Don Johnston Incorporated Joins Texthelp Group; Edtech Giants Join Forces to Help Students Across North America and the Globe

WOBURN, Mass., Jan. 10, 2022 /PRNewswire/ —  Texthelp, a global leader in literacy and accessibility technology, today announced that they will acquire the Education Technology Division of  Don Johnston Inc., a leading assistive technology and special education curriculum company based outside of Chicago, IL. Don Johnston Inc. is the latest Assistive Technology provider to join the Texthelp Group. Following Five Arrows’ investment in December 2020, Texthelp acquired Lingit Group and Wizkids in 2021, expanding the company’s reach in the Nordics and the UK. Texthelp’s goal is to use its assistive technology to help 1 billion people with reading, writing, and numeracy by 2030. Together with Don Johnston Inc.’s leading SaaS-based products, the Texthelp Group will become the global leader in assistive technology tools for classrooms and workplaces. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

One in ten people have dyslexia, and in the US, 12% of students are in special education, 15% of children at school are learning their 2nd language, and the average reading age is 7th to 8th grade. Using assistive tools has been proven to help students overcome these barriers and harness their unique strengths. Both Texthelp and Don Johnston Inc. have made it their mission to support equality and inclusion of all people, especially individuals with dyslexia and other learning needs. Together, Texthelp and Don Johnston Inc. will continue to offer their full suite of products, and customers will see the benefit of collaborative technology innovation between the companies within the first few weeks. Don Johnston Inc.’s curriculum division will form a new company, named Building Wings™, which includes the products Readtopia® and First Author®.

“Texthelp and Don Johnston Inc. share a common vision of a world where every student can feel what it is like to learn and succeed,” said Martin McKay, CEO and founder of Texthelp. “Don and I founded our organizations for deeply personal reasons. We have an incredibly similar mission to elevate as many students as possible, helping them both understand and be understood. We are so excited to have Don Johnston Inc. join the Texthelp Group, and to have Don as an investor and board member. Our combined teams and expanded portfolio of products will allow us to give millions more students in the US and across the globe the best possible start in life and help them fulfill their full potential. Along with the Don Johnston team, we will continue to innovate and develop our suite of products to create the best assistive technology tools available.”…Read More

Tobii Dynavox launches Boardmaker 7 – the new platform for special education

Tobii Dynavox, the global leader in assistive technology for communication, today announced the new generation of its special education platform Boardmaker. Boardmaker provides a fully inclusive education environment for parents, special education teachers and schools to millions of students around the world.

Boardmaker has been the world’s leading software for special education for the past 30 years and currently supports education, communication, and access needs for more than six million students in 51 countries. Hundreds of thousands of teachers rely on Boardmaker’s learning resources and have used it to develop more than a million education activities which all can be shared and accessed through the platform and its associated online user community.

In Boardmaker 7, features from previous generations have been combined in a new software that runs on Windows, Mac and Chromebooks in 14 languages. The software interacts seamlessly with Boardmaker’s online features, student management platform and the large online sharing community. It can be used by students via traditional computer interfaces, via touch screens, eye gaze and several other access options, making Boardmaker the most accessible platform on the market. Boardmaker 7 includes a modern and streamlined user interface allowing users to easily create and deliver print or interactive curriculum and communication support.…Read More

Free access to assistive technology products

If you or your students are suddenly at home with no access to your AT software, Freedom Scientific has you covered.

Your health and safety are just as important to us as accessibility. We know many of you must remain at home and will need to continue to work or attend school remotely. To ensure that your life remains accessible Freedom Scientific is offering those in the US and Canada a Free Home License of JAWS, ZoomText, or Fusion which will expire June 30, 2020.

For those outside North America, Freedom Scientific and its international distributors are working together to provide home solutions for their customers during the COVID-19 crisis. Please contact your local distributor if you need assistance connecting to school or work from home.…Read More

Can audiobooks be the great equalizer for students with learning differences?

Low reading ability is a major contributor to learning inequality in our schools.

An estimated 26 million students have learning differences, including tens of thousands of students with dyslexia, a neurological condition that affects reading and related language-based processing skills.

Unless educators can find new approaches to deliver reading instruction and personalize learning environments for these frustrated learners, many will fail.…Read More

New assistive technology is changing education for blind students

Assistive technology has come a long way in the last decade, but there are still many obstacles students face in a society that’s currently saturated with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). But revolutionary new games, software, and teaching programs are helping students tackle their achievement potential.

One of the technologies receiving the most hype is a new game designed to catch childhood vision problems.

(Next page: Visual screening game)…Read More

3D printer brings dexterity to children with no fingers

Richard Van As was working in his home near Johannesburg, South Africa, in May of 2011, when he lost control of his table saw, NPR reports. “It’s a possibility that it was a lack of concentration,” he says. “It’s just that the inevitable happened.” The carpenter lost two fingers and mangled two more on his right hand. While still in the hospital, he was determined to find a way to get back to work. Eventually, solving his own problem led him to work with a stranger on the other side of the world to create a mechanical hand using . Other prosthetics, including a lower jaw, have been made with the technology before, but making a hand is particularly tricky…

Read the full story

…Read More

27 visual, sensory, and augmentative apps for autism

With the extremely large number of apps available for iPads, even those for autism are in abundance, and experts say it’s important to know which are most effective for students with different needs.

“One commonality emerges [in students with autism],” said Karina Barley, veteran educator, autism specialist and consultant, and president of Project Autism in Australia, during a recent edWeb.net webinar. “The majority of these kids are very competent using technology. They connect with technology, and where they have problems in the mainstream arena, they don’t seem to have the same difficulties using technology.”

Barley discussed how tablet technology, specifically the iPad, is more efficient for autism due to its design and touch capabilities—it turns on quickly and the transition from screen to screen is extremely fast, which appeals to the impatience of a child with autism.…Read More

An assistive technology guide for autism

In recent years, educators and parents have touted iPads, tablets, and mobile apps as assistive technologies that can help children or students diagnosed with autism communicate and learn basic concepts. But just as there’s a spectrum of autism disorders, there are many assistive technologies—but which assistive technology is the best choice?

According to Marc Sirkin, chief digital marketing officer at Autism Speaks, new technologies can help improve both communication and developmental skills, which is why he helped create the Autism Speaks Technology Guide—the mobile apps listed can help develop communication, development and creativity skills, said Sirkin.

The front side of the PDF handout focuses on “therapeutic” technologies and points to communications, self-improvement, and education apps. It’s what Sirkin calls “finding a voice.”…Read More

Students publish ed-tech textbook on iBookstore

More than 600 school districts have iPad programs.

At Georgia College, educational technology could spawn more educational technology.

A group of graduate students at the Milledgeville, Ga.-based campus have used Apple’s iBookstore to publish a video- and image-laden eTextbook filled with information and advice for educators hoping to better incorporate technology in their classroom lessons.…Read More