I happened across the Belkin WeMo in the Maplin catelogue.
It’s basically a wireless switch that toggles plugs off and on via an iPad app that works as a switch. The overenthusiastic American geek in this video demonstrates taking a photo a fan to map to the switch that toggles the fan on/off. Maplin sell the switches for £34. It seems so much cheaper and sleeker than the wireless SEN equivalent (£159, not including the wireless switches). I could imagine it being used, for example, in life-skills to turn a blender or kettle on.
I’m yet to find any reference to these being used in an SEN context, and I am not sure if they will even work across our wireless network at school. However, if the can be made to work and are built to withstand the daily battering that all school equipment receives I think there are many educational possibilities for this piece of kit.
When the new budget arrives I shall get one to test out. I can’t wait!
I have been planning a unit on internet search with some of my KS4 students. I fell across Oolone on Richard Byrne’s Free Technology for Teachers blog. Instead of returning results a series of text descriptions of the results, it returns screenshots of the pages. This might make it a little more accessible for some of my less literate or EAL learners.
I recently downloaded SITPLUS – created by the Cerebral Palsy Centre APPC of Tarragona, Spain.
It converts movement detected from a webcam into sounds – as well as creating animations on screen. It works beautifully, and I can see loads of applications for the software – both in therapeutic and educational settings. I can see a particular use in cause and effect work with learners in the early P levels, who find switches difficult to access.
The software is free (downloadable from here). We already have pc’s in classrooms and webcams are cheap – so the price is right.
I can’t wait to try it with some of my PMLD learners.
I have been using switches extensively for the first time this year, and have been thrashing around trying to find a decent model to follow with my PMLD students. I came across Ian Bean‘s Switch Progression Roadmap on the Inclusive Technology website. I’ve found it a really good model to follow with the students. It contains lots of practical examples, and has been a really helpful resource. I have been using switches in the dark room with the sensory equipment, the OmiBeam, with fans and other electronic equipment as well as with computers.
To help with assessment, I have created these recording sheets, with the progression taken from Ian’s work.
No point reinventing the wheel!
Following the new DoE guidance we have overhauled the school website. The key requirements are:
The key requirements for publication are:
- details of the school’s pupil premium allocation and plans to spend it in the current year; and, for the previous year, a statement of how the money was spent and the impact that it had on educational attainment of those pupils at the school in respect of whom grant funding was allocated;
- details of the school’s curriculum, content and approach, by academic year and by subject (including details of GCSE options and other qualifications offered at Key Stage 4 (for secondary schools), and approach to phonic and reading schemes (for primary schools));
- where applicable, details or links to the school’s admission arrangements, including its selection and oversubscription criteria, published admission number and the school’s process for applications through the local authority ;
- details of the school’s policies on behaviour, charging and SEN and disability provision;
- a statement of the school’s ethos and values.
The September 2012 OFSTED framework also suggests that inspectors will scrutinise school websites prior to inspections so we needed to ensure that the website was up to date and features the information required.
Our website is through Green Schools Online, and their support is fantastic, so the process wasn’t too painful.
Have just finished writing the school ICT Policy, along with the ICT Vision and Aims.
I’ve been looking for some good cause and effect resources to use with PMLD students using my new switches. Ian Bean has some wonderful cause and effect resources on his website.
Unbelievably, there doesn’t appear to be any way of searching for files on network drives in Windows 7. As all our data is saved to the network, for security and ease of backup, Windows 7 is unable to search for files.
I’ve downloaded the freeware FileSearchEx, which was recommened on Life Hacker. It looks very similar to the XP search facility, is very portable and can search any drive from a context menu. Simple and very, very useful!