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  • Installing DocsPlus


    Whether you’re upgrading from a previous version, or this is your first DocsPlus purchase, following these steps will ensure a successful DocsPlus installation.

    Registration

    The first step is to register your serial number (printed on the license card in your DocsPlus box).

    This makes it possible to retrieve your serial number upon request if it becomes lost in the future, effectively safeguarding your purchase. It’s also required to manage your licenses.

    To register, please visit: http://activate.cricksoft.com

    Previous versions

    As best practice, we recommend uninstalling any old DocsPlus versions first, as it reduces the likelihood of problems later. Uninstalling won’t delete any saved work.

    To help with uninstalling DocsPlus from a Windows network (e.g. if DocsPlus was installed as part of a system image), you can use the DocsPlus Uninstall Tool.

    Download

    We always recommend downloading the latest installer, instead of using a DVD or an old network package.

    DocsPlus Windows Installer

    DocsPlus Mac Installer

    Installation

    There are several ways to install DocsPlus:

    • Standalone – run the installer on an individual computer.
      • The Shared Files folder will be located on the computer itself.
    • Network – run the installer on your server to generate a unique network package, which can then be deployed to multiple computers simultaneously.
      • The Shared Files will be located on the network
    • System Image – run the installer on your server to generate a unique network package. Install the package to your image. After the image is deployed, activate DocsPlus on each computer via command line (Windows only).
      • The Shared Files will be located on the network

    Full instructions are provided in our Support section.

    Activation

    DocsPlus requires activating before it can be used, so a license can be assigned to the computer.

    This usually happens automatically over the Internet during installation. If it fails for whatever reason, DocsPlus will require activation when launched. You can retry activating over the Internet, or exchange codes with our activation website (using another device if necessary).

    You don’t need to be logged in as an administrator to activate DocsPlus.

  • Clicker 7 and DocsPlus on Thin Client Networks


    While the concept of thin client networks has been around for decades, they’ve been relatively unused by schools in the past. However, recent technologies have made thin clients an attractive proposition, and many schools are now investing in solutions offered by companies like Citrix and NComputing.

    What is a thin client network?

    In a typical network, each computer is independent. It has its own set of installed software and stores its own files on itself.

    In a thin client network, everything happens on a central server. It feels like you’re using the computer in front of you, but you’re actually controlling a “session” on the server instead. All software and data is stored on the server, not on the computers themselves.

    Typically, thin client networks are either “session-based” (users control the server itself) or “virtualization-based” (users control virtual desktops stored on the server).

    The server can be located on the premises or in the cloud (on the Internet).

    What are the advantages of a thin client network?

    Thin client networks offer many benefits to schools:

    • Reduced costs - thin client computers are cheap to buy, cheap to run, and don’t need replacing every few years.
    • Reduced maintenance - less work required to install/update software, back up data, and manage the network.
    • Increased security - centralized data is easier to keep secure.
    • Increased flexibility - users can potentially access their software and files from anywhere using any device.

    Can Clicker 7 and DocsPlus be used on thin client networks?

    Yes! While we can’t test every thin client system, we’re not aware of any intrinsic compatibility problems and plenty of our customers are using Clicker 7 and DocsPlus on thin client networks without issue.

    However, there are two important things to mention.

    First, thin client networks don’t support per-computer licensing. Therefore, you must have an Unlimited OneSchool License of Clicker 7 or DocsPlus.

    Finally, Clicker 7 and DocsPlus have to activate a license before they can be used. This normally happens automatically over the Internet during installation. However, depending on the type of thin client network you have, Clicker 7 and DocsPlus may require activation every time the program is launched.

    If this happens, it will be necessary to activate Clicker 7 and DocsPlus via command line. In most cases, this can be automated by creating a Scheduled Task that runs at user logon. For details, please read this support article.


  • There are many reasons why Clicker 7 is a fantastic tool for supporting learners with dyslexia.

    In this post, I’m going to explore some of the visual changes that you can make to Clicker.

