Free Bridges Webinars

2016 - 2017 Webinars 

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Exclusive Introduction to Readtopia - Is Your Special Education Instruction Experiential?

Presented by Don Johnston and Dr. Karen Erickson

Learn all about the brand new, experiential reading curriculum for middle and high school students with complex learning needs. 

Led by Don Johnston, the founder/CEO of Don Johnston Inc, and Dr. Karen Erickson, Director of the Centre for Literacy and Disability Studies, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, this webinar explores how Readtopia delivers real, meaningful learning opportunities in English Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science, while building students' reading skills. 

This webinar will be presented specially for a Canadian audience. Click here to register.

Widgit Software

Symbols help communicate ideas and information.

Symbolize IT with Widgit Symbols – Everywhere: Widgit online, Symwriter 2, Communicate: In Print, Clicker 6, Kurzweil 3000

Communicating with AAC users, engaging visual learners, clarifying comprehension for English Language Learners – experience all the potential of Widgit symbols to enhance learning in so many different ways. Widgit symbols are unique, not just in their richness – an over 40,000 word vocabulary – but their systemic design to support learning and focus on curricular vocabulary. Plus they’re Canadianized with English and French both available.

In this presentation you’ll:

  • Discover the new Widgit Online – for creating and sharing symbol supported materials, visual schedules, grids, flash cards –in the cloud, printed, shared to your iPad or anywhere else. In English or French.
  • Compare the SymWriter Symbol supported word processor with Communicate: InPrint, the symbol based desktop layout software.
  • See how Widgit symbols can support learners in other popular software like Clicker 6 and Kurzweil 3000.

Learn more about symbolizing with Widgit Symbols HERE

Snap&Read and Co:Writer Universal: on GAFE, Chromebooks Even When the Internet is down

Cloud delivered literacy tools hold the promise of anytime, anywhere support for students struggling with reading and writing. But wifi bottlenecks, dead zones or the Internet going down are just some of the real world obstructions both in schools and out. 

Can text-to-speech aid comprehension if the text’s grade level is higher than the student’s reading level? Can word prediction help writing when you can’t guess the first few letters of a word? What about working in different platforms (iOS, Windows, Chromebooks, Macs) or different media (pdf’s, websites, flash, paper) or in other apps (facebook, email, Office 365, Mindomo)?

 And what about parents’ concerns and the school’s legal obligations for the security of private, personal data in the cloud? 

See how the DJI Universal Literacy tools deal with these real classroom challenges. Unique innovations in making difficult text comprehensible (even for ELL’s), protecting against plagiarism in the digital age, supporting writing of any text, anywhere can make a real difference for any student. And SnR’s and CoW’s architecture delivers access to essential tools, even when the Internet is slow or down completely. 

Learn more about Co:Writer & Snap&Read Universal HERE.

Supporting Reading and Writing in Google-Land: Chromebooks, GAFE, K3000, Snap&Read, Co:Writer

Google Apps for Education, Chromebooks, Google Drive - they are all becoming a fixture in schools and districts for a variety of reasons: cost, security, home access and sharing. But where does that leave students with reading and writing challenges? In this presentation we’ll look at how some common and new AT tools can work in the Google education eco-system.


  • Co:Writer Universal
  • Snap&Read Universal
  • Mindomo
  • Kurzweil web license

Learn more about AT in Google-Land Here.

Supporting Complex Instructional Needs in Googleland

Is your school district going Google Apps for Education (GAFE)? Are you considering Chromebooks because of low cost and easy maintenance? But do you also support a student(s) with complex learning needs? 

This presentation will review options for early learning activities, implementing symbol support and alternative access options in a Google-based learning tech environment. We’ll take a look at new products and web based services, making the most use of the tools you may already have and free options too.


  • Widgit Online
  • HelpKidzLearn
  • ChooseIT Maker 3
  • Switch interfaces for Chromebooks
  • Alternatives to mice for Chromebooks (eg. Touch, joysticks, etc.)

Learn more about AT in Google-Land Here.

Eye gaze in the classroom: "I have to completely rewrite the IEP”

For students with complex cognitive and sensory challenges, new, lower priced, easy to deploy eye gaze systems can deliver profound change in learning potential.

Teachers using eye gaze with students with an array of physical, sensory and intellectual needs have told us how this technology has resulted in them rethinking individual potential and teaching methods. Find out why you should be thinking about eye gaze for your classroom this year. 

  • Eye gaze is the most direct form of access, focusing cognition on the task rather than the means and method of access.
  • With eye-tracking heat-maps, a teacher discovered what a student, described on his IEP as non-verbal and "blind”, could actually see.
  • Provide a means for engagement for your students, through this exciting and surprisingly easy to use access technology.
  • Many applications already used in the classroom could be accessed with eye gaze (eg. Clicker 6, Choose It Maker 3).

This presentation introduces the basics of eye gaze, demonstrates key software and details real world classroom experiences that have changed students' lives.

Learn more about eye gaze in the classroom HERE

eye gaze in the classroom

I Got an Eye Gaze System – Now What? 

Eye gaze has the possibility of opening a world of opportunity for students with profound and complex physical and/or cognitive needs. If you’ve leapt into the world of eye gaze, or it's coming to your classroom soon, you will want to join us for this review of where to start with your students. 

