Posted in AAC, Accessibility, Assistive Technology Hardware, Assistive Technology Software

iPads for Communication, Access, Literacy and Learning (iCALL) (2nd Edition)

The team at CALL Scotland has updated and expanded their iCALL book to take in new developments under IOS 7.1

This (free) book is a must for any school looking to develop support for pupils using iPads. Loads of useful information and pointers to the ‘best so far’ apps as well as tips to avoid the pitfalls.

Click image to download your copy from the CALL Scotland website.

iPads-for-Communication

 

Posted in Accessibility, Assistive Technology Hardware, Assistive Technology Software, CPD/Training/Events, ICT Support, Inclusion

ICT & Inclusion Roadshow 2014 – Inverness

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The Assistive Technology Support Service is thrilled to announce that one of this session’s ICT & Inclusion Roadshow events is to be held in Inverness.

This well-established touring event returns for the first time since 2009 and brings together expertise from CALL Scotland, BRITE, as well as developers and suppliers of Assistive Technologies that support the inclusion of many of our pupils. It’s a chance to hear up-to-date news and developments (of which there are many) and to speak to the experts, face-to-face.

We hope that many teachers will attend the day (or part) and that we will be joined by our colleagues from Speech & Language and Occupational Therapy. Parents are also very welcome.

We will be sending out additional information sheets/booking forms but Highland Education staff should register via the Highland CPD Calendar.

ICT and Inclusion Roadshow, 2014

ICT and Inclusion is Scotland’s leading annual exhibition with a focus on the use of ICT to support learners with additional support needs.

This year’s roadshows are being held at:

Kingsmill Hotel, Culcabock Road, Inverness, IV2 3LP, 10th June

CALL Scotland, University of Edinburgh, 11th June

CALL Scotland and BRITE, the organisers of the event, have arranged for up to 20 of the UK’s leading suppliers of software and technology to support learners with additional support needs to take part in the exhibition and to give a short presentation on their latest products.

There will also be short presentations by staff from BRITE, CALL and local schools, colleges and services, illustrating the use of technology to support learning.

The days are free to attend and run from 9.00 until 4.00 pm. Lunch is provided for people who book in advance.

Though ICT and Inclusion is aimed mainly at staff from schools and colleges, equipment and software on display may be of interest to adults with disabilities and the people who support them.

The event is supported by Highland Council.

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Posted in Accessibility, Assistive Technology Hardware, CPD/Training/Events, ICT Support, Inclusion, Web 2.0

EasySwitch

“Quick and simple switch access”

To support their HelpKidzLearn website and the new generation of online apps and software, signalled by the launch of Choose IT Maker3, Inclusive Technology have put together a neat switch package to get started with the simple switching required of these sites.

The pack is called EasySwitch and comprises two wireless IT Switches (normally £55 each) and a USB dongle to enable connection to the computer.2003-191212114753-846615794The package price of just £99 makes this an attractive buy and the easy set-up instructions take away any time-consuming fiddling.

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Well done Inclusive Technology.

Posted in Accessibility, Assistive Technology Hardware, Inclusion, Teaching & Learning

ChooseIT Maker 3

Helpkidzlearn logo

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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.

Posted in Accessibility, Assistive Technology Hardware, Assistive Technology Software, CPD/Training/Events, ICT Support

Clicker 6 – an introductory video

The Assistive Technology Support Service team hopes you’ll sign up for one of our interactive, informative courses on Clicker 6 but if you just want a flavour of what the software can do – watch this video.

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Course 1 29th August a.m.

Course 2 29th August p.m.

Course 3 30th August a.m.

Course 4 30th August p.m.

Sign in to Highland CPD required.

Posted in Accessibility, Assistive Technology Hardware, Assistive Technology Software, CPD/Training/Events, ICT Support, Inclusion

Other Ways of Speaking

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 in Accessibility, Assistive Technology Hardware, Assistive Technology Software, ICT Support, Inclusion, Personal, Teaching & Learning

GPS, Geocaching & Inclusive Education

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.

My son, Finlay, finding a geocache in Clashwood, Muir of Ord.

Posted in Assistive Technology Hardware, Assistive Technology Software

Students at IBM aim to aid deaf and blind

The technology pages of the BBC website recently report exciting research from computer giants IBM for the deaf and visually impaired. 

Technique links words to signing.

Technology that translates spoken or written words into British Sign Language (BSL) has been developed by researchers at IBM.

The system, called SiSi (Say It Sign It) was created by a group of students in the UK.

SiSi will enable deaf people to have simultaneous sign language interpretations of meetings and presentations.

It uses speech recognition to animate a digital character or avatar.

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IBM says its technology will allow for interpretation in situations where a human interpreter is not available. It could also be used to provide automatic signing for television, radio and telephone calls. 

Read the full article here. 

Virtual worlds open up to blind

Online virtual worlds could soon be accessible to blind people thanks to research by students at IBM in Ireland.

Some estimates predict that 80% of active internet users will be using a virtual world in four years’ time.

The company said that it is keen to ensure that blind people are not excluded from an environment that sighted people will take for granted.  

Read the full article here. 

Posted in Assistive Technology Hardware, ICT Support

Taking better photographs – thinking beyond ‘point & shoot’.

The ATS Service is very keen on the extension of the use of digital photography. We think that since it’s not text-based it offers inclusive opportunities in many areas of expression (including the curriculum) and that it deserves a higher profile both in terms of usage and in quality of execution. See Making more of Digital Cameras.

I found this link on the BBC website today and thought it looked really useful. It’s part of a programme series about architecture in Britain over the past 1000 years – couldn’t see much about Scotland in the synopsis so don’t know if I’ll follow it for its main thread. However, I thought this supporting page on how to take better photographs of buildings looked fantastic and might be useful to teachers and pupils – whether or not they take part in contributing pictures to the programme.

Click here to see Tom Ang’s top tips on how to get the most out of your digital camera. He looks at:

PEOPLE WITH BUILDINGS: Scale, Timing, Complementing, Providing context

BUILDINGS: Wide-angle, Symmetry, Clouds, Verticals, Colour of dark

LIGHT: Light source, Temperature, Flash, Time of day

LANDSCAPE: Composition, Framing, Zoom, Perpective, Proportions

COLOUR: Use of colour, Light, Contrasts, Black and white

COMPOSITION: Use of lines, Rule of thirds, Focus, Zoom

A selection of examplar photographs © TOM ANG:

Further advice from Tom Ang.