Gove’s BETT Speech Wordle


Michael Gove , Education Minister , was a keynote speaker at BETT 2014 this year and I know this was a speech about computers and technology but I see no mention here of special needs.Thankful to see he mentions teachers a lot but notice his largest word is “new” — hmm. New has now become a relative word on Planet Gove. New seems to be bright and shinny things and computer programming . Computing programming is a good skill in itself but without the other side of the equation of understanding, learning and making use of your skills this equation won’t balance up. It’s a case of throwing out the baby with the bath water. Why not keep both Computing & IT??


What is DLNA?

Until tonight I hadn’t heard of this but if I explain what this means you will probably say – “oh yesss, that’s it!”  DLNA or Digital Living Network Alliance is a standard for sharing movies , images and music. Windows 7 and 8 have it built into the operating system. Over 250 manufacturers of entertainment gadgets have it build into their products as well!  The article cited below gives you the low down on the standard. For those with disabilities , who may find having to physically find photo albums, CD,s and DVD,s DLNA provides them with a way to choose and select their music, movies and photos and have them placed anywhere in the home. So, “oh yess, that’s it” then!

Tablets for Schools – Toolkit App – iOS & Android

Tablets for schools have produced a very helpful toolkit app for schools and those thinking of introducing mobile devices  in their setting. Download T4toolkit from the link from Tablets For Schools website or the App Store or Google Play.  The App Mapping Tool is cited in the app.

IntoWords by MV-Nordic

I met Henrik Lindholm at BETT this year as he attended my talk and  he invited me to look at his products which are cross-platform apps meeting a variety of literacy needs. I found their IntroWords on the app store. It’s a free download which I am downloading now as I type. It has text to speech and word prediction and I will definitely add to :)my favourite apps:) on the App Mapping Tool. Do pay a visit there! I have updated the list for January 14 and you can download an excel version for yourself. Let me know if you have added your app to the list I’d be interested to hear. I might be re-vamping the way information is leveled with the National Curriculum in the future so watch out for new and exciting ways to examplify need!!…. quite a long download ….. for IntroWords….must be the speech engine! The app version I am using in iOS I’d be interested to hear from any other platform user eg Andrioid, or PC. …. 75% there!! ….. 95% there!!!…… 98%…, there!

Although free to download there is a login either as an individual or a school.  It also has OCR and I include a screen shot of what it can do.

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The basic package costs £7.99 and you can add OCR – scanning documents – for £3.99 which is a fair price for what the package can do! The text to speech reads PDF files so useful for schools. The prediction is good secondary levels as the word banks are appropriate for that level on initial load up .

I tested the OCR and it works on bold clear black text under a yellowish light. Probably worth trying it in daylight. My iPad2 has the poor camera so will try it on my iPad Mini with the better camera. OCR promises much but the problem always lies with the ability to hold things still to take the picture and the type of lighting as well as the size of text. Good attempt but I need to test under a range of lighting conditions.

After testing on an iPad mini with a good camera. I found the best way is to use the OCR selection box to ensure that you only select text . It works quite well in good lighting conditions.



Opportunity Melksham

If you live in the south west, in particular Wiltshire and want to see a demonstration of how ICT can meet individual needs in the workplace or school or other setting then please make a note in your diary for this event:Opportunity Melksham Poster taking place on Saturday 15th March 10:00am till 6:00 in Melksham Assembly Hall.

iPads in the classroom

This article was written before iWorks became iCloud so please note the name change. This is a good article to show schools who want to be convinced of the benefits of mobile technology. The same points could be applied to Android devices as well as Apple products

Study Blue

This is great student tool or secondary pupil app that allows the user to collect information both visual  and in text as well as audio but at a price to add speech to your input method. These flashcards can be saved and turned into quiz material so that resources can be shared and become revision tools by the teacher. The Study Blue app is on iOS and Android as well as Windows 7/8. You can integrate it with your google+ account as a log in. Very powerful and exciting as well as easy to use for those who need simplicity of use and approach. In other words I think those with special needs can access the method as well. 

Access Arrangements for Exams

I heard today that exam boards are going to be able to produce PDF files of exam papers for 2014 exams. They are as yet not editable PDF’s and students will still have to copy and paste from them into their wordprocessor. There is a deadline for making special arrangements which is january 31st which does mean schools need to know. If you are a secondary school in the UK you need to contact your exam board to request the PDF format.