Some of Our other websites:

Communication and Assistive Technology for People with Disabilities

You are here

Blog

RSS Feed

Author

Tags (Top 20)

Archive

Managing iPads in a school with Volume Purchasing and Apple Configurator

By Robert Stewart on Tuesday 18th September, 2012 at 3:31pm

0 Comments Post a comment Permalink

It's now much easier to manage your iPads as the Apple Volume Purchase Programme (AVPP) is finally here in the UK and allows schools to purchase multiple copies of the same app or book! However, it now appears that you still have to pay by credit card as invoicing is not available yet!!!! I'll keep checking on this and blog when they get round to enabling this vital part of the mechanism!

Once you’ve enrolled on the AVPP you can then go to Education Store and purchase your apps and books for which you will receive a 'redemption code', i.e. a serial number. These codes are managed on a spreadsheet and then uploaded to the  Apple Configurator software which allows you to manage your iPads in a much more efficient way. If you've tried iTunes and iCloud (limited to 10 restores per 90 days!) to manage your devices then you'll know it can be slow and cumbersome. 

In order to use this configurator your will need an Apple Mac computer with at least OS 10.7 installed. You can plug in your iPads individually with a USB cable but easier with a charging trolley. Although some of these 'secure' trolleys aren't very secure so you may need to find a secure area for the trolley! I'm sure if you Google 'powered usb hubs for multiple iPad synching' you'll come up with a cheaper alternative to trolleys.....maybe, if you can find one powered enough to cope with the charging of iPads.

What is Apple Configurator?

Although the software looks complicated at first it's actually very easy to master and there are many great features. Within the configurator you can do the following to your iPads:

  • Update the iOS;
  • Group iPads into class or group templates;
  • Assign a profile to each iPad to control wifi setup, iPad restrictions such as app purchasing, VPN, mail, calendar, contacts, web clips, passcodes and many more things;
  • assign apps to each iPad and link them to a previously purchased redemption code (unless the app is free and no redemption code is required);
  • assign a 'user' to each iPad, i.e. ‘Tom Jones’. This allows you to store the data for that user on the computer, i.e. a backup. The next time you assign that iPad to that user it will copy across their previous data;
  • Add documents to the iPad;
  • check iPads in and out so you can keep track of them;
  • configure setups and have them automatically rolled out to iPads the next time they are checked in;
  • Create and restore a backup of settings and app data from one device to other devices.

In summary

  1. Register for AVPP;
  2. Purchase apps on iTunes and get your redemption codes;
  3. Download Apple Configurator onto your Mac (10.7 or above);
  4. Assign the redemption codes to the apps via Apple Configurator (unless the apps are free and then no redemption code is required);
  5. Plug your iPads into the Mac (via USB);
  6. Roll out settings, apps and users to your iPads;
  7. 'Check out' the iPad.

Notes

Previously purchased apps on iTunes (before AVPP) cannot be used with the Apple Configurator, they have to be purchased through the AVPP. Unless someone can tell me otherwise?

For a more detailed explanation of the configurator have a look at the 'First look at Apple Configurator' video. It’s 11 mins long but goes through most of the things you will need to know.

What about using a Windows machine? I haven’t found anything to suggest that 'Apple Configurator' will be available for Windows in the future. However, I believe that 'iPhone Configuration Utility' will do the same on Windows but I’ve not looked into this.

Tags:

Share or like this post:

Speak Text in Microsoft Word 2010

By Stuart Aitken on Monday 27th August, 2012 at 4:32pm

1 Comment Post a comment Permalink

A well hidden feature in Microsoft Office 2010 is the option to speak text out. Yes, MS Office 2010 includes a text-to-speech feature. It is pretty basic but it is available.

As MS Office is integrated with Windows it means that whichever voice is selected in that computer's Control Panel will be used when you select Speak. If you have Heather or Stuart or both installed you can choose one or other of these high quality Scottish voices to speak the text. (You do this via the Control Panels rather in Word itself [Control Panels > Speech Recognition > Text-to-Speech, selecting the preferred voice from the drop down list.]

