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  • Apple Releases iOS 11


    Every September, Apple releases a major upgrade to the iOS software that runs on iPhones and iPads across the world.

    This year, they’ve given us iOS 11, which includes many exciting new features and big changes that affect the way users interact with their devices.

    Key highlights include:

    • A new Dock that provides quick access to favorite and recent apps.
    • A new Files app that organizes all files from your apps and cloud services.
    • A redesigned Control Center that makes adjusting common settings like volume and Bluetooth even easier, and you can now choose which controls are shown.
    • A redesigned App Store that makes it easier to discover new apps.
    • New Augmented Reality technologies that allow apps to display content on top of real-world scenes.
    • The ability to easily share your WiFi passwords with friends.

    Amidst all the excitement, many websites and news articles are reporting that iOS 11 is the first release to drop 32-bit support, leaving it unable to run approximately 187,000 apps (about 8% of the App Store). Understandably, this has caused some concern among users.

    Fortunately, the truth of the matter is less worrying. These are old apps that have been abandoned by their developers and not updated for several years. Yet despite this, some are still in popular use! Users of these apps will be forced to seek out newer alternatives.

    Rest assured, our Clicker Apps have been 64-bit for several years now, so they are unaffected by this change.

    In fact, over the last few months, we’ve been rigorously testing all of our Clicker Apps in developer preview versions of iOS 11. As a result, we’re proud to announce that every Clicker App was compatible with iOS 11 at launch!

    For guidance about upgrading your device to iOS 11, please consult this Apple support article: https://support.apple.com/HT204204.

  • O Canada!


    We have recently published a group of Canadian Clicker Sets that were made in collaboration with Special Education Technology – British Columbia. SET-BC is a BC Ministry of Education Provincial Resource Program established to assist school districts in utilizing technology with students with diverse needs whose access to the curriculum is restricted.

    Over the summer, SET-BC held a maker session for teachers to create Clicker resources to share with other colleagues through the SET-BC site and on LearningGrids. We worked with them to provide some custom graphics for their sets and the result is a wonderful collection of resources focused on the official emblems of the Canadian provinces and territories.

     

    Students can read about the flowers of Canada, write about the provincial and territorial flags, and talk about the birds of the different regions. There are matching activities, as well as picture banks to support their writing about Canada.

     

    In addition to the emblem resources, SET-BC also created a word bank to support writing about the Levels of Canadian Government and a sentence building set for writing the national anthem, O Canada.

     

    SET-BC will continue building Clicker sets in their upcoming maker sessions and we hope to be able to share more resources in the new year.

  • Clicker 7 for English Language Learners


    I joined Crick Software in 2005 and up until this Summer my focus has been on working with schools in the UK. I now work with International Schools and our partners across the globe.

    I have created a series of videos highlighting how Clicker 7 can offer support to learners of all abilities and needs. This week I will be focusing on why Clicker is such a powerful tool for supporting students whose primary language is not English.

    It’s vital for English language learners to be given frequent opportunities to listen to new vocabulary and practice using it themselves. "Listen and Say" activities provide a great way for students to do this, and are easy to put together. Click the image below to watch the video:

    Clicker 7 - Listen and Say

    Clicker provides the additional support that English language learners need to develop their writing skills - from the first steps of writing word labels or simple sentences, to more independent writing with word bank support as language acquisition grows. This video show how to use Sentence Sets and Connect Sets to support those critical first steps in writing; click on the image to watch:

    Clicker 7 - Sentence Set

    We also have a ready-made resource available, New to English, to rapidly build language skills and confidence for students at the start of their journey.

    I will be posting more videos in the coming weeks, so keep your eyes on our blog to discover more exciting ways that you can use Clicker 7 in your setting!

  • Back to School with Clicker


    It’s the start of a new school year – time to get to know your new class. Younger learners can use our latest Clicker Board Set This Is Me to tell you all about themselves. Students can also use the Clicker Custom Set Interview Me to record a personal profile to share with the class.

     

    The Myself Word Bank provides key vocabulary under the headings of Family, Home, School, and Spare Time to help students write an introduction about themselves. For older writers, the Clicker Set Autobiography provides a more extensive word bank to support their writing.

     

    The start of the new school year is also a great time to set goals for the year ahead, and we have a variety of resources to tackle this task. The Connect Set My Goals provides beginnings, middles, and endings to create sentences about what students need to work on at school. The Word Bank Personal Goals supports more independent learners to write about their targets. The Clicker Custom Sets My Goals One, Two, and Three provide different levels of support to help students of all abilities record their personal goals and review their achievements. And don’t forget to use the Connect Set Our Classroom Rules to write a collaborative list of classroom rules for the year.

     

    Be sure to visit LearningGrids for many more autobiographical and school-related Clicker resources.

  • Using LearningGrids to Create Inclusive Lesson Plans


    Crick Software believes in the UDL (Universal Design for Learning) framework, and we always take this into account when designing our LearningGrids resources. One of the biggest challenges facing teachers today is being able to differentiate lessons quickly and efficiently to address the needs of all students in the classroom. And of course, one of the best features of Clicker 7 is the ease with which you can differentiate Clicker Sets for specific students based on their needs.