    Some students describe various difficulties when trying to read text on a screen. Text can appear in-motion (vibration) or compressed. Individual letters can be difficult to distinguish. Those with tails (such as ‘y’,’j’, and ‘g’) are problematic. Similarly-shaped letters, or those that are reflections of each other (like ‘b’ and ‘d’) can also present challenges.

    Many learners with dyslexia have color overlays or colored glasses to assist them while reading. Black and white text has long been considered a poor choice for certain learners. Recent research has given additional credibility to this intervention by suggesting that dyslexia is primarily a visual learning difficulty.

    You can address all these issues with Clicker 7 by adjusting the ‘Accessibility’ settings (found on the ‘Options’ ribbon).

    In this example, you can see the standard Clicker settings with the Sassoon CR font in black, on a white background. Learners with dyslexia may struggle to read this:

     

    In the second example, we have changed Clicker to use custom display colors and selected the ‘Dyslexie’ font, which is included in Clicker 7.

     

    You can see that the letters are much easier to distinguish in the second example – the ‘d’ & the ‘b’ are more distinct from each other and the tails on the ‘y’, ’j’, and ‘g’ are very different.

    The font itself is heavy-based and loosely spaced – this helps to combat vibration and compression.

    To watch a video I’ve created this topic, please click here.

  • Funding Your Software and Apps Purchases


     

    Over the last couple of months, I have had many conversations with customers who are eager to upgrade to Clicker 7 before the upgrade window closes at the end of this year, or adopt the brand new Chromebook Apps, but are unsure about alternative sources of funding if they have missed this year’s budget allocation from their school district.

    If you ever find yourself in this situation, did you know we have a section of our website dedicated to federal funding? Here you will find a guide to both competitive grants and federal entitlement programs, some of which you may not have come across before. Each funding option has a summary and links to external sites so that you can find out more. We have also listed Crick Software products aligned to each of the options. We even have a section giving tips for success!

    The recently approved discretionary funding for Fiscal Year 2017-18 (which includes Education funding) highlights areas for increases this year, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE). Both of these can be found on our Federal Funding Sources page.

    When applying for funding, you will often be required to provide evidence to support your application. We’ve recently published a Clicker 7 study by Angus Council which found that students requiring significant or average support took over a third less time to complete their work when using Clicker 7. We also have a range of Success Stories and product reviews which customers have found useful in supporting their funding bids.

    If you need any further information or support for your funding application, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 1 866 332 7425, or by email to USinfo@cricksoft.com.

  • Apple Releases iOS 11


    Every September, Apple releases a major upgrade to the iOS software that runs on iPhones and iPads across the world.

    This year, they’ve given us iOS 11, which includes many exciting new features and big changes that affect the way users interact with their devices.

    Key highlights include:

    • A new Dock that provides quick access to favorite and recent apps.
    • A new Files app that organizes all files from your apps and cloud services.
    • A redesigned Control Center that makes adjusting common settings like volume and Bluetooth even easier, and you can now choose which controls are shown.
    • A redesigned App Store that makes it easier to discover new apps.
    • New Augmented Reality technologies that allow apps to display content on top of real-world scenes.
    • The ability to easily share your WiFi passwords with friends.

    Amidst all the excitement, many websites and news articles are reporting that iOS 11 is the first release to drop 32-bit support, leaving it unable to run approximately 187,000 apps (about 8% of the App Store). Understandably, this has caused some concern among users.

    Fortunately, the truth of the matter is less worrying. These are old apps that have been abandoned by their developers and not updated for several years. Yet despite this, some are still in popular use! Users of these apps will be forced to seek out newer alternatives.

    Rest assured, our Clicker Apps have been 64-bit for several years now, so they are unaffected by this change.

    In fact, over the last few months, we’ve been rigorously testing all of our Clicker Apps in developer preview versions of iOS 11. As a result, we’re proud to announce that every Clicker App was compatible with iOS 11 at launch!

    For guidance about upgrading your device to iOS 11, please consult this Apple support article: https://support.apple.com/HT204204.

