Dan Meyer's blog for examples) - Students will work out their thinking aloud and on the virtual whiteboard using ShowMe, then type up an "extended response" version of their thinking on Edmodo (they will also link their ShowMe to their Edmodo extended response)
3- Grade Level: EM Math Boxes using the free PaperPort Notes App
4- Instructional Level: Math Choice Board 
- Everyday Math Project
- Respond to real-world problem on math blog
- Create math story on Toontastic for your own real-world problem
- Math Games (prescribed math games apps to strengthen student understanding)


Student Peer-Assessment
> Show Me Review (ON FRIDAYS)
- Display student video on the board
- Students respond via "tweet stream" on Edmodo
* First time, students submit responses through "Turn In" button (so only teacher can view comments)
* Teacher will review and display exemplars
* Once students have "mastered the art of feedback" students can respond via the "Reply" button so all may see their comments
* Students can eventually self-select their own videos from the ShowMe site to provide feedback to their classmates

> Math Boxes Self-Assessment (ON FRIDAYS):
- Teacher places corrected math boxes in DropBox
- Partners correct classmates' work (by pulling them up from Dropbox)
- Students address mistakes in their own corrected Math Boxes
- Students fill out reflection on Edmodo regarding their mistakes/learnings

Teacher-Driven Assessments
> Study Island Assessments

> Written Extended Responses on Edmodo (response to math problem)

> Teacher Center exit tickets and work

> Math Choice assignments

Roll-out / Implementation Plan

I do realize that someone reading this draft plan may be thinking... "My goodness... this crazy woman is biting off far more than she can chew." Perhaps. However, my students already have the requisite skills to all of the above activities in isolation. They may just need some scaffolding to get into a daily routine. Therefore we will take the next week to model expectations for what this looks like in an individualized and self-directed setting. We will discuss methods for getting support when the teacher is working with a small group as well as strategies for self-assessment of effort and work. 

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SoundAMP Turns Your iOS Devices Into a Hearing Aid

SoundAMP is a app for your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch that turns your device into a hearing aid. The full version of the app costs $4.99 and the lite version is $0.99. Click here to download the full version. Click here to download the $0.99 lite version. The app uses your devices built in microphone the capture the sound and then amplifies the sound through your head phones. SoundAMP can also record the sound and play it back to you later. There are numerous uses for this app including lectures, plays, movies, watching TV and much more. Click read more below to see screen shots of the app in action.

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Is U.S. Money Accessible?

Above is a great video about the struggles that blind people face when dealing with money. Because U.S. currency is a uniform size and texture people with visual impairments can not tell the difference between a 5 dollar bill and a twenty dollar bill. When in a retail environment, the visually impaired customer must trust the cashier to give them the correct amount of change. Luckily there are solutions. An iOS app call the Looktel money reader can quickly and accurately determine the denomination of money  by using the device's camera. To read more about the Looktel money reader app click here.     
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iPhone 4S Accessibility Features

Today, Apple announced the iPhone 4S. The new iPhone will be available to buy in stores on October 14th. Along with the new iPhone, Apple announced that iOS 5 will be released as a free update on October 12th. iOS 5 includes many accessibility features that will help people with disabilities. To read about iOS 5's accessibility features click here. The iPhone 4s includes a couple of exclusive features that will benefit people with disabilities.

The iPhone 4S has a faster processor which allows it to preform tasks more quickly then the iPhone 4. The iPhone 4S also has an improved camera that will work much better with OCR apps as well as object recognition apps such as Looktel's money reader and VizWiz. As a result of the faster processor the iPhone 4S is also able to preform advanced speech recognition.

The speech recognition feature dubbed Siri is like a personal assistant built right into the phone. It works solely off the sound of the users voice. Apple describes Siri as,
"Now you can use your voice to use your iPhone. Just talk to Siri as you would to a person: “Do I need an umbrella?” or “Any great burgers around here?” or “Where’s the closest ATM?” Siri not only understands what you say, it knows what you mean.1 It figures out the right apps to use to find the right answer. Then, just like a personal assistant, it answers you. Siri makes phone calls, sends messages, schedules meetings, sets reminders, and more. How much more? Just ask, and Siri tells you that, too."
To learn more about Siri watch the video below. Another exclusive feature to the iPhone 4S is dictation. Dictation allows users to input any text using the sound of their voice. To activate dictation simply tap on the microphone in the bottom left of the keyboard and speak your text. Dictation is a great for users that cannot see the keyboard, people who struggle to spell or people with physical disabilities. Below is Apple's description about dictation,
"Here’s another amazing way to get things done: just use your voice. Instead of typing, tap the microphone icon on the keyboard. Then say what you want to say and iPhone listens. Tap Done, and iPhone converts your words into text. Use dictation to write messages, take notes, search the web, and more. Dictation also works with third-party apps, so you can update your Facebook status, tweet, or write and send Instagrams." 
Click read more to see more pictures, watch videos and read a press release about the iPhone 4S.

