Another year has some and gone since the ATIA10. While I felt that last years conference was awesome, something about ATIA11 felt better. I did not attend a workshop I didn’t like. The caliber of speakers was top notch and provided the re-energizing I needed to continue out the rest of the year. Each year I come back with new and renewed contacts with fellow professionals and various venders and most of all friends that I have come to know through ATIA and social media such as Facebook and Twitter.
I am going to focus this post on just the venders and some the things that impressed me. A following post will include the sessions I attended and many of the resources shared.
The floor was jammed with vendors with a few more out in the main hall. It is overwhelming to walk through the hall and everyone has his or her way of doing it. Me, I prefer to start and the beginning and weave checking out each vendor. I have a mental list of things I want to look at, but is always pleased by many of the surprises on the floor.
I was glad to see Jeff Johnson from Grembe made his first appearance at ATIA. He was there to demonstrate his and his wife, LIsa’s apps, iCommunicate, iReward and MyPicturesTalk to name a few. Jeff is a very personable guy and great to talk with. Be sure to check out their apps.
Once I walked into the vendor hall, I was met by the audible base and beat of the MeMoves DVD. It was also great to see the return of Chris Bye and Roberta Scherf from MeMoves again. Their product is picking up steam and has even been featured on ABC http://abcn.ws/i4RrtA I have personally seen the success of this DVD in the classroom and encourage every teacher/therapist to check it out. They have also developed a MeMoves app for the iPod Touch and iPad. It is currently not available in the VPP program, but should be soon.
TextHelp, was giving demonstrations of their new version 10 of Read & Write Gold. Some new enhancements include the Picture Dictionary, Paragraph Translator, Verb Conjugation Checker as well as a Confusable Word Checker. Get more update information here http://bit.ly/etHL99
AssistiveWare showed their new version of Proloquo2Go with the addition of Word Prediction. This works with the typing portion of the program and looks pretty slick. They also showed their new app Pictello for the iPad. This app is an easy way to create talking photo books and photo albums that can be emailed or shared through a free account on the Pictello Sharing Server. I am looking forward to getting that app.
Another new company that I hadn’t seen was Therapy Box, This vender gave demo’s of their new iPad app, PredictAble. The user is able to use a blue tooth switch to scan, have word prediction and voice output. Along with the app they showed the Switchbox that uses your existing switches and connects to the iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone. A new case with built in speakers was also used. I believe it currently available in the UK. I will be contacting the company to get the latest information.
One piece of software that has gone through some major changes is from Cambium Learning Technologies I remember using Intellitools back in the 90’s while I was still a classroom teacher. It was an easy teacher-authoring program that I used throughout the whole day. Over the years it has changed adding to the complexity of the program. Version 3 became so complicated for the teachers, that all the teachers in my districts abandoned the program. I was brought back to the fold after attending Matthew Press and Alicia Craven’s workshop, but more of that later. What I have found is that CS4 has been revamped and is now much easier to author. Check it out here http://bit.ly/hJWaKT They offer a free activity exchange (with signup) where a teacher can download activities created by teachers, parents, and other professionals.
Conceptua Math is a new comer that has roots in the Intellitools community. Arjan Khalsa who was a part of the Intellitools beginnings, has started a new company. Conceptua Math is a web based, subscription based math program. According to the website, “Conceptua ™ Fractions helps math teachers and students work together to master fractions. By combining interactive tools with scaffoled activities, students use visual models to build conceptual understand and procedural fluency.” http://www.conceptuamath.com/index.html Conceptua Math offer a free 60 day trial and also free tools for teachers in the area of concepts in fractions to higher order thinking. Check out the Free Tools for Teachers here: http://www.conceptuamath.com/fractions.html
Amdi Is touting their new product the iAdapter™. The iAdapter is a case, stander, speaker system for the iPad. I really like the concept of this device, but am turned off by the $198.00 price. This market is small for cases like this but I think it just needs time to grow.
Freedom Scientific is offering the new PEARL Reading Camera. I was very impressed by portable reading camera that can snap a picture and give OCR access within seconds. It can scan up to 20 pages per minute. This device works directly with WYNN 6.0 software.
On the last day of the conference a vendor caught my eye. I had walked by it several times, but never paid attention. The company, ModularHose demonstrated a bendable hose that can be used for a variety of situations. It wasn’t until I noticed the iPad adapter that I stopped and checked it out. This company offers an Assistive Technology solution. The ModularHose iPad Kit , “is designed for quick and esy use of Apple’s iPad with the flexibility of Loc-Line.” This kit can be attached to a wheelchair or to a student/users desk or table. The flexible tube attaches to a special attachment made with a McAlly iPad case and can be moved and situated for various needs and situations. For $75.00 I was very impressed.
While there were tons of assistive technologies on the floor, these are the ones that really stuck out to me this year. Please feel free to comment or share a vendor you found especially interesting or helpful.