Crick Software UK Blog

RSS Feed

  • Have you had a chance to read our latest Clicker 7 review?

    Louise Bounous is a teacher working for a pupil and school support service, assisting and advising schools on how best to help children with cognition and learning difficulties.

    Louise took a closer look at Clicker 7 for Nasen Magazine:

    “I have witnessed the Clicker evolution and have seen first-hand the significant impact it has, and continues to have, on learning and teaching. I also believe that I understand the potential it can have, which is why I strongly recommend it to all of the schools that I work with. The only limit to such innovation is your imagination…

    As well as improvements to its existing facilities, Clicker 7 contains a number of completely new features, including, notably, some that specifically support the process of planning for writing. Voice Notes could easily be used to support pupils with poor memory, dispensing with the need for a separate recording device to aid retention. Clicker Board, another new feature, provides a virtual planning space, facilitating note-making, plans and lists, and is fully integrated to allow many possible uses.

    The notion that Clicker is still predominantly an SEN support tool seems increasingly outdated. In fact, in my experience, quite the opposite is true and the more fully the software is integrated throughout the school, used by as many pupils and staff as possible, then the greater the impact: it becomes a tool to support learning rather than a tool to support learning difficulties. 

    This is a quality product with enormous potential, limited only by the extent to which we invest in it.”

    You can read Louise’s review in full on our website.

  • You may have noticed new resources on LearningGrids for DocsPlus, our latest tool for secondary school students. Offering writing support, we have Wordbars covering science, history, geography, literature and more.

    As a cross-curricular tool, DocsPlus can be used to support writers in all of their subjects. So whether you want to provide access to topic-related specialist vocabulary, offer suggestions to encourage the use of a more adventurous and varied vocabulary, or scaffold genre writing styles, have a look on LearningGrids.

    We will be busy over the summer creating resources to offer broad coverage for the secondary curriculum, so make sure you visit the LearningGrids site regularly to see what’s new.

    DocsPlus - Wordbars - All subjects

    Use Wordbars for writing in all subjects.

  • Clicker Sentence Sets on LearningGrids

    Sentence building activities support pupils in their first steps of writing in meaningful, cohesive units of text. They help to develop important literacy skills such as left to right directionality and the accurate use of capital letters and full stops.

    On LearningGrids, we have lots of these early writing activities across a wide range of curriculum areas and themes. The activities offer customisable levels of structured support, to provide appropriate prompting and reinforcement as pupils develop their writing skills. These activities are particularly useful for emergent writers and children learning English as an additional language.

    Each grid in a Sentence Set contains all the words you need to build a target sentence. A picture can also be used to support the sentence. A model sentence can be shown on the grid, in a pop-up, or aurally to provide the appropriate level of support. You can adjust the model in any Sentence Set, adapting to the needs of your pupils as they become more confident. You may also choose to provide no model at all. Simply go to Edit View to change the model for the set (or even for individual sentences within the set).

    Model on the grid

    This level of support is particularly helpful for children who are at the early sentence building stage – they can look at the model and click on the words in the grid to match the target sentence.

    Clicker Sentences - Sentence Building

    Pop-up model

    Offering a visual model which pops up as required subtly reduces the level of support. This time, the child has to ‘hold the sentence’ as they can see the model but must close it before building the sentence. This encourages independence and less reliance on the model.

    Clicker Sentences - Pop-up Model

    Listening model

    The aural model really encourages children to focus – listening and processing the accuracy and meaning of the sentence internally before building it. It’s a great task for building cognitive skills; making the link between the spoken and written words.

    Clicker Sentences - Listening Model

    Word order

    Another differentiation variable we can add is that of word order. In many instances, offering the words of the target sentence in a jumbled, random order is appropriately challenging. For some children at earlier stages however, this may be a step too far. To provide more structured support for these children, we can set the words in the grid to “Sentence Order” (so they can simply click on the words in order from left to right and build the sentence), or even “Guided Order” (which forces the child to click on the words in the correct sequence).

    Clicker Sentences - Word Order

    There are certainly many options to explore and use with the children in your classroom – it’s amazing how much scope such a simple activity can offer. Head over to LearningGrids and discover all these great sentence building activities and more for yourself!

  • Listen and say with a twist

    At a recent training session in Kent, a teacher showed me a really interesting way that they were utilising Clicker to support new arrivals at their school.

    They had created a Talk Set in Clicker, but with a difference!

    The Talk Set was populated with photographs of the staff. Each teacher right-clicked on their picture and recorded a little message about themselves, including their name, their class and some of their interests and hobbies.

    Talk Set - Listen and Say

    They use this at the start of the year or when a new child arrives to make the experience less daunting, and a bit more fun!

    To see how you could do this yourself, take a look at our training guide.

    I have used some of the Crick team in the examples here so you might recognize some faces…

    Talk Set - Listen and Say

  • Using DocsPlus in exams

    More and more secondary schools are moving away from human scribes and readers in favour of AT alternatives for students who require additional access arrangements in exams.  We’ve also noticed that a growing number of students, and not necessarily just those with specific special educational needs, are able to use word processors in their exams now if it’s their usual way of working.

