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  • 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.

  • Clicker 7 breakfast seminars

    This term, our Education Consultants we will be travelling around the UK showcasing the many benefits of Clicker 7 at our free breakfast seminars.

    Starting at 8:15am, these short sessions will show you how the software can be used to raise literacy levels and make the curriculum more accessible for children with special educational needs.

    You will also be able to take advantage of some exciting seminar-exclusive offers and be back in school by mid-morning!

    We are going to be visiting Aldridge, Aylesbury, Bedford, Birmingham, Bury St Edmunds, Bridgwater, Chatham, Chichester, Coventry, Epsom, Harrogate, Guildford, Ironbridge, Leeds, King’s Lynn, Merthyr Tydfil, Richmond, Salford, Shepton Mallet, Tower Hamlets, Wokingham and Worksop, to name but a few of many summer term locations!

    You can find your nearest seminar and book a free place via our website.

  • Electrical Circuits and Clicker

    If you are teaching electrical circuits, have a look at the Clicker 7 resources on LearningGrids.

    Use the Talk Sets for children to show their understanding of how circuits work. For example, in the set Will the Circuit Work, they explain whether or not a bulb will light in different configurations of a simple series circuit. In the set Change the Circuit, they explain how changes to a circuit, such as adding an extra battery, will affect how the bulb functions.

    Clicker 7 - Will the Circuit Work

    Use Clicker Talk sets to show understanding of how circuits work.

    For writing, see the word bank Electrical Circuits, which provides the key topic vocabulary to describe how a circuit works. Alternatively, see the set Electrical Circuit Investigation, which offers a frame for writing a science report.

    Clicker 7 - Word Bank - Electrical Circuits

    Use word banks and writing frames for writing about electrical circuits.

    And for learning and revising the symbols for circuit diagrams, see the Electrical Circuit Symbols sets which offer differentiated levels and content for children to become familiar with the symbols.

    Clicekr 7 - Electrical Circuit Symbols

    Use differentiated sets to become familiar with electrical symbols.

  • Great Fire of London

    With a focus on primary history, we recently published some fantastic new Clicker resources for children learning about the Great Fire of London in 1666. The resources, incorporating beautiful new graphics, enable children to read, write sentences, and talk about the events.

    As well as the main reading book, we also have a simplified “Read It Yourself” version of the text, designed to encourage independent reading. In this version, the book pages have no sound button, so that children are prompted to have a go at reading the book for themselves.

    Clicker 7 - Great Fire of London - Reading book

    Children can also make their own book, or use a Storyboard to plan out and retell the story. More confident writers can use a word bank to support their writing – and even write a journalistic-style report about the events.

    In a related activity, children can sort “Then” and “Now” pictures of artefacts associated with London at the time of the Great Fire, and their present day equivalents. A great resource for getting children thinking and talking about similarities and differences between ways of life in different periods.

    Of course, we always try to support children of all abilities through our topics and themes. Our Communicator Sets (at differentiated levels) enable children to join in with recounting key events, and responding to questions about the effects and implications of the events on the people and buildings of London.

    Clicker Communicator - Great Fire of London - Recounting key events

    For more history resources like these (including our Find Out and Write About history resource extracts, covering Egyptians, Greeks, Dinosaurs, Second World War, Romans, Victorians and Tudors!), head to LearningGrids today!

  • You may have a class, a group or an individual learner who would benefit from being able to have instant access to certain Clicker Sets as they are working.

    For example, you might provide a word bank or a writing frame that pupils can open without having to navigate to where these have been saved.

    A really easy way to do this is by using Clicker 7’s Favourites tool. If Clicker 7 is installed on your network it doesn’t matter which computer a pupil goes to, their User Preferences and their Favourites will be saved centrally.

    In this example, I have set up a class on the Quick Start screen for my ‘Higher ability’ group.

    Clicker 7 - Quick Start Page - Higher ability group

    To the left, you’ll see the yellow star which is the Favourites button.

    Clicker 7 - Quick Start - Favourites

    When pupils in the ‘Higher ability’ group click on this, they can immediately open particular resources I’ve added for them.

    Clicker 7 - Quick Start - Favourites - Higher ability group

    I have downloaded four word banks to help extend their vocabulary and encourage them to be a little more adventurous in their writing.

