Category Archives: CPD/Training/Events

My Clicker 6 Webmix in Symbaloo


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.

symbaloo mix c6

I’ve made this mix for teachers to collate links, tutorials, guides, hints and tips, and videos for Clicker 6. CPD in a page!

SQA – Special Arrangements

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.

Find out more…

Specification 2 – Set Question Papers

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.

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.

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 – 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

Inclusive Technology – Free Support Guides

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.

Updates from the CALL Centre

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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!

(Read more.)

Go to the Clicker website to read about Clicker Phonics.

Glow Mentor Meeting 24/5/07

Glow Mentors assembled for their second Strathpeffer get-together in the Spa Pavilion.


After a welcome by Bob English, Andrew Sharkey from RM gave us a recap on the Phase 2 pilot and a look at what’s coming in the next phase that is due to begin next week. View his presentation here. Watch a video with an amusing take on education.- The 5 Minute University.

Joe Walsh respresenting Heriot Watt University drew parallels between Scholar and Glow. He informed us of the road travelled over the past 7 years in getting Scholar up-and-running. The experiences of the Scholar team has much to share with the roll out of Glow in terms of how much training teachers and pupils might need to develop skills in e-learning.

Jim Henderson on Blogging & Pathfinder.

Jim explained that there has been a high level of interest in blogging around Glow community. He went on to explain what a blog is and what it usually contains – tags, links, pictures, search engines………

Many local authorities have set up blogs in relation to Glow and Glow mentors Argyll & Bute, Shetland, East Lothian and Glasgow were mentioned. Jim showed his own blog. It’s likely that a blogging server will be set up in Highland by June this year. Jim suggested that this might be very useful for Glow mentors.

Jim pointed us to the search engine Technorati to keep up with the blogging world. He also mentioned Bloglines which is a more personal way of tracking blogs of interest and ENDO – another aggregator/syndication system.

Pathfinder – 3 year old project to bring broadband to the Highlands and Islands. Partners are Highland, Orkney, Shetland, Argyll & Bute, Moray, & Western Isles.

Pathfinder is a plan to connect Scottish schools – £70m project over 5 years with the priority being for schools and council buildings. Minimum specification to be 8mb for primary schools and 12mb for secondary. The service will be managed by THUS plc.

The challenge in Highland is to connect 219 schools, 43 libraries, & 14 inhabited islands. Connections start in May 2007 nd should be completed by 2009. The roll out plan is likely to be shared with Head Teachers as early as next week.

The remainder of the afternoon was spent in discussion around 20 Questions aimed at helping mentors define their future role in relation to GLOW. Feedback from discussion groups was collated in a Softease database using wireless mice and keyboards and bluetooth wireless Airliner slates – just as a small example of interactive ICT in use!!!

Empty version of the Softease database uploaded to the Public folder on my iDisk for the two or three folks who asked for it…..!!!

Visit the LTS Glow website for updates from the centre.