Because it is part of MS Word you can assign a Keyboard Shortcut to start and stop speaking text. This is very useful for pupils with a visual impairment, poor mouse control or simply because the pupil finds it quicker to use keyboard commands rather than mouse clicking.

MS Word is just one of the Office Programs that the Speak feature works with. It can also be made available to use with PowerPoint (yes talking PowerPoint), Excel and OneNote (one of our favourite programs that deserves more widespread use in schools). You follow the same steps to add the Speak feature in each program. 

You can also add Speak to the Quick Access Toolbar and position the toolbar below the Ribbon to simplify the interface for pupils. 

WordTalk versus Speak

So how does Speak, the MS Office 2010 text-to-speech feature compare with WordTalk, the toolbar designed to use with MS Word versions from Word 97 onwards?

In favour of Speak are the fact that it is built in not just to Word but to other MS Office 2010 software. It uses whichever voice is the Default voice used by the computer. Speak offers a range of text-to-speech options - by word, paragraph etc. A big advantage is that you can add Speak to the Quick Access toolbar, position the Quick Access toolbar below the Ribbon, and then Minimise the Ribbon (Right click on Ribbon > select Minimise). The pupil can then attend more easily to what he or she is reading or writing. Another advantage is that because it is a Microsoft product it should work smoothly with future updates to MS Office 2010 (and 2013).

Because WordTalk was designed by a teacher to support a pupil with severe dyslexia (who went on to achieve Highers), it includes features that teachers often find useful: Save as MP3 or Wav audio for listening to later; talking dictionary; an easy way to turn on and off keyboard shortcuts - a must for pupils who find it difficult to control a mouse or who just like to be able to access features quickly. The biggest advantage with WordTalk is that pupils who prefer to have text highlighted so that they can follow the text and listen to the spoken version can do so. They can also change the highlighting and text colour – useful for pupils with scotopic sensitivity problems.

Find out more

We’ve prepared a Quick Guide on Finding and Installing the Speak Text feature in MS Word 2010. The Quick Guide covers finding and adding the Speak button, assigning a Keyboard Shortcut, how to add the Speak button to the Quick Access Toolbar and how to position the toolbar below the Ribbon.

To find out about using the Speak facility in additional languages visit Microsoft’s language site

Once installed because the Speak feature is integrated with Windows it will recognise the language used within the text and read out in that language – provided the speech engine for the language is installed.

 Well done Microsoft…now please bring back Large Icons!

We’ve given Microsoft major pats on the back for providing an option to Speak text in Word documents (and in Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote). It would be great if they would bring back a couple of really useful features from MS Office 2003.

We think Microsoft made a huge own goal by not providing a much used feature in MS Word 2003, PowerPoint, Excel - the option to use Large Icons in the toolbar. 

The facility to record voice comments or voice notes is also available in MS Word 2007 and 2010 but it does not have the simplicity of MS Word 2003 – a feature that for many pupils was the difference between handing in work that they had produced themselves (recording their spoken answers in the document) or having to rely on scribing. MS Word 2007 and 2010 do provide this feature but for the pupils who are likely to benefit most, it is too difficult to access. 

 

Tags:

Share or like this post:

CALL Live: workshops delivered to your desktop!

By Craig Mill on Thursday 23rd August, 2012 at 12:49pm

0 Comments Post a comment Permalink

CALL Live LogoCALL Live

Call is delighted to announce that we are broadcasting a series of free short webinars ‘CALL Live’, to keep you up-to-date with new developments in ICT and inclusion. 

What is CALL Live?

CALL Live is a series of free online workshops (sometimes known as webinars) with a focus on supporting ICT and ASN in your organisation. Sessions consist of a short video introduction followed by a ‘how to’ workshop using desktop sharing. The webinars will be hosted by CALL staff with guest speakers from ICT suppliers and other professional organisations. 

