Seen a few like this but thought this was a particularly good one.
Posted by Alan Stewart on May 27, 2013
Posted by Alan Stewart on May 25, 2013
Read about The AutistiX tour and back story here.
Posted by Alan Stewart on September 14, 2011
The Scottish Government funded CALL Scotland to develop and licence ‘Stuart’ a male Scottish computer voice which is now available for download.
Heather has been very well received by Scottish learners and we hope that the new male voice will be just as successful. It should certainly provide a better option for Scots boys with speech and language difficulties who use voice output communication aids, because at present they have a choice of speaking with very adult and very English voices, or one of a few rather low-fi Amercian children’s accents, or with the Heather female voice.
Posted by Alan Stewart on September 8, 2011
Posted by Alan Stewart on June 20, 2011
This June has seen the launch of Other Ways of Speaking, a new information booklet for parents and professionals that provides information on the different ways children and young people with little or no speech communicate, how to support them and where to go for further information and help.
Free copies can be ordered or downloaded here or at www.hello.org.uk/resources – we would ask you take this opportunity to raise awareness about AAC to health and education professionals and your/their clients.
This booklet explores Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), a term that describes a wide range of techniques children and young people use to support or replace spoken communication. Techniques such as using gestures, signing, symbols, boards and books, adapted computers and dedicated Voice Output Communication Aids (VOCAs).
Other Ways of Speaking has been produced by The Communication Trust and Communication Matters, with The Communication Consortium member organisations 1Voice, ACE Centre, ACE Centre North, The Makaton Charity, Scope and Signalong. Find out more about Communication Matters and how it is supporting the Hello campaign, visit www.communicationmatters.org.uk/page/diary
Posted by Alan Stewart on June 19, 2011
If you work with pupils who use switches it’s likely you know of the titles mentioned below. They’re all great packages in their own ways to help the introduction and development of switch skills and for laying the foundations for more advanced uses.
Inclusive Technology has been releasing Set-by-step guides for all of these packages as well as a very useful booklet on possible routes for progression through switch skills. They’ve made these all available as free downloads from the publications page on their website – here.
I’ve placed links to each of the publications on the screenshots below.
Posted by Alan Stewart on June 17, 2011
The BBC have created an easy-to-use configuration tool that allows you to view all of its web content in a format that suits you.
MyDisplay offers a number of preset page themes suited to a wide range of potential users via an easy to use menu page. The ability to create your own custom theme is also available.
Although this is only a trial at the moment, I believe that this tool will become a fixture that will help many people gain better access to the web.
This level of accessibility raises the bar for other web developers – particularly those that espouse inclusion. I would like to see Glow Futures incorporate this level of support for the learners in our schools.
Posted by Alan Stewart on May 12, 2011
I’m a bit of a stuck record when I’m regularly asked the question, “What’s the best software for……?” So often, I find that Textease is my, now predictable, answer to the question due to its versatility and relative simplicity of use.
Recently, I’ve had a number of concerns raised about children finding it difficult to adequately lay out their sums. I know there are specific software titles for this but none seems to offer the teachers I speak to, the versatility to set out the sums the way they want.
I’ve made a variety of different template pages in different settings to suit the particular pupil or teacher with whom I’ve been working. You can download the examples below by clicking on the screenshots.
If you don’t have a copy of Textease you can download a free viewer here to enable you to use some of the features. (You won’t be able to hear the speech or print if using the free viewer.)
The templates allow the children to drag and drop numbers and operators, often onto a background grid, in any shape or format they wish. The drag and drop facility works well on teachers’ whiteboards as well!!
On some pages there are smaller copies of numbers for use as carrying figures. There are basic signs such as £ and % on some of the templates but there’s no end to the tools you could include for your own specific purposes. I’ve even managed to devise a way of constructing fractions – contact me if you have any trouble with this. I’ve left out a few more complicated constructions so as not to over-complicate what’s a very simple and accessible tool.
If you have any suggestions for specific or improved layouts please let me know – I’m always happy to build such layouts or help teachers build their own.
Posted by Alan Stewart on May 7, 2011
I dabbled with Geocaching when it started to become popular a few years ago but time, the arrival of the children, and a variety of other intervening factors meant I never really ‘got into it’. However, when I bought a GPS enabled phone (iPhone 3G) last year I decided to revisit the sport/activity/game. I’m always out jogging or cycling with the kids, walking in the woods and hills that surround where we live so it seemed an obvious additional facet to our trips out.
I was directed to a blog today via Ollie Bray that detailed how Clackmannan Primary School embedded the use of GPS into an Eco Project they were involved in and I thought it was about time I put something up here to try to stimulate some local participation in this fun, inclusive activity.
So – what is it and what do you need to get started? Watch the 2 minute video to get an overview.
I can envisage geocaching being an excellent opportunity for teachers and pupils to take part in a healthy, outdoor pursuit while engaging in cross-curricular activities that would give rise, quite naturally, to team work, problem solving, and creativity. Pupils could, for example, learn more about their local environment through geocaching and go on to develop a deeper knowledge to enable them to plan, prepare, describe, and lay their own caches. Success is not all tied up in an ability to read and write so it offers wonderful opportunities for those who have differing learning styles.
GPS devices start around £60 Have a look here and here (thanks Iain Hallihan) although for a bit more (if you hunt around) you can get something a bit better in terms of facilities and robustness. Remember, though, there’s a good chance your phone has GPS facilities that are more than enough to get started.
Posted by Alan Stewart on October 4, 2007
Our colleagues at CALL produce a regular update on new and interesting developments in the world of assistive technology. Here are a few sections from their latest publication. The complete New in CALL booklet can be downloaded here.
Making Accessible Books for All
In April 2007 the CALL Centre completed a project to investigate the need for, and availability of, learning resources in accessible alternative formats for pupils with additional support needs. The project was funded by the Scottish Executive Education Department and the report was published on the Scottish Executive web site* (and the CALL web site) in June 2007.
Local authorities are obliged to consider how they can provide material in suitable alternative formats for pupils with disabilities ‘if the pupil may have difficulty reading information provided in standard written form’. Many local authorities provide learning materials in Braille, enlarged text or audio format to visually impaired students and Disability Discrimination legislation requires consideration of how this provision can be extended to any pupil who has difficulty reading or accessing information. (Read more.)
Using Technology in SQA Exams
Every year thousands of students in Scottish schools require ‘reasonable adjustments’ to sit SQA exams. Many of these students are using technology to assist with reading and writing tasks on a daily basis in school, but have to use a reader or scribe in exams. (Read more.)
Assistive Technology on YouTube
The YouTube web site is not just a collection of video clips of teenage girls lip-synching into hair brushes and boys pulling faces – there is also a lot of material that is interesting and useful for people using technology to support people with disabilities.
AbilityNet, for example, have set up their own page on YouTube with a small collection of their own videos (mostly tutorial material for using the screenreader) and links to their ‘Favourites’. The favourites are particularly interesting with links to over 100 video clips of people using or talking about assistive technology. (Read more.)
Introduction to Clicker Phonics
Clicker Phonics is a new set of add-ons for Clicker 5 that provide a comprehensive set of resources for use with any phonics scheme (though it is based on the Jolly Learning scheme). A total of six CDs are available, under the headings Get Ready! & Get Set!