Apple press release copied below.

Apple Launches iPhone 4S, iOS 5 & iCloud

iPhone 4S Features Dual-Core A5 Chip, All New Camera, Full 1080p HD Video Recording & Introduces Siri 

CUPERTINO, California—October 4, 2011—Apple® today announced iPhone® 4S, the most amazing iPhone yet, packed with incredible new features including Apple’s dual-core A5 chip for blazing fast performance and stunning graphics; an all new camera with advanced optics; full 1080p HD resolution video recording; and Siri™, an intelligent assistant that helps you get things done just by asking. With the launch of iPhone 4S also comes the launch of iOS 5, the world’s most advanced mobile operating system with over 200 new features; and iCloud®, a breakthrough set of free cloud services that work with your iPhone, iPad®, iPod touch®, Mac® or PC to automatically and wirelessly store your content in iCloud and push it to all your devices. 

“iPhone 4S plus iOS 5 plus iCloud is a breakthrough combination that makes the iPhone 4S the best iPhone ever,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “While our competitors try to imitate iPhone with a checklist of features, only iPhone can deliver these breakthrough innovations that work seamlessly together.”

iPhone 4S comes with iOS 5, the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, which includes over 200 new features including Notification Center, an innovative way to easily view and manage notifications in one place without interruption and iMessage™, a new messaging service that lets you easily send text messages, photos and videos between all iOS 5 users. iOS 5 will also be available as a free software update for iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS customers allowing them to experience these amazing new features.*

iPhone 4S also introduces Siri, an intelligent assistant that helps you get things done just by asking. Siri understands context allowing you to speak naturally when you ask it questions, for example, if you ask “Will I need an umbrella this weekend?” it understands you are looking for a weather forecast. Siri is also smart about using the personal information you allow it to access, for example, if you tell Siri “Remind me to call Mom when I get home” it can find “Mom” in your address book, or ask Siri “What’s the traffic like around here?” and it can figure out where “here” is based on your current location. Siri helps you make calls, send text messages or email, schedule meetings and reminders, make notes, search the Internet, find local businesses, get directions and more. You can also get answers, find facts and even perform complex calculations just by asking.

iCloud is a breakthrough set of free cloud services, including iTunes® in the Cloud, Photo Stream and Documents in the Cloud, that work seamlessly with your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac or PC to automatically and wirelessly store your content in iCloud and push it to all your devices. When content changes on one device, all your other devices are updated automatically and wirelessly.

iPhone 4S includes an all new camera with the most advanced optics of any phone. The 8 megapixel sensor has 60 percent more pixels so you can take amazing high quality photos with more detail than ever. iPhone 4S includes a new custom lens, a larger f/2.4 aperture and an advanced hybrid IR filter that produce sharper, brighter and more accurate images. The Apple-designed image signal processor in the A5 dual-core chip is built for performance, and coupled with the features built into iOS 5, makes the camera one of the fastest on any phone. With iPhone 4S, the Camera app launches much faster and the shot to shot capability is twice as fast, so you'll never miss another shot.

New features in the Camera and Photos apps give you instant access to the camera right from the lock screen, and you can also use the volume-up button to quickly snap a photo. Optional grid lines help line up your shot and a simple tap locks focus and exposure on one subject; and the new Photos app lets you crop, rotate, enhance and remove red-eye, and organize your photos into albums right on your device to share them on the go. New iOS 5 features include built-in Twitter integration and iMessage, so you can instantly share your photos via Twitter directly from the Photos app and send photos via iMessage to individuals or groups. And with iCloud's innovative new Photo Stream service, a photo you take on your iPhone is sent to iCloud and automatically pushed to your iPad, iPod touch, Mac or PC. You can even view your Photo Stream album on your Apple TV®. 

iPhone 4S can also now record video in full 1080p HD resolution and with the new video image stabilization feature, you can take richer, smoother videos. Other iPhone 4S video camera improvements include increased sensitivity, sharpness and an increased ability to capture video in low light conditions. With the new iMessage service in iOS 5, you can now instantly share videos with family and friends. 

iPhone 4S has the same beautifully thin glass and stainless steel design that millions of customers around the world love, while being completely redesigned on the inside. Apple's dual-core A5 chip delivers up to twice the processing power and up to seven times faster graphics than iPhone 4, all while maintaining incredible battery life—now up to 8 hours of 3G talk time.

