name on a train

Back in 2019 we were all faced by one of the most horrendous situations. We were in a pandemic and many people were separated from their loved ones. The only way for us to communicate was via Video Conferencing or phone calls. For someone with dementia a phone call is not easy. It is much better to see them.

Sandra’s husband was one such person and he was in a care home. Sandra had not been able to see him for 12 weeks. She is not a techsavvy person at all. In fact more techno fear than savvy. So I encouraged her to connect first with the church services we were doing then with the care home Richard was at. We managed a few calls on Skype until the day came when he caught COVID. At the time we didn’t know how ill he was but sadly later that day he passed away. But Sandra was able to see him and she said ” You don’t know just how much that means to me.”

What has this to do with a name on a train?

My wife and daughter entered me in for a local Radio station’s competition called ” Making A Difference” Our story got us to the finals but sadly we didn’t win. I thought that was the end of the story but not so. A few week’s later I was contacted by the radio station to say that our story had touched their hearts and the railway company had extended their train names to a side panel for runner-ups.

After two years and several cancellations this week we were called to attend Swindon raiway where “our train” would pull in for 6 minutes and we could see the entry and here it is:-

Sandra & Myles next to the High Speed Train with my name and her husband’s name .

ABLE summit2022

At the end of March I will be speaking at the ABLE Summit in the Lebanon about a “Smart Future for the Disabled.” An honour to be asked to attend and I am looking forward to the experience again ( probably not the travel though as much!).

Last time I went it was awesome the way I was welcomed and treated as a VIP. Assistive Technology can impact the lives of disabled people for the good and we are not talking loads of money to do it. Tools exist today and the help of AI should become more predominant in the future.

A Free Dyslexia Screening tool for schools

Thanks to jack Churchill(Scanning Pens) for sharing this.

  “A new, unique online literacy assessor has been launched that claims to be able to highlight dyslexic-type literacy difficulties in children – and it’s now available for all schools in the UK to make use of, absolutely free!

The IDL Literacy Screener is a piece of software designed and created by International Dyslexia Learning Solutions Limited that has launched this week. It takes the form of a simple online test that can be taken in around half an hour for most learners. It’s easy to administer, and it only requires one teacher, support educator or SENCO to invigilate it, and because of its computer-based, quiz-style design, it’s a great way of getting younger learners to engage with it organically.”

For more details go to :-

Literacy Screener | Effective Online Screening Tool | IDL | IDL (

iView health

In these Covid times new technologies are helping reduce the pressure on doctors and the NHS. Smart Watch technologies in conjunction with an online portal service can give time-pressured doctors and medical professionals access to data that can help them support and monitor their patients remotely, efficiently and easily. The patient wearing the watch need not monitor the data as iView Hub takes care of that. It reads blood pressure, oxygen levels and body temperature. One of the signs of Covid is a rise in tempreture.

As we learn to live with Covid having smart technology can help take the pressure of the busy NHS is something worth listening to. Here is a short video explaining how it can help and what kinds of packages can be used :-


You don’t see one for ages then 4 come along all at once! Conferences , not buses. I seem to be popular in the dyslexia community in the UK so if you want to catch up with me at any of these events both virtual and face to face do take a look and book yourself in. I have put links under each conference heading.

BDA – March 17th

“Building confidence in using Assistive Technology”

The aim of the session is to show simple, fast and cost effective apps that can help overcome barriers to writing, reading and learning. Building confidence in both the teacher and the pupil in using AT is essential for effective learning in the 21st Century.

By the end of the session you should have a wide understanding of what apps are available out there for all platforms (iOS, Chromebook, PC, Android) and all devices that can improve access to learning . There will be an emphasis on Google and Microsoft products and how they can be made more accessible for the school setting.

The Dyslexia Show – March 25th

Using assistive technology that makes a difference “

We will be looking at the tools that can help dyslexics overcome learning barriers and become more independent in their recording and access to learning. Using cloud based and bespoke apps to demonstrate how these important apps can improve outcomes. 

PATOSS – 23rd April

“Free assistive technology.”

Microsoft ,Google,

Apple , Android accessibility

There have been great changes to make everyday software that is more accessible. This session will cover both Google and Microsoft developments. We will look at the main tools that make these applications more accessible for all. Google Docs have features that allow voice input. Gmail can have speech input to make emails easier. Microsoft Word can be read to you and also use voice input to make writing more fluid. We shall also be looking at free extensions to browsers that make accessing text easier and more productive. The pros and cons will be discussed of free as opposed to specialist software. Both have their place and understanding how and when to use free or specialist programmes will be discussed. By the end of the session participants will have a clear idea what these products can do and how best to use them.

