AT Tip of the Week

Week of 05/22/2017

Have you wondered if you could restrict access to websites or requiring students to stay on specific websites? This question recently came up on the QIAT (Quality Indicators in Assistive Technology) listserv, and I found out about the following resources:

StayFocusd is a chrome extension that can block certain websites, or keep you on a certain list of websites for chosen amounts of time.

With StayFocusd you can restrict access to specific websites AND you can choose one, or a list of websites to make accessible and the student will not be able to access all other websites. The site states: StayFocusd is a productivity extension for Google Chrome that helps you stay focused on work by restricting the amount of time you can spend on time-wasting websites. Once your allotted time has been used up, the sites you have blocked will be inaccessible for the rest of the day. It’s highly configurable, allowing you to block or allow entire sites, specific subdomains, specific paths, specific pages, even specific in-page content (videos, games, images, forms, etc).

Strict Workflow – It works much like StayFocused only there is a work time and break time. Sites are blocked/allowed during the set work time and then everything is open during the break time. The site states “Features: * Easy to use: just one click starts a work/break timer * Easy to get started: pre-configured to block popular distracting websites * Easy to personalize: block the sites that are most distracting to you or change the timer durations * Blacklist or whitelist: either choose what sites to block during a work timer, or what sites to allow”

And one to look forward to: Focal – Travis at travis.m.snyder@ME.COM wrote “I just finished programming an extension called Focal. It’s pretty much precisely that– “guided access” for Chrome. Just click the extension icon and it locks the page to whatever site you’re one. Click it again (and enter a passcode) and you’re back browsing the full web. I kept it intentionally simple for teachers who just don’t have time to fanangle menus of settings. Just lock and unlock. The extension is done (and has been working wonders all year in the school district for which I’m the AT specialist), but it is NOT YET publically available. I plan on releasing it at the start of next school year. If anyone on the QIAT listserv wants me to let them know when it has landed in the chrome store, just email me and I’ll send you a link for a free download when it’s out.

I plan on checking out StayFocusd and Stick Workflow and can’t wait until Focal come outs. Enjoy using these with your students (though they might not enjoy it).

Have a great week,
Carolann, Nicole and Lisa

These tips will cover a variety of areas, devices and tools. Most of the tips will focus on low or no cost AT. We hope these will be helpful for you or others you work with in your schools, districts, at home or in your workplace.

Please feel free to send us any tips that you feel would be helpful for others.

Brought to you by:
Carolann Cormier and Nicole Natale
TABS- Special Services Support Team
Capitol Region Education Council