Improving on the innovative stainless steel external, dual-antenna design of iPhone 4, iPhone 4S is the first phone to intelligently switch between two antennas to send and receive. iPhone 4S now supports twice the download speed with HSDPA of up to 14.4 Mbps and iPhone 4S is a world phone, so both CDMA and GSM customers can now roam internationally on GSM networks.**

Pricing & Availability 
iPhone 4S comes in either black or white and will be available in the US for a suggested retail price of $199 (US) for the 16GB model and $299 (US) for the 32GB model and $399 (US) for the new 64GB model.*** iPhone 4S will be available from the Apple Online Store, Apple’s retail stores and through AT&T, Sprint, Verizon Wireless and select Apple Authorized Resellers. iPhone 4S will be available in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the UK on Friday, October 14 and customers can pre-order their iPhone 4S beginning Friday, October 7. iPhone 4 will also be available for just $99 (US) and iPhone 3GS will be available for free with a two year contract. Siri will be available in beta on iPhone 4S in English (localized for US, UK and Australia), French and German. iOS 5 software will be available on October 12 as a free software update via iTunes 10.5 for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch customers.

iPhone 4S will roll out worldwide to 22 more countries by the end of October including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

*Some features may not be available on all products.

**Carrier roaming policies apply. HSDPA availability and network speeds are dependent on carrier networks.

***Qualified customers only. Requires a new two year rate plan, sold separately.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced iPad 2 which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices.

You have read this article A5 / accessibility / accessible video / apple / assistive technology / at / blind / braille / deaf / dyslexia / faster / free / iOS 5 / iphone 4s / keyboard / siri / speech recognition / text-to-speech / universal access with the title October 2011. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!

Todays "Let's Talk iPhone" Event Accessibility Implications

Today Apple is set to announce the next version of the iPhone along with iOS 5. The announcement will have major effects on iOS users with disabilities. iOS 5, the next version of iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch operating system, will include many major accessibility enhancements. To learn more about iOS 5 accessibility click here. The hardware announced tomorrow will also effect the assistive technology world. Click here to learn more about the next iPhone's impact on accessibility. What ever Apple announces tomorrow check back on the assistive technology blog for the accessibility angle of the new products.      
You have read this article accessibility / assistant / assistive tech / assistive technology / at / blind / deaf / dyslexia / iOS / iOS 5 / iphone 4s / iphone 5 / leaked / let's talk iphone / Nuance / physical disability / universal design / VoiceOver with the title October 2011. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!

Resources for Evaluating EdTech Integration

Much appreciation to Ray Nashar, an ADE from Mount Saint Joseph Girls' College in Australia, for sharing this great resource bundle. This page shares evaluation tools for your edtech integration projects. The SAMR (Substitute --> Augment --> Modify --> Redefine) model is especially interesting to me as that is the thinking I've been experiencing as I progress through my iPad project (i.e., create new opportunities vs. simply replace old ones).

Also of note is his video regarding the "3 Carriage Train" - an interesting lesson through metaphor of how to go about inspiring innovation amongst educators. Thanks, Ray, for sharing and creating these!
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Braille Gift Cards

Plastic credit cards and gift cards feel identical to one another making them indistinguishable to blind and visually impaired users. Starbucks and other retailers have a solution, credit cards or gift cards with braille. Gift cards and credit cards like the one pictured above have braille labels that makes them easy to tell apart. Now there is no need to guess if you are giving the cashier your metro card, credit card or Starbucks gift card. Starbucks description of the braille gift card,
"Our Fall 2011 card is all about the brilliant colors of autumn’s changing leaves. But given that October is also National Disability Awareness Month, we thought we’d take this opportunity to release our first Starbucks Card with Braille lettering so that all can share."
To order the braille gift card click here.

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The Kindle Fire Is Not Accessible

Earlier this week Amazon released the Kindle Fire, a 7 inch touch screen tablet at a cost of $199. The Kindle Fire has a great web browser called silk that claims to load web pages faster then other tablets. The Kindle Fire runs a variant of the Android operating system with a custom user interface. With a great price and fast web browser is the Kindle Fire accessible to people with disabilities.

Unfortunately, the Kindle Fire does not have accessibility features. Unlike the iPad the Kindle Fire does not have text-to-speech, braille display support or mono audio. Not to mention a number of new accessibility features in iOS 5. To learn more about iOS 5 click here. The Kindle Fire may be a great tablet for the main stream market but unfortunately is not accessible for disabled users. Below is the National Federation for the Blinds ( condemnation of the Kindle.
"Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “Blind Americans have repeatedly asked Amazon to include accessibility for the blind in its Kindle product line.  The feasibility of including accessibility in similar products has been demonstrated.  The Department of Education and the Department of Justice have made it clear that Kindle devices cannot be purchased by educational institutions, libraries, and other entities covered by this country’s disability laws unless the devices are fully accessible.  Despite all this, Amazon has released a brand new Kindle device, the Kindle Fire, which cannot be used by people who are blind.  Enough!  We condemn this latest action by Amazon and reiterate that we will not tolerate technological discrimination.  The National Federation of the Blind seeks nothing less than equal access to all technology for blind people.  It is one of the most critical civil rights issues facing blind Americans in the twenty-first century, and we will do everything in our power to see that this right is secured.”
To read more about accessible e-readers click here. Click read more below to watch a video about the Kindle Fire.
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