Christopher Bugaj

Assistive Technology Strategist / Speech-Language Pathologist / Author

Contact and Workshops

Contact Chris about interactive workshops for your school, district, staff, or organization. Topics include: Universal Design for Learning, Professional Development, Policies and Procedures in Assistive Technology, Developing an Assistive Technology Team, Free Technology Solutions, Language Development Strategies, and more! attipscast@gmail.com Twitter: @attipscast

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A.T.TIPSCAST Episode #130: Providing Accessible Instructional Materials, Story 1

Comic of different students stating that they like to learn using different materials and a teacher stating that if she provides digital materials all the students benefit.

Download the audio directly – Episode #130: Providing Accessible Instructional Materials, Story 1

This episode of the A.T.TIPSCAST is sponsored by Texthelp, provider of the award-winning Read&Write software solutions. Click on the banner below to learn about the amazing Read&Write products.

Banner ad to get 20% an online order of Read & Write Gold from Texthelp.com

 Use promotion code ATTIPS14SAVE20 to get

20% off online orders of Read&Write!

Cannot be combined with other offers. Offer expires June 30, 2014.

Episode Overview-

Episode #130 features the first in a series of episodes which share stories of how educators supported the needs and preferences of students by selecting instructional materials that were accessible. You are encouraged to share your own stories in the comments below!

A.T.TIPS in this Episode -

A.T.TIP #418 – Planning to use text-based materials that are already available in a digital format.

A.T.TIP #419 – Check your local public library for digital versions of text

Upcoming Presentations -

ISTE SIGML Second Life and TweetChat -

Mobilize your Productivity with iOS7 Accessibility Options – Tips and Tricks for All! – Monday, March 24th 8:00pm – 9:00pm ET Second Life Presentation with Mark Nichols (SLURL to VSTE Island: http://bit.ly/17zxhaZ) & 9:00pm – 10pm ET Tweetchat (Follow the hashtag #sigml)

VA Training and Technical Assistance Center Region 5 -

REGISTER NOW! AT, UDL, and Me, Oh My! with Sally Norton-Darr

Tuesday, April 8th  – 8:15am – 3:30pm

Texas Assistive Technology Network – 

Tuesday, June 10th

UDL 2.0 – with Beth Poss (3 Hour Session)

Indiana Jones meets the Internet: Becoming an Assistive Technology Archaeologist – with Beth Poss (3 Hour Session)

ATIA Webinars

Low Cost Ways to Provide More Options To Help Students with Reading and Writing - 3:30pm – 4:30pm ET on November 12th, 2014. Webinar for the Assistive Technology Industry Association

Getting Your AT Party Started: Answers to Commonly Asked Questions About Program Building with Sally Norton-Darr – 3:30pm – 5:00pm ET on December 11th, 2014. Webinar for the Assistive Technology Industry Association

Contact Information-

Follow me on Twitter

Send an e-mail to attipscast@gmail.com

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Disability-led Innovations For The Masses: My TEDx Talk

WATCH THE VIDEO directly – 

Thanks to all the people who helped put together TEDxAshburn!

Upcoming Presentations -

ISTE SIGML Second Life and TweetChat -

Mobilize your Productivity with iOS7 Accessibility Options – Tips and Tricks for All! -March 24th with Mark Nichols

8:00pm – 9:00pm ET Second Life Presentation

(SLURL to VSTE Island: http://bit.ly/17zxhaZ)

9:00pm – 10pm ET Tweetchat (Follow the hashtag #sigml)

VA Training and Technical Assistance Center Region 5 -

Tuesday, April 8th  – 8:15am – 3:30pm

AT, UDL, and Me, Oh My! – with Sally Norton-Darr

Texas Assistive Technology Network – 

Tuesday, June 10th

UDL 2.0 – with Beth Poss (3 Hour Session)

Indiana Jones meets the Internet: Becoming an Assistive Technology Archaeologist – with Beth Poss (3 Hour Session)

ATIA Webinars

Low Cost Ways to Provide More Options To Help Students with Reading and Writing - 3:30pm – 4:30pm ET on November 12th, 2014. Webinar for the Assistive Technology Industry Association

Getting Your AT Party Started: Answers to Commonly Asked Questions About Program Building with Sally Norton-Darr – 3:30pm – 5:00pm ET on December 11th, 2014. Webinar for the Assistive Technology Industry Association

Contact Information-

Follow me on Twitter

Send an e-mail to attipscast@gmail.com

Register as a fan of the show to receive e-mail alerts for new episodes

About.me

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A.T.TIPSCAST Episode #129: Redefining “Assistive Technology Device”

Download the audio directly – Episode 129: Redefining “Assistive Technology Device”

This episode of the A.T.TIPSCAST is sponsored by Texthelp, provider of the award-winning Read&Write software solutions. Click on the banner below to learn about the amazing Read&Write products.

