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8:50am - 9:00am

Welcome to ASL and Technology

9:00am - 9:35am

Room 1: Environmental Controls - The Easy Way

Presenter(s): Dave Gilbert, Pretorian

Suitable for: Primary, Secondary, FE & HE

Having environmental controls installed in any setting is usually a protracted and expensive affair, involving site visits, installation personnel and sometimes even customised equipment. The price tag is such that it is usually only practical when funded by local authorities.

In this session, Dave Gilbert from Pretorian Technologies presents the EnvirON range of economical environmental control products which can be installed easily and quickly by almost anybody, simply by following a few online videos. The EnvirON range is designed to achieve all that the majority of users require in an environmental control system, including control of TVs, mains appliances and home adaptations. 

Uniquely, EnvirON allows the user to control the equipment via standard switches, a scanning remote and a phone/tablet at the same time, and Dave will demonstrate the advantages that this brings to the user.

Room 2: Using Special words & Special Stories to support personalised learning in inclusive settings

Presenter(s): Beverley Dean, Special iApps C.I.C.

Suitable for: Primary & Secondary

In this session, Beverley Dean will show how Special iApps have been used in other settings to support children with additional needs such as Down syndrome, autism, visual and/or hearing impairment.

She will explore how Special Words and Special Stories are used to support children in nursery, primary and secondary environments highlighting and will present case studies, videos and testimonials showing how you can support children to learn and extend their vocabulary, create social stories, support comprehension with personalised reading books plus adding visual home-school communication.

Beverley will showcase the new Plus editions which are based on the original apps and discuss new ways you can use them with your learners. This practical session will give you many ideas to take away and include in your own practice.

Room 3: Microsoft Word tools to support literacy difficulties

Presenter(s): Craig Mill, CALL Scotland

Suitable for: Primary & Secondary

Small changes can make a big difference! In this session, CALL’s Assistive Technologist, Craig Mill will demonstrate a range of tools that are available in Microsoft Word and Word Online to support literacy. 

With a focus on simple adjustments, that are often overlooked, Craig will reveal Word’s mysteries and hidden tools that can be used in the classroom and at home such as setting the font style, customising background colours, spelling support and Immersive Reader, how to open a PDF in Word, how to convert audio to text, and much more.

For teachers and Pupil Support Assistants working with pupils with literacy difficulties, this session will provide you with practical suggestions on how to use the tools within Word to support reading, writing and spelling difficulties.

9:45am - 10:20am

Room 1: Read Smarter with Scholarcy: Convert your reading into interactive summary flashcards

Presenter(s): Daniel Pooley, Assistive Solutions

Suitable for: Primary & Secondary, FE & HE, Special Schools, ASN bases

Assistive Solutions is focused on accelerating peoples work and study. Using strategies with assistive technology can be powerful and transform learning outcomes. While institutional structures ican sometimes impose set ways of working, Assistive Solutions delight in being able to adapt education to the individual.

Scholarcy is an online summariser tool.  In this session, Daniel will show how it helps you quickly to absorb course reading and brings more structure to your study. Use Scholarcy’s AI as the starting point for appraising any article or chapter to kickstart reading and essay writing. It facilitates a more systematic approach to revision too. Highlights, bullet-pointed summaries, and extracted tables help you quickly assess research material. 

For pupils with literacy difficulties and / or slower processing speed, Scolarcy can provide a way to break down larger volumes of text into manageable chunks.  

Room 2: Boardmaker 7 & TD Snap - Using symbol based resources to support AAC in the Classroom.

Presenter(s): Debbie Breslin & Catherine McGuire, Tobii Dynavox

Suitable for: Primary & Secondary, FE & HE, Special Schools, ASN bases

Symbols can provide great support for students with a wide range of needs. In this session we will explore the use of symbols and look at a range of resources to create and implement symbol-based activities to help support communication, behavior, and participation in a classroom environment. 

We will begin with understanding what symbols are and how to use them, and then demonstrate how to create both low-tech and high-tech activities. We will end with videos and case studies showing how Boardmaker 7 and TD Snap have been used to support learning throughout the day.

Room 3: Providing students with consistent literacy and STEM support with the Texthelp Toolkit

Presenter(s): Andrew Campbell, TextHelp

Suitable for: Primary & Secondary, FE & HE, Special Schools, ASN bases

In this session, Andrew from Texthelp will show you how Texthelp's digital tools work together to build student confidence with reading, writing and maths. This will include ReadWrite software, Fluency Tutor, OrbitNote and Equatio.

