Highfield School is a Foundation Special School designated for learners in the 11-19 year old age group with severe learning difficulties, Autistic Spectrum Condition and complex needs. We purchased a Site License for Clicker last autumn; a number of us had used previous versions of Clicker at other schools and felt it was something that would benefit our students.
The main reason that Clicker works so well for us is that it can be used to address a really wide range of needs. Our students range from those with good reading and comprehension skills to those who, even at 16 years old, have very limited literacy skills. The differentiated support we can provide with Clicker, including visual reinforcement, audio feedback, word banks etc., means that every student can benefit from its reading and writing support.
The really exciting thing that we have been doing with Clicker in my class is setting up a ‘Clicker Expert Trainers’ enterprise group.
My Year 11’s have quite complex needs – a number have poor speech, some can hardly read. At first we started using Clicker at a relatively simple level as our class word processor. To help everyone get going with it, we worked collaboratively to come up with a 28 point guide that, when worked through, helped you to put together a one page document containing a picture from the webcam, an image from the Crick Picture Library, an illustration created with the painting tools, a photo from the internet, a paragraph of text from the internet that could be read back to you by Clicker and some basic document formatting. This helped all my students to become familiar with Clicker’s key word processing functions.
We tested our training guide on one of the school’s support assistants – they thought it was brilliant.
We tested our training guide on one of the school’s support assistants – they thought it was brilliant. Then, another staff member asked if we could help them to learn about Clicker, and another…. Since then, we have trained 30 members of staff in the Clicker basics, including the Deputy and the Head Teachers.
The way the training works is that a teacher will book a 30 minute session with us, during which we pair up some student trainers to support them. Our more confident readers will take charge of relaying the instructions to their staff trainee, whilst another student points out the relevant areas on the screen to them. The staff member then fills out a training evaluation form and receives a training certificate, both of which have been created by my students. We receive a small sum from the school CPD budget for each staff member we train.
The students have gained an enormous amount from this project. Not only has it helped them to develop various functional skills themselves, but it’s been really motivating for them to teach their teachers something!
The class themselves are working on their ICT Functional Skills Entry Levels 1, 2 and 3, so we have called this first Clicker course ‘Functional Skills Entry Level 1’. As part of their ICT lessons the students are currently working on ‘Functional Skills Entry Level 2’ (using the free LearningGrids resources that come with Clicker) and we will then move on to Entry Level 3 (creating your own resources using the Clicker wizards).
The students have gained an enormous amount from this project. Not only has it helped them to develop various functional skills themselves, but it’s been really motivating for them to teach their teachers something! Their confidence has really increased too – the best way to make sure we truly understand something is to teach it to someone else, and they’re certainly all very confident Clicker users now. It’s been a great success, and I’m very proud of what they have accomplished.