Westminster Higher Education Forum – London – 29th April

“The use of assistive technology in improving student outcomes”

Accessibility in windows 11

It’s time to write a post about my impressions of Accessibility in Windows 11. In many ways its just a slight change and progression from Ease of Access in Windows 10. In short Accessibility is the biggest change in it’s name. I said in previous posts that the lack of backward chaining that is easy to install was going to be a major drawback to it’s wide use. Hence why I bought a new device cheaply as a chromebook. I didn’t buy the cheapest but a reasonable amount of memory and so far I have been happy with it’s performance.

Accessibility is sub-divided into Vision, Hearing and Interaction. Usual things such as changes of text size and mouse pointers are there along with scaling and night view. Much of this owes it’s roots to apple. Even the interface reminds me of an apple machine.

The only really new things are the voice access – which allows control of the device more comprehensively than just speech recognition. Using “What can I say?” gives you a list of commands very similar to Dragon . Interesting as Microsoft have recently purchased Nuance the makers of Dragon. I am currently looking into this and will report back in future posts.

Narrator is similar to what it was in Windows 10 but it is more comprehensive and easier to use as a text to speech. Again this needs a thorough review which is not the scope of this post. One feature I like is being able to have the typing keys spoken which useful for the blind and partially sighted as well as dyslexics.

Subtitles have a few options that make the text larger and colour contrast such as yellow on blue background. Other options can be tried to see if it suits the person needs better.

In conclusion

There are more settings to change and customise Windows 11 accessibility. Voice Access is more like Dragon than previous Microsoft speech. I think Accessibility in Windows 11 is an improvement and definitely worth accessing when you get a Windows 11 machine.

Tablet Academy

It’s good to see that my good friends at Tablet Academy are still giving free sessions. Take a look at the events they are putting on at . I have been involved with them over the past decade and I just love the ethos of it “being about the teaching and not the tech only.” It’s all about classroom use so I would recommend what their paid work does and exhort you to consider them as your trainer if you are a school. If you are not UK base they do have bases around the world. Take a look at


Popplet is a mind-mapping software that has been around a while now. I found it useful in engaging pupils in their own understanding of connections between ideas and concepts and as a mind-mapping software it is very easy and simple to use.

I was asked a question today does it work on Chrome as well as iOS apps. Well there isn’t a chrome app but you can run Popplet through the browser which is the next best thing

Screenshot of the browser version of Popplet

The advantage of using the browser is that a teacher can show this and work on it class. I know that teaching styles prefer to work away from the board but I see value in having a session using the interactive whiteboard or screen to discuss hot topics

New laptop windows 11 ready

I decide that I would splash out on a Windows 11 ready laptop to a) try out Windows 11 and b) see what the upgrade was like to do. The reason for this being as an AbilityNet County Co-ordinator I need to see how easy or difficult the process is as we will soon get clients asking for this. . I started 4 hours ago and with many updates I have got to a Windows 11 preview prerelease version as offered by this Windows 10 S machine.

Windows 10 S is a basic mode that only allows Windows Apps to be downloaded but it would let me run the PC Health check app either! That is a Microsoft app so confusion as step one. After searching for a solution online I found that if I went to Windows Setting then Updates and then Activation I could connect the Microsoft’s Store and switch it off there! A bit of a convoluted way of doing things. I discovered that I did have a Windows 11 ready machine and so could go ahead with either the update of preview or I downloaded the Windows Creation Tool but favoured the update as being the first option to try,

All these steps don’t make the process easy but its getting somewhere now. At this moment I am installing Windows 11 on my brand new laptop. An Asus E410M .

The install took 35 minutes and produced the desktop which is cleaner that Windows 10. Gone as the tiles. But then you are wondering where the settings are? To find that I right clicked on the taskbar and that brought up settings. The clue was the cogwheel symbol as in Windows 10 or I could have clicked on the 4 squares and selected from the icons there.


I bought a machine that was ” Windows 11 Ready” and I specifically asked the shop assistant if this can be downloaded in updates and he confirmed that to be the case. On firing up the machine I set it up using the Cotana voice which was friendly and clear and was able to connect to my Microsoft Account easily.

Going to updates I had about 15 updates to do which were necessary. I switched on Windows Insiders Preview in order to get his faster and found that happened by the final updates on Windows 10. I had to switch off Windows 10 S becuase it wouldn’t let me install the Windows PC health check to see if my laptop was compatible with Windows 11. Once checked and gained a successful response I started the Windows 11 update. It took an hour to download and then 35 minutes to install. But then I was up and running. Please note no Windows 10 everything is docked on the taskbar and away you go.

I would allow 5 hours to do this depending on updates, etc, .

One final thing I checked whether it was Activated under System and Activation and it showed “Active” on the Windows Insider Preview. I check updates and there were about 9 to do which happened very quickly and didn’t need to restart. Then how do you shutdown? Go to the 4 squares and next to your account is the switch icon and left click that. To fire up it was all up and running in less than a minute!