Texthelp ad that links to http://www.texthelp.com/north-america/campaigns/attips

 Use promotion code ATTIPS14SAVE10 to get

10% off online orders of Read&Write!

Cannot be combined with other offers. Offer expires March 31, 2014.

Episode Overview-

Episode #129 features a reading of the blog post below which outlines challenges with the current definition of an assistive technology device and proposes a new way to define the term. I didn’t want to wait to record the audio to get these ideas across so the text below came out one day before the audio was posted.

Redefining “Assistive Technology Device”

by Christopher Bugaj

There is a problem with the definition of an assistive technology device. I am, someone who hosts a podcast, has co-written a book, authored an app, has a job title, and works in a profession which all use the common term “assistive technology” in the title, and yet I wonder if we either need to eliminate the term or, at least, redefine it.

Let’s start by quoting the definition of an “assistive technology device” as it stands with regards to education.

An “assistive technology device” is defined by education law as “any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of a child with a disability.”

Let’s focus on the verb. I believe the verb is the crux of the problem with the definition. The verb in question is “used”.

Let’s put that into play with a made up example juxtaposing two students; one with a disability and one without. For the purposes of the example, I’m going to use a made up piece of technology and a generic task, because the tools and task don’t matter. It doesn’t matter whether the tool is high tech or low tech in relation to the definition.

Here’s the example:

“A student without a disability uses a flibbertyjibbet to learn math”. – We call the flibbertyjibbet “technology”.

“A student with a disability uses a flibbertyjibbet to learn math”. – We call the flibbertyjibbet “assistive technology”.

Both students are using the flibbertyjibbet to increase, maintain, or improve his or her functional math capabilities. The only difference between the two is that one has a disability and the other does not.

When used in this way, the term “assistive technology” spotlights the disability and is ultimately discriminatory.

Now, how about a real example, with a real piece of technology (just in case I lost you with the flibberyjibbet)?

“A student without a disability uses a keyboard to author his essay.” – We call the keyboard “technology”.

“A student with a disability uses a keyboard to author his essay.” – We call the keyboard “assistive technology”.

The only difference between the two students using the device, whatever that device might be, is that the student with the disability might require the device to complete the task where the student without the disability might not require it.

That is, a student with a disability might NEED the keyboard to author the essay where the student without the disability might only prefer to use the keyboard to author the essay despite having the ability to complete the task in other ways.

The need to use a tool is the difference.

So, what do we do to fix this problem with the definition?

I think there are two potential solutions.

Option 1 - Abandon the use of the term “assistive technology” and just call it “technology”. I tweeted a similiar message on Super Bowl Sunday of 2014 immediately after the Microsoft #empowering video aired.

Screenshot of tweet by Chris Bugaj on February 2nd that reads "It's time to lose the adjective "Assistive" before the word "Technology". It's just technology. #empowering Thank You Microsoft!"

You can watch the ad at http://bit.ly/msempoweringvideo. The point of the ad, besides selling Microsoft products, was to demonstrate how technology can be used to empower individuals, whether you have a disability or not.

The option to eliminate the term “assistive technology” would be hard pressed and wrought with pitfalls. I’m not saying it would be impossible, especially if everyone agreed this was the correct thing to do in the long run, but entire organizations, institutions, careers, professions, and college programs have been built around the term. It is an established “thing” and “things” are hard (not impossible) to change. Myriad questions about funding sources arise as well, as pointed out by some colleagues with whom I correspond via social media. If the term is too well established to be abolished, what else can be done?

That brings us to Option 2.

Option 2 - Redefine “assistive technology device” to use the verb “requires” or “needs”. What if the definition of an assistive technology device read “Any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is required to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of children with disabilities.”?

Wouldn’t that be a better definition?

Using this definition, any item used by a student, whether they have a disability or not, would just be considered “technology”. Any item necessary to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of the student would be considered “assistive technology”.

Are there repercussions I’m not thinking of when proposing the change in the verb in the definition from “used” to “requires” or “needs”?

