Be an Amazon Echo Pioneer!

These  twebinars look really interesting. Unfortunately I can’t make the 14th December but maybe some of you can! Programming for this device is a lot different than programming for other devices. Learn the nuances and be an Alexa Pioneer

Be anAmazon Alexa Pioneer

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Assistive Technologist Job at Natspec

Calling all skilled and experienced Assistive Technologists

Are you looking for a new challenge in 2018?  Why not work with Natspec and the Karten Network?  A super vacancy exists with interesting and varied work.  Contact me privately should you wish to discuss this fabulous opportunity further.

https://natspec.org.uk/apply-now-assistive-technologist/

New look aas123.org.uk

I have a sister site – well really it was meant to be more of one site that catches all in concept rather than this blogsite. In truth I run two sites! aas123.org.uk is where one day I am to develop a small online shop of resources. At the moment I prefer to give freely and promote the cause of Assistive Technology in the UK.  Do take a look at aas123.org.uk . And tell me what you think?

Microsoft can speak now!

As I was writing today in Word I discovered a new addin. As I have Dragon Dictate I suspect this is where it has come from. But I will search further. On investigation this is Microsoft and NOT Dragon and has been in Word since August this year.

As with all new additions unless someone tells you that you really don’t know. But this is so useful for dyslexic learners and would recommend they use the feature on Word 2016 and go to Review where this icon resides:-

Read Aloud in Word 2016

Text to read back clearly and each word is highlighted as spoken – very useful for the dyslexic. The following article explains about this feature in more detail:-

https://www.theverge.com/2017/8/1/16074506/microsoft-word-read-aloud-feature

The feature is in Office 365 and Word but you have to use the “What do you want…” help window and type “Immersive Reader” in it. Why this doesn’t have an icon on the toolbar I don’t know. It seems a logical thing to me and makes it more inclusive.

The Academies Show, NEC , Birmingham

The Academies Show took place this past week at NEC, Birmingham and I travelled up with my colleague Jon Gibson, Backdrop Education Services.

Backdrop provide consultancy on a range of things such as reviews of provision, training  of staff, governors and learners with special educational needs.

Jon and myself go back to his days at Royal Wootton Bassett School where he was the deputy head. Now he runs his own consultancy company and I am part of his team he calls on when he needs advice about ICT SEN. Click here for more details of what Backdrop do at:-

http://backdropeducation.com/home 

The Academies show impressed me by not only providing free parking at the NEC but a free lunch as well ( who said you can’t get a free lunch these days!) . Obviously the organisers would pick up the tab on this.  Anyway , the show itself was a first for me and provided me an insight into the current trends in Academies which is school improvement and multi-academy trusts. All sounding like an LA to me!

Apart from the seminars I attended there were other stand comprising of companies representing recruitment agencies. I was told I was sure of a job as a teacher as there is such a shortage of teachers in the academies system.

Building works companies offering to design my academy. And finally teaching and learning outfits which offered help in teaching and learning. This being the most useful as far as John and myself were concerned. As well as the freebees which were quite good – TES provided a diary, NASEN had a SEND seminar stand running continually throughout this one day conference. I will mention these companies in a further blog. I am just recommending the exhibition if you have an interest in education being it teacher, professional or parent you would find the show interesting and useful. All for free I might add!

If you are in an Academy then please consider attending. The show is targetted for you!  If AAS and Backdrop can be of service to you please contact me

What is Bitcoin?

I received an email today offering me a get rich scheme which instantly made me suspicious. So be aware that the company “bitcoincode”  which appears to be a scam but you have scroll down many positive advertisements by them to get to the truth!  But Bitcoin is different to this and is gaining popularity and so what I want to do in this article is explain what it is  and what it is about.

What is Bitcoin?

“Bitcoin is a virtual currency which started in 2009 by unknown computer whizz using an alias called Satoshi Nakamoto”.

This information was taken from the Sun so I think I need a more reputable paper!!

CNN says this:-

“transactions are made with no middle men – meaning, no banks! There are no transaction fees and no need to give your real name. More merchants are beginning to accept them: You can buy webhosting services, pizza or even manicures.”

I think the main worry is this is working outside of the taxation system an therefore completely  not monitored at the moment.

Why Bitcoins? ( from CNN)

“Bitcoins can be used to buy merchandise anonymously. In addition, international payments are easy and cheap because bitcoins are not tied to any country or subject to regulation. Small businesses may like them because there are no credit card fees. Some people just buy bitcoins as an investment, hoping that they’ll go up in value.”

At the moment this system is under the radar but this last quote shows how useful it might be to worldwide trading companies. But who is in control? How can it be corrupted ( like our Bitcoincode  fraudsters)?

Who is in control?

No one! At the moment but that could change in the future

According to CNN:-

“No one knows what will become of bitcoin. It is mostly unregulated, but that could change. Governments are concerned about taxation and their lack of control over the currency.”

Anonymity

This is it’s most worrying aspect as far as I can see – no accountability  and CNN have this to say about it:-

“Though each bitcoin transaction is recorded in a public log, names of buyers and sellers are never revealed – only their wallet IDs. While that keeps bitcoin users’ transactions private, it also lets them buy or sell anything without easily tracing it back to them. That’s why it has become the currency of choice for people online buying drugs or other illicit activities.”

In conclusion

Governments will have to act! Especially where wrong doing is occurring. I would be very wary now of getting involved in this system until there  is some regulation put in place that protects the users. No doubt it does have its benefits – mainly an international cross – border currency but not one to invest my life savings in and certainly not one to invest in a get rich quick scheme!

 

 

AAS gets a makeover!

 

 

bluelogoI have decided to replace our heading with a brand new logo. I didn’t like the black pyramid or the buddy switch icon and wanted something lighter and clean. Hence the switch icon. Power is what makes the IT work and it seemed that as I am empowering and enabling people with disabilities a very fitting Logo.

What do you all think?

 

Ar the request of a colleague I have made the website more dyslexic friendly by removing white background ( having made it the theme !). It has meant a complete change of style which is more modern and easier to navigate and see. It’s not totally complete yet but will be worked on over the next few weeks.