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Dr. Caroline Ramsey Musselwhite

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

JustWink App - Let's Ask for a G-Rated Version!!

 Just Wink is one of my FAVORITE apps . . . except!

You're in a classroom . . . sitting with, say, 4th graders.

You think you've found the perfect category of cards (Birthday, for Whoever).

So, you click on a card that says, "Sorry I didn't get you a gift"

And it opens . . . Whoops!  a (semi) curse word.

Now I am NOT a prude . . . but I do want to keep my job.

And you just can't judge these cards by their covers.  I've been burned again and again, and am just not using these with students.

Let's start a campaign to ask for JustWinkKids.  All the fun of these wonderful cards, without the PG13 rating!!

Here's what you do . . .
1) Go to this website:
Just Wink Website
2) Scroll to the bottom of the page
3) Click on 'Survey' and take their survey
4) When they ask if you would recommend the app, tell them 'very unlikely' then explain that you want a G-rated JustWinkKids

That's it!

We can change the world . . . an app at a time!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Look Me In the Eye - book review

Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's

by John Elder Robinson

I'm not usually a fan of the memoir.  But as with Ghost Boy, this account is riveting and powerful.  John Elder Robinson is the older brother of Augusten Burroughs, whose memoir Running with Scissors gives a hint to stories about how John fares in a family that puts dysfunctional on the map.

If you think you aren't so interested in a story about Aspergians, how about tales of the man who designed (and created) exploding and rocket-filled guitars for the hard rock band KISS.  Whether telling poignant stories of figuring out how to make friends or crazy stories of his escapades, teachers, therapists and parents will see how his (undiagnosed until age 40) Aspergers had great influence on events large and small.  

Robinson is an exquisite storyteller who shares many truths as well as some great laughs and tears.  Very worth reading!


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Change an App - YOU Have the Power!!

Changing An App - Ideas

Have you ever tried an app that is 'close but no cigar'??  YOU have the power to change it.  I have had multiple changes made to apps!

First Try - Great for Special Ed Apps:

 My first strategy is always to just e-mail the app developer, with very specific ideas for change. 

For example, I e-mailed the developer of iHow-To Book with ideas for having students 'read it in your head' BEFORE hearing the sound, plus other ideas. 
iHow-To Book

Kensei was immediately responsive.  Changes were made, so that a great app became even more flexible for a wide range of students!!  We even found out that he lives relatively close to my daughter in NYC, so we have been able to meet up.  See our review at the link below:
SpedApps2 Review: Read Aloud Books

2nd Try - For General Purpose Apps

Many of the apps that we LOVE are used in far different purposes that was originally planned!  One of our favorites is Sticky Notes.  It's a great app for making reminder notes for yourself.  However, we use it to support tasks as disparate as:
• Idea generation for writing
• Editing in writing - supporting students with word order
• Syntax in speaking - supporting students with spoken word order
• Visual word sorts for phonics
• Making words for phonics

Sticky Notes Link

Here is a link to one of our reviews, in the 'phonics' section:
SpedApps2 Review: Sticky Notes

Note that this app has THOUSANDS of reviews.  Guess what - my e-mail to that company was ignored.  So, my strategy is to review the app, giving it only 4 stars, and explaining what is needed to get 5 stars.  Then, I'm going to ask everyone to do the same!

Here is what that app needs (feel free to modify this for YOUR iTunes review!!)
 • Would like to have optional recorded feedback (that is, a sound for each note)
• Would love to have LARGER FONTS (we often have a note with only one letter, so it needs to be BIG!)
• Would be nice to be able to 'set' the color of notes (e.g., when you make a yellow note with black font, it predicts that the next note will be the same)
• Would like simpler backgrounds, such as flat black (many backgrounds are 'busy' which is a problem for students with visual impairments and students with autism spectrum disorder)


Okay people, your homework is to write a review for Sticky Notes asking for the changes above (and others you might suggest!)  Together, we have the power!!