  • Using LearningGrids to Create Inclusive Lesson Plans


    Crick Software believes in the UDL (Universal Design for Learning) framework, and we always take this into account when designing our LearningGrids resources. One of the biggest challenges facing teachers today is being able to differentiate lessons quickly and efficiently to address the needs of all students in the classroom. And of course, one of the best features of Clicker 7 is the ease with which you can differentiate Clicker Sets for specific students based on their needs.

    If, for example, a teacher was conducting a unit or lesson on plants, there are many resources on LearningGrids to support a variety of writing levels, allowing teachers to maximize the number of students they can reach. “About Plants” is a Sentence Set for early readers and writers that allows for supported, single sentence outcome grids to help students write all about plants.

     

    Connect Sets offer scaffolded support and more options so students can make choices about what they want to write while still being supported with words and phrases. The “Parts of a Plant” Connect Set uses words and pictures to get students writing about plants, while still giving them independence to decide what to write.

     

    Word Banks allow learners to construct their own sentences and paragraphs with topic specific words. Here’s an example entitled, “Plant Life Cycle A-Z".

     

    Aside from these Clicker Sets, there are a variety of others like “Talk about Parts of a Plant,” “Planting a Seed – Listen and Match,” and even Custom Sets like “Water a Plant” and “Parts of Plants We Eat”.

    There are over 80 resources covering plants on LearningGrids and over 1,000 Sets in total, with many “activity groups” like this that cover the same topic but support different stages of literacy development. We add new resources to LearningGrids regularly; go check them out!

  • Preparing For a New School Year


    As the new school year approaches, it’s a good time to audit your software licenses and consider whether they need to be moved around.

    Each year, the summer vacation provides a good opportunity for IT Departments to refresh their school’s computer facilities while the buildings are empty. When staff return, they often find that things have been changed around!

    Computers generally get slower with frequent use and can develop problematic quirks that may be difficult to troubleshoot. Most schools wipe their computers every one or two years in order to restore them to “like new” condition. Some may be moved to new locations, old computers are retired from service, and new ones are enrolled onto the network.

    As a result, it becomes quite difficult to keep track of which licenses are installed where!

    Therefore, it’s a good idea to reset your software licenses during this maintenance period. Once your computers have been refreshed, the full number of licenses will be at your disposal, and you can allocate them to the correct computers without complication or confusion.

    Fortunately, Clicker 7 and DocsPlus make this very easy. To transfer one or more licenses:

    1. Visit http://activate.cricksoft.com
    2. Enter your serial number, complete the I’m not a robot check, and click Start.
    3. If your serial number is unregistered, you will need to register it before continuing. This protects your serial number from being lost in future.
    4. Click Manage licenses.
    5. Find a computer in the list and click its Reclaim License button.

    Once you reclaim a license, you can immediately reuse it on the next computer.

    If Clicker 7 remains on the previous computer, it will stop working after a short period. To avoid confusion, we recommend uninstalling Clicker 7 before reclaiming licenses.

    Chromebook Apps

    Unlike standard laptops, Chromebooks don’t need refreshing very often. Additionally, apps are assigned to Google accounts rather than specific Chromebooks, so students can always access their apps no matter which device they sign into.

    However, if you have a Multi-User Subscription to our Chromebook Apps, remember that you can change which students have access to the subscription at any time.

    This may be necessary at the start of a new school year, as old students leave and new students arrive.

    To manage your Multi-User Subscription, please follow this guide: http://www.cricksoft.com/Files/Support/managing_your_clicker_app_subscriptions.pdf.

  • DocsPlus Release 2


    This week, we have released a new version of DocsPlus. It contains a wide variety of improvements, including several new features:

    Exam Mode

    DocsPlus can now be tailored to a user's additional access arrangements by disabling certain features that are prohibited in exams, such as spell checking, word prediction, and speech feedback.