    This is the time of year when a lot of schools start reassessing how they might support students in their exams in the future – why not take a look at DocsPlus? This fantastic new tool combines that day-to-day support struggling writers need with ‘exam-friendly’ options for those who qualify for extra help.

    The Joint Council for Qualifications has put together extensive documentation regarding access arrangement regulations; we’ve created a summary document for you that highlights the sections that specifically relate to using software like DocsPlus in exams -  you can access this here.

    We’re already getting some fantastic feedback from schools about the software – teachers particularly love that there is a PDF reader built-in, and that students can have the exam paper at the bottom of the document as they write rather than having to move between two screens!

    If you’d like to find out more about DocsPlus, you can visit our website or give us a call on 01604 671691 to arrange a free staff demonstration. 

    Using DocsPlus for Exams

  • DocsPlus Support

    The Support section hosts a wealth of helpful information about our products and how to use them. Recently, lots of new content has been added to support the newly released DocsPlus.

    PDF guides

    DocsPlus’ built-in User Guide is also available to download as a PDF. This can be printed out or opened on another device, so it can be viewed side-by-side with DocsPlus (particularly useful if you wish to work through the guide sequentially).

    If you use a Crick USB Switch Box, the Switch Timings in DocsPlus guide explains how DocsPlus can be adapted to suit the characteristics of a diverse range of switch users.

    If you use eye-tracking technology, the Using Eye Gaze in DocsPlus guide explains how the Eye Gaze feature in DocsPlus can make it easier for users to select things by looking at them.

    Answers to common queries

    These newly-published support articles provide answers to common queries:

    DPWH2 - How do I transfer licenses?

    DPWH6 - Does DocsPlus run on an iPad or Android tablet?

    DPWH8 - How do I change the pronunciation of a word in DocsPlus?

    DPWH9 - How do I add words to the DocsPlus spell checker?

    DPWH10 - Which switches can I use with DocsPlus?

    DPWH14 - How can students use DocsPlus at home?

    DPWH19 - How do I delete files from Explorer?

    DPWH21 - How do I stop the on-screen keyboard from appearing?

    DPWH24 - How do I see which spellings were corrected in a Document?

    DPWH25 - How do I save DocsPlus Document as a Word Document or PDF?

    DPWH26 - How do I set up picture shortcuts?

    DPWH30 - How do I make DocsPlus's Eye Gaze work on my Tobii device?

  • On LearningGrids, we have created three different types of Clicker Communicator sets with different colour-coding systems.

    The majority of our Clicker Communicator sets use a modified Fitzgerald colour-coding system, with people and pronouns in yellow, verbs in green, nouns in orange, places in purple, adjectives in blue, prepositions and social words in pink, and conjunctions and other miscellaneous words in white. This type of set includes our topic vocabulary resources which provide the opportunity for focused “scaffolded talk” in a curriculum context. With Materials and Properties for example, pupils can respond to questions about the materials that objects are made from. Guess the Shape allows pupils to play a shape guessing game by asking questions about the number and type of sides that a shape has.

    Clicker Communicator - Fitzgerald Colour-Coding System

    Some of our other Clicker Communicator sets using the modified Fitzgerald colour-coding system include resources which are designed to support pupils as they retell a familiar story, such as The Tortoise and the Hare or Jack and the Beanstalk.

    Clicker Communicator - Sets - Familiar Stories

    Our colourful semantics sets use a different colour-coding system. These sets help pupils learn the important elements of a sentence, and how to join these elements together in the correct order. Pupils learn to associate different “types” of words with different colours to help them to gradually build sentences in stages, adding increasing detail (who/orange, what doing/yellow, what/green, and where/red) as their confidence and competence grows.

    Clicker Communicator - Colour-Coding System

    Clicker Communicator sets such as Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and One Two Buckle My Shoe are designed for children to join in and recite nursery rhymes. Each line of the rhymes is divided into colour-coded sections. Children choose from the coloured cells to recite each line. With these sets, each cell speaks as it is tapped so that children hear the rhyme as they go. They can then listen to the entire rhyme by tapping the message area.

    Clicker Communicator - Nursery Rhymes

    With all Clicker Communicator sets on LearningGrids, the colour-coding, as well as the content, can be changed to match your own school’s system, or to provide different support for your pupils.

  • We are very excited that DocsPlus, our new reading and writing product for secondary schools, has now been released. Our Education Consultants have been showing DocsPlus over the past few weeks to secondary schools and the response has been overwhelming!

    So many students of all ages struggle with reading and writing, which is not only an obstacle to their development in all subjects, it also affects their self-esteem which can lead them to feel they can’t succeed.

    DocsPlus provides the tools that students need to achieve reading success and develop into fluent writers, all in a single application with a grown-up look and feel that is appealing to secondary students.

    DocsPlus - Water Cycle

    Writing support is provided in the form of a talking word processor that includes a powerful word predictor (that includes phonetic prediction), voice notes for on-the-spot prompts, Wordbars for curriculum support and a graphic organiser for planning.

    Reading support is provided by our brand new DocReader, which is integrated into DocsPlus and reads aloud any part of a PDF. It’s really easy to move between the document you’re reading and the one that you’re writing – in fact it’s just one click!