What time does it start?

Each session will commence at 13.00 and is scheduled to last for 20 minutes, although depending on the amount of participation and debate they could last longer. But you are free to join or leave the session whenever you want. 

What do I need to do?

The workshops are delivered to your computer’s desktop over the Internet. To book your place at one of the events (see What's on the programme below) simply send an email to Craig (indicating which event you want to attend) and he will send you the link for the webinar. On the day of the webinar, a couple of minutes before the start, click on the link and you will be directed to Adobe Connect, where you can sign in to join the workshop. 

All you need is a pair of headphones (with a microphone) for your computer, then simply tune-in to view, or even participate in the workshop. Please check your headphones are working before you enter the workshop. 

What if I miss a workshop?

Each workshop will be recorded and archived which means that if you miss a session, you can watch it again at a time that’s convenient to you. Links to the recorded sessions will be posted on the CALL website. 

What’s on the programme?

  • 30 August (Thursday), Craig Mill on the Ease of Access Guide in Windows 7
  • 11 September (Tuesday), Ian Bean on switch access and iPads.
  • 2 October (Tuesday), Jamie Munro on Co:Writer
  • 10 October (Wednesday), Dr. Margaret Crombie on the recently revised Dyslexia Teachers’ Toolkit
  • 23 October (Tuesday), Tina Detheridge on Widgit software
  • 13 November (Tuesday), Dougal Hawes on the Grid 2
  • 20 November (Tuesday) Bryan Adamson - an overview of Clicker 6
Email Craig to book one or more of the webinars

Tags:

Share or like this post:

iPad Apps and integrative workflows to support learners with literacy difficulties/dyslexia

By Craig Mill on Wednesday 22nd August, 2012 at 1:02pm

2 Comments Post a comment Permalink

If you are interested in using the iPad to support your pupils then you will probably be familiar with the large number of websites that have appeared over the past year offering ‘lists of Apps’ to support a range of difficulties including communication, literacy, numeracy etc. Some examples include Apps to support AAC, Apps to support literacy as well as Apps to support magnification and vision

While these are useful resources, particularly if you’re new to the iPad and unsure which Apps to download (and feeling a bit overwhelmed with so many Apps to choose from), lists of endless Apps have their limitations. 

As Apps become increasingly more sophisticated and offer improved features and options, I think there is much to be gained from using the built-in sharing and export features to create ‘integrative workflows’ for pupils. Using integrative workflows is about exploiting what an App has to offer or making the most of its main features. For example, there are a number of ‘literacy support’ Apps which have a ‘Send to App’ option, allowing learners to plan an essay using a mind map, export the mind map to a text-to-speech App for proof reading and finally sending the text to a word processor for formatting, final spell checking and submission. 

This is a similar approach for pupils with dyslexia when writing an essay or project – use a visual mind map to get down the main points, use nodes and notes to expand on ideas and finally export the mind map to a word processing program such as Word. Additional support in the form of word prediction or text-to-speech, is often provided via programs such as TextHelp Read&Gold, Co:Writer or even Penfriend. 

If you would like to find out more I’ve written a short article which explains this process in 4 simple steps. You can download the article by selecting this link

Tags:

Share or like this post:

Spotlight on Speech, Language and Communication Needs

By Sally Millar on Thursday 16th August, 2012 at 2:08pm

0 Comments Post a comment Permalink

Linguist and language specialist Gordon Wells wrote "Almost every educational skill presupposes the use of language."

ICAN highlights an interesting new statistic from the Department of Education (England and Wales) showing that speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) is the most commonly reported special educational need amongst primary school children - more prevalent than autism and dyslexia. SLCN is also a feature of other additional support needs arising from, for example,  hearing impairment and learning difficulties.  Unidentified language/communication difficulties could be at the heart of the challenges faced /presented by children with behavioural problems, or those who are reluctant to engage or who make slow progress.  

