2004 Conference Proceedings

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Jean & Jim Slater
Slater Software, Inc.
351 Badger Lane
Guffey, CO 80820
Phone: 719-479-2255
Fax: 719-479-2254
Email: jean@slatersoftware.com 
Email: jim@slatersoftware.com

Participants will learn how to use Picture It and PixWriter available from Slater Software. Picture It is the tool teachers can use to help children experience success with print. It quickly adds pictures to text in sentence format. This pairing of graphic symbols and print helps students understand that letters form words and that those words have meaning. Moving from the concrete (pictures) to the abstract (text) is easier and learning is facilitated. As children learn to read with the support of the pictures, their participation in the classroom increases, and their language skills improve. Teachers simply type in the words that will be included in a document, and the computer does the work of automatically matching the graphics with the words. Words, sentences, and pictures, they can be repositioned on the page and changed in size and style.

"I can write without really writing" said a fifth grader with severe learning disabilities when he first saw PixWriter. This software allows beginning writers to communicate through written language. Even if spelling skills, sound-symbol relationships, oral expression, or fine-motor skills are not fully developed, anyone at an emergent level of literacy can write words, sentences, stories and more. By selecting picture/word buttons that are located at the bottom of the computer screen, whole words are printed, the picture paired with that word is printed, and the word is spoken. All of the composition can be read by the computer. The vocabulary setup is easy to create and can be extensive or limited depending upon the requirements of the task and the abilities of the student. A service provider or parent fills vocabulary buttons located at the bottom of the computer screen. This vocabulary setup is then saved and presented to the child. The child writes words, sentence! s or complete stories by accessing the buttons using the mouse, a touch screen, keyboard, alternative keyboard, or single-switch scanning.

Both programs have many new features which will help teachers and students. It is now easier to import pictures--from photographs to internet images. The file capacity of imported pictures has been greatly increased allowing teachers to have specific vocabularies available for content areas. Picture It now talks since we have rolled our program, PixReader, into Picture It. The addition of voice-output will help many children communicate with low-tech boards, listen to materials repeatedly, and participate in classroom activities. Our library of graphics now numbers over 6,000. The automatic picture matching in both programs means that those graphics reference to over 10,000 words. There are other features, such as the ability to color text, pause speaking, and easier customizing of materials.

Attendees will learn how to use all the features of the programs to make materials which will meet the needs of their students. Simplicity and flexibility combine to make the Picture Power Pack a powerful tool. This lab will be appropriate for educators who are having their first introduction to the software, as well as those familiar with the program but wanting to learn about the new features.

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