We have Word Talk installed on all school computers which allows text in a Word document to be spoken back. Word Talk (as the name suggests) only works with Microsoft Word.
All the high schools had Read and Write Gold 8 software which offered this text to speech functionality plus many other useful literacy support tools. With the move to Windows 7 computers, Read and Write Gold is no longer fully compatible and the cost to upgrade is prohibitively expensive.
Ivona MiniReader is a free simple text reader which adds a floating toolbar on the screen and can read out text from almost any program – Adobe Reader, Microsoft Word, Google Docs, web pages etc.. MiniReader can use the free Scottish voice Heather and Stuart and most other voices on your computer.
It is hoped to remotely install it onto all East Lothian school computers but if you would like to try it out prior to this universal install then please email firstname.lastname@example.org I have instructions to issue on how it works and how it can be best used.
Coming to Edinburgh in June 2012 ICT and Inclusion is Scotland’s leading annual exhibition with a focus on the use of ICT to support learners with additional suppport needs. This year’s roadshows are being held at CALL Scotland, University of Edinburgh, 14th June CALL Scotland and BRITE, the organisers of the event, have arranged for up to 25 of the UK’s leading suppliers of software and technology to support students with additional support needs to take part in the exhibition and to give a short presentation on their latest products.
There will also be short presentations by staff from BRITE, CALL and local schools, colleges and services, illustrating the use of technology to support learning. Equipment and software on display may be of interest to adults with disabilities and the people who support them. It’s Free! The days are free to attend and run from 8.45 until 4 pm. Lunch is provided for people who book in advance.
There will be a prize draw at the end of each day, with prizes including software, iPad apps and other worthwhile items. Make sure you stay until the end of the day to have a chance to win a prize!
Book online at www.ictandinclusion.org.uk
Google has recently made some important accessibility enhancements within Google Apps for Education.
Google Docs and Google Sites have new keyboard shortcuts and better screen reader support with support for two screen readers: JAWS and ChromeVox. Members of the blind community can now use JAWS, VoiceOver and ChromeVox within Google Calendars to manage your calendars, create and edit events or simply browse your events.
For more information on Accessibility within Google go to https://www.google.com/accessibility/
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 email@example.com 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. firstname.lastname@example.org
Jonathon listened to the audio then made his choice…”Where is the apple?” Rachel used a switch to do the same activity. Great excitement when the right image was selected and the reward music and flashing lights was played! Easy to make activities using Choose-it Maker 2 software.
Images created by Ivan Marah, 4th year work placement student from Dunbar Grammar. Software activity by Jane MacDonald.
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 email@example.com to register for a place. Maximum places 15, so be quick!
Hacking Autism is a web site which brings together a volunteer group of software developers and specialists in autism with the intention of creating apps for iPads and other touch-enabled devices that can be used by people with an autism spectrum disorder. Parents of children with ASD are invited to suggest features they would like to see in future apps.
What are your ideas? Submit them and get feedback. There may already be an app or a piece of software that exists that could be very helpful for your autistic pupil. Please leave a comment on this blog if you find out any information. It’s important that we all keep sharing our findings.
The Books for All project has been focusing on supporting local authorities and practitioners to address the barriers faced by children and young people with print disabilities. The project supports provision of adapted learning materials in accessible, alternative formats for pupils who have difficulties reading ordinary printed books. This can be because they are blind or vision impaired; have physical disabilities which limit their ability to hold or manipulate information in a printed form; have perceptual or other disabilities such as dyslexia or have insufficient literacy or language skills.
Guides which have been published on the Education Scotland website contain advice and information for practitioners, pupils and parents who are interested in finding, using and making accessible resources. The information is presented as short video clips, taking the viewer step by step through each process. Have a look here