    These four are all ready-made Clicker Sets I’ve simply downloaded from LearningGrids and saved.

    This one provides great alternatives to the overused word ‘said’.

    Clicker 7 - Document & Word bank - Alternatives to said

    So, how do I add Clicker Sets to their Favourites?

    Whether it’s a Clicker Set I’ve created or one from LearningGrids, I first need to ensure I have saved it. To do this, go to the Clicker Set ribbon tab, and select Save Clicker Set As. The ‘Higher ability’ group folder will open automatically in the Save Clicker Set dialog and you can save the resource in it.

    Clicker 7 - Document & Word Bank - Save Clicker Set As to the Higher ability group folder

    Now, still on the Clicker Set ribbon tab, go the Favourites tool – the yellow star on the tool bar. You will now be able to click ‘Add current Clicker Set to favourites’. Note that, bottom right, I can see the name of the class, group or individual I’m creating a favourite for.

    Clicker 7 - Document & Word Bank - Add current Clicker Set to favourites

    I have repeated this with the other word banks too.

    The predictor will now include words from the word banks they are using!

    Clicker 7 - Document & Word Bank - Predictor

    You can have more than one resource open at a time. Each pupil can flip back and forth between any of the resources just by clicking on the tabs along the bottom.

    Clicker 7 - Document & Word Bank - Clicker Set - Bad Characters

    Now when this group starts working they can access these from the Quick Start screen. Or, if they are in the document, they simply go to their Favourites star on the Clicker Set ribbon tab and they will see them all listed there too.

  • Did you know you can change the pronunciation of any word?

    Clicker Communicator features state-of-the-art speech technology, enabling text to be spoken aloud in clear, natural voices.

    While the accuracy of speech technology has improved drastically over time, the complex intricacies of language mean that some words can be pronounced incorrectly from time to time. For example, there are many names with unique pronunciations that differ from common language rules.

    We recognise that accuracy is a key factor in a successful communication aid, so we include a feature in Clicker Communicator that lets you specify the pronunciation of any word:

    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 Pronunciation, and then tap Add New.
    3. In the top box, type the word you want to change.
      In the bottom box, spell the word phonetically, the way you want it to be pronounced.

    Clicker Communicator - Speech, Pronunciation, Siobhan

    Did you know that enabling SuperKeys makes it easier to tap words?

    Some people find it challenging to tap things accurately.

    A basic solution is to make targets bigger, but this inevitably results in fewer targets on-screen. In a communication aid, this places an unfair limitation on a person’s immediately available vocabulary.

    Our solution is SuperKeys. It works by grouping the word cells into clusters. Tapping anywhere within a cluster enlarges it, making it easy to then tap the desired word cell inside.

    Clicker Communicator - SuperKeys

    To enable SuperKeys:

    1. In the top toolbar, tap the Settings (cog) icon. (if the toolbar is hidden, tap the black line to show it)
    2. Tap Accessibility, tap SuperKeys, and then turn on SuperKeys.
    3. If you don’t want the cluster to close automatically, turn off Close Cluster After Selection.

    Please note: enabling SuperKeys doesn’t change the layout of the Vocabulary Sets themselves, just how they behave on your iPad.

    Did you know you can turn a Vocabulary Set into a soundboard?

    By default, tapping word cells within a Vocabulary Set will build a message in the top Message Area. At any point, you can tap anywhere in the Message Area to hear the full message spoken.

    However, it’s also possible for a Vocabulary Set to function like a soundboard, where tapping each word cell immediately speaks its contents. This may be a preferred form of communication for some people.

    To enable this behaviour:

    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. In the bottom-left corner, tap Format.
    3. On the Details tab, turn off the Message Area.
    4. When prompted, tap Speak When Tapped.

    To change the behaviour back to default, repeat these steps.

  • We’ve just received a lovely Clicker 7 success story from Fiona Tyler, whose daughter Becky has been using Clicker for a number of years now:

    “My daughter Becky is 14 years old. She is extremely bright and has severe quadriplegic cerebral palsy, which affects her whole body. She cannot sit unsupported, stand or walk, so is a full-time wheelchair user. She struggles to coordinate her arms and hands and she cannot talk.

