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  • Saving Time with LearningGrids Resources


    LearningGrids is our website you can access from within Clicker that provides hundreds of pre-made activities created by our curriculum team. They are extremely valuable because they can save you a lot of time in terms of resource creation. There are two in particular that I have found can be used over and over in a variety of ways. The first is called Missing Nouns, which is designed as a cloze activity. It only takes seconds to download, and then can be changed and differentiated for your students. You can change the text, the position of the missing word in the sentence, and the pictures, either by searching the Crick Picture Library or adding your own. Because the writing frame is already created for you, there is no need to start from scratch. You can use this activity as your cloze template, significantly decreasing your teacher prep time. 

     

    The second activity is called Gravity and Air Resistance Investigation. It is a science writing frame with three grids: a Frame tab, a Words tab, and an Objects tab. The Frame tab is a writing frame with the first cell containing a sentence stating the objective, and 4 cells containing sentence starters. The Words tab is a word bank with gravity related vocabulary, and the Objects tab has pictures of the objects used in the experiment. This activity can be used for any science investigation because you can very easily change the objective, the vocabulary in the word bank, and the pictures. It is sometimes difficult to motivate students to write about science, but using this activity as a template will definitely start them on their way!

     

     See www.learninggrids.com for more resources – we add to them every few weeks so keep checking back for new ideas!

  • New Clicker 6 Success Story – Teach the Teacher!


    Elaine Blake, a teacher at Highfield School, a school designated for learners in the 11-19 year old age group with severe learning difficulties, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and complex needs, has had great success using Clicker 6 with her students. She was able to get her students using Clicker 6 very quickly and easily by having them help her create a training guide and teach their teachers how to use it!

    "We tested our training guide on one of the school’s teacher assistants – they thought it was brilliant. Then, another staff member asked if we could help them to learn about Clicker, and another…. Since then, we have trained 30 members of staff in the Clicker basics, including the Principal and the Assistant Principal.

    The way the training works is that a teacher will book a 30 minute session with us, during which we pair up some student trainers to support them. Our more confident readers will take charge of relaying the instructions to their staff trainee, while another student points out the relevant areas on the screen to them. The staff member then fills out a training evaluation form and receives a training certificate, both of which have been created by my students"

    You can read Elaine’s success story in full here.

  • Did you know? – Clicker 6 Tips


    Did you know you can add hyperlinks to Documents and Clicker Sets?

    To add a hyperlink to a Document, select the desired text, open the Options menu and choose Hyperlink.

    To add a hyperlink to a cell within a Clicker Set:

    1. Enter Edit Mode (click Edit Clicker Set in the bottom-left corner).
    2. Click the desired cell to select it.
    3. In the top toolbar, switch to the Open tab.
    4. Click Choose and choose Open a webpage.

    Did you know you can hide tools and change their size?

    To do this, open the Options menu, choose User Preferences and switch to the Look and Feel tab.
    This tab lists all the tools that appear in the Document Toolbar and above grids. To show/hide a tool, click it. To make tools bigger or smaller, choose a size in the Tools and Tabs Size drop-down box. Changes are applied after clicking OK.

    Did you know you can create user profiles?

    Do your learners not have their own Windows/Mac accounts? Would you like to tailor Clicker 6 to certain grades or classes? Do any of your learners have specific accessibility requirements?

    Once you’ve configured Clicker 6 a certain way, you can export those settings as a user profile, which can be easily selected when Clicker 6 starts.

    To export a user profile, open the Options menu, hover on Import and Export and click Export User Options. Type a relevant name and click Save.

    To load a user profile, click the User drop-down box in the top-right corner of the Quick Start window.

    Top tip: when trying this out, a good setting to change is the tools size (see above), as you’ll see them change size when you load your user profile.


  • Following a teacher request on a visit to an elementary school, one of our education consultants put together a great activity which you can now download for free from LearningGrids. The activity, called Plan a Route, is available as a Clicker 6 and a Clicker Connect activity.

    The activity supports students in writing a simple sequence of step-by-step instructions to make a programmable floor robot (such as a Bee Bot) move along a specified route. They are encouraged to use simple instructional language, giving direction and distance orders.

    This activity is perfect for early work on algorithms – using a sequence of actions to solve a problem, e.g. How will I get from point A to point B? Get the children to write the sequence of instructions – and then try them out. Did the instructions work? Encourage them to think about how the sequence could or should be amended (debugged). Perfect for teaching directional language and programming to younger children.

     

    It’s easy to replace the pictures of the programmable floor robot used in the activity with your own pictures. To do this, simply go into Edit Mode, select the picture cells, and search for your own pictures. Of course, if you’re working with the Connect version of the activity, you can use the iPad® camera to take photos of the floor robot you are using. Happy programming!

  • Writing a Letter Home with Clicker


    This is a great example of Clicker supporting a structured writing task. In this activity George, a student at a residential school, uses a Clicker Set with symbols to write a letter home to his parents.

     

    George has significant challenges when it comes to writing. This Clicker Set makes use of Widgit Symbols for Clicker to help George understand the content of the cells.

    Notice the Widgit Symbols also appear in his writing to help him check his work after creating the sentences. The speech support offers further assistance – George can hear all his sentences read back to him.

