2004 Conference Proceedings

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John Crick
Crick Software Inc.
50 116th Avenue SE, Suite 211
Bellevue, WA 98004
Phone: 866-33-CRICK
Email: Johnc@cricksoft.com

Students with special access requirements, especially switch users, need tools that will give them equal access to the curriculum. In particular, they need personalized materials to assist them in their reading, writing and communication. In order to become successful learners, they need to be able to access pre-reading activities, have accessible on-screen books, and be able to write and communicate.

Early readers need accessible books so that they can turn their own pages and achieve the same independence as their able-bodied peers. Because they can't take part in many of the regular reading and pre-reading activities, such as pointing to words and sounding out words, they need accessible on-screen activities if they are to achieve these learning objectives.

As students develop, they need more challenging activities to build the reading and writing strategies that will enable them to develop into fluent readers and writers.

Clicker is an award-winning software tool that was designed with switch accessibility in mind from the very beginning, yet is used very widely in regular education as a writing and multimedia tool. Students with assistive technology needs can access a wide range of literacy activities. These range from personalized pre-reading activities all the way through to fully accessible word-processing.

Pre-reading activities start with simple cause and effect, and progress to matching and making simple choices. Early reading materials can easily be created in Clicker - fully accessible talking books put the student in full control over page turning, sound and even video. Students can also choose from a growing range of ready-made Clicker books available for early and developing readers.

When they are ready to write, students can access whole words, phrases and pictures (as well as individual letters) using the unique Clicker Grids, building up their writing in Clicker's talking word processor. Clicker Grids can be as simple or as complex as you like, and grids can be linked to give access to more content. Words or pictures in the grid are sent into the word processor by clicking with a mouse, touching a touch screen, or using a switch via one of the many scanning options.

Early readers and writers can build sentences by sequencing color-coded words, with picture or symbol support if required. They can also learn to build up words by sequencing letters in the correct order. As they develop further, students can use a grid that holds an entire keyboard, with options to link to high frequency word lists. By linking to Penfriend, a powerful word predictor, Clicker can display predicted words within the keyboard grid.

At all levels, Clicker is supported with digital speech, enabling students not only to hear what they have written, but also to try out words before they write them.

Because Clicker Grids are so versatile, teachers are able to give students access and support at the level they need. This enables students to work independently, focus on the real purpose of their learning, and to achieve the success that is so vital to their development.

At this presentation you will see how teachers can easily create accessible Clicker Grids, both for writing and to create multimedia activities. You will also see how to download ready-made sets of Clicker Grids from LearningGrids.com, a free site that contains a huge range of fully accessible materials.

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