I came across the very first iteration of Clicker 20 years or so ago, back when it was mainly used for children with physical disabilities. When I came to work at my current school, I looked into Clicker again and realised it had really advanced since I’d first used it. I went to one of Crick’s free breakfast seminars to find out more about the latest version, Clicker 7, and saw that it was not just for ASN pupils anymore, but something that could be rolled out as part of our day-to-day classroom practice for supporting writing.
We’re using Clicker right across the school – the Infants are focussing on sentence building and taking those first steps towards independent writing, and further up the school it’s used for word processing with tailored curriculum support.
I’ve just finished a very successful 6-week block of working with a small intervention group made up of Primary 2/3 pupils. I introduced them to Clicker and created some sentence-building resources for them. This is really easy to do; I just use the free LearningGrids resources that come with Clicker, find the type of activity I’m looking for, then adapt it to match the lesson content.
They absolutely loved using it! They love that they are able to listen to the different words in the activity themselves rather than having to ask a teacher, and having the speech feedback once they’ve finished a sentence helps them to go back in and self-correct.
They absolutely loved using it! They love that they are able to listen to the different words in the activity themselves rather than having to ask a teacher, and having the speech feedback once they’ve finished a sentence helps them to go back in and self-correct. They can just get on and create a piece of writing without being constantly held up by stumbling blocks like tricky spellings or having to arduously reproduce the same words. Whilst we’ll still work on these areas in other lessons, it’s really valuable that they’re given the opportunity to just focus on the content rather than the secretarial aspects of writing. In fact what they are able to produce is often of a much higher level and a much more accurate reflection of their true abilities and understanding.
What’s really key here is that now this intervention period has ended, we’ll be sending these children back into the classroom with a tool that can help them continue to succeed and up level their writing independently. We’ve also got the parents on board and have the children using Clicker at home (which comes with our Site License package). This joined-up thinking and consistent approach to literacy support is so important. The way that Clicker empowers my students has also had a significant impact on my time management – in this role there are a lot of conflicting demands on your time and you can’t be with every child all the time, so it’s fantastic that Clicker can be!
One of my favourite things about Clicker is its flexibility. It’s easy to turn different support aids on or off depending on what each student needs.
One of my favourite things about Clicker is its flexibility. It’s easy to turn different support aids on or off depending on what each student needs. I also really like that we can have the best of both worlds with regards to learning approaches; the children can work independently on their writing with their laptops and headphones, or we can have Clicker up on the IWB for a collaborative learning experience, with everyone contributing and helping each other to put sentences together.
Over the coming months, I’m planning to introduce Clicker to my 5/7 intervention group, and also start using it more widely across the curriculum, for social subjects etc. We’ve just invested in some microphones so that we can utilise the recording feature of Clicker, as speaking and listening is a major part of our school’s improvement agenda.
We’ve also just purchased the Clicker add-ons for French and Spanish teaching as part of our ‘1+2 Approach’ strategy. It’s great that we’ve found a one-stop shop for language learning resources created specifically for non-specialists (whilst we have a number of staff members with higher French skills, very few are familiar with Spanish). I’m a fluent Spanish speaker and I was really impressed by the native voices that come with the software - the accents and pronunciations are very authentic. We wanted something that would enable us to take a truly rounded approach to language learning, covering listening, speaking, reading and writing, and that all of our staff could become really confident using. We’ve found that with Clicker!
I’m very excited to get going with all of these plans and make Clicker an even more integral part of our school’s learning support toolkit.