Andrew will be joined by Eilidh McKay, Education Support Officer for Digital Learning at Midlothian Council. Together they will explore and discuss how the council have invested in digital tools to support pupil attainment. You will hear how the tools have been implemented, what effect that has had for the pupils and learn about the role that Texthelp’s software plays in the authority’s aim to raise attainment through having a robust digital learning strategy. 

10:30am - 11:05am

Room 1: TarHeel Reader

Presenter(s): Claire Harrison, CALL Scotland

Suitable for: Primary & Secondary, FE & HE, Special Schools, ASN bases

In this session Claire will demonstrate how the free website ‘tarheelreader.org’ can be used to create motivating and meaningful learning activities for pupils with Complex Additional Support Needs.  The Tar Heel Reader website hosts a large collection of easy read, accessible books on a vast range of topics. It can be accessed from a PC, Apple or Android device via the Chrome browser. Claire will demonstrate how to write your own books and make them available on the website, as well as how to create a customised favourites reading list page. 

We will explore simple tips to make books more accessible for learners with CVI as well as how to set up switch access and tweak the accessibility settings for eye gaze users. 

Tar Heel Reader can be personalised for all ages, making it a useful tool for if you are working with older learners and want to create age respectful learning activities.

Room 2: Learning without textbooks

Presenter(s): Rossie Stone, Dekko Comics

Suitable for: Primary, Special Schools, ASN bases

In this workshop, Rossie Stone, creator of Dekko Comics discusses the concept of learning without the need for boring word dense textbooks. He will show you children can learn any subject by introducing fun, colourful characters and bright graphics that tell a story about the topic.

 Big blocks of text can be overwhelming and visually stressful particularly for neurodiverse learners.  This can prevent the reader’s ability to understand and absorb the material. By reducing complex ideas into simple relatable narratives, studies have shown that retention rates in learners using comics are higher.  The Dekko technique shows how we can take any complex information and translate it into straightforward, fun and entertaining comic stories where the important points are highlighted using simple techniques of colour-coding, footnotes, and dyslexia friendly font.

 Rossie will demo “Dekko Reader” an interactive app (for iPhone and iPad) that offers coloured filter overlays and panel by panel navigation with the ability to search by character or by subject.

Room 3: Supporting pupils with CVI to access the curriculum (with a particular focus on AT)

Presenter(s): John Ravenscroft & Elizabeth McCann: Scottish Sensory Centre

Suitable for: Primary, Secondary, FE & HE

Cerebral Visual Impairment (CVI) is the most common form of visual impairment in the UK. Understanding the different presentations of CVI is important to then understand what assistive technology may be useful in learning to access the curriculum. Not understanding the differences in CVI can lead to ascribing the wrong technology and therefore risk placing greater barriers in accessing learning. 

In this session, John and Elizabeth from the Scottish Sensory Centre will highlight the different presentations of CVI and outline some strategies in using assistive technology for children with CVI.

11:15am - 11:50am

Room 1: Using Simple Communication Technology within the Classroom

Presenter(s): Joanna Courtney, CALL Scotland

Suitable for: Primary & Secondary, FE & HE, Special Schools, ASN bases

In this session, Joanna will explore simple and affordable communication aids, which can be used across the curriculum to help you create more inclusive activities for your learners with communication support needs. 

Many teachers already use symbolised resources to support learners with communication support needs within their ‘communication friendly environment.’ Using simple voice output communication aids can help your learners to develop their expressive communication skills and are highly motivating in terms of engagement in an activity and independence within the school or nursery environment.

From single message recorded speech devices to multi-message devices, Joanna will show you how they can be used for a variety of communication functions, where you can access ready-made resources and how to create your own. You will also find out about the CALL Scotland Equipment loan bank.

Room 2: Individualised Resources for struggling readers

Presenter(s): Caroline Shepherd, ReadingWise

Suitable for: Primary & Secondary, FE & HE, Special Schools, ASN bases

ReadingWise is an evidence based, online reading intervention that jump-starts reading for those who are falling behind. Since 2015, they have reached an amazing 35,000 pupils, with an average reading age increase of over 9 months in less than 12 hours.

In this session, Caroline will discuss how staff are trained to work with up to ten learners at a time in regular sessions. She will demo examples of the online lessons and show how they can be personalised to their specific areas of reading difficulty.

