Clicker Books Success Story
Kelvin Hall School
Jon Hickman, Science Teacher
I work as a science teacher at Kelvin Hall, a secondary school in Hull, England. I also have a specialization in Special Educational Needs. I recently completed a course in becoming a specialist teacher for students with dyslexia, and was introduced to Clicker by one of my course mentors. I felt it had real potential for helping students with special needs to access the science curriculum more effectively.
I trialed a couple of the Clicker Apps on my staff iPad® and really liked them. We use a combination of laptops and iPads in the school, so we decided to also buy Clicker licenses for five computers to ensure that students could access Clicker support on either device.
Clicker has been particularly useful for the children I work with who have dyslexia, and also those for whom English is not their first language. I am able to provide them with vocabulary banks and opening statements that are specific to the experiment or topic we are studying, so when it comes to writing up the experiment or commenting on how changing a particular variable might affect the result, they have all those useful words and phrases at their fingertips. The fact that their work is read back to them means they are able to check what they are writing and independently edit their own work.
The outcomes have been very positive – all of the children have demonstrated significantly improved literacy skills. Their work is much easier to read and they are able to get their ideas down much more quickly, and achieve a lot more within the time frame of a lesson. What’s really important is that with the help of Clicker, they are encouraged to use that key subject-specific vocabulary in context, and produce more detailed explanations.
One of my favorite things about Clicker is ease-of-use. I used the 90-second tutorials on the Crick Software website to get started, and in no time at all was up and running creating my first activity!
One of my favorite things about Clicker is ease-of-use. I used the 90-second tutorials on the Crick Software website to get started, and in no time at all was up and running creating my first activity! The children have also taken to it really quickly. Initially, I took all the students whom I thought Clicker would help out of their lessons for no more than 15 minutes to show them the basics, and now they are really confident users.
The ability to be able to quickly make differentiated resources that are subject-specific is a huge benefit. For example, I work with a student in 6th grade who has severe learning difficulties and is also learning English as an additional language - he has various learning barriers to overcome. It’s very difficult to find appropriate science resources for this student…with Clicker, I can make them myself.
He is now able to really engage with the curriculum, extract the relevant information from the books, and demonstrate his understanding via his answers.
The student in question predominantly uses the Clicker Apps; he finds the iPad very motivating and easy to use. I use the Clicker Books app to create talking books containing the key information for that particular lesson or experiment – these include pictures and simplified vocabulary. If there are any words he struggles to read, the app will read them to him. I then include some questions at the end for him to answer; again, he has support features like the speech feedback, vocab banks, and word prediction to help him do this.
He is now able to really engage with the curriculum, extract the relevant information from the books, and demonstrate his understanding via his answers. I have a much better gauge of where he is at now, and am pleased to say that he is already exceeding his target.
His tutor recently told me that this boy, who really struggles in his other lessons, becomes incredibly animated and excited when asked about science – it’s his favorite subject. We are planning on providing this support in other lessons now so that he is able to make the same progress in other areas. Clicker makes it possible to create personalized lessons for him, and this really does make all the difference.
In the past, it would have taken me hours to create differentiated resources and worksheets for all these learners, and now I can do it in a matter of minutes.
In the future, my plan is to work towards getting Clicker installed across the whole site on all of our devices so that more students can benefit from it. Other teachers have already started thinking about how they could make use of it in their lessons; for example, our Foreign Languages Director is really interested in the way it can be used as a language learning tool with different speech engines.
Clicker is creating a generation of independent learners, who for the first time ever, don’t need an extra member of staff in the room to support them. It is possible for them to achieve and succeed all on their own, which is very exciting for them, and for me.