February 15th – 19th will be Innovative Learning Week at the University of Edinburgh.
There will be several events that would be of interest to the teams around children with additional support needs – you can see the full programme here.
In particular, we would like to draw your attention to a workshop that is being run by Sue Fletcher-Watson of DART fame. Her event will focus on getting the most out of technology for learners with autism. It will run twice, both 9.30am – 12.30pm on Monday 15th and Tuesday 16th February.
Full information and the links to book on are below:
Individuals on the autism spectrum often enjoy working with technology and evidence shows positive effects of this kind of learning support. However the sheer quantity of technologies out there, means that practitioners, parents and autistic people can struggle to keep up. At this collaborative workshop we will review apps and think about the best way to use these at home and in the classroom. The workshop will focus on iPads, but lessons apply to any touchscreen technology.
People attending this workshop will learn from each other as well as from the organiser. They will be given an iPad each to use and encouraged to play with the apps, download new ones, and try them out. Attendees will share ideas and tips. We will use an online message board so that people can post ideas, questions and comments live to a big screen. The organiser will respond to these, drawing on her expertise, but also invite responses from other delegates. The workshop will celebrate the skills and unique learning style of people on the autism spectrum. Attendees will gain a deeper understanding of autism and of learning, as well as tools for using technology to best effect.
I hope you are enjoying the last few days of the holidays.
Just a quick titbit for you to hopefully get you enthused about the new session. While we’ve been off, Crick have enabled school account OneDrive integration for their Clicker apps. There was a OneDrive option previously, but this was just for personal accounts and didn’t work for us. This new update means that it is now really easy for you to create resources using the Clicker desktop software and share it with the app. Hooray! However, you should be aware that you will be able to see if not open all the files in your OneDrive if you connect the Clicker apps to it so, as always, ensure that you manage your data responsibly.
Do let me know if you try this – I have tested it and it works like a charm. Hopefully we can build up a bank of great resources that we can share.
If you can bear to think about next session before we’ve even made it to the summer holidays, please could I draw your attention to some of the CPD courses I’ll be running? In every case, you must book on through MyHR to be able to attend (and please also cancel through MyHR if you can no longer make it).
14th August – Clicker 6 for PSAs
7th September – Clicker 6 for Beginners
14th September – Clicker 6 Advanced
7th October – Clicker Apps for iPad
20th October – An introduction to the iPad and its Accessibility Features (PSA only)
23rd Oct, 6th Nov and 20th Nov (3 session course) – Using the iPad with Learners with Additional Support Needs
2nd and 9th Nov (2 session course) – Read and Write Gold
I am also involved with the following courses at Keycomm – contact me if you are interested:
24th September – Boardmaker 6
8th October – Introduction to AAC
24th November – Using the iPad for Communication
25th November – The CODES Framework
Hope to see some of you at these courses – get in touch if you have any queries. Most of the courses will run again after Christmas, along with a few other topics. Have a wonderful, restful summer holiday when it comes!
This morning I flexed my spacial awareness brain muscles as I figured out how to get a brand-spanking new SMART kapp® board into my Ford Fiesta. Thankfully, I managed it without breaking it, so I’m now able to tell you all about it.
The SMART kapp® board is an exciting new piece of kit that allows you to capture handwritten notes and send them to mobile devices, tablets, laptops or desktop computers in real-time. Learners can then save these notes as PDFs or images for perusal later. Continue reading “SMART kapp® board available to trial!”→
Some of you will remember that I attended the BETT Show in London in late January. It was the second time that I have attended and it was, as last time, interesting, inspiring and exhausting!
A blog post on what I saw down there that I think would be of interest to Edinburgh teachers is long overdue – my apologies. I hope it is worth the wait! There was an awful lot to see and I don’t want to bombard you with information, so I’ll split this post into two parts – one this week and one soon after.
I’m aiming to give just a “taster” of each of the resources/products – if you are interested in anything in particular, please do get in touch. So, in no particular order, here goes!
I was very interested in the FORBRAIN product. It is a bone-conducting headphone with a sound modulator attached, which claims to improve speech articulation, attention and focus and literacy, amongst other things. Grand claims – but a lot of the thinking sounds kosher. I am hoping to be able to purchase some headsets to trial in the new financial year – I will, as ever, keep you posted.
Memrise is a resource that I have personally used to learn Spanish. Basically, you are exposed to flashcards with aide-memoires (“mems”) at staggered intervals designed to help learning stick in your long-term memory. Now, Memrise have launched a teacher resource where you can assign work to a class, track their progress and set up leaderboards for that competitive element. There are over 300,000 decks of flashcards available, or you can make up your own. It can be used on a computer or a tablet. Best of all, it’s FREE! See their website for more info, or check out #MemriseTeachers to see how other teachers have been using the resource.
Word Bucket is a language-learning resource available in 11 languages including English. It combines flashcard revision, personal vocabulary dictionaries and educational games. Currently it’s available as an app on iOS and Android, but they are soon to launch a web interface, too. This will allow teachers to track and monitor pupil progress. If this sounds interesting to you, get in touch, as I hope to organise a free trial for Edinburgh once the resource is ready.
Now>Press>Play is an immersive audio experience for a whole class. Audio content is available on a wide range of curricular topics. It looks great – I did have concerns around EAL and hearing impaired learners being excluded which the developer seemed keen to take on board. They are also keen to link to the Scottish curriculum and develop resources that would be of more interest up here – they hope to be ready to do this later in the year and Edinburgh will hopefully be able to feed into this and possibly run a trial. Interesting, anyway!
The Sparkup book reader is a device that clips onto any storybook and will read it aloud. You record your own voice, or can access professionally-recorded content from the cloud. It reminded me a bit of the “magic pen” resource from MantraLingua but with a couple of key differences – one, there is no need for stickers, so long as the reader has seen that edition of the book before, it will know which page you’re on and two, you can gather information on how long a child spent on each page etc.
Finally for this first installment: a mention for Crick Software, the makers of Clicker (and not just because they gave me a free cake). They were there showcasing Clicker 6 and the Clicker apps (both of which we do training courses on, by the way!) and also their relatively new product SuperKeys – a third-party keyboard for iOS devices. It is great for learners with a physical impairment or fine motor difficulty as it reduces the number of targets on a keyboard from 30+ to just 7. At the time of writing it costs £4.49 – though remember VPP will make it cheaper!
Hope there was something there to interest you – more to come next week!