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  • 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.

  • 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.


  • 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!

  • Colonial Jobs


    We have recently published some new Clicker resources for students learning about life in Colonial America, with a specific focus on jobs. The resources, incorporating beautiful new graphics, enable students to read, write sentences, and talk about colonial jobs.

    As well as the main reading book, we also have a simplified “Read It Yourself” version of the text, designed to encourage independent reading. In this version, the book pages don’t include a sound button so that students are encouraged to read the book for themselves.

     

    Students can make their own Clicker Books about any of the individual jobs or use the Connect Set to write with more support about all of the trades. More confident writers can use either Jobs in Colonial America A – Z or the tabbed word bank Colonial Jobs to write about the topic.

    In a related activity, students can use Clicker’s integrated paint tools to design their own Colonial Shop Sign. And our Clicker Communicator set enables all students to join in with discussions about different jobs during colonial times – responding to questions such as “What did a wheelwright do?” or “What did cobblers make shoes out of?”

     

    For more history resources like these (including the recently added Find Out and Write About history resource extracts on Ancient Egyptians), head to LearningGrids!

  • 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.


  • 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.


  • The first two Clicker Apps for Chromebook (Clicker Sentences and Clicker Docs) were launched in October 2016, and I have long ago lost count of the number of webinars and demonstrations that I have done with them. With the release of Clicker Connect for Chromebook last week, I wanted to share some of the highlights so far: 

    1. Wi-Fi Independence
      Because the Clicker Apps for Chromebook are ‘packaged apps’, it means that they can be launched with or without an internet connection. Files are saved locally and then synchronized automatically next time you get connected. This feature is really popular, especially when considering WIFI connectivity issues in some schools!
    2. Google Drive Integration
      Whether you are working with a Document, a Sentence Set, a Connect Set, or a Wordbank, you have direct and integrated access to Google Drive when it comes to opening or saving your files, meaning that you can share activities with your co-workers and students in seconds.
    3. Free Curriculum Content
      With just a couple of clicks, you can access a wide range of pre-made, cross-curricular activities from our LearningGrids website. Free to download, these resources are a go-to for thousands of users.
    4. Use on Multiple Platforms
      I already mentioned that you can create a Document, Sentence Set, a Connect Set, or Wordbank on the Chromebook and save it directly to Google Drive. The Clicker Apps for iOS (iPad) also have a direct link to Google Drive, and it’s easy to get to your Google Drive folder from within Clicker 7 on your laptop too. What this means is that a file can be created on the Chromebook, iPad, or laptop, and then opened on any of the others, giving phenomenal flexibility to teachers and students working in blended platform environments.

  • Managing Your Clicker App Subscriptions


    We are pleased to announce a new Subscription Management website for Clicker Apps for Chromebook customers. This enables customers to view information about their subscriptions and control which people have access to them.

    To get started, visit apps.cricksoft.com and sign in with your Google Account.

    To use the website, you must be a Subscription Manager for your organization’s subscriptions. If you’re not, the Manage tab won’t appear after signing in.

    If you have an individual subscription, you are automatically the Subscription Manager.

    Active Subscriptions

    This section displays information about your current and upcoming subscriptions (including evaluations) for each Clicker App.

    If you have a subscription that applies to a specific number of users, you can control which users have access to it by clicking Manage Users.

     

    To add users to the subscription, you can:

    • Type or copy/paste their email addresses into the Add User box.
    • Have a user launch the Clicker App while signed into their Chromebook and enter the Enrollment Code.

    To remove users from the subscription, click their Remove button in the list.

    If you want to prevent removed users from enrolling again, click Change Enrollment Code.

    Expired Subscriptions

    This section lists the Start and End Dates of any previous subscriptions (including evaluations) that have expired.

    Subscription Managers

    This section lists the people that have permission to manage your organization’s subscriptions.


  • Talking to schools recently, it’s obvious that there is an increasing mixture of student devices now being used in classrooms.

    Technology can be very engaging for students and, when used effectively, can have a big impact on their learning.

    This is particularly so for students who, for a variety of reasons, may be struggling to write.

    Schools who have a range of devices are very pleased to learn that Clicker 7 and our apps for iPad and Chromebook all work in the same way, and documents and resources can easily be shared between them. Plus, all platforms have access to LearningGrids, our website for free resources!

    I illustrated how this works for a school recently using the Clicker Board diagram below.

     

    In the classroom, the teacher can use Clicker Board to both present to, and gather ideas from, the class. When it is time to do some writing, a Word Bank can easily be created from the Clicker Board that the class has helped to create.

    The Word Bank could then be distributed and used as required:

    • In the classroom by individual students on laptops, iPads, or Chromebooks

    • In the computer lab where all students can access Clicker’s writing support

    • In the resource room where Clicker 7 can be fully personalized for individual students

    • At home to help with homework tasks (home user access is included if the school has an Unlimited OneSchool License of Clicker 7 or a site license of either Chromebook App)

    This means that students get consistent support, such as talking word prediction and spell checking, regardless of where they are working.

    No matter if they completed their work in Clicker 7 on a computer, or with Clicker Apps on an iPad or a Chromebook, the file format of the document will be the same and so it can easily be read by the teacher.

    So you can decide which students will benefit most from Clicker and where it is best for them to use it. You can then make it available on the most appropriate device, whether that is a computer, an iPad, or a Chromebook.

    In these examples a mixture of Clicker 7 and Clicker Apps for iPad and Chromebook is envisioned.

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