    If, for example, a teacher was conducting a unit or lesson on plants, there are many resources on LearningGrids to support a variety of writing levels, allowing teachers to maximize the number of students they can reach. “About Plants” is a Sentence Set for early readers and writers that allows for supported, single sentence outcome grids to help students write all about plants.

     

    Connect Sets offer scaffolded support and more options so students can make choices about what they want to write while still being supported with words and phrases. The “Parts of a Plant” Connect Set uses words and pictures to get students writing about plants, while still giving them independence to decide what to write.

     

    Word Banks allow learners to construct their own sentences and paragraphs with topic specific words. Here’s an example entitled, “Plant Life Cycle A-Z".

     

    Aside from these Clicker Sets, there are a variety of others like “Talk about Parts of a Plant,” “Planting a Seed – Listen and Match,” and even Custom Sets like “Water a Plant” and “Parts of Plants We Eat”.

    There are over 80 resources covering plants on LearningGrids and over 1,000 Sets in total, with many “activity groups” like this that cover the same topic but support different stages of literacy development. We add new resources to LearningGrids regularly; go check them out!

  • Preparing For a New School Year


    As the new school year approaches, it’s a good time to audit your software licenses and consider whether they need to be moved around.

    Each year, the summer vacation provides a good opportunity for IT Departments to refresh their school’s computer facilities while the buildings are empty. When staff return, they often find that things have been changed around!

    Computers generally get slower with frequent use and can develop problematic quirks that may be difficult to troubleshoot. Most schools wipe their computers every one or two years in order to restore them to “like new” condition. Some may be moved to new locations, old computers are retired from service, and new ones are enrolled onto the network.

    As a result, it becomes quite difficult to keep track of which licenses are installed where!

    Therefore, it’s a good idea to reset your software licenses during this maintenance period. Once your computers have been refreshed, the full number of licenses will be at your disposal, and you can allocate them to the correct computers without complication or confusion.

    Fortunately, Clicker 7 and DocsPlus make this very easy. To transfer one or more licenses:

    1. Visit http://activate.cricksoft.com
    2. Enter your serial number, complete the I’m not a robot check, and click Start.
    3. If your serial number is unregistered, you will need to register it before continuing. This protects your serial number from being lost in future.
    4. Click Manage licenses.
    5. Find a computer in the list and click its Reclaim License button.

    Once you reclaim a license, you can immediately reuse it on the next computer.

    If Clicker 7 remains on the previous computer, it will stop working after a short period. To avoid confusion, we recommend uninstalling Clicker 7 before reclaiming licenses.

    Chromebook Apps

    Unlike standard laptops, Chromebooks don’t need refreshing very often. Additionally, apps are assigned to Google accounts rather than specific Chromebooks, so students can always access their apps no matter which device they sign into.

    However, if you have a Multi-User Subscription to our Chromebook Apps, remember that you can change which students have access to the subscription at any time.

    This may be necessary at the start of a new school year, as old students leave and new students arrive.

    To manage your Multi-User Subscription, please follow this guide: http://www.cricksoft.com/Files/Support/managing_your_clicker_app_subscriptions.pdf.

  • DocsPlus Release 2


    This week, we have released a new version of DocsPlus. It contains a wide variety of improvements, including several new features:

    Exam Mode

    DocsPlus can now be tailored to a user's additional access arrangements by disabling certain features that are prohibited in exams, such as spell checking, word prediction, and speech feedback.

    Split View

    When a DocReader is open and Split View is enabled, the DocReader is repositioned to occupy the bottom half of the window. This makes it possible for users to refer to an exam paper or worksheet while simultaneously writing in their document above.

    Editable PDFs

    Certain PDF files contain editable text boxes. Using DocsPlus, it’s now possible to type within editable text boxes (highlighted purple) and save your changes. While typing, you have access to the same word prediction and speech support as you would when writing in the document.

    Improved Word Prediction

    Over 2,500 subject-specific words have been added to the Predictor’s vocabulary, covering Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geography, and History.

    Automatic Backup

    DocsPlus now quietly creates backups of your files behind the scenes. If something goes wrong and your original file becomes corrupted, you can restore the last backup.

    New Smart Tab

    It is now much easier to create a new Smart Tab, simply click the + tab at the bottom of the page.

    To update DocsPlus, download the new installer from www.cricksoft.com/dplatest and install it over the top of your current installation.

  • Talk Sets for Science


    A useful way to enable children to show their understanding in science is to use Clicker Talk Sets. A set to look at on LearningGrids is Reversible and Irreversible Changes – Talk, which looks at six materials and how they might be changed. Students consider whether the changes shown are permanent, or whether the materials can be returned to their original states.

     

    The activity is open-ended – some children might describe what they can see in the pictures while others might give detailed interpretations of what has happened. Some may recognize, for example, that the candle represents both a reversible and an irreversible change. As such, the activity is suitable for a range of abilities.

    Having recorded their ideas, children could use the set as a prompt for writing.

    For other Talk Sets, use the quick search on LearningGrids.

     

    To view all of the science sets available on LearningGrids, click on Science in the Categories section.

  • 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!

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