Talking With Tech AAC Podcast



Sunday Feb 04, 2018

It's time for what might be our most controversial show yet! If you have an opinion - for or against - please comment below or email at us at and we'll be happy to address your concerns next episode! Problem:School districts are faced with having to consider the AAC needs for many children. The focus has been on selecting the perfect system. Teaching communication partners how to implement all day long has been the challenge. What if we could decrease the amount of time the selection process takes and spent that saved time on teaching implementation? So how do we do it? Or should we? Interview Show Notes: Erek introduces himself The concept of Specific Language System First approach to AAC Erek describes what happens when a student comes into the school district - starting with Proloquo2go 6x10 grid. Why use this approach? Multiple teachers using multiple devices meant they have trouble developing a community of practice...but not anymore. Chris describes feature matching. Previous model of selection was born in an era when devices were more scarce. Language systems were different years the systems are more robust. Good systems + low cost Teachers still struggling with implementation so spend more time on teaching them how to implement (rather than selecting the “perfect” device”) “A system that isn’t perfect for a student but is implemented well is better than choosing the perfect system that is implemented poorly.” Coaches spend less time on assessment and more on implementation. The number one reason a teacher says it doesn’t work is, “The student doesn’t like it” Explicit instruction- I do, you do, we do. First two questions people used to ask.. “There are too many buttons” and “I need different buttons.” After implementation training on Aided Language - now people don’t ask those anymore. Over summer, started developing a repeatable, easy to implement, language-based word of week program Modeling Mondays! Pull up PowerPoint slides on how to use the word. Tuesday is Literacy Day! Use and read the core word a day using stories and books. Writing as well. Wednesday is Math Day! Thursday - Review previous introduced words. Folder Friday - Explore folders (Fringe) Generalization is what is being tackled next. The best feature you can match is implementation. Homework on word of the week lessons and involving parents. Your system is in place and then you adapt. Be patient! Progress will come if you stick with it. 200 high tech aac users and doing well - used to be 10 who weren’t using it well. If we had to switch systems, we could. It is hard to pick a bad system The focus should shift from selection to implementation. Potential Solutions: Have discussions about implementing this approach. Beyond word of the week programs, use a language-based curriculum (materials where language is the object of the lesson, not infused into some other point of the lesson. Ie, Use apples on a tree to teach prepositions NOT do a lesson on apples where we try to also sneak in spatial concept words)    

Monday Dec 11, 2017

In this episode Talking with Tech's Lucas Steuber and Rachel Madel talk to the legendary Kate Ahern about her work with special populations, the importance of presumed competence, and the need to use every skill in our toolkit to properly serve kids - not just the high -tech ones - as well as the importance of learning from teachers. For more information about Kate, see her collected slides and presentations here, her blog here, her highly active Facebook community, and many other places around the web. Thanks for listening! As always, contact us at with any feedback and make sure to subscribe, rate, and share!

Friday Nov 03, 2017

In this episode Talking with Tech's Lucas Steuber goes one-on-one with entrepreneur and angel investor Pradeesh Thomas, founder of both SmartEdTech and AlphaVista, and now a member of the Stepping Stones Group. We discuss the present and future of educational technology, the impact that it can have on outcomes for both students and teachers, and EdTech internationally from the perspective of both an engineer, technology thought leader, and past staffing agency CEO.

Thursday Nov 02, 2017

In this episode, Talking with Tech's Lucas Steuber and Chris Bugaj interview Bill Binko of ATMakers (and much more) about his work in do-it-yourself assistive technology, the growth of the "maker" movement in our field, and the future of assistive technology when so many large companies focus increasingly on usability in electronics. For more information, see - and thanks for listening!

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