There are now three Apps in the Crick stable and all have a good pedigree. All allow for the generation of personalised materials and all offer access to an ever-growing bank of resources stored at LearningGrids. – there are discrete sections for each of the apps and none appear to be interchangeable. Certain layouts and word banks can be constructed within Clicker 6 and shared with the iPad via Dropbox or email.
Clicker Sentences (£18.99) has been around now for a few months and after a few teething problems has settled down into a useful reading tool and sentence construction tool for even very young users. The main function is to provide sentence models, on the grid, as a pop-up, and as an audio support to support the pupil’s re-building of the sentence from the automatically generated wordbank. The wordbank also provides options for support at differing levels: guided support, alphabetical, and random order to allow teachers to assess how their pupils are managing sentence construction. Activities are very easy to generate, either with saved pictures or those taken live and are easily adapted across the levels of difficulty.
I particularly like making talking books with this app – photos or clipart from a book (remember Clicker clipart is available if you’ve bought any of the Powered by Clicker series) along with text at the relevant level. We’ve even had some parents use it as a home-school diary so that the pupil can relay their news at sentence or word level when they get to class.
See it being used here.
Clicker Docs (£21.99) is a fantastic, versatile tool – it’s an age-appropriate word processor with, if you want or need it, speech support, prediction support, and word bank support for writing.
See Clicker Docs in use here.
Write Online (£21.99) is the newest app from Crick, and, as far as I can see, it’s almost identical to Clicker Docs apart from a different default appearance for slightly older users. Despite the two apps being almost identical and performing the same tasks for different age groups, you can’t access the resources from LearningGrids across the two apps – a bit of a cynical move, I feel, to force you into two apps when one might have been sufficient. Oddly, you can show up to 8 predictions in Clicker Docs but only 6 in Write Online despite it being aimed at older users! It’s nice, though, and I can envisage lots of students making use of it.
I really liked this poster from the alwaysprepped blog folks. The messages underline what we at ATSS promote – the use of ICT requires thought, planning, understanding of purpose – especially when trying to support those with additional support needs.
ChooseIT Maker 3 from Inclusive Technology is now available online as a subscription service via the already well-established HelpKidzLearn website. Not sure that schools really like this type of arrangement but the fact there are no installation costs to be considered might make up for the annual commitment.
The software boasts the ability to quickly and easily prepare activities for pupils online that can then be shared and used across any PC, Mac, iPad, or Android tablet. The activities themselves can be accessed via mouse, touchscreen, switches, and even eye-gaze. This makes CM3 an attractive assessment tool: those of us who work in assistive technology often have difficulty finding age-appropriate, relevant, personalised, motivating activities for pupils so the ability to quickly put something together could be a real boon.
I’ve always liked Symbaloo. I think it’s a great way to get pupils to the websites you want them to visit without any need to type in complicated URLs. It’s also a great way to gather related links all in one page (Webmix) for future reference.
I’ve made this mix for teachers to collate links, tutorials, guides, hints and tips, and videos for Clicker 6. CPD in a page!
I’m quite excited about the soon-to-be-launched ChooseIT Maker 3 for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it has loads of new features that are going to make the development of materials much simpler and more quickly. Secondly, this is going to be available through the wonderful HelpKidzLearn website. This means that the software will run in your browser and that no software has to be installed to school computers. Not sure yet of how this is going to affect costs but ease of access should make it worthwhile.
You can get a flavour of what ChooseIT Maker 3 can do by watching this video.