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New Video and Quick Guide index on the Books for All web site

By Paul Nisbet on Tuesday 22nd November, 2011 at 6:11pm

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We have added a new section to the Books for All web site which gathers together all the quick guides and also the new video guides on the Education Scotland web site, into separate pages. It should be much easier to navigate and find the resources you need. 

We'll be adding to these in the coming months and if you have any suggestions for topics that need covered please add a comment or let us know.


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2011 SQA Adapted Digital Papers now available

By Paul Nisbet on Friday 18th November, 2011 at 4:50pm

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The 2011 adapted digital papers are now available on the SQA web site. There are 228 papers covering all levels and a very wide range of subjects. They can be freely downloaded at school or home so you can use them for whole class teaching on the whiteboard, or for revision and practice at school or home. There are now 5 years' worth of past papers available on the SQA web site, so there is plenty of material there for revision and practice.



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Adobe Reader X and PDFaloud 3.0 - don't bother

By Paul Nisbet on Friday 18th November, 2011 at 4:20pm

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When Adobe Reader X first appeared we tested it and said that it worked with PDFaloud 3.0 (see previous blog). This was true, on my ancient Windows XP laptop. However, we've now been using it for some months on a range of different machines and operating systems and it simply hasn't been reliable. On Windows XP, the Reader X/PDFaloud combination seems to work a lot of the time, but it's definitely bad news on Windows 7: I just got a new laptop and it doesn't work at all.

As previously reported, TextHelp are not going to upgrade PDFaloud 3.0 and have stopped selling it through Learning and Teaching Scotland.

TextHelp say that their latest Read and Write Gold 10 includes a version of PDFaloud which does work with Adobe Reader X, but Read and Write Gold is a lot more expensive than PDFaloud was (1995 for a secondary school site licence).

So our advice is: stick with Adobe Reader 8 or 9; don't upgrade to Reader X. If you have to have Reader X, take a look at some of the text to speech tools listed in the previous blog.


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Tarheel Reader Books on iPad

By Sally Millar on Thursday 17th November, 2011 at 10:32am

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Jane Farrall in Melbourne Australia has just published on her blog a really useful step by step instructions for how to get a free book from the Tarheel Reader site into an iPad. Good way to make appropriate materials available without having to make them yourself. (You could also run the book online, which would be even quicker and easier, but downloading it as a powerpoint into iBooks means it can be always available and stay there for the child to enjoy again and again.

If you don't know about the TarheelReader site, go and have a look. There are many short and very simple stories there, freely useable and downloadable, made in Powerpoint, all with picture and speech support, one line of text, ideal for our emergent readers and learners with complex additional support needs. For example , see here, 'my cat is fat' (choose a voice on top left and off you go). (The quality can be a bit variable, so you do need to check before you select a book for a pupil. Some are a bit too 'American- mind you, there's nothing to stop us uploading our own books to the site, good idea!)


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Technology and ASN: Information Day for Parents 12 November

By Stuart Aitken on Friday 4th November, 2011 at 11:57am

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There are still a few places available for any parent interested in coming along to Saturday's Parent Information Day on 12th November 2011. You can find out about and try many of the specialised technologies available to support children and young people with additional support needs. Following on from our everpopular annual Family Fun Technology Days, Saturday 12th November will have a similar format but this time it's just for parents.

The day will run 10.00 to 2.00pm at CALL Scotland and will be a mix of displays, presentations, hands-on and a chance for one-to-one sessions with CALL Scotland staff and, of course, meet other parents. Cost is 10 and a light sandwich lunch is provided.



After consulting with parent members of National Parent Forum Scotland we’re running short presentations covering:

  • Overview of CALL services
  • Digital Question Papers
  • Apps for iPad, iPod, iPhone - we're delighted that parent Kate Farrell agreed to run this session and be available on the day
  • Books for All
  • Low tech to high tech communication aids
  • AccessApps / MyStudyBar / Windows 7 speech recognition


Running in parallel with the presentations we'll have a range of workstations to try things out, discuss issues, have your questions answered. Topics include:

  • Software for dyslexia including NaturalReader, ClaroRead, Dragon Naturally Speaking, as well as information about Reading Pens
  • Digital question papers or digital exams - find out how many schools are using them, what teachers are doing to support their use and how successful they're proving with pupil in helping them to become independent, successful learners and confident individuals
  • Books for All - how this can help schools and authorities meet their duties under the Equality Act 2010 to provide information in accessible alternative formats
  • Apps for iPads, iPods, iPhones for symbols users, reading books, writing and a host of other education applications. 
  • AccessApps, MyStudyBar and speech recognition directly into PCs running Windows 7
  • Low tech as well as high tech communication aids - from symbol communication books, Personal Communication Passports through to dynamic screen display systems
  • Alternative access to computers - switches, switch interfaces, adapted mice, keyboards and much much more

To find out more download the timetable for the day and you can book a place online.


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