The involvement of parents in their child’s education is recognised as hugely beneficial: it promotes important two-way communication between the school and the family, fosters common aims and provides all-round support for the child. Ofsted recommends that schools should “engage parents in supporting pupils’ achievement, behaviour and safety and their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development” (The Framework for School Inspection, Ofsted, Jan 2013).
For pupils with Special Educational Needs, this involvement is critical. The Lamb Inquiry looked into the most effective ways of increasing parental confidence in the SEN assessment process, stating that, “Good communication is not just better for parents and professionals, it is better for children. In the most successful schools, the effective engagement of parents has an impact on children’s progress.” (Lamb Inquiry, Crown Copyright 2009)
Leading assistive technology company iansyst have given their website a makeover, which now incorporates a comprehensive online shop.
Visitors can instantly purchase popular software programmes to assist with a variety of disabilities and special educational needs at their school.
Many of the products featured are used widely in schools, such as: Nessy Learning Programme, Clicker 6, Dragon NaturallySpeaking, Inspiration, Numbershark and many more. In addition to SEN products, the shop offers a variety of hardware accessories, computers, printers and furniture, now making it even easier for schools to browse and purchase essential items all in one place.
The use of apps in the classroom is now commonplace. The challenge speech and language therapists face is knowing the best way to use apps in this environment. With the sheer magnitude of apps available, it can be difficult to sort through and find an app which targets specific communication goals. Many of the available educational apps can easily be incorporated into the therapy setting to collect data, record conversational samples, motivate students or be used as an augmentative assistive communication device.
Considerations as to whether the student can work using apps on their own, or need an assistant to monitor or provide prompts when using an app, need to be made. Some students will be able to work through an app if the app has a clear journey and the interface is intuitive. However, in most situations, the app would be better used with involvement from the speech therapist, who can not only monitor use, but also encourage and observe how the app is being used. Often, a student’s use of an app may provide interesting information about how they problem solve, their attention, and their memory of how to use the app.
With their new look logo and website as fresh and colourful as their vision for education, Apricot Learning Online is truly flourishing in the field of alternative provision.
The status of social media in the lives of young people has made interactive online dialogue second nature to a generation of learners more fluent with ICT than ever before. Apricot has harnessed this aptitude to access and motivate even the most reluctant of learners – and recognition is growing fast.
My first take on 'special needs' is: Don't all students have special needs? Aren't we beyond the cookie cutter education that lines students up and feeds them from the same trough?
Yes and yes, but for the purposes of this article, I'm going to reign my pen in and discuss what we traditionally consider 'special needs' and technology's effect on those students who function outside of the normal bell curve of pedagogic expectations.
iansyst, national suppliers of assistive technology solutions for students of all ages with dyslexia and other disabilities, are running a number of special offers throughout November.
Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12 and Dictate 3 site licence for £895
iansyst Ltd are offering a Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12 Professional or Dragon Dictate 3 site licence, which can be installed on up to 100 computers with unlimited users, for just £895.
Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12 is a speech recognition program that lets users create documents and control their PC just by using their voice. It allows students to work three times faster compared to conventional typing, without any spelling errors at all, and will improve their productivity and motivation.
Sonocent Ltd, creator of Audio Notetaker, has just launched a School Pilot Scheme to offer the latest version of its productivity software to schools in a bid to help them improve the learning experience for many students up and down the country.
The software offers an aid to many study skills such as note taking, speech analysis, presentation practice, as well as providing a useful assessment and self-assessment tool for teachers and students alike. Audio Notetaker is suitable for KS4+ learners and, although originally designed to aid learners with special educational needs, such as dyslexia, the software’s application extends to students of all abilities and learning styles, and for many different subject areas.
The new Move4words Literacy Booster, is a new novel, motivational approach to enhancing literacy and learning for children aged 7-11 (KS2). School trials of the not-for-profit Move4words programme have had dramatic impact, more than doubling reading, writing and maths progress for low-achievers. Reading age and speed also improve significantly, particularly for poor readers.
Several thousand children have already used Move4words, many have noticed that they can concentrate better and that reading is easier. Teachers have praised the effects, which range from improved SATs results and reading, to better behaviour and more focus and attention in class.
The purpose of this post is to explore some of the technology that myself and some of my colleagues are hoping to implement in our school over the next year. We have set up an ICT working group with two aims. The first is to explore cost effective ways of using technology to create engaging and creative uses of ICT. The second is to explore new technology and see what potential it may have for SEN learners.
The discussion started with an introduction to some of the ideas we have come across in the last couple of months.
ArtiKix - Full: £20.99
An engaging articulation app with flashcard and matching activities for children with speech sound delays. The highly requested group scoring feature is available for collecting scores in flashcards on up to 4 children at a time. A group of students can now collect data as they practice sounds in words and sentences with a speech-language pathologist, their parents, or independently.