It’s great to see that the excellent DocsPlus Chromebook app has been updated to incorporate the DocReader and customisable ‘Exam Mode’ settings introduced earlier in the Windows and Mac versions of the software. These exciting additions will facilitate the use of the app in exams for those students who qualify for additional access arrangements.
If you are already using the app, then it will automatically be updated. If you don’t yet have the app and would like a free copy, please email us at email@example.com.
for Chromebook trial success
ASN team at Cathkin High School, a mainstream secondary school in South
Lanarkshire, supports students with a wide range of needs. including learners
with dyslexia, ADHD and autism. The team has been trialling the DocsPlus
Jensen, Principal Teacher of ASN, describes the difference that DocsPlus has
made to the students’ literacy output in a short space of time:
“There’s no doubt that DocsPlus had a massive impact on the pupils
during our trial. It improved their self-esteem, confidence and motivation with
writing tasks. Certainly in the English department we found that their level of
writing improved significantly. The letters the pupils wrote were comfortably
at level three – before this, these pupils would have been producing work at an
early level two, so there was definitely a tangible improvement in the quality
of their written work.”
were some lovely comments from the students too:
“The spellchecker really helped. It helped me believe in myself,
and gave me confidence with my writing.”
You can learn more about the trial here.
If you’re needing to offer your students simple, free text to speech to support their reading of web pages or PDFs – or any other digital text for that matter – ClaroRead is a really good tool. It’s unobtrusive, and, once it’s set up for your student, it doesn’t require much attention.
You can download the extension from the Chrome Web Store and once installed a click on the icon
this will open the discreet Control Panel.
If you tick the settings like this your student can simply highlight text to hear it read aloud.
Experiment with the settings to suit your user- switching on Click and play will change the control panel accordingly.
Using ClaroRead to support writing.
Students can also hear what they’re writing as they type.
The prediction option in this free version is poor and not recommended.
We at ATSS absolutely love, and live by, Clicker 6 and 7. It’s so versatile. Many many teachers use it to support children’s writing but fewer, it seems, use it as a demonstration tool on their interactive whiteboards. The benefits of doing this are many – it provides a clear view of what’s being shown but can also be transferred to the pupil’s computer screen to allow them to work in exactly the same manner as the demonstration.
My son was working on Partitioning 2 digit numbers so I made him this to practise on. If I was demonstrating this to a class of pupils I’d certainly use my template – and let them use it to step them through the process.
Webpages can be very messy places to read from: broken or wandering text – often split at odd paces to accommodate a picture or advert, font sizes that are too small and shapes not really considerate to those with reading difficulties.
The Safari browser for Mac/iPad/iPhone has had Reader View built in for quite some time allowing users to strip the extraneous stuff out of the page leaving clean, plain text which can also be sized and have its font and background settings changed.
The extension looks like this when your browser is on most front/home pages that are links rather than text-based articles.
The extension icon changes when Reader View is available (text-based articles).
When the icon is clicked the page will change from a standard page to a clear, stripped down Reader View with font size, shape, and background colour/themes available down the right-hand side of the page.
This is the type of extension that should be made available for all pupils who have dyslexia, visual impairments, or any difficulty with reading that might be helped by seeing cleaner, clearer, more appropriately sized text. Using text-to-speech support software is also often easier to utilise with text that is spaced out in this way.
As more and more of our pupils are supplied with devices on a 1:1 footing it starts to make use of the tools in everyday learning more possible. I think it would be fair to say that most digital mathematical experiences for pupils in primary schools have tended towards games and content-filled puzzle websites rather than tools to help them visualise and manipulate during their actual maths lessons.
With more resources at hand, pupils can now be given the chance to use digital numberlines, number frames, manipulatives to help with numbers, fractions, and patterns, and use geoboards – without elastic bands!
This set of tools (available for both Chrome & iPad) from Clarity Innovations would be a great place to start connecting maths teaching & learning with digital resources more directly.
Many schools have been using Clicker 6 successfully over the past few years but because of our impending move towards Chromebooks there’s been no talk or impetus behind upgrading to Clicker 7. Despite the changes that are about to take place over the coming couple of years as many of our pupils are moved to Chromebooks there are compelling reasons why schools might want to consider upgrading to Clicker 7.
Teachers will still be using PCs to drive their IWBs and can make excellent use of Clicker 7 for class lessons that can neatly interface with pupils who might be using one or more of the available Clicker apps on their Chromebooks. The Clicker Board planning tool springs immediately to mind.
There will still be PCs in our schools to meet the more demanding and varied needs of our pupils with additional support needs. Only Clicker 7 offers the full range of functionality that allows for adaptations that might include combinations of pictorial support along with text and speech.
The full range of writing, predictive and speech support, reading, matching, sequencing, Listen & Say, Voice recording, and accessibility is present within Clicker 7.
The apps (for both Chrome & iPad) are fantastic (but only) subsets of the full Clicker 7 package.