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  • On LearningGrids, we have created three different types of Clicker Communicator sets with different color-coding systems.

    The majority of our Clicker Communicator sets use a modified Fitzgerald color-coding system with people and pronouns in yellow, verbs in green, nouns in orange, places in purple, adjectives in blue, prepositions and social words in pink, and conjunctions and other miscellaneous words in white. This type of set includes our topic vocabulary resources which provide the opportunity for focused “scaffolded talk” in a curriculum context. With Materials and Properties for example, students can respond to questions about the materials that objects are made from. Guess the Shape allows students to play a shape guessing game by asking questions about the number and type of sides that a shape has.

     

    Some of our other Clicker Communicator sets using the modified Fitzgerald color-coding system include resources which are designed to support students as they retell a familiar story such as The Tortoise and the Hare or Jack and the Beanstalk.

     

    Our colorful semantics sets use a different color-coding system. These sets help students learn the important elements of a sentence and how to join these elements together in the correct order. Students learn to associate different “types” of words with different colors to help them to gradually build sentences in stages, adding increasing detail (who/orange, what doing/yellow, what/green, and where/red) as their confidence and competence grows.

     

    Clicker Communicator sets such as Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and One Two Buckle My Shoe are designed for children to join in and recite nursery rhymes. Each line of the rhymes is divided into color-coded sections. Children choose from the colored cells to recite each line. With these sets, each cell speaks as they tap so that they hear the rhyme as they go. They can then listen to the entire rhyme by tapping the message area.

     

    With all Clicker Communicator sets on LearningGrids, the color-coding, as well as the content, can be changed to match your own school’s system or to provide different support for your students.


  • Did you know you can pin cells?

    Pinning a cell keeps it locked in place. A pinned cell can’t be dragged and won’t move if another cell is dragged in front of it. If the topic is populated further with additional text or pictures, pinned cells will keep their content.

    To pin/unpin cells:

    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. Tap a topic on the left.
    3. Tap Select near the top-right corner.
    4. Tap cells to select them.
    5. Tap the Pin icon near the top-left corner.

    Did you know you can set an action and sound for individual cells?

    By default, tapping a cell sends the text it contains to the Message Area.

    However, you can configure a cell to perform a different action when tapped:

    • Send – send different text to the Message Area, with the option of returning to the previous grid automatically.
    • Open – open another grid or topic, the on-screen keyboard, favorites, or another Vocabulary Set.
    • Command – email the current Message as a PDF, or delete text from the Message Area.

    You can also configure a cell to play a sound when tapped. It can speak its own text, some different text, the current Message, or play an alert sound to attract attention from a caretaker/teacher/parent/etc.

    To change a cell’s action or sound:

    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. Tap a topic on the left.
    3. Tap a cell on the right.
    4. Tap Action or Sound.

    Did you know you can change how the Delete button works?

    By default, tapping the red Delete button in the Message Area clears the entire Message.

    If you prefer, this behavior can be changed so that one tap deletes the last word and a second tap clears the entire Message.

    To do this:

    1. In the top toolbar, tap the Settings (cog) icon (if the toolbar is hidden, tap the black line to show it).
    2. Tap Message Area and then tap Delete Button.
    3. Select Delete last word first.

    Did you know you can download extra voices and symbol libraries?

    Clicker Communicator includes male and female child voices for UK and US English – four in total.

    Other voices are available as in-app purchases, including teen, adult, and bilingual voices. Most are free!

    To download extra voices:

    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 Voice, and then tap Download a Voice.

    If you have the SymbolStix edition of Clicker Communicator, the Mayer-Johnson PCS and Widgit symbol libraries are available as in-app purchases.

    To download extra symbol libraries:

    1. In the top toolbar, tap the Settings (cog) icon (if the toolbar is hidden, tap the black line to show it).
    2. Tap Symbols and then tap Download a Library.


  • 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 Communicator Success Story


    We’ve just published a fantastic new Clicker Communicator success story!

    Nicola Saadati is a Speech and Language Therapist at Bridge College, a specialist college for 16-25 year olds with learning difficulties and disabilities, complex needs, communication disorders, and autism.

    Nicola had been looking for a new communication aid to support one of her students, an 18 year old with cerebral palsy. She wanted something motivating, easy to program, with a specific literacy support element – so she chose Clicker Communicator.

    “One of the key benefits I’ve noticed since he started using Communicator is how quickly and easily he can react to new scenarios and conversations as they happen, just adding in new vocab ‘on the fly’.

    Clicker Communicator is really helping him to develop his literacy skills in particular – he’s started to produce longer sentences, is trying to spell more difficult words like ‘excited’, is using more complex vocabulary, and incorporates more punctuation. His writing speed is increasing too.

    From my perspective, the app has saved me hours of preparation time – it’s so easy to use and to program. It’s also given me real peace of mind when the student is out doing his work experience; I’m confident he will be able to spontaneously communicate and chat when put on the spot with a new person or scenario outside of the college.

    I’m so glad we found Clicker Communicator – it’s a fantastic communication tool for educational settings like ours.”

    You can read Nicola’s success story in full on our website.


  • November was a busy month! It was spent traveling across the lovely state of Pennsylvania showing Clicker 7, the Clicker Apps on both iPad and Chromebook, and Clicker Communicator.

    The PaTTAN AT Expo was a huge success. PaTTAN is a traveling tradeshow. We started in Valley Forge, moved to Harrisburg, and then ended in Pittsburgh. It was an incredible way to connect with people from all over the state. 