All of this highlights the need for more training for all education staff on how to identify SLCN (as early as possible) and how to develop children's communication skills. 

Another recent article calls SLCN "the most common childhood disability"  and discusses the link between language & communication difficulties, school exclusion and youth offending, 

The Talking Point website provides an excellent resource of information to help you identify typical and atypical language development.

You can also evaluate your own (or group) skills and knowledge by completing the online Speech, Language and Communication Framework (SLCF) .

Find out more on the ICAN web site, including the Talk Boost programme that can raise childrens' language skills in 18 weeks. 

Tags:

Share or like this post:

Sounding Board App is now free

By Sally Millar on Tuesday 31st July, 2012 at 4:55pm

0 Comments Post a comment Permalink

CALL is not endorsing this particular App over and above other similar Apps, but just to alert you to a price change - 

Version 3.1.1 of AbleNet's simple photo-based communication App Sounding Board, which used to cost £35, is now available as a free download  on the iTunes App Store (possibly for a limited time only). You can then make your own communication boards and/or purchase pre-made boards, in-App

For a review see here

For a video introduction / tutorial, see here

Switch access , with auditory scanning, using the RJ Cooper Blue2 switch (from Therapy Box) , or the APPlicator /Switch4Apps switch interface (from Inclusive Technology or Therapy Box) is available for more details of switch/scanning,, see here

Tags:

Share or like this post:

Sign Language Training available

By Sally Millar on Monday 30th July, 2012 at 12:05pm

0 Comments Post a comment Permalink

There are interesting evening courses running this autumn at Donaldsons School in Linlithgow on British Sign Language, lip-reading, and deaf awareness. The sign language courses in particular may be of interest to those who use sign with children with complex communication support needs (who may not be deaf) and wish to become more confident and fluent signers themselves and/or who find that the reduced vocabulary available through Signalong or Makaton needs supplementing in order to meet children's immediate communication needs and to build linguistic skills. Accredited Introductory, Level 1 and Level 2 BSL courses available (these courses are few and far between and can be hard to get a place on, so book early!) and are approved by ILA Scotland (for possible funding support).

Tags:

Share or like this post:

Smartbox Study Day: Edinburgh, 12th September 2012

By Robert Stewart on Tuesday 10th July, 2012 at 9:30am

1 Comment Post a comment Permalink

This autumn Smartbox Assistive Technology will be touring the country to host FREE study days that will focus on some of the latest developments in the world of AAC and assistive technology.

  • Venue: CALL Scotland, Edinburgh
  • Date and time: 9:30am - 4:00pm, 12th September 2012

Each study day will include the following talks:

  • Eye gaze clinics - A closer look at the very latest eye gaze technology and techniques.
  • Accessing the curriculum – Level the playing field with our tips, tricks and resources for using The Grid 2 in the classroom.
  • Facebook, Skype, Twitter, YouTube - Safe, easy and accessible resources for the world’s most popular websites.
  • The Grid 2 communication pathway – A guided tour of the latest range of symbol communication resources - including a first look at PODD and Beeline.
  • New product launch – All will be revealed.
  • Grid Player for ios – How to use an iPad for AAC and the best Grid Player resources
  • Fast Talker 2 – A complete AAC and computer access solution for literate users.
  • Future of AAC – An exciting look at the very latest developments in the world of assistive technology, including a first look at brain control.

The events are all free to attend. Lunch and refreshments are included.

  • You must register if you wish to attend. There are limited places at each venue so bookings will be taken on a first come, first served basis.
  • All of the days start with registration at 9:30, before the first talk at 10am. The last talk will finish at 4pm.
  • The study days are suitable for speech and language therapists, teachers, and other professionals working with AAC or assistive technology.