At the very least the definition should be changed because the nouns “technology” and “device” are synonyms, making the term “Assistive Technology Device” redundant, right? :)

What are your thoughts? I’d love to read them publicly in the comments below or you can e-mail me privately at attipscast@gmail.com.

A.T.TIPS in this Episode -

A.T.TIP #417 – Redefining “Assistive Technology Device” swapping the verb “used” for the verb “required”.

Upcoming Presentations -

ISTE SIGML Second Life and TweetChat -

Mobilize your Productivity with iOS7 Accessibility Options – Tips and Tricks for All! -March 24th with Mark Nichols

8:00pm – 9:00pm ET Second Life Presentation, 9:00pm – 10pm ET Tweetchat

ATIA Webinars

Low Cost Ways to Provide More Options To Help Students with Reading and Writing - 3:30pm – 4:30pm ET on November 12th, 2014. Webinar for the Assistive Technology Industry Association

Getting Your AT Party Started: Answers to Commonly Asked Questions About Program Building with Sally Norton-Darr – 3:30pm – 5:00pm ET on December 11th, 2014. Webinar for the Assistive Technology Industry Association

Contact Information-

Follow me on Twitter

Send an e-mail to attipscast@gmail.com

Register as a fan of the show to receive e-mail alerts for new episodes

About.me

subscribe in itunes button

A.T.TIPSCAST Episode #128: App Review and Multisyllablic Word Reading Strategies

Download the audio directly – Episode 128: App Review and Multisyllabic Word Reading Strategies

This episode of the A.T.TIPSCAST is sponsored by Texthelp, provider of the award-winning Read&Write software solutions. Click on the banner below to learn about the amazing Read&Write products.

Texthelp ad that links to http://www.texthelp.com/north-america/campaigns/attips

 Use promotion code ATTIPS14SAVE10 to get

10% off online orders of Read&Write!

Cannot be combined with other offers. Offer expires March 31, 2014.

Episode Overview-

Episode #128 features a reading of Chris’ automatic email reply message while he is away at the Assistive Technology Industry Association conference which features app review resources and strategies for teaching reading of multisyllabic words.

A.T.TIPS in this Episode -

A.T.TIP #409 – Teacherswithapps.com – App Review Site

A.T.TIP #410 – Georgia Tech Tools for Life App Review site – http://bit.ly/gatfl

A.T.TIP #411 –  AppoLearning is an app by Appolicious that showcases the five best educational apps for school-aged students as selected by teachers and app experts across 150 different subjects – http://bit.ly/appolearning

A.T.TIP #412 – Using a mirror to count syllables

A.T.TIP #413 – Highlight vowel sounds in words to count syllables

A.T.TIP #414 – Put syllables on index cards or cells on a graphic organizer to make them easier to manipulate. Drag them around to make words.

A.T.TIP #415 – Place syllables on full pieces of paper and hop to them to make full words.

A.T.TIP #416 – http://arflashcards.com – Winner of the 2013 Edublog Award for Best Mobile App

Also Mentioned In this Episode -

The votes have been tabulated for the  2013 Edublog Awards!

The A.T.TIPSCAST came in third place in the category of “Best Podcasts or Google Hangouts“!

ATEval2Go came in second in the category of “Best Mobile App“!

Thank you all for your votes!

Upcoming Presentations -

Assistive Technology Industry Association

Orlando, Florida

REGISTER NOW! —> Digital Make N’ Take: Digging Deeper           with Beth Poss – Two-Day Preconference on January 28th and 29th, 2014

Comic Strip Advertisement for Digging Deeper Presconference. It is a three panel comic.

Professional Development Smackdown with Beth PossKirk BehnkeMike Marotta, and Diana Carl – 12pm, January 30th, 2014 in Caribbean VII

Twitter 101 with Beth Poss – 4:30pm, January 31st, 2014 in Caribbean II

Creating Core Vocabulary Culture: A Little Help From Our Friends with Sally Norton-Darr and Judith Schoonover – 8am, February 1st, 2014 in Bonaire 2

ATIA Webinars

Low Cost Ways to Provide More Options To Help Students with Reading and Writing - 3:30pm – 4:30pm ET on November 12th, 2014. Webinar for the Assistive Technology Industry Association

Getting Your AT Party Started: Answers to Commonly Asked Questions About Program Building with Sally Norton-Darr – 3:30pm – 5:00pm ET on December 11th, 2014. Webinar for the Assistive Technology Industry Association

Contact Information-

Follow me on Twitter

Send an e-mail to attipscast@gmail.com

Register as a fan of the show to receive e-mail alerts for new episodes

About.me

subscribe in itunes button

A.T.TIPSCAST Episode #127: Audio Stories for Secondary Students

Escape Artists Logo

Download the audio directly – Episode 127: Audio Stories for Secondary Students

This episode of the A.T.TIPSCAST is sponsored by Texthelp, provider of the award-winning Read&Write software solutions. Click on the banner below to learn about the amazing Read&Write products.