    Clicker Communicator was the hit at PaTTAN. I enjoyed watching the expressions on people’s faces when they saw how easy it is to start using the app as soon as it’s downloaded. They could see themselves introducing students to one of the Core Vocabulary Sets provided with the app right away. One SLP spoke to me specifically about a student she could see using it throughout the day, but especially to participate more fully in his Social Studies and Science classes. Clicker Communicator really does make it very easy for users to participate more fully in the classroom.

    Many PaTTAN attendees were also Clicker 6 users. One teacher told me how she currently uses Clicker 6 extensively in her class and had come to see us to understand how we could have made it better. She was blown away by the many uses of the new planning tool, Clicker Board. She could easily see how she could use this during whole class instruction to get everyone’s ideas together before giving her class a wordbank to work with more independently. This, coupled with the new children’s voices, voice notes, and app interoperability that Clicker 7 has to offer, was more than enough to send her away ready to get a purchase order approval to upgrade!

     

    The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Conference is for Speech and Language Pathologists and was also in PA this year. This was ASHA’s biggest year, with over 16,000 attendees. The ease in which you can edit and create Vocabulary Sets with Clicker Communicator was very well received at this conference as well.

    Overall, November was a great month. We were able to connect with new and existing customers in Pennsylvania and talk to them about what we do best: literacy, AT, and AAC.


  • ISAAC (the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication) held its biannual conference in Toronto last month. More than 1,200 visitors from over 40 countries made for a magnificent melting pot of AAC expertise and experience! We were there to showcase our AAC app, Clicker Communicator. Many delegates were new to Clicker Communicator, and we were delighted to receive so much praise for our first dedicated AAC offering.

    I wanted to share three of the features that our booth visitors liked best:

    1. Uniquely Accessible

    Clicker Communicator incorporates a revolutionary new accessibility feature called SuperKeys – designed to speed up access to the communication grids by grouping cells into clusters. It can be enabled at any time, and also used in conjunction with iOS Switch Control if required:

     

    In addition to working with the cells in communication grids, SuperKeys also offers support with keyboard access, giving rapid access to clustered letters which work in tandem with a symbol supported word predictor. Delegates working with higher functioning users identified huge time saving benefits when typing:

     

    2. Superfast Editing

    Although new to Clicker Communicator, many of our visitors were seasoned users of the Clicker Apps family, and they were delighted to find a very familiar user interface in Clicker Communicator. From a facilitator perspective, the speed and ease of creation and editing is a critical consideration – whether editing grids on the fly to enable real time communication, or when preparing resources for curriculum support, time is always of the essence. With Clicker Communicator, you can:

    Edit individual cells, including personalization of symbols, pictures, and photographs:

     

    Bulk populate a grid with a multiple selection of symbols in seconds:

     

    Select multiple cells as a group and apply instant formatting to all (background, text and border color, hide, pin, etc.):

     

    3. Free Content

    Alongside the functionality and support that Clicker Communicator provides as a creation tool, users have direct access to free content for the app through our LearningGrids resource bank. The selected resource opens instantly for immediate use, and our visitors praised this feature not only for its huge time saving benefit, but also for opening up a vast range of ideas and applications of the app.  

    Clicker Communicator is now available with three different symbol sets – SymbolStix, PCS (BoardMaker), and Widget, and it can be purchased through the App Store or via the Volume Purchase Program.


  • 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.


  • ATIA 2016 is taking place from February 3rd – 6th at the Caribe Royale in Orlando, and TCEA is taking place from February 3rd – 5th at the Austin Convention Center in Texas, and we can’t wait to show you Clicker 7, the brand new version of our much-loved software!

    We will also be showcasing WriteOnline and our range of iPad® apps, including the newest addition, our AAC app – Clicker Communicator.

    Clicker Communicator and our assistive keyboard, SuperKeys, were shortlisted for the Bett Awards 2016 in the ICT Special Educational Needs Solutions category. We are excited to announce that SuperKeys won the award last night!

    If you aren’t able to make it this year we’d be happy to send you a copy of our new 2016 catalog, which contains the most up-to-date information on our entire range of products, including pricing for Clicker 7 and WriteOnline. To arrange for a catalog to be sent out to you please call us at 203 221 2607 or email your request to USinfo@cricksoft.com.


  • Last month I had the opportunity to attend the Closing The Gap conference in Minnesota; it was my first time attending this event. I was thrilled to speak with many attendees who use and love our products! One attendee, Josh Dickson, loves our Clicker Connect and Clicker Communicator apps so much that he featured them in a presentation that he co-hosted with his colleague Hillary Jellison, both of Communicare, LLC.  I was able to attend this session and it was wonderful to see our products being used by educators out in the field and to hear how successful students were with writing while using our apps. 

     

    The session was titled, Written Composition and AAC, which focused on how to make writing achievable for all students through the RTI (Response to Intervention) model with the goal of students passing state level standardized tests.  Reading about the session before hand, and walking into the session, I understood how Clicker Connect would fit into this topic because this app supports students writing a document, even if the document is only a couple sentences.  But Clicker Communicator is our communication app and I was not familiar with educators using this app to create pieces of writing.  Josh explained that because the symbol support is available in the grid and the message area, this app is ideal for students who rely on symbol support when writing sentences.

    Josh used a LearningGrids example about the butterfly life cycle to illustrate how easy it is to create a complete sentence from a free, ready-made resource!  It was a new way of looking at Clicker Communicator and it is exciting to know that students are using our apps to write pieces that were not possible before. 

     

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