SIGN UP NOW:

Tags:

Share or like this post:

'Tricky Moments' - new publication about challenging behaviour

By Sally Millar on Tuesday 3rd July, 2012 at 5:34pm

1 Comment Post a comment Permalink

This looks like a useful new publication to help families and professionals understand and manage challenging behaviour in children with learning difficulties or ASD. Copies can be downloaded free from the ENABLE website  or ordered (price £3, or £2 each for more than 20 copies) by telephone (0300 200 101) or using the order form here.

Tags:

Share or like this post:

Scottish Children's Book Awards, 2012

By Allan Wilson on Tuesday 3rd July, 2012 at 3:13pm

2 Comments Post a comment Permalink

The shortlisted titles for this year's Scottish Book Awards were announced last week by the Scottish Book Trust. There are three categories for the awards: Bookbug Readers (3 - 7 years); Younger Readers (8 - 11 years) and Older Readers (12 - 16 years). The shortlisted books in each category are:

Bookbug Readers

  • Solomon Crocodile by Catherine Rayner
  • The Day Louis got Eaten by John Fardell
  • Jack and the Flumflum Tree by Julia Donaldson

Younger Readers

  • Out of the Depths by Cathy MacPhail
  • Soldier's Game by James Killgore
  • The World of Norm: May Contain Nuts by Jonathan Meres

Older Readers

  • The 13th Horseman by Barry Hutchison
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
  • The Prince who Walked with Lions by Elizabeth Laird

Accessible Versions of the Books

For the fourth year in a row, CALL will be producing accessible versions of the books in a variety of formats for pupils with a print disability who are unable to access traditional book formats. We plan to make the books available in the following formats:

Bookbug Readers

  • Digital files with human narration for Powerpoint and Clicker

Younger Readers and Older Readers

  • Accessible PDF
  • Microsoft Word files, allowing people to convert them to Large Print or Braille
  • Daisy (full text and audio) for iPad
  • Daisy (text only for PC with Amis)

We are currently getting copies of electronic files from the publishers of the books and hope to have the accessible format files ready by the end of the summer.

Taking Part in the Awards Scheme

Pupils in schools throughout Scotland are encouraged to take part in the Awards scheme by voting for their favourite book in their age category. Last year more than 23,000 pupils from throughout Scotland voted for their favourite book. Schools are invited to register to take part by 31st December 2012, with the deadline for voting set as 8th February 2013. Further information is available from the Scottish Book Trust.

Tags:

Share or like this post:

Something positive to end the term!

By Paul Nisbet on Wednesday 27th June, 2012 at 5:37pm

0 Comments Post a comment Permalink

Today I received a very positive evaluation back from a pupil and teacher who have been evaluating some equipment, and I thought I'd share it: seems like a nice way to end the term. (Mark is not his real name.)

Background

Mark is a Primary 6 pupil who attends his local primary school. Mark has cerebral palsy which affects his fine motor control, and although he has good ideas, he does tire easily when he writes by hand. He has support from staff to help him lay out his written work, and also on occasion for scribing, but this does mean he relies on staff and is not independent. Staff say that his reliance on others is also affecting his self-esteem. Mark has some difficulties with spelling and also with maths, organisation and spatial skills. Despite these barriers to learning, Mark is an enthusiastic member of the class.

Mark has tried specialist pencils and pencil grips, and writing adaptations. He was referred to CALL for advice on assistive technology to help him to learn and work more independently and productively.

Following an assessment, we loaned a Toshiba netbook computer with Co:Writer 6 and Inspiration software, plus an EasiSpeak microphone, for Mark and his teacher to evaluate. The assessment had shown that Co:Writer has the potential to help Mark write more independently, and with greater accuracy. Co:Writer should also reduce his fatigue and help him to produce higher quality work. (Click here to find out more about Co:Writer and word prediction).

Inspiration was suggested to help Mark organise his work. We loaned a headset microphone for Mark to record his ideas directly into Inspiration, and the portable Easi-Speak recorder, because his verbal output is currently better than his written output.

