Thursday, August 20, 2009

Interesting News from News-2-You

The News-2-You folks made some big announcements today for all of their products: News-2-You, Unique Learning and SymbolStix.

  • More activities at the Fun Site (and praise be to heavens Joey's Date and Weather Activity is back! My class was lost at the end of the year last year when it suddenly disappeared two weeks before school was over! Every day we would get to the part where you need to dress Joey and I make the same (tired and for that matter stolen from my former student teacher) joke, "Oh, no! Joey is NAKED! Quick! Put some pants on him!" I do hope Naked Joey never goes missing again!)
  • More Level 3 Worksheets (that is the highest level)
  • Weekly Power Point
  • More links to pictures, websites and videos (less blogging for me!)
  • More communication boards and AAC Device Overlays (Go Talks? Please say Go Talks!)
  • More word strips for communication
Unique Learning
  • Progress Monitoring (Pre/Post Checks, Content Monitoring)
  • Guiding reading and leveled books
  • One click download
  • Further alignment and integration with News-2-You
  • Dolch/Fry combined word lists for high frequency words
  • SymbolStix Online subscription service to download 12,000 SymbolStix Symbols available this fall for a starting price of $99 (I hope I get to try it out and review for this site)
  • Tobii SymbolMate software to create printed materials using SymbolStix symbols (AAC boards, games, schedules, books, etc)
TLWMSN Comments
I am worried about content in News-2-You, but more so in Unique, for the learners with very significant disabilities here are some things I hope to see added:
  • The addition of an Access Level/Sensory Level/Entry Level to all the grades that address things like cause and effect, sensory awareness, early cognitive development and other skills our learners may be working on
  • Extremely relevant and concrete vocabulary, perhaps use of photos with SymbolStix to teach the symbols
  • Links to online activities on this level
  • Some way for teachers of those with more intensive special needs to share adapted materials; we know we will likely have to do the adapting ourselves, but it would be nice if we didn't also have to create the web spaces to share what we adapt.
  • Activities on the cause/effect or simple 2-4 field choice making level made in Classroom Suite, Power Point, Switch It or Choose It (and if it is Classroom Suite it will need to come with Classroom Suite Player, the others have the players available for free)
  • Perhaps some kind of partnership with a company like Aimee Solutions that addresses students with this level of need and offers things like error-free switch writing activities and repeating line books for use with a Big Mack switch (I will be using the Aimee Solutions My Country Software Set to supplement Unique's September government unit.)

My Country


  1. I really like News-2-You. In the past, I have used more than one level so the cost was justified. It was also provided by the assistive technology dept. This year we will not be able to get it unless we purchase it or the school does. I also only need one level this year. I wish they would sell it by level, so that we can just pay for what we need. I haven't decided if I'll purchase it yet.

  2. So agree with your additonal requests. Also must say that I've used some of the Aimee stuff and I also think they are great.


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