Jules Daulby recently joined Katie for a fantastic webinar to discuss the growing importance of blended learning and how Clicker can help make blended learning easier. Jules is a literacy and inclusion expert who works with the Department of Education. She’s also the Head of English at Yewstock School, a special school in Dorset.
Jules explained how although we may be moving towards having children in school again, the situation is changing constantly. The increased use of technology that comes with blended learning has benefitted children and families, many of them with special educational needs. It’s important that we maintain and build on these benefits moving forwards.
Jules went on to discuss how, with children working from home, Clicker has been really useful for encouraging independent learning. Some of her favourite features for encouraging independence are:
- LearningGrids, which helps families to find resources and activities for a range of topics, supplementing and supporting tasks set by the teacher..
- The speech feedback in the document, Spell Check and the Predictor is liberating for a lot of children as they no longer need to ask for help to decode instructions or to check their work..
- Voice Notes take the pressure off children who struggle to get their ideas down on paper and allows them to record their ideas and then focus on their literacy skills after.
Katie then asked Jules whether she considers Clicker a tool for SEN or whether it can have a wider application. Jules described how Clicker is fantastic for children with SEN as it can do so much, however the scaffolding it provides makes it a great tool for everybody. She highlights the differentiation provided within the LearningGrids resources and Picturize for increasing engagement and supporting visual learners. Her top tip is “Visual, visual, visual” and Picturize makes this incredibly easy!
They next went on to discuss how, due to Covid-19, teachers, parents and pupils have had to become more familiar with technology and discovered many ways it could be used to help even on return to school. Children who use assistive technology have had a lot of time to practise and become more independent in using it; there have been new opportunities for creativity and in many cases communication with families has been improved using online meetings. She emphasised that while there’s a lot out there and it can feel overwhelming, we must keep going with technology.
Jules and Katie next addressed the common concern that using technology for writing is cheating. As someone who has been promoting assistive technology for a long time, Jules has come across this concept many times. She explained that if you don’t use support all you’ll find out is the child’s barriers. She adds that you need to be clear on what your aims are to decide what support you need to provide; you wouldn’t have the Spell Check available in a spelling test. But if you want to know a child’s comprehension of a subject, you can’t get a clear picture without removing their barriers with something like Clicker.
Jules’ top tips for using Clicker:
- Always check LearningGrids first
- Edit the existing resources and have a go at making your own
- “Be brave” – Have a go with your class and figure things out together
- Use the training resources or arrange bespoke training to upskill teachers
- Practise – “The more you use it the better you become”