The Assistive Technology Support Service has been sifting through various tools that might meet the many and varied needs of teachers and pupils as Chromebooks roll out across Highland schools.
PDF annotation seems to be a significant need.
Many pieces of teachers’ work for pupils already exist as PDF worksheets. The ability to annotate such material opens up many opportunities for pupils to interact directly with these worksheets as we move towards 1:1 device availability.
Kami is a good example of such a well-functioned tool to allow pupils to:
Digitally answer questions directly into the workspace
Comment directly on PDF texts
Draw shapes and diagrams to express knowledge and understanding
Utilise text-to-speech to support those with reading difficulties
Kami integrates with Google Classroom and Drive so files can be shared easily in both directions.
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.
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.
“UDL research demonstrates that the challenge of diversity can and must be met by making curriculum flexible and responsive to learner differences.”
I’m asking participants at an upcoming course on using Clicker 6 to watch the video below to enable us to give some thought to how well the software might meet the principles of Multiple Means of Representation, Multiple Means of Action and Expression, and Multiple Means of Engagement that underpin Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
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.The package price of just £99 makes this an attractive buy and the easy set-up instructions take away any time-consuming fiddling.
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.
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 attended an SQA seminar at the Scottish Sensory Centre last week where the special arrangements for Nat 3, 4 and 5 were being teased out.
There’s a video out (still under development we were told) outlining the changes/issues that face students as of 2014.
…. and Patricia Macdonald’s presentation.
All of the specifications will come into effect from August 2013.
Specification 1 – Course Assessment
In relation to National Courses at National 5 to Advanced Higher, exemption of an assessment component which comprises 30% or more of the total Course assessment will not be a reasonable adjustment.
Note — An assessment component refers to one of the seven agreed assessment methods in a Course assessment; they are assignment, case study, performance, practical activity, project, portfolio, question paper.
In relation to National Courses at National 5 to Advanced Higher, the explanation of words or questions to candidates in a SQA-set question paper will not be a reasonable adjustment. Find out more…
Specification 3 – Literacy Units
In relation to the National Literacy Units at all levels: (i) exemption from demonstrating any of the four assessed skills of reading, writing, listening or talking will not be a reasonable adjustment and (ii) using human readers and scribes will not be reasonable adjustments where reading and writing abilities are being explicitly assessed. Find out more…
Specification 4 – Modern Languages & Gaelic Learners
In relation to National Units and Courses in Modern Languages and Gaelic (Learners) at all levels, human scribes or speech-recognition software will not be reasonable adjustments where the ability to write with technical accuracy in the target language is being explicitly assessed.
Note — Human scribes may be used in situations where the candidate is physically unable to write but is able to dictate and spell out words in the target language, letter by letter. Find out more…
Specification 5 – British Sign Language
In relation to National Units and Courses in Gàidhlig, Gaelic (Learners) and Modern Languages at all levels, using British Sign Language (BSL) to demonstrate reading, writing, talking or listening abilities in the particular language being assessed will not be a reasonable adjustment. Find out more…
Specification 6 – Communication Units
In relation to National Core Skills Communication Units and to National Certificate Communication Units, exemption from demonstrating abilities in reading, writing, listening or speaking will not be a reasonable adjustment. Find out more…
Also supplied were two sheets detailing the Outcomes and the Evidence Requirements for the Unit Literacy (Nat 3) and (Nat 4)
Biggest talking points were that if VI pupils are allowed to listen to text in the reading assessments, HI pupils should be allowed to read (subtitles) in the listening assessments. SQA reps said they’d take that request back to HQ.
Also mentioned was the overstated usefulness/uptake/benefits that Speech Recognition is given by SQA and other Government departments.