Crick Software US Blog

RSS Feed
  • Twilight Seminars


    The team just finished hosting their first round of twilight seminars in the northeast. These seminars gave us a chance to connect with new and existing customers in Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts. The Connecticut seminars concentrated on the Clicker Apps for Chromebook, while the Massachusetts and New York seminars focused on Clicker 7.

    The Clicker Apps for Chromebook seminar in Cromwell, Connecticut had over 20 attendees including teachers, SLPs, and support professionals from the surrounding areas. Many were extremely impressed with the ability to create activities and share them to other platforms; this was mentioned to be a great way for teachers to save time. One attendee said, “It’s incredible that we can create Sentence Sets in Clicker 7 and then share them to Clicker Sentences on the iPad or Chromebook!”

     

    If you would like to attend a seminar, all future events will be posted here on our website.


  • We’ve just received a lovely Clicker 7 success story from Fiona Tyler. Her daughter, Becky, has been using Clicker for a number of years now:

    “My daughter Becky is 14 years old. She is extremely bright and has severe quadriplegic cerebral palsy, which affects her whole body. She cannot sit unsupported, stand or walk, so is a full-time wheelchair user. She struggles to coordinate her arms and hands and she cannot talk.

    Becky first started using Clicker when she was 5 years old. At first she accessed the program using a head switch, which was successful but rather slow going. Then, about 7 years ago, she started working with Tobii eye gaze technology, which was when things really took off!

    As Becky has grown, Clicker has grown with her. When she was younger she used it to produce many beautiful pictures. Now, it’s her preferred tool for tackling curriculum writing tasks at school and at home.

    It’s so important that Becky can just go into Clicker and get on with her work – she is able to keep up with her writing in class and needs much less help from her support assistant. It also makes the act of writing a lot less laborious than she has found it with other writing tools she’s tried, which ultimately makes for a much more motivating and enjoyable writing experience.

    Clicker 7 plays a big part in making literacy tasks accessible and achievable for Becky.”

    You can read more about how Becky uses Clicker here.

    Photo of Becky who has severe quadriplegic cerebral palsy


  • Did you know you can change the pronunciation of any word?

    Clicker Communicator features state-of-the-art speech technology, enabling text to be spoken aloud in clear, natural voices.

    While the accuracy of speech technology has improved drastically over time, the complex intricacies of language mean that some words can be pronounced incorrectly from time to time. For example, there are many names with unique pronunciations that differ from common language rules.

    We recognize that accuracy is a key factor in a successful communication aid, so we include a feature in Clicker Communicator that lets you specify the pronunciation of any word:

    1. In the top toolbar, tap the Settings (cog) icon. If the toolbar is hidden, tap the black line to show it.
    2. Tap Speech, tap Pronunciation, and then tap Add New.
    3. In the top box, type the word you want to change. In the bottom box, spell the word phonetically, the way you want it to be pronounced.

    Did you know that enabling SuperKeys makes it easier to tap words?

    Some people find it challenging to tap things accurately on a touchscreen device.

    A basic solution is to make targets bigger, but this inevitably results in fewer targets on-screen. In a communication aid, this places an unfair limitation on a person’s immediately available vocabulary.

    Our solution is SuperKeys. It works by grouping the word cells into clusters. Tapping anywhere within a cluster enlarges it, making it easy to then tap the desired word cell inside.

     

    To enable SuperKeys:

    1. In the top toolbar, tap the Settings (cog) icon. If the toolbar is hidden, tap the black line to show it.
    2. Tap Accessibility, tap SuperKeys, and then turn on SuperKeys.
    3. If you don’t want the cluster to close automatically, turn off Close Cluster After Selection.

    Please note: enabling SuperKeys doesn’t change the layout of the Vocabulary Sets themselves, just how they behave on your iPad.

    Did you know you can turn a Vocabulary Set into a soundboard?

    By default, tapping word cells within a Vocabulary Set will build a message in the top Message Area. At any point, you can tap anywhere in the Message Area to hear the full message spoken.

    However, it’s also possible for a Vocabulary Set to function like a soundboard, where tapping each word cell immediately speaks its contents. This may be a preferred form of communication for some people.

    To enable this behavior:

    1. If you’re not already in Edit View, tap the black line at the top of the screen to show the toolbar, and then tap the icon in the top-right corner.
    2. In the bottom-left corner, tap Format.
    3. On the Details tab, turn off the Message Area.
    4. When prompted, tap Speak When Tapped.

    To change the behavior back to default, repeat these steps.

  • Clicker 7 for Older Learners


    When I first began working for Crick Software last summer, I was instantly impressed with how customizable Clicker 7 is. Although used mainly in elementary schools, there are so many ways to tweak Clicker 7 to suit older learners.

    I realized that Clicker 7 would be perfect for my older sister, Aoife. Aoife has Down Syndrome and although she has done many remarkable things in her life (winning a gold and two bronze in the Special Olympic World Games being one of them!), literacy is an area that has always held her back.

    When Aoife began using Clicker, mainly for writing college assignments, there were several changes I made to ensure Clicker was more suitable for her.

    Clicker has two children’s voices – Rosie and Harry in the UK version. Two adult voices, Rachel and Graham, are available from our website. I downloaded these voices for Aoife to use. Both are available to download here (Sharon and Will are available for North America): http://www.cricksoft.com/support/voicedownloads.aspx

    Secondly, when Aoife began to use Clicker it became apparent that the speed of the speech was a little too quick for her to listen back to and process.

    In the Options ribbon tab, I selected Preferences. Within the tab marked Speech, I set up Rachel as the voice and slowed down the speed of speech as indicated below.

    Clicker 7 - Preferences - Speech options

    Another change I quickly made was the font size and style. Clicker comes with a pre-set font of Sassoon, which is an elementary school font. In Options > Accessibility, I changed the font in both the Document and Clicker Sets as shown below.

    Clicker 7 - Accessibility - Display options

    Here is an example of what Aoife’s word processor now looks like. It is set up to be both age-appropriate and level appropriate for her. She is currently in college completing a module on human biology.

    Clicker 7 - Human biology word bank & document

    The stand-out feature for Aoife has been Voice Notes. As she has a poor working memory, allowing her to capture her ideas before the mechanics of writing has made a huge difference. Until Aoife began using Clicker, she would sit with my mom and talk about what she wanted to write about. Voice Notes has allowed my mom to take a step back and let Aoife work more independently.

    All of us, including Aoife, did not think we would find a resource that would make a real difference to her writing, particularly as she is now an adult, but we were wrong. Clicker helps Aoife every day to demonstrate her knowledge in a more clear and coherent way.


  • With Clicker being a core literacy tool in so many classrooms, it’s important to have it available on a range of devices. The recent release of Clicker Connect for Chromebook means that we now have all of our core elementary writing tools available on Windows, Mac, iPad, and Chromebook.

    The three apps – Clicker Sentences, Clicker Connect, and Clicker Docs – work on iPad and Chromebook, while Clicker 7 for Win/Mac includes the functionality of all three and more.

    We aim for complete consistency across Desktop, iPad, and Chromebook, while ensuring we get the right look-and-feel for the device. We’ve also made it really easy to share files between any device using Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive.

     

    Perhaps most importantly of all, you can use the same resources across all the devices. So when you find that great Connect Set on LearningGrids, you can use it on your desktop computer, on iPad and on Chromebook (and it’s the same for Clicker Docs and Clicker Sentences files).

    Our focus has always been on providing practical writing support to enable all learners to achieve success. Making Clicker available on a broad range of devices expands the number of learners we can help as we strive to make a real difference in the classroom.