Technology @ High Point, vol. 17

Tech for teaching and learning in our new space

Fill Your Toolbox!

Well-implemented technology gives classroom staff loads of tools for teaching students with a broad range of learning styles. The time investment in learning new technology will make teaching easier and assist students in advocating for their life-long learning. This newsletter PD is intended to help you learn new technologies at High Point a little bit at a time, slowly filling up your teaching toolbox throughout this chaotic school year.

This Week's Tech Feature:

Big picture

Little Step-by-Step

The Little Step-by-Step is a simple communication device that allows a student to press a button to activate a sequence of voice output recordings. Move into multi-message communication with the LITTLE Step-by-Step speech device. Activate the colored top to play the first message. When done, activate the top again to play another message. New sequences of messages are easily and quickly recorded to the LITTLE Step-by-Step on the fly, or use the levels to pre-record up to three sets of messages ahead of time. The button is the standard 2.5 inch switch with the option of 4 colors.

Who is it for?

  • The large button is easy for students with fine motor difficulties to use.
  • The bright colored button is easy to see.
  • The Step-by-Step can give specific communication options for simple activities around the classroom.
  • The Step-by-Step is great for students just starting with using communication devices.

Setup Instructions


The Little Step-by-Step is simple to setup and can be easily changed on the fly during your activities with students. To record,

  1. Press and hold "Record" button until the red light comes on.
  2. Position the "Level" slider switch to the level to be recorded.
  3. Press and hold the big Step-by-Step button while you speak into the microphone on the device. Release the button.
  4. Repeat #2&3 for all messages needed.

You can record up to 4 minutes of messages total on the device. To delete all messages, press and hold the record button until you hear 2 quick beeps (approximately 10 seconds). Here is a video that shows how to do this recording. These directions are also written on the back of the Step-by-Step.

Getting Started With The AbleNet LITTLE Step-by-Step Speech Device
Big picture

External Switch

On the back of the Step-by-Step, there is a jack labeled "Switch." This jack is to plug in any switch that meets the needs of a student. The student can press that button and the Step-by-Step will behave just like when the big button is pressed.

Toy/Appliance Control

The other jack on the back of the Step-by-Step is labeled "Toy/Appl." A 1/8" mono jack cable can be plugged into the Step-by-Step and a switch toy or appliance to be controlled. When recording the message where you want the toy to be activated, briefly press and release the "Record" button. When the big button is pressed, the recorded voice note will be spoken and the toy/appliance will be activated for the duration of the recorded message. This is a great way for students to add language to their activities. The switch could say, "I want to turn it on" when activating a toy, or "It's my turn" when rolling the die in a switch-adapted dice roller.

Adding Symbols

There is a clear, plastic cover on the Step-by-Step button to make it easy to place a symbol under it. You can print symbols using the iPad app Ablenet Symbol Overlay App or there is a simple template in the LessonPix program. There are also some pre-made symbols in the AT Lab at High Point. There is also a circle cutter in the AT Lab that can make it easier to cut out your own symbols.


The Step-by-Step is best positioned using the Universal Switch Mount arm with the circle plate and Velcro. If the student is using an external switch to activate the Step-by-Step, you can position the Step-by-Step out of their reach to save room in their space.

Big picture


The Little Step-by-Step can be cleaned with disinfecting wipes. Avoid getting any crud in the jacks on the back as this will decrease their ability to work properly.

The device requires one 9 volt battery which will need to be replaced periodically. You can optimize battery life by turning the device off when it is not being used. If it will not be used for a long period of time (e.g. over the summer) remove the battery to avoid corrosion in the battery compartment.

There are extra colored switch lids and clear lid covers in the AT lab at High Point. Feel free to grab one, if needed, or if you want to change the color of your Step-by-Step switch.

Ideas for Using This Tech in the Classroom