(Both Inspiration and Co:Writer 6 are available for reduced cost under a special licence for Scottish Schools, from Education Scotland.)

This is what Mark and his teacher thought of the technology.

Class teacher evaluation

1.    What impact has the netbook had on the pupil’s ability to access the curriculum?

There was an immediate impact on Mark’s enthusiasm and attitude to attempt and produce work.

Used for:

  • Word processing: planning, drafting and publishing. Mark is more able and willing to work independently on these three steps without an adult scribe. Mark is eager, and able, to be involved in adding to his Co-writer word bank. 
  • Typing answers to spelling activities – a task which Mark dislikes when he is writing by hand. He now produces work of a higher level.
  • Spelling has improved.

An adult currently scaffolds Mark’s work by asking questions about his text, to encourage him to develop his answers/writing. It is planned that if the teacher is checking/marking Mark’s work in his absence, s/he will insert the questions into his text. This will enable Mark to develop his work in line with his peers, working in their jotters.

Mark enjoys paired work with the netbook.  Previously, being left handed the mouse was cumbersome and this was awkward when he was working with a partner.

2. How has it impacted on his/ her written work (quantity and quality), in comparison with what s/he was able to produce without it?

Mark has immediate success which encourages him to keep on task. He is willing to expand and build on his work after further class discussion or  with an adult. 

Previously Mark found typing laborious but Co-writer is changing his attitude and he is very willing and able to type for a much longer period. He finds the netbook keyboard easier to manipulate. It is anticipated that this will be helped further with touch typing lessons.

Mark now copes with thinking up his answers/ideas, typing and spelling. This has resulted in better and lengthier pieces of work produced quicker. Previously these tasks were done separately.

Mark’s work is legible. He willingly shares it with peers, allowing them to read it independently of Mark.

3. Has it helped him/her to develop the four capacities of Curriculum for Excellence?

  1. Successful learner.Mark is able to show and do the best he can.  He thinks of new ideas and is more interested in tackling writing activities by himself.
  2. Confident individualMark is happier and more confident. His  self-esteem has been raised.
  3. Effective contributorMark is no longer excluded by the position of the computer system. Previously he had to sit with his back to the class because of the location of the computer.Peers are more ready to allow Mark to tale a role in ‘scribing’ .Mark is able to type his ideas and share with peers, who previously found his handwriting very difficult to read.
  4. Responsible citizen.Mark is much more confident about working as part of a group during tasks that require planning/writing. Mark takes the responsibility of looking after the netbook seriously, and making sure it is switched on/off when needed.

4. Any further comments....

The netbook and software have much more potential for enabling Mark to be included more into the class and to access literacy activities.  As I, and assisting adults, become more familiar with it, and Mark learns to touch type, I foresee that we will be able to take full advantage of the equipment.

Mark’s evaluation

This form is to help you think about the use and effectiveness of the writing tools you have tried out and to compare the technology with handwriting and jotters.  Fill in the evaluation form when you feel you have a good idea about what it is like to use the devices(s). Please send a copy of the form to CALL.

Use a scale of 1 to 10. Score 1 if that factor is so bad that you would not dream of ever considering it. Score 10 if it is so brilliant that you could not do without it.

 

Handwriting & jotter / paper Score 1 to 10 1=rubbish 10=brilliant

Netbook & Co:Writer Score 1 to 10 1=rubbish 10=brilliant

Writing / typing speed

5 sometimes 4

10

Legibility / quality of writing

4

10

Spelling

5

10

Effort needed to write / type

5

10

Portability (weight / size) lines/size

2/3

10

Ease of use

5

10

Ease of getting a paper copy

-

10

Screen (size / text size / clarity)

-

10

Keyboard

-

10

Battery life

-

10

Word processor & software

-

10

Appearance / cool factor

1

10

Opinions of friends

3

10

Opinions of family

4

10

Opinions of teachers

4 + occasionally10

10

Your opinion!

