A guide to the Assistive Software on school computers

Assistive software on ELC school computers

Please have a look at this guide which gives a short description of the assistive software available on East Lothian Council school computers. For many students with additonal support needs the use of technology is really important for them to become independent learners.

Please get in touch if you have any questions.

slawson@eastlothian.gov.uk

 

National 3 Literacy unit – support without the use of a scribe

Scribes are not permitted as a reasonable adjustment when learners are required to show evidence of their writing skills in SQA National Literacy Units (see http://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/64698.html) but the use of ICT is allowed:

“In order to minimise the disadvantage faced by some disabled learners in attaining the National Units in Literacy, the use of word processors and other assistive technologies such as screen readers, spell checkers or speech-recognition software would be acceptable as reasonable adjustments.”

(Specification 3 – Literacy Units http://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/64702.html)

CALL Scotland have produced this excellent guide on what is required to meet the standard for National 3 Literacy Writing and what assistive technology can be used.  Click here to have a look.

Music Therapy event Thursday 6th March

ELJAM Music Programme (2)

Music Therapy Continuing Forward – Thursday 6th March 4.15pm – 6pm, The Red School Prestonpans

You are warmly invited to attend an informative event about music therapy services currently available for children in East Lothian.

Find out more about the value of this specialist approach through case examples and a discussion of music therapy in educational settings.   You will have the opportunity to take part in an active music-making workshop to experience the power of music!

Music therapy is currently available in eight schools throughout East Lothian, and provides opportunities for communication, expression, and emotional and social wellbeing.  Particularly for children who are struggling in education, music therapy can provide insight into a child’s abilities and needs; and also provide support to help a child succeed.

Since 2011, the East Lothian Music Therapy Steering Group has worked to promote music therapy services for children in a variety of educational and community settings.   Following a report published in 2012, the Steering Group continues to raise awareness of the benefits of music therapy and to promote access to services throughout East Lothian.  In addition, the Group is interested in exploring collaborative funding opportunities to help support current and future music therapy provision.

RSVP to Lori Tragheim, Community Development Officer at the Red School by Thursday 27th February on ltragheim@eastlothian.gov.uk.

Accessible National 4 and 5 Textbooks

Hodder Education have given CALL Scotland permission to make available CDs with accessible PDF versions of their books for pupils with print disabilities through the CALL Books for All web site.

Over the last few weeks they have received files for a number of textbooks for pupils taking Nationals 4 and 5. Titles are currently available for:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • History
  • Geography
  • Modern Studies

Other subjects should be available shortly.

Hodder have also given CALL Scotland files for ‘How to Pass National 5’ books for a number of subjects.  Please contact them if you have any questions. 0131 651 6235

East Lothian Support for Learning Conference 13 – 15 June

On the 13th – 15th of June, support for learning teachers from across the authority will gather for a conference in Haddington. The theme of the event is supporting pupils in mainstream classes. The wide and varied programme includes sessions delivered by staff from our school as well as presentations from Dr Margaret Crombie on Dyslexia and Moira Park, DHT at New Struan School. The conference also offers teachers an opportunity to share ideas and issues away from the demands of school.

For further information, contact Linda Gaughan lgaughan@eastlothian.gov.uk

ICT and Inclusion Day at CALL Centre, 14th June

Can you vouch for the fact that using ICT to support pupils with additional support needs in your class/school is making a difference?  Would you be prepared to share your story with other practioners?

 The CALL Centre (based at Moray House, University of Edinburgh) are looking for one East Lothian school to give a 30 minute presentation at their ICT and Inclusion Day on the 14th June, illustrating how ICT (software or hardware) has been used to help pupils with additional support needs in the school. Teachers are welcome to involve a small number of pupils in the presentation, if this is appropriate.  Please contact Allan Wilson allan.wilson@ed.ac.uk or call him on 0131 651 6068.

Not sure if you want to do a presentation but would like to share your story less formally?  Email Shirley Lawson for a chat. slawson@eastlothian.gov.uk

 

 

Boardmaker Training: August 30 Register now!

   Date       Tuesday, August 30:  4:00 – 6:00pm

   Venue  To be confirmed

   Do you need help using Boardmaker software to make visual timetables, flash cards, communication device overlays?  Do you want to learn more about what you can do with Boardmaker?  Email slawson@eastlothian.gov.uk to register for a place.  Maximum places 15, so be quick!

Using mainstream devices for communication

KEYCOMM newsletter Spring 2011

It’s an exciting time for those who use Augmentative Alternative Communication.  Mainstream handheld devices such as the iPhone, iPod touch and the iPad can provide a voice through the use of  communication apps.  Keycomm’s Spring newsletter has some useful information on what apps are available and what skills are required to use the hardware.  If you would like to have a pupil assessed for their suitability for using such a device for communication, contact Deborah Jans at Keycomm on 0131 311 7130 (deborah.jans@ea.edin.sch.uk)

Have a look at this video clip on Proloquo2go, the most comprehensive (and most expensive) communication app. Please note Mr. Jobs….Scottish AAC users need their own voice!

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/BD_1sdNEwfg?rel=0" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Free audio books for pupils with additional support needs

Calibre audio library provides a free service of books (downloadable MP3 or cassette format) for any pupil who has a disability which affects their reading (e.g. dyslexia).    Schools can find out more and apply for membership on the website www.calibre.org.uk  This is a fantastic resource that should not be missed!

Which male voice is best?

For a young person using a communication aid, the quality and sound of a computer generated voice is very important.  The ‘Heather’ female voice was developed successfully and was popular for its authentic Scottish accent and tone.  But there was never a suitable male equivalent voice.

After much petitioning and campaigning to address this inequality, Scottish Government have awarded CALL Scotland funding to work with Cereproc to develop a male Scottish Voice, a ‘brother’ for the Heather voice. 

Other purposes for computer generated voice output are:

  • reading  of SQA digital exam papers
  • reading back text composed in Word with WordTalk
  • reading digital books and other materials

CALL Scotland have ‘audition’ pieces from six actors, any one of whom could provide the voice that will be used on computers in schools, colleges and other centres throughout Scotland. They are asking for your help to decide the ‘best’ voice, from which the computer voice will be created.

CALL  have set up a PDF with samples of the voices which you can download from: http://www.thescottishvoice.org.uk/Brother-for-Heather/Assets/Downloads/form.pdf

 Open the PDF with Adobe Reader and then you can click on the different samples to hear the voice. If you want to hear a sample twice, zoom in a bit because the ‘Play’ button is a bit tiny.  Once you have completed the form you can email your comments, and most importantly, score the voices in order of preference to Paul.Nisbet@ed.ac.uk 

Your help is much appreciated.