ReadingWise staff work closely with both primary and secondary schools to ensure that the resources are targeted and implemented in the most effective ways according to evidence from research.

Room 3: Creating opportunities for AAC

Presenter(s): Kerry Vacara & Graeme Innes, Smartbox

Suitable for: Primary, Secondary, FE & HE

In this session, Graeme and Kerry will look at how we can create more opportunities for AAC for our learners with communication impairment. They  will explore how to make the most of an individual’s AAC vocabulary, what factors can influence decisions around AAC hardware and how to develop whole school approach to AAC. 
There will be the opportunity to learn from video case study from AAC users who participated in the 100 Voices project. 

The session is designed to spark ideas and provide an opportunity to reflect and explore how you could develop the opportunities you create for AAC for your learners.

12:00pm - 12:35pm

Room 1: Using Communication Software for Students who rely on AAC to Access the Curriculum

Presenter(s): Marion Stanton, CandLe Ltd

Suitable for: Primary & Secondary

There is a plethora of guidance within the AAC world on the use of specialist software for communication. However, scant advice exists on how that software could revolutionize access to the curriculum, enhance learning, and ensure that the student’s access is the least effortful and most time effective. The student thus works effectively without their working memory, which is vital to learning, being compromised.

In this session, Marion will emphasise the importance of design for learning and will provide examples from case studies of her students. She will explain several elements for effective learning including learner independence by design of technology, differentiating for access needs at teacher level and suitable methods for recording answers.

Room 2: Learning through motion and interactive 3D tools

Presenter(s): Stephanie Shipley, ProWise

Suitable for: Primary, Secondary, FE & HE

In this session, Stephanie will showcase the Prowise MOVE camera which allows students to play educational games on the Prowise Touchscreen without physically touching it. The combination of the camera with Intel® RealSense™ and the technology in the screen registers motion and connects this to the movements on the screen, making lessons interactive, fun, engaging and improves learning outcomes. This can be used in an ASN setting and is suitable for wheelchair users. The camera can also be used for video conferencing and could be a great way to deliver virtual training sessions, class lessons and for sharing ideas and practice with other educators and schools.

Stephanie will demo how to create activities such as cause and effect, adding sounds and images, accessibility tools, interactive 3D tools using the free Prowise Presenter software. The presentation will conclude with a look at Prowise’s Touch Table tools which are a fun way of collaborating and offer the opportunity to learn through play using digital technology. The goal is for students to enjoy the process of active learning itself.

Room 3: iPads for ASN pupils in a Primary Classroom

Presenter(s): Blair Minchin, The New Victoria, Edinburgh

Suitable for: Primary, Special Schools, ASN bases

There are so many schools providing iPads to learners either as 1:1 devices or in classroom sets but do you know as a teacher, how to get the most out of using them for all your pupils?

In this session, Blair Minchin, an experienced Edinburgh Primary teacher will give some practical ideas and tips on how to use the device to engage learners with Additional Support Needs.  He will discuss how he has shown his pupils how to use (and to remember to use) the built in accessibility features of the iPad to support literacy which has given them a boost of confidence and helped raise attainment. He will show examples of work from his pupils, provide pupil feedback and explaining how he facilitates this use of technology on a day to day basis in his high octane class environment!

12:35pm - 1:30pm


1:30pm - 2:05pm

Room 1: LessonPix: Simple, Yet Powerful

Presenter(s): Beth Poss, LessonPix

Suitable for: Primary & Secondary, FE & HE, Special Schools, ASN bases

Communication, behaviour, and independent functioning. Their goal is to provide an accessible tool that is simple to use, affordable and flexible for customisation. 

In this session, Beth will demo how to search the large database of images and how easy it is to edit them to provide personalised images for your learners. There are options to upload your own photos too.  Beth will run through all the options and discuss practical ideas for good use of symbols.

LessonPix also offers a SoundFinder tool which gives your learners with Additional Support Needs valuable audio support. Learn how to integrate the symbols into MS Word and PowerPoint. Beth will be beaming in from America to deliver this session on everything LessonPix has to offer.

Room 2: Assistive Technology for people with Communication Difficulties

Presenter(s): Tracey Campbell, ACT

Suitable for: Primary & Secondary, FE & HE, Special Schools, ASN bases

Technology is becoming common place in all our homes and classrooms. For many of us we like the convenience that it affords us. However, for people with disabilities including complex communication needs assistive technology is crucial in helping them have more control over their lives. 

