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  • Closing The Gap


    Closing The Gap is one of the most popular and widely attended AT (Assistive Technology) conferences on the calendar, and is attended by delegates from all over the US, Canada, and many other countries from around the world. 

    As well as our exhibit hall booth, we had a very lively and well attended conference presentation, focusing on the Clicker Apps. We also launched a brand new app called SuperKeys, which I will be writing about in my next blog post! We had some great conversations with customers (both new and established) at our booth, and I thought it would be useful to share answers to the top 5 questions we were asked:

    1. Can I still get upgrade pricing for Clicker 6? Upgrade pricing for Clicker 6 (representing a 25% discount over regular pricing) is still available, but only until 12/31/14. After that date you will still be able to order Clicker 6, but at regular price only.
    2. I can’t decide between Clicker Sentences and Clicker Connect – how do they compare? Clicker Connect is designed as a cognitive progression from Clicker Sentences. There is a great comparison document on our website to help you understand the differences between all four Clicker Apps: http://www.cricksoft.com/Files/Apps/Clicker-Apps-Comparison-US.pdf.
    3. We just enrolled in the Apple Volume Purchase Program (VPP) – can we buy Clicker Apps with VPP? Absolutely! All four Clicker Apps are available on VPP – to find out more, check out our VPP guide: http://www.cricksoft.com/Files/Apps/The-Apple-Volume-Purchase-Program.pdf.
    4. Are your products compatible with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)? Because we publish literacy tools (for Windows, Mac, and iPad), you can download and/or create resources and writing supports to align with almost any of the ELA CCSS strands. What’s more, we have just published a fantastic reference document cross-referencing CCSS strands with our free downloadable Clicker 6 content on LearningGrids: http://www.cricksoft.com/us/products/clicker/common-core.aspx.
    5. We love Clicker 6, but do you have anything I can use with high school students? Yes – WriteOnline is a software tool designed to support older students from middle school to college. You can find out more and download a free trial from here: http://www.cricksoft.com/us/products/writeonline/default.aspx.

    We are already planning for Closing The Gap 2015, and we look forward to seeing you there!


  • I recently wrote about how Clicker and resources on LearningGrids support the development of Foundational Skills. This month I will continue to explore the Common Core standards, and I want to start by making sure that everyone is aware of our new Clicker and the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts resource that is now available to download from the Crick Software website. The document outlines Clicker’s unique features and curriculum resources that support literacy development for all elementary students. It covers all of the strands of the Common Core, including Reading: Literature and Informational Texts, which is my focus for this blog post.

    LearningGrids provides access to a large number of on-screen books ranging in content and complexity, from books with simple captions or single sentences for emergent readers to longer texts for more fluent readers. All Clicker books are supported by writing activities such as writing grids or write a book sets that allow students to summarize key ideas of the texts. The recently published book The Branches of Government – Read provides speech-supported reading pages, and with the complementary writing activity, The Branches of Government – Questions, students use sentence starters and word banks to write answers to spoken questions about the informational text.

       

    Teachers and students can create their own question and answer activities for any text using the Ask and Answer template.  After reading a piece of text, the class records a series of questions on the Ask page. These questions are transferred to the Answer page for students to record their answers, referring to the text to support their answers.

    Clicker’s Tell the Story activities, such as The Tortoise and the Hare – Tell the Story, are ideal for getting students to share key details and demonstrate an understanding of the central message of a text. Students select a picture and record their version of the episode. The speech button on the first page replays all of the recordings, telling the whole story. Students can also use the activity to respond to the character’s actions during different events in the story.

     

    Story Map also uses Clicker’s sound recorder to allow students to respond to text. Students describe the characters, setting, and events in a story. Prompts on the recording pages help to focus the reader on details in the text for their descriptions.

    Clicker Books, such as Coastal Landforms – Read, contain technical, topic-related vocabulary to enhance students’ knowledge of the particular subject area. The integrated speech support means that students have access to the full text or they can listen to specific words or phrases.  Using Coastal Landforms – Definitions, students demonstrate their understanding of the key words and phrases from the text.

       

    Be sure to explore LearningGrids and the Clicker and the Common Core document for many more resources to support the Reading standards.

  • Apple Releases iOS 8


    Apple recently released iOS 8, a major software upgrade for iPhones and iPads®. Users have been quick to adopt iOS 8, with 46% of devices being upgraded in five days.

    Although the iOS 8 upgrade is not as major as iOS 7 was, it features many changes behind the scenes. Two notable new features are the ability to use third party keyboards, and to share purchased apps between family members.

    We have updated all our Clicker Apps to work with iOS 8. To ensure you have the latest versions, open the App Store, and then tap “Updates” at the bottom.

    If you are still using iOS 7 and plan to upgrade to iOS 8, we recommend downloading any Clicker App updates after you have upgraded.

    If you experience an issue with a Clicker App in iOS 8, it may be temporary, and might be fixed by closing the app and relaunching it. To do this:

    1. Double-press the Home button.
    2. Find the Clicker App in the list and swipe it up to close it.
    3. Press the Home button to return to the Home screen.
    4. Relaunch the Clicker App.

     If the issue persists, please contact Support with a description. If you call us, please have your iPad with you so we can look into the issue more effectively. If possible, please email us screenshots of it in action:

    http://www.wikihow.com/Take-a-Screenshot-With-an-iPad

    Email: support@cricksoft.com

    UK Phone: 01604 671691 (Monday to Friday, 9:00am – 5:00pm GMT)

    US Phone: 203 221 2697 (Monday to Friday, 9:00am – 12:00pm EST)

  • More Speaking Activities with Clicker


    Following on from my last blog on using Clicker speaking activities, here is how a first grade teacher used the recording facility in Clicker with a group of children in her class. She wanted to increase their confidence in speaking and to encourage them to extend statements beyond single words or sentences.

    She started by using the Tell the Story activity in Jack and the Beanstalk from the Clicker Tales series. After reading the story together it was the children’s turn to tell their version. They worked in a group with a teaching assistant, and each child chose a picture to talk about – they rehearsed and then recorded their section of the story, continuing until all the episodes had been covered. They then listened to their whole story using the speech bubble button on the start page, each child waiting in anticipation to hear their recordings.

    Jack and the Beanstalk recording activity 

    Jack and the Beanstalk recording activity

    Click on each picture to record and then play all the recordings back in sequence to re-tell the story. Activity from Jack and the Beanstalk in the Clicker Tales series.

    Next the children worked in pairs and took photos of moments in their day which the teacher used to create the same kind of activity, using the Tell the Story wizard in Clicker 6. The strong sequential nature of the events, the picture prompts and the opportunity to rehearse were all very important for the children. The teacher gave them ‘next’/‘then’/‘after that’ prompt cards which added to the cohesion of their final outcome.

    Then each child tackled their own Tell the Story activity. Following a sandwich making activity, they used photos of each stage to describe the procedure. They could concentrate on what they wanted to say for each step and move to the next when they were happy with their recording.

    The fact that some children chose to repeat some of their recordings showed they were also actively evaluating their performance. The final outcome was a much fuller and more cohesive recount than the children would have achieved without the step by step scaffolding provided in the activity.

    Tell the Story activity - making a sandwich 

    Tell the Story activity - making a sandwich 

    Use photos in a Tell the Story activity to act as prompts for the child to record each step.

    There are a number of Tell the Story activities available on LearningGrids (search for tell the story) and to see how to set one up, watch the 90-second video and PDF instruction sheet at:

    http://www.cricksoft.com/us/training/clicker-6-training/90-second/quick-wizards.aspx