1

10

OVERALL SCORE

39 approx

160

Please write any other comments here:

1. Makes me feel I can keep up when working with the rest of the class.

2. I am really missing being able to use Inspiration to plan my writing and make a summary of what I read. [This was because Mark had been using a school netbook without Inspiration for a short time.]

3. Co-writer and inspiration really help me to get on with my work. I am looking forward to using it again in Primary 7. 

4. I don’t mind sorting mistakes and making my ideas bigger and better.

Thanks Mark and his teacher for these positive and helpful comments!

Paul

Tags:

Share or like this post:

Proloquo2Go v.2 is released, and new British English child voices available

By Sally Millar on Wednesday 20th June, 2012 at 10:51am

2 Comments Post a comment Permalink

The Proloquo2Go app for iPad, iPod and iPhone must be the most hyped communication aid ever. Seriously over-hyped, in my view, with the danger that parental expectations could be unrealistically raised, and potentially more suitable alternative AAC solutions ignored.

But moving on - the good news is that Proloquo2Go v.2 which is just released (free upgrade, if you already had P2Go) is MUCH MUCH better than the original version. It is a thorough redesign, not just a few new 'tweaks'.  AssistiveWare have obviously listened to what users and experts have been telling them, and have copied features from other AAC systems: the new application looks to be extremely attractive, functional and useful.  Check it out on AssistiveWare's website and try it for yourself.

If you already have a personalised vocabulary in the first version of the programme, you will be able to transfer it, but be very careful - before you do anything else after upgrade, follow the procedure here

Instead of the over-large alphabetically organised vocabulary that was difficult to customise, P2Go2 now comes with two pre-stored vocabularies, both based on linguistic research: Basic Communication and Core Words (for fast sentence building) Another change that is particularly valuable for an assessment centre and Loan Service such as CALL, but also for schools and speech and language therapy services, is the fact the P2Go v.2 now offers multi-user support, making it easier to switch between different separate vocabularies/users and to support multiple users on one device. Parents and users will be more interested perhaps in the new freedom to order the layout of buttons in any way you like (not just alphabetically, but in a customised layout, including leaving empty spaces, if desired).

New Voices

At the same time, Acapela have released two new British English children's voices, available for use with P2Go v.2, Harry and Rosie. These seem to be excellent quality voices and a huge improvement over the whiny American kids Nelly and Kenny.  Info here, plus an interesting video about the making of the voices.

To use these new voices in your P2Go v.2, first update your P2G, then go to Options/Speech/Voice Download Manager- you can follow the instructions in the manual, given here 

Sadly, there is no Scottish voice option for P2Go. And Harry and Rosie, lovely though they are, are VERY 'English-English' rather than more 'neutral' British English.  

Tags:

Share or like this post:

ICT and Inclusion 2012 - Two Great Days!

By Allan Wilson on Monday 18th June, 2012 at 3:15pm

1 Comment Post a comment Permalink

This year's ICT and Inclusion days, held in Aberdeen and Edinburgh last week proved to be a great success. We would like to thank all of the suppliers and presenters who attended, as well as the 200+ delegates who came along. It was good to see that so many people found the days very useful.

We've been looking at the feedback from the days. A number of presentations given at both venues proved particularly popular, including those on Google Chrome and Using iPads. In Edinburgh, the presentations from Longstone Primary School on supporting pupils with dyslexia and from the Edinburgh Hospital and Outreach Teaching Service on Film Making and Animation to Support Social, Emotional and Behavioural Needs in Primary School went down very well.

This year, we experimented with holding a prize draw at the end of the day to encourage people to stay a little longer. Thanks, again to the suppliers who donated prizes - some of the prizes were VERY worthwhile! It was good to finish each day on a 'high'.

How can we fit it all in?

