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  • Amanda Mikulsky is an Occupational Therapist in Wisconsin who first learned about Clicker Communicator at the Closing The Gap Conference.

    She and her co-workers have fallen in love with the simplicity of the app and the way that it has increased student participation in school:

    “The first student that I tried Clicker Communicator with was the little kindergartener that I had been working with. This day we were learning about shapes in the community so I had prepared a set for her with all different shapes. As the teacher asked the students to identify a stop sign she gasped! She tapped the picture of the octagon on the iPad and, for the first time, raised her hand to answer the teacher. Tears filled my eyes as the teacher called on her and she made the iPad speak. She was able to participate in the lesson just like her peers. She beamed! Her entire body was happy! And now, just a little over a month later she is able to go in and navigate the app completely independently.

    We are using Clicker Communicator with so many children now that we have it on all our iPads…we have some teachers and speech pathologists using the app with learners all the way up through high school level. They are seeing success with students who have not had success with any other app that we have tried.

    Clicker Communicator is allowing teachers and parents to unlock what is in these children’s heads. They are finally able to tell us about their day and about their inner thoughts. They have all of these wonderful thoughts; we just needed Clicker Communicator to unlock them.”

    You can read the success story in full on our website.


  • Over Easter we came out with three important new releases:

    Clicker 7 Release 4

     

    This release contains some important updates to switch accessibility. Here are my top 5 improvements:

    • Significant improvements to auditory scanning
    • If there is only one Clicker Set open, the bottom tabs are no longer scanned
    • Scanning of Sentence Sets has be improved and simplified
    • Fixed scanning issue with tabs in Clicker Sets
    • Simplified scanning of keyboards when using switch access with SuperKeys

    This update is now available at http://www.cricksoft.com/support/clicker7/downloads/installers.aspx

    Clicker Communicator for Widgit and PCS

     

    Many school districts have asked us for either a Widgit version of Clicker Communicator or a PCS version – so we’ve done both! In the App Store you’ll now see three separate versions of the app: Clicker Communicator (SymbolStix), Clicker Communicator (Widgit), and Clicker Communicator (PCS).

    The relevant symbol library is included, and the LearningGrids resources are also provided in your chosen symbol version, so you’ve got relevant curriculum-related Vocabulary Sets completely ready to use!

    SuperKeys App

     

    In January, we won the prestigious BETT Special Needs Award for SuperKeys, our unique accessible keyboard app for the iPad and iPhone. Since then we’ve made it even better by making it easier to customize the keyboard – for example, you can now change colors for individual clusters and customize the size of the predictor.

  • Clicker 7 and Speaking Activities


    Clicker speaking activities are a great way to encourage students to share their ideas, demonstrate their knowledge, and build confidence with their speaking skills. Talk Sets are quick and easy to create using Clicker 7’s fantastic new tools. You can use CrickPix images or even your own graphics and photos. 

     

    In addition to creating your own speaking activities, we also offer lots of Talk Sets on LearningGrids. With Talk About activities, students can present information on a wide range of topics, including the solar system, vertebrates, and workers in their community. Tell the Story activities, such as Plant Life Cycle and Brushing My Teeth, allow students to break up stories, procedures, or instructions into smaller parts and make recordings for each episode. Students can listen to all of their recordings together on the start page. Both of these types of sets work equally well as activities for individual students or for groups.

     

    Clicker’s recording tools can also be used in Custom Sets. With Interview Me, students answer questions about themselves to build a personal profile. You can use the pre-prepared questions in the activity, but it’s also easy to personalize this activity for specific students, as with any resources on LearningGrids. Why not get your students to plan out the questions they want to ask in the interview and then simply change the question (or questions) in Edit view. Highlight the question mark button, click on the Sound & Video tab, and change the question.

    Show and Tell can be used to get students to talk about a special object or something related to a specific theme. They use the painting tools or add a photo of their object and then record information about it. All of the pictures and the recordings are presented on the start page.

     

    Be sure to visit LearningGrids for many more speaking activity ideas.

  • Mind Mapping with Clicker 7!


    We have been showing Clicker 7 to hundreds of our customers in the last few months, and one of the most exciting new features is the ability to create a mind map with a brand new kind of Clicker Set called Clicker Board. Mind mapping is well established as a powerful pre-writing activity, enabling students to organize their ideas. It can be done either collaboratively or individually. 

    Let’s imagine you wanted to get your students writing about their favorite kinds of food. You might decide to start with a class discussion, and gather everyone’s ideas in a Clicker Board. 

    First of all, create a Clicker Board with three pages (use the + symbol to add pages). Then, right-click on each page tab to rename as Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. 


    Next, we want to populate each page with a sentence starter and food items. There are two ways to add cells to the page:

    1. Click the new object cell in the left toolbar and drag your chosen cell type onto the board.
    2. Double-click anywhere on the board to create a default shaped cell.

    With the first cell in place, write in your sentence starter, e.g. “For breakfast, I like to eat.”

    Now add more cells around the sentence starter, and populate with the students’ ideas. With a more advanced group of writers, you could encourage the students to write into the cells themselves – notice that when you select a cell, you have the option of using both the onscreen keyboard and predictor if needed.


    Now that we have our breakfast items in place, we might want to add pictures. To do this, double click on a cell and then click on the Browse Picture icon to search for pictures using the cell’s text – this is a massive time-saver.


    If you need to resize any of the cells, click it, and then drag its square handles. To move a cell, just drag it.

    Once you have all your breakfast items in place, you are ready to link them together - click on a cell, then drag one of its round handles towards another cell (in this case the sentence starter).

    Repeat the process for your Lunch and Dinner pages.

    If you want to print the pages of your board, click on the Print icon in the Clicker Set ribbon. 


    So now that the Clicker Board is complete, let’s look at how we can use our collaboratively created mind map to support individual writing and recording, by creating a Word Bank or a Picture Bank. 

    Right-click on the background of any page in your Clicker Board and choose ‘Create Word Bank’ or ‘Create Picture Bank’. 


    The resulting Clicker Set can then be given to students as an individual writing or recording support.

    The example I have used here could be adapted to any curriculum focus that you like, and we are already publishing Clicker Board resources on LearningGrids for you to use. Remember that you can get to these free resources from within Clicker 7 – just click on the LearningGrids icon in Clicker Explorer.