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Sounding Board App is now free

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

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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

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Sign Language Training available

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

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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).

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Smartbox Study Day: Edinburgh, 12th September 2012

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

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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:

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'Tricky Moments' - new publication about challenging behaviour

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

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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.

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Scottish Children's Book Awards, 2012

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

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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.

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Something positive to end the term!

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

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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

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

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

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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.  

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ICT and Inclusion 2012 - Two Great Days!

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

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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."

 

 

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New Deal for Augmentative Communication in Scotland

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

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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 .

                

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

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

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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

 

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ICT for Disabled People

By Allan Wilson on Monday 11th June, 2012 at 9:22am

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The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) has produced an interesting short research briefing on ICT for Disabled People. It summarises the issues that people with disabilities face in using ICT and looks at progress towards achieving equivalent access to services for disabled and non-disabled users. The main points made by the briefing are as follows:

  • In the UK, almost half of disabled people do not access the internet regularly. 
  • Reasons that disabled people are not online include social exclusion, accessibility issues, costs, motivation and lack of support. 
  • When disabled people are not in education or employment there is a gap in funding for ICT equipment. 
  • Many websites and devices are inaccessible to many disabled users. 
  • Despite a legal duty on service providers to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people, no cases involving ICT have yet been brought to court.
  • Mobile technologies, and in particular the rise of ‘apps’, are reducing the costs of many assistive technologies.
  • Voice recognition software is increasingly providing benefits for many disabled users.

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SQA digital exams and assessments with an iPad

By Paul Nisbet on Wednesday 6th June, 2012 at 3:51pm

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Quite a few people have been asking if candidates can use iPads to complete the SQA Digital Question Papers. Previously, the answer was 'no' partly because SQA prohibited use of iPads in the same way they do not allow mobile phones in the exam room. However, this policy has now changed and some pupils at Cedars School of Excellence in Greenock did use their iPads to access the digital papers this year. 

PDF Expert

The SQA Digital Question Papers are PDF files which can be read using many different apps including, for example, iBooks and Adobe Reader, but for digital exams we suggest PDF Expert which is the only app we have found that actually lets you type your answers into the digital paper answer boxes. PDF Expert lets you open the digital paper, type into the answer boxes, highlight and underline text, and add drawings and notes to the exam paper. Completed papers can be printed, saved and emailed. Cedars used PDF Expert on their iPads for the 2012 exams.

 

 

The digital papers work very well for question and answer exam papers which require short text answers. The screen shot shows how text can be typed into the answer boxes on an Intermediate 1 Computing Paper. To 'tick' the answer box, you tap with your finger.

The answer boxes can only accept text and so maths and science, where the learner has to produce equations and formulae, can be tricky to do digitally. 

With a stylus, it is possible to draw diagrams, graphs and maths and science expressions on the digital paper although I still don't find it as easy as using a pencil and paper, personally (must be an age thing?). Note that candidates have the option of writing their drawings and equations on the digital paper, or on a paper copy.

The second screen shot shows my scrawled attempt to draw a graph and work through an equation with the stylus. 

 

Security

 
Using iPads in assessments and exams raises questions and issues particularly in relation to security. 
 
For obvious reasons, it is important to ensure that candidates who use technology in assessments and examinations cannot access files stored on the device or on the internet or on other electronic devices that could connect to the iPad. In Scotland, SQA state that it is the school’s responsibility to ensure that candidates cannot any electronic sources or files via the internet or on USB drives or mobile devices.
 
In addition, any tools that may help the pupil, such as spellcheckers, word prediction or the iPad Auto-correction must be turned off, unless you have permission for the student to use them, from SQA.
 