    Split View

    When a DocReader is open and Split View is enabled, the DocReader is repositioned to occupy the bottom half of the window. This makes it possible for users to refer to an exam paper or worksheet while simultaneously writing in their document above.

    Editable PDFs

    Certain PDF files contain editable text boxes. Using DocsPlus, it’s now possible to type within editable text boxes (highlighted purple) and save your changes. While typing, you have access to the same word prediction and speech support as you would when writing in the document.

    Improved Word Prediction

    Over 2,500 subject-specific words have been added to the Predictor’s vocabulary, covering Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geography, and History.

    Automatic Backup

    DocsPlus now quietly creates backups of your files behind the scenes. If something goes wrong and your original file becomes corrupted, you can restore the last backup.

    New Smart Tab

    It is now much easier to create a new Smart Tab, simply click the + tab at the bottom of the page.

    To update DocsPlus, download the new installer from www.cricksoft.com/dplatest and install it over the top of your current installation.

  • DocsPlus Dyslexie Settings


    Looking to support older learners with dyslexia? DocsPlus can help you do just that!

    There are several settings you can customize to help your students with dyslexia succeed in their writing.

    To customize display settings:

    1. Open DocsPlus
    2. Go to Options 
    3. Select Accessibility
    4. Choose Display

    Once here, you can customize your color scheme or choose already offered color schemes.

     

    The settings above were selected to create a contrast between the background of the document and the font, as well as a contrast between the Smart Tab and the document. The Dyslexie font has also been selected.

     

    DocsPlus offers a specialized font called Dyslexie. This is a font designed specifically for children with dyslexia. It helps students who find it difficult to discriminate between letters that have similarities. With this font, letter differences are enhanced so that students can see the differences more clearly. The letters are weighted at the base to help with vibration. Capital letters are more pronounced and there are larger spaces between words to help with vibration.

     

    DocsPlus offers ‘SoundsLike’prediction, or phonetic prediction. SoundsLike predication will identify what the letter sequence being typed sounds like and then predict words with a similar sound.

     

    Students will also have access to planning resources. Voice Notes are a great way for students to brainstorm. They can get ideas out orally before having to type them out into a document. In addition, DocsPlus offers WorkSpace, a planning space for students to use before writing.

    Students with dyslexia often find longer pieces of written work harder to organize and structure. Problems such as a short-term working memory deficit and slow information processing speed can make it difficult for them to express their initial thoughts and ideas in the form of a logical, flowing document.

    WorkSpace provides users with a built-in planning tool to help them prepare for writing. Students can manipulate and link any combination of words, pictures and sounds together within the WorkSpace, mapping out their ideas in a way that is easier to understand and particularly effective for more visual learners.

    You can trial DocsPlus for 28 days to try it with your students. Let us know how it goes by emailing us at usinfo@cricksoft.com!


  • When we were developing the Clicker Apps for Chromebook, we started to think about ways in which the apps would be accessed and managed in school districts. During our research, we heard from many customers that managing apps in a large district can be something of a headache, especially when students are located across multiple school buildings. Often the only solution is to have many Single User subscriptions in play at once, which can be a really time-consuming process.

    We thought long and hard about this challenge while developing the Clicker Apps for Chromebook, and we have come up with a pretty neat solution called the Student Support License.

    Here’s how it works:

    • The customer (e.g. your school district) receives an activation code for each subscription, set to allow a fixed number of installations, according to the subscription purchased.
    • The code is distributed to the users who you want to provide access to the apps.
    • The code will work with any Google Account – the domain is not important.

     

    And here’s how you manage the users:

    • With the subscription you get a management page, where you can see and easily manage a list of all your users.
    • You can remove a user from the list at any time, allowing you to give the app to a different user.
    • The license is expandable – you can add more users at any point in the subscription.

     

    Feedback from our early adopters has been fantastic, and we have been told by many that this is the simplest, most intuitive (and therefore time-saving) mechanism they have seen for managing apps with a large population of users.

    We also offer the Student Support License for Clicker 7 and DocsPlus - contact us to find out more!

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