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  • Listen and Say with a Twist


    At a recent training session, a teacher showed me a really interesting way that they are utilizing Clicker to support new students 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, the class they teach, and some of their interests and hobbies.

     

    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 pictures of some of the Crick team in the examples here so you might recognize some faces…

     

  • DocsPlus Dyslexie Settings


    Looking to support older learners with dyslexia? DocsPlus can help you do just that!

    There are several settings you can customize to help your students with dyslexia succeed in their writing.

    To customize display settings:

    1. Open DocsPlus
    2. Go to Options 
    3. Select Accessibility
    4. Choose Display

    Once here, you can customize your color scheme or choose already offered color schemes.

     

    The settings above were selected to create a contrast between the background of the document and the font, as well as a contrast between the Smart Tab and the document. The Dyslexie font has also been selected.

     

    DocsPlus offers a specialized font called Dyslexie. This is a font designed specifically for children with dyslexia. It helps students who find it difficult to discriminate between letters that have similarities. With this font, letter differences are enhanced so that students can see the differences more clearly. The letters are weighted at the base to help with vibration. Capital letters are more pronounced and there are larger spaces between words to help with vibration.

     

    DocsPlus offers ‘SoundsLike’prediction, or phonetic prediction. SoundsLike predication will identify what the letter sequence being typed sounds like and then predict words with a similar sound.

     

    Students will also have access to planning resources. Voice Notes are a great way for students to brainstorm. They can get ideas out orally before having to type them out into a document. In addition, DocsPlus offers WorkSpace, a planning space for students to use before writing.

    Students with dyslexia often find longer pieces of written work harder to organize and structure. Problems such as a short-term working memory deficit and slow information processing speed can make it difficult for them to express their initial thoughts and ideas in the form of a logical, flowing document.

    WorkSpace provides users with a built-in planning tool to help them prepare for writing. Students can manipulate and link any combination of words, pictures and sounds together within the WorkSpace, mapping out their ideas in a way that is easier to understand and particularly effective for more visual learners.

    You can trial DocsPlus for 28 days to try it with your students. Let us know how it goes by emailing us at usinfo@cricksoft.com!

  • LearningGrids and the Human Body


    Whether you are using Clicker to learn about the parts of the body or DocsPlus to write about the skeleton or Clicker Communicator to talk about the five senses, LearningGrids has something for you. Just search for human body and you’ll find all sorts of resources to support your students’ reading, writing, and speaking.

     

    There are also Clicker Board activities about the senses and skeleton labeling sets. Younger students can use Clicker to match parts of the body. Pulse Rate Investigation is a writing frame and word bank that helps students write an outline of an investigation into the effects of different activities. They can then use the Talk Set Exercise and Pulse Rates to record their results.

     

    Older writers can use a DocsPlus Wordbar to write about the circulatory system or human physiology. Skeleton – Quick Words provides the key subject-specific vocabulary for writing about the human skeleton.

     

    Visit LearningGrids for more resources on the human body and many other science sets.


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

    Louise Bounous is a teacher working for a student 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 a Special Educational Needs 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.

  • DocsPlus has Arrived on LearningGrids!


    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.

     

    Use Wordbars for writing in all subjects.

  • Clicker Sentences Sets on LearningGrids


    Sentence building activities support students 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 periods.

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

    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 students 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.

     

    Pop-up Model

    Offering a visual model, which pops up as required, subtly reduces the level of support. This time, the child can see the model but must close it before building the sentence – therefore encouraging independence and less reliance on the model.

     

    Spoken Model

    The spoken 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.

     

    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).

     

    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!


  • When we were developing the Clicker Apps for Chromebook, we started to think about ways in which the apps would be accessed and managed in school districts. During our research, we heard from many customers that managing apps in a large district can be something of a headache, especially when students are located across multiple school buildings. Often the only solution is to have many Single User subscriptions in play at once, which can be a really time-consuming process.

    We thought long and hard about this challenge while developing the Clicker Apps for Chromebook, and we have come up with a pretty neat solution called the Student Support License.

    Here’s how it works:

    • The customer (e.g. your school district) receives an activation code for each subscription, set to allow a fixed number of installations, according to the subscription purchased.
    • The code is distributed to the users who you want to provide access to the apps.
    • The code will work with any Google Account – the domain is not important.

     

    And here’s how you manage the users:

    • With the subscription you get a management page, where you can see and easily manage a list of all your users.
    • You can remove a user from the list at any time, allowing you to give the app to a different user.
    • The license is expandable – you can add more users at any point in the subscription.

     

    Feedback from our early adopters has been fantastic, and we have been told by many that this is the simplest, most intuitive (and therefore time-saving) mechanism they have seen for managing apps with a large population of users.

    We also offer the Student Support License for Clicker 7 and DocsPlus - contact us to find out more!

  • DocsPlus' Standout Features!


    We at Crick Software are so happy about the launch of DocsPlus. DocsPlus is designed specifically to support older students.

    Recently the sales team has started doing tailored demonstrations for schools and districts to show how support for students in middle and high school has changed with DocsPlus. Right away we noticed certain features as clear standouts for these teachers seeing it for the first time.

    The first standout being the Workspace feature and all the ways this tool can be further manipulated in DocsPlus. Workspace is essentially a graphic organizer built into the program that allows users to create their own visual aids for learning.

     

    These aids can be turned into an outline or a Wordbar, one of the most useful and handy elements of DocsPlus. This means that a teacher can build a graphic organizer with a student in a way that is most meaningful for them and turn those words into a Wordbar, used for more extensive writing.

     

    Not only does the Workspace make the creation of graphic organizers possible, it makes it even easier than ever before to make Wordbars to support students with their writing.

     

    The other standout feature is the DocReader, which makes it possible for PDFs to be read aloud to students. This means that students can work independently on worksheets, read longer texts with support from DocsPlus, or even use DocReader during exams if they are allowed. The DocReader enables students who struggle with being able to read a longer piece of text to be able to break it into more manageable, speech supported sections.

     

  • 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 Inquiries

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

    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 color-coding systems.

    The majority of our Clicker Communicator sets use a modified Fitzgerald color-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, students can respond to questions about the materials that objects are made from. Guess the Shape allows students to play a shape guessing game by asking questions about the number and type of sides that a shape has.

     

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

     

    Our colorful semantics sets use a different color-coding system. These sets help students learn the important elements of a sentence and how to join these elements together in the correct order. Students learn to associate different “types” of words with different colors 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 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 color-coded sections. Children choose from the colored cells to recite each line. With these sets, each cell speaks as they tap so that they hear the rhyme as they go. They can then listen to the entire rhyme by tapping the message area.

     

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

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