nasen live 2018

My first time at nasen live and a worth work while conference to attend even though I am not a SENCO I do work with them from time to time. There were useful seminars and an exhibtion  of  education service providers.

I attended a few talks about how to make sen work and the role of the SENCO in the 21st Century. Making SEN Work provided details of how to implement change which I thought was both practical and useful. The 30 min session on the role of the SENCO in the 21st Century was just getting going when he had to end! Still I did get the chance to hear Dr Sean Bracken on “Quality First Teaching” which is a nebulous term and shouldn’t we all be doing quality first teaching anyway? But Sean was inspirational and engaging and enabled in his 30 mins to unpick it all. Great work Sean! He also spoke about Universal Design for Learning – the last post I sent! How spooky is that?

There were two companies there representing sound fields – frontrow & phonak. It was good to see speech and language companies there as well . Speechlink provide speech and language support through consultation and training.  Mable have a 1:1 online support programme for assessing and helping individual speech and language needs.

nisai   help pupils who for one reason or another struggle with being in schools – it could be mental health, bullying, all sorts of reasons, They provide an online tool that has been rated “Good with Outstanding Features,” by OFSTED.

It was good to see Crick Software and Scanningpens there also. Do check out there site for the latest updates in AT.  All in all a great conference and would recommend others to go in the future as you will learn a lot from it especially if you are a new SENCO. It’s cheaper to attend as a gold member as you get free entry and can take a friend as well! Nasen has online training for SENCO’s and Support Staff and publications to download which is useful.

Universal Design for Learning (UCDL)

I came across this today and as a free resource it should be a must for educators using digital means for teaching and learning. You need to create a login and password then you can access a range of publications. I just clicked on the relevant document from an email link sent.

CAST has a long history in the field of Assistive Technology and therefore a voice worth listening to. Here is the UK we also have a long history of Assistive Technology too and comparing our experiences would be useful. I have just begun reading the book so will feedback on its content in another post. I immediately identified with the ideas and thoughts as being very much what I believe we should have in our 21st Century World.

To download your copy click on link below:-

Universal Design for Learning

Finally, I leave you with this thought provoking quote which resonates with our UK version of a “rigid curriculum” and what it is doing to our pupils :-

“The unnecessary barriers in traditional education extended beyond those that impeded students from accessing content and expressing knowledge. Even more important in motivating our work were the affective barriers. Students coming to school with curiosity and a strong desire to learn found that fire quenched when they were stigmatized—not because of anything that was in their control but because of inaccessible learning environments.

These environments blocked learning progress and, more significantly, blocked students from falling in love with learning, engaging with their creativity, and seeing themselves as experts in the making. Many of our early clients were students whose enthusiasm for learning had been overwhelmed by feelings of incompetence and discouragement that had generalized from a few areas of challenge to a sense of being altogether inadequate. This disengagement from the enterprise of school and damage to self-esteem was a pernicious result of a rigid system, one we felt could in fact be made flexible now that digital technologies had emerged.”

Assistive Technology in Schools

Where do schools go to find out about the latest technology? In the past we had Organisations like NCET which BECTA . They operated user groups to drive forward ICT in schools. But that’s all gone !

Now it’s seemingly every school for itself. So how do schools keep up to date?

Maybe one thing schools can do is join ATEducationals run by BATA (British Assistive Technology Association) . It’s free and you get the latest news on what technology is making a difference out there in the education world .

Lost that document?

Stumbled across another useful feature for those using Office 365 on your browser. You can get to your documents history by clicking on your profile image (top right). If you have delve loaded (you can find this as an addin on the apps page) you will be able to see a history of what you have done:-

office 365

What you need to get Delve

Delve is available for Office 365 Enterprise (E1, E3, and E4), Office 365 Education (E1, E3 and E4), Office 365 Government (E1, E3 and E4), Office 365 Business Essentials and Office 365 Business Premium.

Regardless of which of these Office 365 plans you have, you need to activate the SharePoint Online service and assign users a SharePoint Online license before they can start using Delve. You also have to set up Exchange Online if you want attachments to show up on users’ Home pages in Delve. If you set up Skype for Business Online, users can start Skype for Business Online conversations directly from Delve. And if you set up Yammer Enterprise, users can engage in Yammer conversations about documents directly from Delve.

Delve is designed to work with the current or immediately previous version of Internet Explorer or Firefox, or the latest version of Chrome or Safari. For more information, see Office 365 system requirements.

Virtual Reality for Special Needs

AAS good friends at Inclusive Technology have joined the VR bandwagon and provided what looks like a comprehensive and practical tool for special needs. As usual they don’t just sell the product without thinking about how it would work in a busy special needs classroom. Headsets don’t need a mobile phone. Sets come charged and ready to be used whenever they are needed. Only the price would put you off!  £1,995! But look at what you get:-

We are excited to introduce Inclusive ClassVR, the first virtual reality system designed for special education classrooms!
Special and early education is all about learning through experiences. Rather than sitting in front of a screen or printed resource, InclusiveClassVR immerses students in spectacular 360º environments that enhance and complement their real-world exploration and play.
The package includes
Four standalone InclusiveClassVR Headsets, delivering fully immersive experiences under the teacher’s control.

Unlike other VR headsets, Inclusive ClassVR does not require any additional devices, such as phones. Everything is fully integrated into the device, making it easy to use and super reliable.

Inclusive ClassVR includes Virtual and Augmented Reality Resourcessuitable for students with learning difficulties, sensory impairments and physical disabilities.

There are currently over 500 pre-made activities aligned to UK National Curriculum and US State Standards.

Inclusive ClassVR includes a ruggedised Storage and Charging Case with active cooling fans, ensuring all your headsets are safe, secure and fully charged. Ready for students to use at any time.
The Teacher Portal allows the teacher to deliver a defined playlist of resources to multiple headsets simultaneously. The teacher can highlight points of interest and monitor what each student is seeing to help guide them through the experience.

Finding AT solutions to real-life problems

Today has been a day to learn more about voice driven virtual assistants. I think that we need a forum whereby people post their real-life problems for AT professionals to solve. Just as the website http:// 

Today I got a “what’s new in Alexa” email and thought that this is a great way to send out a cry for problems needing a solution. Leading on for my last post it might look a bit like this:-

” How can I send a email message using only my voice”

” How can I watch audio description programs and freeview digital”

I think I call the website  “ ” Solutions using voice driven virtual assistant devices would be posted as a reply.  Watch this space! This sounds like a Wiki!!