Posted in Accessibility, Assistive Technology Software, Chrome, Cross curricular, Inclusion, Literacy, Personal, Teaching & Learning

Text to Speech & Prediction with ClaroRead for Chrome

Delighted to be updating this post today after returning to Claro in the first time for a couple of months. On a visit to a local secondary school today we were discussing tools for predictive text and I checked this over before referencing it. I was quite critical of the prediction offering in my original post- it simply didn’t work!! – but it does now.

If you’re needing to offer your students simple, free text to speech to support their reading of web pages or PDFs – or any other digital text for that matter – ClaroRead is a really good tool. It’s unobtrusive, and, once it’s set up for your student, it doesn’t require much attention.

You can download the extension from the Chrome Web Store and once installed this icon will show at the top of your screen.  

Clicking it will open the discreet Control Panel which allow you to configure the tool to suit yourself or your student.

e.g. If you tick the settings like this your student can simply highlight text to hear it read aloud.

CR click & play

Experiment with the settings to suit your user – e.g. switching on Click and play will change the control panel accordingly. Watch a demo video here.

Using ClaroRead text to speech to support writing.

e.g. Students can also hear what they’re writing as they type.

CR Writing

As mentioned above the prediction window is now functioning well. It’s not a full-feature predictor but it’s good for core vocabulary in everyday, general writing.

There’s also a full Help Guide to making use of the extension here.

Posted in Accessibility, Assistive Technology Hardware, Assistive Technology Software, Chrome, Cross curricular, Inclusion, IWB, Literacy, Numeracy, Teaching & Learning

Clicker 8/Clicker Writer is here!

Clicker 8 on the Cricksoft website.

What’s new in Clicker 8/Clicker Writer

This latest iteration of Clicker is a huge step forward in accessibility and interoperability across platforms. So, where teachers still use PCs in class while pupils use Chromebooks in school and possibly iPads at home there are now no barriers between these tools.

The individual apps for Chrome and iPad left many unsure about what specific app they needed at any given time. Clicker 8 overcomes this by including all the apps as well as a range of other features (old and new) all within the umbrella package.

In addition to the writing and associated support tools for pupils, Crick has added a fantastic automated picture attachment tool (Picturize) for most text; resurrected and included an application from a few years ago that allows for the creation of Cloze passages; and there is also a comprehensive analytics system built into the software to help teachers tracking, reporting, and planning. There are loads more pre-prepared materials available too – some packs that used to be out of reach for many school budgets.

The main advance for me of this more universal approach is in the functionality that the software now affords teachers who can select and/or prepare materials for lessons in Clicker 8 with all the multi-sensory and inclusive features at their disposal. These lessons can then be interacted with by pupils to expand or create new writing and learning.

Posted in Chrome, Cross curricular, ICT Support, Literacy, Personal, Teaching & Learning

ComicLife3 for Chrome

Today plasq announced the official release of Comic Life 3 for Chromebook! The app is now available in the form of a compatible Android app.

Comic Life 3 for Chromebook has all the favourite features you have come to love from the other versions. To find out more, please check out the dedicated Comic Life 3 for Chromebook site.

Comic Life 3 is available from the Google Play store and requires a relatively recent Chromebook to function. (If you’ve installed Android apps on your Chromebook you’re ready for Comic Life).

Comic Life 3 on Chromebooks is US$2.49 and can be purchased and downloaded from the Google Play Store here.
Posted in Assistive Technology Software, Chrome, Cross curricular, ICT Support, Inclusion, iPad, Literacy, Teaching & Learning

Literacy Activities using Book Creator

All of us at ATSS are fans and long time advocates of Book Creator – it’s so easy to use and yet so powerful for myriad projects across the curriculum.

Here, the guys at Book Creator asked Kurt Klynen to make a book full of ideas for Literacy across the curriculum. It’s well worth a look.†

Read the book here.

Click here for many more reads from the Book Creator Library.

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

DocsPlus for Chrome gets an Exam Upgrade

Secondary Literacy Support

DocsPlus for Chromebookuse in exams Read more here.

It’s great to see that the excellent DocsPlus Chromebook app has been updated to incorporate the DocReader and customisable ‘Exam Mode’ settings introduced earlier in the Windows and Mac versions of the software. These exciting additions will facilitate the use of the app in exams for those students who qualify for additional access arrangements.

If you are already using the app, then it will automatically be updated. If you don’t yet have the app and would like a free copy, please email us at info@cricksoft.com.

DocsPlus for Chromebook trial success

The ASN team at Cathkin High School, a mainstream secondary school in South Lanarkshire, supports students with a wide range of needs. including learners with dyslexia, ADHD and autism. The team has been trialling the DocsPlus Chromebook app.

Lorna Jensen, Principal Teacher of ASN, describes the difference that DocsPlus has made to the students’ literacy output in a short space of time:

“There’s no doubt that DocsPlus had a massive impact on the pupils during our trial. It improved their self-esteem, confidence and motivation with writing tasks. Certainly in the English department we found that their level of writing improved significantly. The letters the pupils wrote were comfortably at level three – before this, these pupils would have been producing work at an early level two, so there was definitely a tangible improvement in the quality of their written work.”

There were some lovely comments from the students too:

“The spellchecker really helped. It helped me believe in myself, and gave me confidence with my writing.” You can learn more about the trial here.

Posted in Accessibility, Assistive Technology Hardware, Assistive Technology Software, Cross curricular, ICT Support, Inclusion, IWB, Teaching & Learning

Clicker beyond just writing.

I like this video because it includes and talks about important elements of Clicker that are often overlooked. Issues such as the variety of access methods and snippets of tailored choosing activities that can be seen in the background. One boy is using it for writing (which is great) but it’s by exploiting the power and adaptability within Clicker that’s paying off for these youngsters and their teachers.

Posted in Accessibility, Assistive Technology Software, Chrome, CPD/Training/Events, Cross curricular, ICT Support, Inclusion, Literacy, Numeracy, Teaching & Learning

Kami – interact with your PDFs

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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.

Get your Kami Chrome extension here.

 

If you want a demonstration or an opportunity to use Kami please be in touch.

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Kami website here

Posted in Assistive Technology Software, Cross curricular, ICT Support, IWB, Numeracy, Teaching & Learning

Clicker 6/7 as a teaching tool

We at ATSS absolutely love, and live by, Clicker 6 and 7. It’s so versatile. Many many teachers use it to support children’s writing but fewer, it seems, use it as a demonstration tool on their interactive whiteboards. The benefits of doing this are many – not least it provides a clear view of what’s being shown that can also be transferred to the pupil’s computer screen to allow them to work in exactly the same manner as the demonstration.

My son was working on Partitioning 2 digit numbers so I made him this to practise on. If I was demonstrating this to a class of pupils I’d certainly use my template – and let them use it to step them through the process.

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Download the above Clicker 6 template here.