    DocsPlus will really change how students with reading and writing difficulties access the curriculum and produce their written work. Find out more or download the evaluation version. I hope you’re as excited by DocsPlus as those schools that are already using it, and we look forward to hearing from you with your feedback.

  • I am often asked how best to use Clicker 7 to support pupils who have autism. All pupils will have different needs, however Clicker is the perfect tool to meet some of those needs.

    Social interaction

    Pupils with autism can often have difficulties interacting with both their peers and with adults. I worked with a pupil who could not remember the names of the teachers. He had learnt that using ‘Sir’ and ‘Miss’ was perfectly adequate, so did not see the need in knowing their names. You can use the matching activities within Clicker to help. 

    Clicker 7 - Matching Set - Photos of staff members

    Just add the pictures into a matching activity, select ‘word’ for the target and ‘picture’ for the choice. This works extremely well as a touch screen activity, as pupils can tap on the text to hear the name read out to them.

    Clicker 7 - Matching Set - Edit Clicker Set

    Social Stories and sequencing

    Clicker Books are ideal to use for Social Stories. The stories can then be shared with others, either on the device used, or as a printed out book.

    You can also use Clicker Books for sequencing activities, from getting dressed for PE to making your own sandwiches.

    Clicker 7 - Clicker Book

    Photographs can be used instead of symbols and they make the sequencing activity much more personal and meaningful to the individual.

    Special interests

    Pupils with autism often have special interests. These can vary and often staff have little or no knowledge of the subject. Examples of special interests can include trains, bus timetables, flags, Pokémon or even pylons. Using a special interest is often a great way to encourage and motivate pupils to write.

    Often, learners have a really good knowledge of the subject, but have difficulties in getting this down onto paper. Clicker Board can be a great tool to help.

    Working one-to-one with a pupil, they can give staff the vocabulary and information that they want to include in their writing and the adult can create a Clicker Board.

    Clicker 7 - Clicker Board

    The board is a very visual resource which is ideal as pupils with autism are often visual learners.

    The Clicker Board can be easily converted into a Word Bank (right clicking on an empty part of the board will bring up this menu).

    Clicker 7 - Document - Word Bank

    Pupils can then use the Word Bank to create a piece of writing about something that really motivates and enthuses them.

    These are only a few of the resources that can be created and used to support pupils on the autistic spectrum, but Clicker’s ability to be tailored to the specific needs of the individual can make it a very motivating and rewarding tool.

  • Did you know you can pin cells?

    Pinning a cell keeps it locked in place. A pinned cell can’t be dragged and won’t move if another cell is dragged in front of it. If the topic is populated further with additional text or pictures, pinned cells will keep their content.

    To pin/unpin cells:

    1. If you’re not already in Edit View, tap the black line at the top of the screen to show the toolbar, and then tap the icon in the top-right corner.
    2. Tap a topic on the left.
    3. Tap Select near the top-right corner.
    4. Tap cells to select them.
    5. Tap the Pin icon near the top-left corner.

    Did you know you can set an action and sound for individual cells?

    By default, tapping a cell sends the text it contains to the Message Area.

    However, you can configure a cell to perform a different action when tapped:

    • Send – send different text to the Message Area, with the option of returning to the previous grid automatically.
    • Open – open another grid or topic, the on-screen keyboard, favourites, or another Vocabulary Set.
    • Command – email the current Message as a PDF, or delete text from the Message Area.

    You can also configure a cell to play a sound when tapped. It can speak its own text, some different text, the current Message, or play an alert sound to attract attention from a carer/supervisor.

    To change a cell’s action or sound:

    1. If you’re not already in Edit View, tap the black line at the top of the screen to show the toolbar, and then tap the icon in the top-right corner.
    2. Tap a topic on the left.
    3. Tap a cell on the right.
    4. Tap Action or Sound.

    Did you know you can change how the Delete button works?

    By default, tapping the red Delete button in the Message Area clears the entire Message.

    If you prefer, this behaviour can be changed so that one tap deletes the last word and a second tap clears the entire Message.

    To do this:

    1. In the top toolbar, tap the Settings (cog) icon. (if the toolbar is hidden, tap the black line to show it)
    2. Tap Message Area and then tap Delete Button.
    3. Select Delete last word first.

    Did you know you can download extra voices and symbol libraries?

    Clicker Communicator includes male and female child voices for UK and US English – four in total.

    Other voices are available as in-app purchases, including teen, adult, and bilingual voices. Most are free!

    To download extra voices:

    1. In the top toolbar, tap the Settings (cog) icon. (if the toolbar is hidden, tap the black line to show it)
    2. Tap Speech, tap Voice, and then tap Download a Voice.

    If you have the SymbolStix edition of Clicker Communicator, the Mayer-Johnson PCS and Widgit symbol libraries are available as in-app purchases.

    To download extra symbol libraries:

    1. In the top toolbar, tap the Settings (cog) icon. (if the toolbar is hidden, tap the black line to show it)
    2. Tap Symbols and then tap Download a Library.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9
  10. Next page