Saturday, 1 June 2013

I can...follow a blog!

We entered the world of blogging to share information online with our clients, families, colleagues.  We are thrilled to see that people from all over are reading our blog each month.  Reading blogs is a fantastic way to keep your finger on the pulse of many different topics including AAC.  In our last issue until September, we'll explore how you can follow AAC related blogs.

What is a blog?
A website on which an individual or group of users record opinions, information, etc. on a regular basis.

What are the benefits of following an AAC blog?

  • Gather information about augmentative communication
  • Keep up to date on the latest information
  • Discover people who are interested in the same topic
  • Get connected with professionals and families
What is "following"? 

Following refers to a method of subscribing to a blog so that you can be updated when new information is posted.  This means that you don't have to keep returning to the blog to see if there is anything new.

Ways to follow a blog:


E-mail: some blogs have a place where you can enter your email address and they will send you the latest update.  

  • Advantages: you get the information to your personal email when it's posted.
  • Disadvantages: you may be flooded with email depending on how frequently the blogger posts information and how many blogs you are following.

RSS Feeds: (Rich Site Summary) is a format for delivering regularly changing web

content
. Many websites and blogs set up their content so it is available as an RSS Feed for whoever wants it.

  • Advantages: you can read all blog entries from one place.  You can also organize a number of blogs into categories.
  • Disadvantages: You need to sign up for a RSS feed provider to access your information and have an e-mail account.

RSS Feed Providers:
There are many feed providers to choose from.  Google Reader has been a popular one however they are discontinuing their service as of July 1st, 2013.  Try out a few out to decide which one meets your needs best. Here are our thoughts on a few FREE ones we've tried out this month.
  • Feedly:We loved this one.  It was really simple and easy to use.  We loved how you can read it online or on an idevice. You will need to have a g-mail account to use this service.
  • Bloglovin:  This one is also visually appealing. It was a bit harder to figure out if categories can be used on the idevice. You can use facebook or any email account to sign up.  You can also write a blog using this platform.
  • FeeddlerRSS:  This one is more text based and may be appealing to people like to customize the set up of their feed.
Here is an article that gives an overview of some different feed reader services out there. http://lifehacker.com/5990881/five-best-google-reader-alternatives
How to get started following a blog using a feed provider:

1.  Sign up with a feed provider. 
2.  Add blogs you want to follow to your list.  You can do this by copying and pasting the web address or you can search within the feed provider.  Some blogs (like ours) have buttons on their blog for particular feed providers. You can click on these if you use that provider.
3.  Organize your blogs into categories.
4.  Read and enjoy!
5.  Return to the feed provider to find out if there are new posts.  Some feed providers will send you a email (if you want one) to let you know there is a new post.  

How can I write my own blog?

Want to join the blogging world?!?  Simply choose a blogging website that allows you to set up an account.  We use Blogger but we are aware of a few others such as Wordpress and Bloglovin.

AAC blogs
Here are some AC related blogs that you may want to look through or follow.
Jane Farrall

Dynavox

Ian Bean 

AAC Girls

Teach me AAC

CALL Scotland

Adapting Creatively 

BeCOME AAC

Kilometeres for Communication

The Communication Trust

Teaching Learners with Multiple Needs

Special Education Needs

PrAACtical AAC

Spectronics Blog

Love That Max

Uncommon Sense 

More Than Words



Summer Challenge!
Sign up for a feed reader and follow a few blogs to see how it works for you!  You will never miss another "I can blog" issue again!


Upcoming Events

TVCC ACS Education Events 2013
If you are a TVCC client, please take a moment to check out our upcoming education sessions:
  • How to choose powerful words
    • September 25, 9:30 – 11:30 am
    •  November 13, 9:30 – 11:30 am 
  • How to use symbols so your child will too! 
    • October 9th, 2013 9:30-11:30
  • Adapted books
    • December 4th, 2013 6-8 pm
For more information and registration: http://www.tvcc.on.ca/acs-education-sessions.htm 




Breaking the Ice Conference
A fantastic conference for people who use AAC and their caregivers.
June 7, 8, 9th, 2013
University of Toronto Residence
"Inspiration is all around us!" 

Check out this video to learn more:



31st Annual Closing The Gap Conference
Minneapolis, MN
Wednesday-Friday, October 9-11, 2013 Preconference Workshops: Monday and Tuesday, October 7-8, 2013
The conference will be held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Bloomington located just 10 minutes west of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. 

It's time to play the music, it's time to light the lights, it's time to get things started...with this year's theatre camps:


Setting the Stage and On with the Show!
These camps are for TVCC clients who use a Speech Generating Device (SGD) as primary means of communication and want to try acting. This is a joint partnership with the Original Kids Theatre Company. 
When: August 12-16th, 2013
Sign up information available in the latest "Opportunities to Participate" brochure online: http://www.tvcc.on.ca/opportunities-to-participate-recreation-and-leisure-family-support-and-educa-5.htm
Performance day is open to everyone! 
Mark your calendar to come see the stars on August 16th, 2013 at the Spriet Family Theatre! 

Beginning With Boardmaker / Boardmaker Basics 
For TVCC parents, caregivers and TVCC staff who are interested in starting to design and develop communication displays and symbols for their children and clients.

Topics to be covered:
  • General uses for Boardmaker Symbols
  • How to customize a board
  • How to create new buttons/grid, fill with symbols and print and save
  •  How to create custom symbols and import photos into Boardmaker software 
Date: 
August 8th, 1-3pm & 6-8pm
Register by email: register@tvcc.on.ca
Cost: Free

Proloquo2Go has just released a new version of their app.  Watch for upcoming webinars to get the latest information:  http://www.assistiveware.com/webinars