We'll touch on:

  • First activities for evaluation 
  • Looking at what the analysis tools capture 
  • Tips and tricks for successful evaluation 
  • Calibration – tips, tricks and when to stop 
  • What to do next with an eye gaze user 

And all the latest learnings from the field – our Bridges instructors and our colleagues overseas. 

If you’ve never seen an eye gaze system or want to know why it’s relevant for students with profound and complex learning needs, you’ll probably want to see one of our introductory Eye gaze in the classroom webinars.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Learn more about eye gaze in the classroom Here.

Kurzweil 3000 V15 -- Chrome App, Extension and Writing Tools 

At this summer’s users forum, an AT specialist from a Canadian university stood-up and thanked the development team because “we asked and you delivered.” 

  • New mobile friendly interface, so students can read even on their phones. 
  •  New user interface. 
  • Chrome firefly App and Read-the-Web Extension and writing tools in firefly deliver K3000 supports on virtually all computer platforms including Chromebooks. 
  • Full offline access for K3000 Mac or Windows desktop, for hours or days. 

Lean more about Kurzweil 3000 HERE

Co:Writer Universal - Unparalleled Writing Tool on iPads, Chromebooks, PC's, Everywhere You Write.

Co:Writer’s flexible spelling, webscraping automated topic dictionaries and grammar supports delivers unparalleled writing and spelling support. New Co:Writer Universal means students have anywhere, anytime access on almost any computer platform: iPad,iPhone,Chromebook,or Windows/Mac laptops or desktop computers — all for one price.

For some students there are barriers between the idea and writing it out: grammar, spelling, word recall. Co:Writer breaks down the barriers to express the idea.

In this webinar, learn how Co:Writer Universal delivers writing supports without technology barriers for virtually universal access.

Learn more about Co:Writer Universal HERE

Snap&Read Universal: Text Reading + Text Levelling (and More!) for Google

Some students can get to grade level with a simple text reader. Others need simplified text. Snap&Read Universal is the only reader that does both! PLUS supports English Language Learners in Google Chrome too.

Join us to see how Snap&Read Universal delivers easy reading supports on the Windows desktop to inaccessible pdf’s, as well as virtually any other format. We’ll demo the Snap&Read Chrome extension that supports any text on the web, including Google Drive and inaccessible Flash and Pdf text. See how easy it is to manage Snap&Read Universal with its Educator Dashboard and prove outcomes with the data collection features.

Learn more about Snap&Read Universal HERE

Equals: Transforming math curriculum for special needs students

Teachers of students with special needs know math instruction is not only expected but can be vitally important for personal development and the development of so many key life skills. This presentation will outline how Equals Math – the age-neutral math curriculum for students with mild to significant disabilities -- can give teachers the tool they need to teach standards-based instruction in the special needs classroom or resource room.

We’ll draw on experiences in implementing Equals from across the country, particularly those documented by the Numeracy for All project in Alberta. It’s great success in Alberta has meant Equals has transformed the way math is taught to students with special needs throughout that province.

Attend to learn how Equals:

  • Differentiates instruction and students’ responses for students with physical, cognitive and/or verbal challenges.
  • Incorporates manipulatives and assistive technology to level curricula for students with mild, to severe disabilities at any age level.
  • Connects lessons to home, community, and/or school.
  • Adapts the Concrete to Semi Concrete to Abstract math pedagogy for students with profound communication, cognitive and physical challenges.

Learn more about Equals HERE.

Affordable assistive technology for ESL: Snap&Read Universal, Widgit Online

Electronic reading software and software that easily creates visuals are proven effective supports for ESL classrooms and ELL’s. Unfortunately, cost and lack of tech support have kept these tools out of the hands of ELL’s and their teachers, particularly outside the K-12 education system.

But two new affordable, easy to implement cloud based tools are changing all that – Snap&Read Universal and Widgit Online.

Snap&Read Universal embeds simplified English and/or second language translation right in the original text and reads in 90+ languages. Widgit Online creates and shares engaging and effective visual materials. Breakthrough features make Widgit Online ideal for Level 1 and 2 learners and Snap&Read for Level 3-5.

We'll demo how these unique, low cost cloud apps can make a big difference as a teaching and an independent learning tool.

Learn more about Snap&Read Universal HERE

Learn more about Widgit Online HERE

Kurzweil 3000: Reading and Writing for Different Classroom Formats

As many Canadian teachers are discovering, the tools that come with a Kurzweil 3000 web license are an investment in literacy achievement for all their students.

Join us to learn how to apply the latest features in K3000, firefly and the Universal Library support reading and writing across the curriculum, from primary to secondary, for whole classroom to students with a variety of learning challenges. In this session teachers will see how they can use the tools that come with a K3000 web license to:

  • Develop active reading strategies
  • Use built-in Widgit symbols for visual learners
  • Support writing throughout the writing process
  • Implement a model of gradual release progressing through whole class to small group and individual instruction with the Universal library

Led by Susie Blackstein-Adler, this session is ideal for teachers who want to learn how to apply K3000 tools that are now available in their classroom because of a web license, or for educators who want to learn how a K3000 web license could be put to work in their district.

Learn more about Kurzweil 3000 HERE

Kurzweil free webinar, literacy, dyslexia