    Becky first started using Clicker when she was 5 years old. At first she accessed the program using a head switch, which was successful but rather slow going. Then, about 7 years ago, she started working with Tobii eye gaze technology, which was when things really took off!

    As Becky has grown, Clicker has grown with her. When she was younger she used it to produce many beautiful pictures. Now, it’s her preferred tool for tackling curriculum writing tasks at school and at home.

    It’s so important that Becky can just go into Clicker and get on with her work – she is able to keep up with her writing in class and needs much less help from her support assistant. It also makes the act of writing a lot less laborious than she has found it with other writing tools she’s tried, which ultimately makes for a much more motivating and enjoyable writing experience.

    Clicker 7 plays a big part in making literacy tasks accessible and achievable for Becky.”

    You can read more about how Becky uses Clicker here.

    Photo of Becky who has severe quadriplegic cerebral palsy

  • Clicker for Windows, Mac, iPad and Chromebook

    With Clicker a core literacy tool in so many classrooms, it’s important to have it available on a range of devices. The recent release of Clicker Connect for Chromebook means that we now have all of our core primary writing tools available on Windows, Mac, iPad and Chromebooks.

    The three apps – Clicker Sentences, Clicker Connect and Clicker Docs – work on iPad and Chromebook, while Clicker 7 for Win/Mac includes the functionality of all three and more.

    We aim for complete consistency across Desktop, iPad and Chromebook, while ensuring we get the right look-and-feel for the device. We’ve also made it really easy to share files between any device using Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive.

    Clicker Apps - For Windows, Mac, iPad & Chromebooks

    Perhaps most importantly of all, you can use the same resources across all the devices. So when you find that great Connect Set on LearningGrids, you can use it on your desktop computer, on iPad and on Chromebook. (And it’s the same for Clicker Docs and Clicker Sentences files.)

    Our focus has always been on providing practical writing support to enable all learners to achieve success. Making Clicker available on a broad range of devices expands the number of learners we can help as we strive to make a real difference in the classroom.

  • Clicker Matching Sets on LearningGrids

    Matching activities help to develop visual discrimination and language acquisition, as well as problem-solving skills. They also help to improve concentration and memory, and of course all of these are important pre-reading skills. Making links between words, pictures or sounds, and explaining why they go together, is important for cognitive skills and ability.

    They can be used to support children of different ages and abilities, but are particularly useful for emergent readers and those learning English as an additional language. On LearningGrids, we have lots of different types of matching activities across a wide range of curriculum areas and themes. The activities may focus on matching pictures, words or sounds, so pupils are supported as they progress in their learning.

    With many of our Matching resources, we try to provide two versions of the same activity. The first is designed so that children will achieve success, as they can continue to try until they find the correct match. In the second, however, children can choose any match and their choices are summarised on the final page, offering an assessment of their performance.

    Matching Pictures

    Clicker 7 - Pirates – Picture Pairs Clicker 7 - At the Seaside – Picture Pairs  Clicker 7 - Football – Picture Pairs 
    Pirates – Picture Pairs At the Seaside – Picture Pairs Football – Picture Pairs

    Matching Words

    These activities can often be used for introducing or reinforcing new topic vocabulary so are suitable for all ages.

    Clicker 7 - Electrical Circuit Symbols – Look and Read Clicker 7 - Animal Skeletons – Look and Read
    Electrical Circuit Symbols – Look and Read Animal Skeletons – Look and Read
    Clicker 7 - In the Town – Read and Find clicker 7 - Pets Matching
    In the Town – Read and Find Pets Matching


    In these activities, children match words, sentences or spoken descriptions to pictures or words.

    Clicker 7 - Animal Groups Matching Clicker 7 - Getting Dressed for Snow – Listen and Find
    Animal Groups Matching Getting Dressed for Snow – Listen and Find

    Association Matching

    In some matching activities, children use cognitive skills to make links between pictures by matching associated words or images.

    Clicker 7 - Animals and Their Young – Make the Link Clicker 7 - Food and Parts of Plants – Make the Link 
    Animals and Their Young – Make the Link Food and Parts of Plants – Make the Link

    There’s certainly lots more to explore … so why not get over to LearningGrids and discover all these great matching activities and more for yourself!

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