Posted in ICT Support

iPads in Special Education

This is a really important article which helps to explain why iPads and other technologies don’t have the impact they might.

Read the whole article here.

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Posted in Accessibility, Assistive Technology Software, Chrome, Cross curricular, ICT Support, iPad, Literacy, Personal, Teaching & Learning

Reader View – easier to see, read or hear.

Webpages can be very messy places to read from: broken or wandering text – often split at odd paces to accommodate a picture or advert, font sizes that are too small and shapes not really considerate to those with reading difficulties.

The Safari browser for Mac/iPad/iPhone has had Reader View built in for quite some time allowing users to strip the extraneous stuff out of the page leaving clean, plain text which can also be sized and have its font and background settings changed.http://www.iphonefaq.org/archives/974045

There’s an extension for Google Chrome that does, virtually, the same thing – it’s called Reader View and you can download it/install it to your Chrome browser here.

The extension looks like this when your browser is on most front/home pages that are links rather than text-based articles.reader view index

The extension icon changes when Reader View is available (text-based articles). reader view text

When the icon is clicked the page will change from a standard page to a clear, stripped down Reader View with font size, shape, and background colour/themes available down the right-hand side of the page.

This is the type of extension that should be made available for all pupils who have dyslexia, visual impairments, or any difficulty with reading that might be helped by seeing cleaner, clearer, more appropriately sized text. Using text-to-speech support software is also often easier to utilise with text that is spaced out in this way.

Posted in Assistive Technology Software, Chrome, Inclusion, IWB, Literacy, Numeracy, Teaching & Learning

Maths Apps – Manipulatives & More in Chrome & iPad

As more and more of our pupils are supplied with devices on a 1:1 footing it starts to make use of the tools in everyday learning more possible. I think it would be fair to say that most digital mathematical experiences for pupils in primary schools have tended towards games and content-filled puzzle websites rather than tools that help them visualise and manipulate numbers and objects during their problem solving activities.

With more resources at hand, pupils can now be given the chance to use digital numberlines, number frames, manipulatives to help with numbers, fractions, and patterns, and use geoboards – without elastic bands!

This set of tools (available for both Chrome & iPad) from Clarity Innovations would be a great place to start connecting maths teaching & learning with digital resources more directly.

Learn more and download your apps here.

They work brilliantly on your IWBs too for teaching and demonstration.

 

 

Posted in Accessibility, Assistive Technology Software, Chrome, ICT Support, Inclusion, Teaching & Learning

Clicker 7 & Chrome Apps

Clicker-logo

Many schools have been using Clicker 6 successfully over the past few years but because of our impending move towards Chromebooks there’s been no talk or impetus behind upgrading to Clicker 7. Despite the changes that are about to take place over the coming couple of years as many of our pupils are moved to Chromebooks there are compelling reasons why schools might want to consider upgrading to Clicker 7.

  • Teachers will still be using PCs to drive their IWBs and can make excellent use of Clicker 7 for class lessons that can neatly interface with pupils who might be using one or more of the available Clicker apps on their Chromebooks. The Clicker Board planning tool springs immediately to mind.C7 Board
  • There will still be PCs in our schools to meet the more demanding and varied needs of our pupils with additional support needs. Only Clicker 7 offers the full range of functionality that allows for adaptations that might include combinations of pictorial support along with text and speech.
  • The full range of writing, predictive and speech support, reading, matching, sequencing, Listen & Say, Voice recording, and accessibility is present within Clicker 7.
  • The apps (for both Chrome & iPad) are fantastic (but only) subsets of the full Clicker 7 package.

 

 

Posted in Accessibility, Assistive Technology Software, Chrome, Inclusion

Assistive Apps for Chrome

As we start to gear up for the roll-out of Chromebooks across our secondary and upper primary schools, beginning next session, we might be excited at the new possibilities that are potentially available to us but we also need to consider continuity or transition for users who rely more heavily on Assistive Technology supports to help them with their school work and in their wider lives.

This blog has lain dormant for quite some time due to various pressures but it is my intention to restart it with regular (we hope) additions to available tools for Chrome. Any items posted on here will have been looked at through our Assistive Technology ‘filters’ and will have been tried with users and tested to ensure they are robust, perform consistently and without additional fuss or difficulty once installed.

Obviously, there’s a great deal of web content that will work in Chrome – we will include comment or reference to these if they meet our AT criteria.

Both Apps and Extensions will be looked at and functionality against cost will be an important feature.

If an App or Extension makes it on to these pages it means that we might consider using it in a scenario that we have encountered with a user or group of users- it is not and should never be read as a ‘catch-all’ recommendation or a ‘must have’.

 

Posted in ICT Support

Padlet – create and collaborate.

imageThe ATS Service has been using and promoting Padlet since it first appeared under its original name, Wallwisher. It’s a fantastic classroom (or bedroom for homework) tool for collaborative working.

Usually we use it as part of our CPD sessions with staff and just make passing reference to its possibilities. We mention where to find Padlet and most teachers just pick it up and run with it.

Over the years Padlet has had many new features added to it: more ways of recording ideas – text, photos, video, voice recording. It’s had new layout and distribution options added … and more.

I came across a fantastic blog post by Vicki Davis TheCoolCatTeacher that explains Padlet in detail and provides a great guided tour through all its functions.

So, if you’re new to Padlet, or have only used its basic functionality you really should have a read through Vicki’s guide which can be found here.

It’s worth having a look at Padlet’s gallery of examples which is here.