This year, space was an issue, particularly for Edinburgh. It can be hard to physically fit everything in when so many companies want to attend and when we want to balance the supplier presentations with presentations from CALL, BRITE and local schools, colleges and services. Timetabling can also be a bit of an issue. Ideally, we'd love to be able to provide longer sessions, with longer gaps between them, with some of the more popular sessions being repeated, but we know that people would like to get home before midnight! There were also requests for facilities to allow 'hands on'. We have the technology - it is just a matter of working out how to fit it in.

Go West!

Some of the people who came through to Edinburgh from the West were requesting that we hold ICT and Inclusion in the West next year. We were in Glasgow last year and plan to return to the West next year.

Comments from Delegates

"A good opportunity to see a variety of resources available to enhance communication and use within Early Years ICT."

"Lots of interesting presentations - sometimes 30 minutes wasn't enough!"

"Great opportunity to make connections with various organisations and professionals."

"Exhibition was well laid out and the presentations I attended were informative and well-presented."

 

 

Tags:

Share or like this post:

New Deal for Augmentative Communication in Scotland

By Sally Millar on Wednesday 13th June, 2012 at 10:38am

1 Comment Post a comment Permalink

Scottish Government yesterday announced publication of a new report, 'The Right to Speak: supporting individuals who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication' (report downloadable here) which provides Guidelines for the improvement of services to children and adults in Scotland who need to use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC)

The Guidelines are accompanied by government funding of £4 million spread across the next three financial years. From this, funding will be provided to Health Boards to help them buy AAC equipment, and a proportion will go to NHS Education for Scotland (NES) to develop an infrastructure to ensure efficient implementation of the report's recomendations, including commissioning of research, and development of quality standards, education and training for NHS staff.

At the launch yesterday at Corseford School, the Minister for Public Health Michael Matheson met a number of people who use AAC. Presentations were given by school leaver Steven Sweeney and Dumfries and Galloway resident Rachael Monk, using their voice output communication aids, explaining how important it is for all those who cannot speak, to have rapid access to the equipment they need, and also, very importantly, access to skilled specialist support and training, on an ongoing basis.

The group Augmentative Communication in Practice: Scotland which includes SCTCI, CALL Scotland, FACCT, KeyComm, TASSC and AAC Ayrshire & Arran, were key members of the AAC Campaign back in 2008/2009 that originally stimulated a review of AAC services.

The launch photos below show the minister between Steven and Rachael, representatives of Capability Scotland and Kim Hartley of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists who co-hosted the launch, Janet Scott of SCTCI, and Alison Gray who authored the report.

It is wonderful that AAC is at last 'on the map' publicly and nationally, and that the government has not only recognised the needs of people who use AAC and those professionals and families who support them, but has also provided funding.

The job of the next few years is to ensure that this new initiative is implemented in a way that doesn't just fill cupboards with equipment that could quickly go out of date, but genuinely builds sustainable and quality AAC services equitably across Scotland-not only in Health but also in Education and Sooial Work .

                

Tags:

Share or like this post:

Please tell us what you think about the 2012 SQA Digital Question Papers

By Paul Nisbet on Monday 11th June, 2012 at 1:27pm

1 Comment Post a comment Permalink

 

2012 Digital Question Papers Candidate Survey

We are researching candidate’s views and opinions on the SQA Digital Question Papers and a survey is now available at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DigitalPapersCandidateSurvey2012

If you are a candidate who used digital question papers, we would be grateful if you could complete the survey. If you are a member of staff, could you forward this survey link on so that candidates who used Digital Question Papers in the 2012 diet can complete the survey. The survey will be available until the end of June 2012.

The survey should only be completed by candidates with additional support needs who used Digital Question Papers in their 2012 examinations. 

We hope that the feedback from candidates will help us, and SQA, to develop and improve the digital papers and associated procedures.

Thanks for your help!

Paul

 

Tags:

Share or like this post: