The software consists of two programmes on one screen – a document for writing on the top and under this a grid of support pictures/letters/words/sentences depending on the need of the pupil. There are a number of classified picture libraries or you can import Google images and personal photos-even video clips (useful for BSL users). Pupils write by tapping a cell on the grid or using a range of keyboards. The programme can use a speech engine to speak what is written and each word is highlighted as it is spoken. It is possible to record teacher or pupil voice for speaking vocabulary and telling a story or use video clips of signing to accompany text.
You can link grids to get deeper into a subject, organise vocabulary and definitions, and use fixed order grids to encourage use of correct syntax and word order. Readymade grids can be downloaded and adapted from LearningGrids.com
It gives pupils freedom and confidence to write for themselves. Documents can be printed off or sent to a website so a finished product looks the part. Copies of reading materials can easily be made for use at home.
The programme can be adapted for switch users, incorporates use of symbols for writing and can also support bilingual users (range of foreign languages). Some authorities have developed BSL resources for story telling.
It can be highly flexible in use-making it suitable from early years (with combined picture and word support)to early secondary school. A similar platform is used for older students in ‘Write –On –Line’ also by Crick. More details on the cricksoft website
A picture and text cartoon-‘A trip in the car’ (on a snowy day)-with excellent ideas for creating thought and speech bubbles for each of the characters and an ‘emotions thermometer’ for the reader to empathise with the different characters in the stories.
A very different approach is used in the Greek myth ‘Orpheus’, and a somewhat scary one for young children as it is so powerfully done. The text is challenging but the story telling makes its mark by using music, sound effects and images to create an amazing ambiance - something very hard to put over in words.
The other two stories are traditional tales, one African and one Indian both told with repetitive language and involving children in the story telling. Plans and resources accompany each story. More details on the 2simple website
Software and IT news and advice is available on the BATOD website in the resources folder
.... why not go and look?