     

    To give an additional level of support this Clicker Set is comprised of ‘Forced Order’ grids. Each column is greyed out until the user reaches that section of the sentence. In the screenshot above, George clicked ‘I went’ (which then turned grey) and now needs to choose from the pink cells – ‘swimming’, ‘shopping’ or ‘bicycling’. Although George can see the words and phrases for the rest of the sentence, they are all greyed out until he is ready to use them.

     

    Finally, George signs his letter. Clicker allows digital pictures in cells and documents so George can finish with his own photograph next to his name.


  • Last month I had the opportunity to attend the Closing The Gap conference in Minnesota; it was my first time attending this event. I was thrilled to speak with many attendees who use and love our products! One attendee, Josh Dickson, loves our Clicker Connect and Clicker Communicator apps so much that he featured them in a presentation that he co-hosted with his colleague Hillary Jellison, both of Communicare, LLC.  I was able to attend this session and it was wonderful to see our products being used by educators out in the field and to hear how successful students were with writing while using our apps. 

     

    The session was titled, Written Composition and AAC, which focused on how to make writing achievable for all students through the RTI (Response to Intervention) model with the goal of students passing state level standardized tests.  Reading about the session before hand, and walking into the session, I understood how Clicker Connect would fit into this topic because this app supports students writing a document, even if the document is only a couple sentences.  But Clicker Communicator is our communication app and I was not familiar with educators using this app to create pieces of writing.  Josh explained that because the symbol support is available in the grid and the message area, this app is ideal for students who rely on symbol support when writing sentences.

    Josh used a LearningGrids example about the butterfly life cycle to illustrate how easy it is to create a complete sentence from a free, ready-made resource!  It was a new way of looking at Clicker Communicator and it is exciting to know that students are using our apps to write pieces that were not possible before. 

     

  • Speedy Symbols with Siri


    Using Siri is a fantastic way to quickly populate Clicker Communicator grids with words and symbols.

    In this example, Aaron is a non-verbal elementary school student. He uses Clicker Communicator on his iPad® to take part in classroom discussions and to relay his needs / wants.

    Aaron uses the Widgit Symbol version of Clicker Core 2. Clicker Communicator comes with 3 Core Vocabulary Sets, and the Widgit Symbol library is available as an in-app purchase.

    Here is Aaron’s home grid:

     Clicker Communicator home grid

    Aaron is fascinated by all forms of transportation. Helen, the teaching assistant who works with Aaron, wanted to quickly add an appropriate page of words / symbols.

    First Helen went into Edit View, tapped Add and added Transportation as a topic.

    This automatically created a new page for Aaron’s transportation items and placed a link to it in the bottom right hand corner of his Core 2 home page.

    Helen selected the Transportation category and tapped the T+ button. She then used Siri to enter text by simply speaking all the types of transportation she could think of.

    Tapping Done completed the procedure.

     Clicker Communicator automatically found the symbols for all the words, and around a minute after starting, Helen had the finished product!

     

  • My First CTG


    Last week I attended my first Closing the Gap conference in Minneapolis. It was very exciting to meet so many special needs professionals who were passionate about finding literacy support tools for their students. Those who came to our Crick Software booth were very interested in learning about our Crick products and many already had familiarity with them, but wanted to learn more... 

     

    The visitors at our booth had a wide range of experience with our products. For example, some were using one Clicker App, such as Clicker Sentences or Clicker Connect, and wanted to learn more about the other apps – Clicker Docs and Clicker Books. Others were familiar with all of our apps, but wanted to get a look at Clicker Communicator. They were impressed with how easy it was to use, especially because the user interface is consistent with our other apps. They also were amazed by how quickly and easily you can create topic specific vocabulary sets. They enjoyed seeing a quick demo and asked for a free, one-hour webinar to get a closer look at its features and capabilities. I will be very excited to follow up in the next couple of weeks and show them the power of our literacy support tools, which will assist so many students with reading, writing, and accessing the curriculum in the classroom.


  • At the recent Closing the Gap Conference in Minneapolis, a Clicker Communicator set that proved particularly popular with delegates was the LearningGrids set Travel Survey. This set is designed to enable students to use questioning to collect data about how the children in their class travel to school.

    It was so well liked because the set puts the Communicator user in charge as they initiate and lead the conversation. They ask the questions and are no longer stuck in respondent mode.


  • We recently returned from Closing the Gap – the annual AT / AAC conference in Minneapolis. It’s one of our favorite events on the calendar, and our booth was packed with delegates all week. 

     

    With Clicker Communicator (our new AAC app) just 4 months old, we were delighted by the number of people who came to the booth requesting to see it, and it was a great opportunity to get feedback on the latest updates:

    Paint 

    You can now use Paint to customize any cell – in this example you can see the soccer player’s shirt being transformed from red to blue (using the Bucket Fill tool), and then having the number added (using the Brush tool). This new feature allows for personalization of existing symbols, as well as offering the opportunity to create your own from scratch.

     

    Pronounce

    There is now a Pronunciation option in the Speech settings which allows you to instantly fix any mis-pronounced words – especially important with names.

     

    Predict

    Many of our booth visitors at Closing the Gap were excited by the symbol supported word prediction in Clicker Communicator. We have done a lot of work on both the predictor database and the prediction algorithm for this latest release – the resulting in-word, next word, and phonetic suggestions are awesome!

     

    If you already have Clicker Communicator, don’t forget to update to the latest version (via App Store > Updates). If you don’t have it yet, it is available on both the App Store and through the Volume Purchase Program.

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