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.

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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 Software, Chrome, Cross curricular, Inclusion, Literacy, Personal, Teaching & Learning

Text to Speech with ClaroRead for Chrome

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

The prediction option in this free version is poor and not recommended. See here for a recommended prediction option.

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

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

Reader View – easier to see, read or hear.

Webpages can be very messy places to read from: broken or wandering text – often split at odd paces to accommodate a picture or advert, font sizes that are too small and shapes not really considerate to those with reading difficulties.

The Safari browser for Mac/iPad/iPhone has had Reader View built in for quite some time allowing users to strip the extraneous stuff out of the page leaving clean, plain text which can also be sized and have its font and background settings changed.http://www.iphonefaq.org/archives/974045

There’s an extension for Google Chrome that does, virtually, the same thing – it’s called Reader View and you can download it/install it to your Chrome browser here.

The extension looks like this when your browser is on most front/home pages that are links rather than text-based articles.reader view index

The extension icon changes when Reader View is available (text-based articles). reader view text

When the icon is clicked the page will change from a standard page to a clear, stripped down Reader View with font size, shape, and background colour/themes available down the right-hand side of the page.

This is the type of extension that should be made available for all pupils who have dyslexia, visual impairments, or any difficulty with reading that might be helped by seeing cleaner, clearer, more appropriately sized text. Using text-to-speech support software is also often easier to utilise with text that is spaced out in this way.