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  • Clicker in International Schools

    I’ve just returned to the UK following a short trip to the Middle East. During the trip, I visited International Schools in Qatar, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi – running training and demonstration sessions on Clicker 7.

    The schools were unanimously enthusiastic about our software. They loved the way students of all abilities are supported in producing high quality work. The main challenge facing the schools is finding successful ways of supporting students with dyslexia, children on the autism spectrum, and students who speak English fluently but struggle to echo this competence in their writing – Clicker is effective at meeting all these needs.

    While running the sessions I picked out an aspect of our products that was drawing the attention of the schools. They really liked the fact our Clicker 7 Unlimited OneSchool License included home use for students – parents were pleased that they could use the software at home to continue the support offered in school.

    Finally, during the trip, I had a chance to catch up with Emma Dibden from Jumeirah English Speaking School. She told me about how they are using Clicker in the school, and the difference it has been making for the children. We will be publishing this success story in January next year, so keep your eyes on the blog!


  • 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!

  • Clicker 6 in Italy - in Italian!

    In February, I attended the British Digital Classroom in Italy event run by UKTI at the British Embassy in Rome. We have been supplying Clicker in Italian for the last 10 years, and have recently launched Clicker 6 Italian, so this was a great opportunity to show the new version. The event was simultaneously translated into English (or Italian) and 10 UK companies were able to demonstrate their products in a 15 minute presentation and at a mini-exhibition. We also heard from Italian officials from the ministry about the local market, where they are and where they plan to be, with regards to the digital infrastructure and materials to support teaching and learning.

    I was interested to hear from Italian 2.0 schools – schools that are really pushing the boundaries of technology. One of them had started a 1:1 iPad® project. In Italian schools, parents purchase all the text books for the children. This school had figured out that if they purchased the digital versions of the books, and used iBooks to distribute teacher-created books and resources, they could keep the costs of the books the same, but offer an iPad as part of the package, too! They used a company who provided the parents with interest-free credit for 12 months so that all of the children could have their own device. Of the 1,000 students at the school, they only had a handful whose parents couldn’t afford this 40 euros a month, and the company they bought the iPads from donated these to them! They have been able to share resources created by teachers AND students and this has dramatically improved the students’ work.

    I spoke to individual teachers and parents who all echoed the opinion that technology in education in Italy is currently very patchy, and that they were only just starting to implement whole school strategies for using technology in the classroom. They loved Clicker 6 and could see right away how it could be used to support emergent and struggling writers.

    We have been asked by the ministry to get involved in a pilot project to show how Clicker can make a difference. They have been watching the videos of UK schools on our website as well as the success stories – these have given them ideas on how they might run the trial.

    It was a great event to showcase Clicker 6 Italian, in an impressive venue, in a beautiful city!

    The Digital Classroom in Italy Conference

  • A Visit to India

    Two weeks ago I traveled to India for a series of meetings with potential resellers, and to visit different schools to get a feel for how technology is used to support teaching and learning there. We have a version of Clicker 6 for India, which uses an Indian English rather than the American English voice, and I wanted to see what reaction teachers had to the software.

    I visited a private school and an international school where the medium of instruction is English and the curricula include the International Baccalaureate (IB) and the International General Certificate for Secondary Education (IGCSE). Both schools are K-12 and are well equipped, with every classroom having an interactive whiteboard and computer, and every student in the upper schools using their own laptop in lessons. Students at the elementary school age have access to one or two computers in the classroom, but also visit a computer lab twice a week where the work they do is linked to what they are learning in class (technology integration).

    I also visited a public school, where the medium of instruction is English but the school is situated in an area that is a Hindi-speaking belt. This school is well equipped, but the Principal told me that the challenge she has is how to support English language learning in school (children start to learn English in first grade). At the moment they use a language lab and a speaking and listening syllabus, but they are looking for other resources to extend what the students are doing.

    There has been a lot of information in the media about low-cost tablets for education in India, but the schools I spoke to have no plans to introduce them in their teaching and learning. However, I also met with the founder of an organization with over 100 learning centers across south India that works with children across the economic spectrum. They have not used much technology in the centers because not having a stable power supply is often an issue in large parts of India, but as tablet devices run on battery power, they are looking to pilot Android tablets in 40 centers to see how they can engage learners.

  • Clicker Apps Worldwide

    Since we launched the first Clicker Apps for iPad in January 2013, they have now been downloaded in more than 30 countries worldwide. Understandably, countries where English is the first language account for more than 95% of downloads, but we are seeing people from an increasing number of non-English speaking countries, as far afield as Azerbaijan, Ecuador, Indonesia, and Japan, using our apps.

    If you are using Clicker Sentences or Clicker Docs with your children it would be great to hear from you, especially if you live outside North America or the UK. Both Clicker Apps are currently featured in the Special Education – Literacy & Learning section of the US App Store, and we have some great reviews. If you love the apps, please take a few minutes to write a review on the App Store in your country (just one or two sentences is plenty) and give them the number of stars you think we deserve!

    In addition to the support for the Clicker Apps on this website, you will find some great resources, information, and reviews online, through our resellers’ websites and social media sites. Simply search for “Clicker Apps”, “Clicker Sentences” or “Clicker Docs” to find out more, or #ClickerApps on Twitter.

    More Clicker Apps will be coming soon, so watch for news on this site, as well as on our Facebook page and Twitter (follow @cricksoft)!

  • Over the last month, we have been showcasing our software to teachers from across the world. Following on from a busy week at Bett 2013 in London, where we met visitors to the exhibition from every continent, we attended the International Exhibition and Forum for Education (IEFE) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This event was hosted by the Ministry of Education, who set out their strategy for education development at the conference.

    The Ministry’s strategy aims to achieve a number of different outcomes, including improved reading, writing, and oral communication skills in Arabic and English, and improved equity of access to quality learning opportunities for all. As our products are already in a position to help support this strategy (including Arabic resources for Clicker) we had some really good conversations with key decision makers in the Kingdom. In addition, we spoke to teachers, parents, and potential resellers in the region who were excited to see ready-made content in Arabic.

    The week following IEFE we travelled to Hong Kong, where we presented Clicker 6 and the Clicker Apps to international and direct subsidy schools, and Hong Kong Education City (a wholly owned company of the Government). We had some very good conversations during the week, which culminated in a one day conference where we ran multiple workshops, including a presentation of WriteOnline for secondary schools in Hong Kong. One group of teachers said that seeing our products in action had been the highlight of the day!