Texthelp ad that links to http://www.texthelp.com/north-america/campaigns/attips

 Use promotion code ATTIPS14SAVE10 to get

10% off online orders of Read&Write!

Cannot be combined with other offers. Offer expires March 31, 2014.

Episode Overview-

Episode #127 features a discussion of the benefits of inviting secondary students to listen to audio fiction.

This episode features a bumper from David Jackson from Lafayette, Indiana.

A.T.TIPS in this Episode -

A.T.TIP #404 – Cast of Wonders

Logo for the Cast of Wonders

A.T.TIP #405 – Podcastle

Podcastle Logo

A.T.TIP #406 – EscapePod

Escape Pod Logo

A.T.TIP #407 – PseudoPod

Logo for Pseudopod

A.T.TIP #408 – Giving out CDs with audio stories as prizes and gifts

Evidence that Listening to Audio Stories Improves Reading Abilities – http://bit.ly/audiostoriesimprovereading

Also Mentioned In this Episode -

The 2013 Edublog Award nominations are out!

The A.T.TIPSCAST has been nominated in the category of “Best Podcasts or Google Hangouts“. Also, ATEval2Go has been nominated in the category of “Best Mobile App“! Please vote to bump them up the rankings. Share with your colleagues, friends, and family!

ATTIPScast Logo 1 big

Click the logos to vote!

ATEval2Go logo

Click on the little arrow below the A.T.TIPSCAST or ATEval2Go logos to vote! You should see the number go up by one. See the image below.

howtovote2013Voting ends on December 18th, 2013

Upcoming Presentations -

Assistive Technology Industry Association

Orlando, Florida

REGISTER NOW! —> Digital Make N’ Take: Digging Deeper           with Beth Poss – Two-Day Preconference on January 28th and 29th, 2014

Comic Strip Advertisement for Digging Deeper Presconference. It is a three panel comic.

Professional Development Smackdown with Beth PossKirk BehnkeMike Marotta, and Diana Carl – 12pm, January 30st, 2014 in Caribbean VII

Twitter 101 with Beth Poss – 4:30pm, January 31st,2014 in Caribbean II

Creating Core Vocabulary Culture: A Little Help From Our Friends with Sally Norton-Darr and Judith Schoonover – 8am, February 1st, 2014 in Bonaire 2

ATIA Webinars

Low Cost Ways to Provide More Options To Help Students with Reading and Writing - 3:30pm – 4:30pm ET on November 12th, 2014. Webinar for the Assistive Technology Industry Association

Getting Your AT Party Started: Answers to Commonly Asked Questions About Program Building with Sally Norton-Darr – 3:30pm – 5:00pm ET on December 11th, 2014. Webinar for the Assistive Technology Industry Association

Contact Information-

Follow me on Twitter

Send an e-mail to attipscast@gmail.com

Register as a fan of the show to receive e-mail alerts for new episodes

About.me

subscribe in itunes button

Time to Vote! The A.T.TIPSCAST & ATEval2Go were nominated for 2013 Edublog Awards!

The 2013 Edublog Award nominations are out! The A.T.TIPSCAST has been nominated in the category of “Best Podcasts or Google Hangouts“. Also, ATEval2Go has been nominated in the category of “Best Mobile App“! Please vote to bump them up the rankings and share with your colleagues, friends, and family!

ATTIPScast Logo 1 big

Click the logos to vote!

ATEval2Go logo

Click on the little arrow below the A.T.TIPSCAST or ATEval2Go logos to vote! You should see the number go up by one. See the image below.

howtovote2013Voting ends on December 18th, 2013

While you’re there, vote for these deserving resources as well!