Here's how to do it manually, although I suspect the best approach is for the school technician or engineer to use the Apple Configurator or iPhone Configuration Utility to set up an 'exam profile' with these restrictions on your exam iPads. See Fraser Speir's blog on how he set up the Cedars iPads. 
  1.  
  2. Back up the iPad. 
  3. Delete all the apps on the iPad that are not required in the assessment. This leaves the apps required for the assessment (e.g. PDF Expert, maybe Pages etc,) plus the built-in Apps on the device. 
  4. Delete all photos, music files, videos, contacts, reminders and other documents. Clear the browser history.
  5. Go into Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars and delete all the accounts. This prevents access to Mail, Contacts and Calendar.
  6. Remove any 3G SIM card.
  7. Prevent access to the school Wi-Fi using the school network settings. Check that there are no other wi-fi internet access points available.  
  8. Turn off Bluetooth: Settings > General > Bluetooth > Off.
  9. Now you need to prevent access to the built-in Apps, which are Newsstand, iMessages, Mail, Safari, iBooks, FaceTime, PhotoBooth, Reminders, Photos, Music, Videos
  10. Go to Settings > General > Restrictions.
  11. Click on Enable Restrictions and enter a passcode
    1. Turn off any apps that you don’t want the candidate to be able to access (i.e. all of them). This will remove the following apps from the iPad screen: Safari, YouTube, Camera, FaceTime, iTunes, Ping and installing and deleting apps. Note this still leaves Mail, iMessage, Calendar and Contacts that the pupil could access the internet to find previously hidden answers, which is why you need to prevent access to wi-fi or the internet.
  12. Allow Changes: 
    1. in Location, Don’t Allow Changes (this stops the iPad connecting to Wi-fi hotspots or devices)
    2. In Accounts, Don’t Allow Changes (this prevents anyone adding a new mail or other account)
  13. Turn off Auto-Correction and spellchecking (unless you have permission to use them):
    1. Settings > General > Keyboard > Turn off Auto-Correction and Check Spelling
    2. (Note that the candidate can easily turn them back on we haven’t found a way to prevent this.)
  14. You should now have an iPad with:
    1. no stored files, emails, photos, videos, sound recordings or other documents;
    2. only the apps which are required for the assessment;
    3. no spellchecking or auto-correct;
    4. no access to the internet or wi-fi;

 

and so the iPad should be secure.

If you have an iPad why not download some past papers from SQA's web site, try them out, and let us know what you think.

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Free online Oxford Reading Tree eBooks from Oxford Owl

By Paul Nisbet on Tuesday 29th May, 2012 at 3:49pm

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I've been meaning to blog about this for ages and have finally got round to it!

The Oxford Owl web site has over 250 free Oxford Reading Tree eBooks for teachers, children and parents to read online. The books have a recorded narration (i.e. human, not computer speech) and you can zoom in and out to make the text and pictures bigger or smaller. Turning the pages is done with a click of a mouse - you can't use the keyboard or switches directly.  You could however point the mouse over the 'next page' button and then use a switch to click, to turn the page.

The books are ideal for using on a whiteboard or for individuals to read on their own computer (but not iPad - the books are Adobe Flash format which don't play on iOS).

There are also some activities for each book (although they didn't work on my computer - no doubt got the wrong version of Java / Flash / other plug in) and the 'Kids Barn' has a lot of information and games about Biff, Chip, Kipper and Floppy and the other characters. 

 

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Helping People who use AAC to attend ISAAC 2012

By Allan Wilson on Thursday 24th May, 2012 at 9:02am

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Augmentative Communication in Practice: Scotland, the network of AAC specialist centres in Scotland, have a small amount of money available to help people who use AAC in Scotland to attend the ISAAC 2012 conference in Pittsburgh, USA. The ISAAC conference is a great opportunity for people who use AAC to find out more about the latest technology and approaches that can be used to support their communication and provides opportunities to meet people in a similar situation from all over the world to compare experiences and develop friendships. The money available from Augmentative Communication in Practice is not enough to pay for any one person to attend, but could provide a useful boost for somebody who has already raised some money towards the cost of the trip.

The simple application form is available from the Augmentative Communication in Practice web site, but must be returned by 31st May.

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Which Spellchecker?

By Allan Wilson on Wednesday 23rd May, 2012 at 5:20pm

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CALL's Supportive Writing Technology  book, published in 1999, contained detailed comparisons of most of the spellcheckers available at the time. We recently had a look at some of the new spellchecking tools that have become available over recent years and compared them with popular writing support tools used in schools and colleges. Ghotit, and Ginger are context-based spellcheckers which analyse text sentence by sentence and require an internet connection. There are restrictions on the programs that they can be used with: Ghotit can only be used within Microsoft Word, while Ginger can be used with other programs within Microsoft Office. Oribi VeritySpell is a more traditional standalone spellchecker, that can be used with any program, provided that you can select individual words with a mouse. We compared all three with Microsoft Word, Read and Write Gold and ClaroRead.

We compared the performance of all six programs at identifying incorrect words (including the ability to cope with 'real word errors') and offering the correct word at the top of a list of options. The ideal spellchecker would always recognise incorrect words and offer just one alternative - the correct word. No spellchecker comes close to achieving this, but Ghotit, Ginger and VeritySpell all performed very well in tests and showed that they can be very effective tools for correcting spelling..

Details of our tests, the results and details of the programs can be found in our free quick guide,  Advanced Spellcheckers Compared: Ghotit, Ginger and Oribi VeritySpell.

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