Best Individual Blog – Teaching All Students by Patrick Black

Best Individual Blog & Best Ed Tech BlogPrAACtical AAC

Best Group Blog – ASHAsphere by the American Speech Hearing Language Association

Best Group BlogPartners in Learning – Hot Topics – Accessibility by my teammates Dr. Cynthia Feist and Dr. Tara Jeffs

Best Ed Tech Blog & Best Teacher Blog – SpeechTechie by Sean Sweeney

Best Hashtag – #atchat

Best Educational Use of a Wiki – UDLTechToolkit

Best Open PD/Webinar/UnconferenceVSTELive! Webinars

One last thing…

Even if you don’t vote, take some time to explore all the fantastic nominees. The reason they are nominated is because these resources have earned the respect of their peers. These resources have made a lasting impact on people resulting in authentic invigoration, innovation, and inspiration. One or more of these resources might have the same impact on you! You can view them all here.

A.T.TIPSCAST #126: Proto-Chapter for Technology Tools for Students with Autism, Part 2

Cover of the book Technology Tools or Students with Autism

Download the audio directly – Episode #126: Proto-Chapter for Technology Tools for Students with Autism, Part 2

This episode of the A.T.TIPSCAST is sponsored by Texthelp, provider of the award-winning Read&Write software solutions. Click on the banner below to learn about the amazing Read&Write products.

Texthelp ad that links to http://www.texthelp.com/north-america/campaigns/attips

 Use promotion code ATTIPS14SAVE10 to get

10% off online orders of Read&Write!

Cannot be combined with other offers. Offer expires March 31, 2014.

Episode Overview-

Episode #126 features a recording of the first draft of the “Classroom-based Technology Tools” chapter for the book Technology Tools for Students with Autism published by Brooke’s publishing. The chapter was authored by Christopher Bugaj, Melissa Hartman, and Mark Nichols. When the chapter was first drafted, it was written as a story following a fictional student with Autism named Mike through his day describing the tools he and his classmates used to accomplish different tasks. Unfortunately, when the chapter was pieced together with the other chapters in the book it just didn’t seem to flow properly. The chapter was re-written to follow a more traditional, essay-like approach. This episode features a reading of the original chapter, which the authors believe still has its merits as a useful way to help people learn about different ways to implement technology in the contemporary classroom for students with Autism. In this episode we hear about Mike’s afternoon following lunch which starts with a sensory break followed by math, recess, science, and concluding with packing up for the day.

This episode is once again hosted by two of the co-authors of the chapter, Melissa Hartman and Mark Nichols.

A.T.TIPS in this Episode -

A.T.TIP #397 – Chill-out station

A.T.TIP #398 – Talking avatar app, like Talking Tom Cat

A.T.TIP #399 – Geocaching (http://geocaching.com/live/)

A.T.TIP #400 – Dry erase boards to display answers

A.T.TIP #401 – Digital “Turn In” folder on a school’s network

A.T.TIP #402 – Colored tape as a visual border to teach boundaries

A.T.TIP #403 – Reviewing a virtual tour of new environments prior to attendance

Upcoming Presentations -

Virginia Society for Technology in Education

Roanoke, Virginia

A Room Full of Brain Power: Designing Options for Every Learner with Mark Nichols – 1:30pm on December 9th, 2013

MEGA EnGAMESment: Making Educational Gaming Accessible – 8:45am on December 10th, 2013

Assistive Technology Industry Association

Orlando, Florida

REGISTER NOW! —> Digital Make N’ Take: Digging Deeper           with Beth Poss – Two-Day Preconference on January 28th and 29th, 2014

Professional Development Smackdown with Beth PossKirk BehnkeMike Marotta, and Diana Carl – 12pm, January 30st, 2014 in Caribbean VII

Twitter 101 with Beth Poss – 4:30pm, January 31st,2014 in Caribbean II

Creating Core Vocabulary Culture: A Little Help From Our Friends with Sally Norton-Darr and Judith Schoonover – 8am, February 1st,2014 in Bonaire 2

ATIA Webinars

Low Cost Ways to Provide More Options To Help Students with Reading and Writing - 3:30pm – 4:30pm ET on November 12th, 2014. Webinar for the Assistive Technology Industry Association

Getting Your AT Party Started: Answers to Commonly Asked Questions About Program Building with Sally Norton-Darr – 3:30pm – 5:00pm ET on December 11th, 2014. Webinar for the Assistive Technology Industry Association

Contact Information-

Follow me on Twitter

Send an e-mail to attipscast@gmail.com

Register as a fan of the show to receive e-mail alerts for new episodes

About.me

subscribe in itunes button

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