Tracey is the parent of a 15-year-old daughter has Angelman syndrome.  In this session, she will discuss the different assistive technologies that her daughter uses both at home and at school. Assistive Technology has made positive impact on her communication, her learning and enables her to stay more regulated. Find out at this session if anything Tracey and her daughter use can be of benefit to your learners and loved ones. 

Room 3: I Fix It Apps - Assisting Learners, Family & Staff

Presenter(s): Sue Sanchez, Prieto

Suitable for: Primary & Secondary, FE & HE, Special Schools, ASN bases

In this session, Sue will introduce the I Fix It App, a learner-centred approach that has been designed to support emotional wellbeing by giving children and young people with special needs a voice to express themselves and to be a part of the decisions that affect them.

She will share how the app champions our mission to help with communication skills, self-regulation, self-awareness, and emotional understanding. The app can track and monitor the history, progress and achievements made by the learners, helping teachers with setting learning goals. This will be followed by a summary of how it tackles the identified barriers for learning in the Code of Practice. 

Sue will present a short review of the current concerns in Education and the benefits of using the I Fix It App for learners with additional support needs, for their families, and teaching staff.

2:15pm - 2:50pm

Room 1: Assisting communication & writing for all pupils using Clicker 8

Presenter(s): Carolyn Clark, Crick Software

Suitable for: Primary

Clicker 8 offers a wide range of inclusive literacy tools such as text to speech, spell checking, word prediction, mind mapping, word banks and audio notes. Crick has been working with many Scottish local authorities over the last few years to embed Clicker software into their schools.

In this session, Carolyn will take look at some example case studies from a selection of schools across our local authorities and explore how Clicker is transforming the literacy experience for their learners. In particular, she will consider how Clicker is being used to help teachers create a more inclusive learning environment. She will focus on the features of Clicker that support differentiation and independent learning, as well as showing how it can be used for whole class teaching.

Room 2: Technology ideas to engage autistic learners with literacy

Presenter(s): Shirley Lawson, CALL Scotland

Suitable for: Primary & Secondary

In this session, Shirley will highlight and demonstrate how technology can be used to provide the support and structure that is important to some autistic children and young people to allow them to feel confident to access the curriculum.  

She will demonstrate specific apps from CALL Scotland’s ‘iPad apps for learners with Complex Additional Support Needs’  that can support literacy activities, making choices, reducing anxiety and for communication. She will draw on her experience as a primary teacher and also supporting autistic pupils in her role as Assistive Technologist for CALL Scotland.

Room 3: How to use a ReaderPen for pupils with literacy difficulties

Presenter(s): Jim Bowen & Katie Hunter, Scanning Pens

Suitable for: Primary, Secondary, FE & HE

The ReaderPen is a portable device which has a wealth of features to help increase the independence of learners with literacy difficulties.  When the ReaderPen is dragged over text on paper, it will read the text out loud.  This level of support is incredibly valuable because although we ideally want all text available in digital format to be able to use assistive technology, there is still a great amount of paper in schools in the form of worksheets, books and exam papers.

In this session, Jim will demo how the ReaderPen works showcasing the Text-to-Speech technology and the built in dictionary features. He will show how the easy to use functions promote reading independence and can increase confidence for learners of all ages.  Many schools in Scotland have trialled the use of the ReaderPen and you will hear how pupils and teachers got on using the devices.  He will introduce the ExamReader and discuss how it can be used in exams to negate the need for a human reader and with the use of headphones, can provide valuable, discrete support.

3:00pm - 3:40pm

Room 1: Technology for Digital Exams

Presenter(s): Paul Nisbet, CALL Scotland

Suitable for: Primary & Secondary

Pupils with disabilities or Additional Support Needs who have difficulty using ordinary examination papers or assessment can use digital question papers along with assistive technology to read the questions and to write or dictate their answers. 

In this session, Paul will show examples of digital exam papers and answer booklets on Windows, iPads and Chromebooks and discuss the practicalities of using these different devices. We will consider how students can use text-to-speech and other techniques to read questions, and tools such as speech-to-text and spelling supports to write and respond.

While the session is focussed on SQA external examinations, it is also relevant for BGE and senior phase internal assessment.

Room 2: Introducing Activity-based AAC Tools to Learners with Complex Communication Needs

Presenter(s): Gillian McNeill, CALL Scotland

Suitable for: Primary & Secondary, FE & HE, Special Schools, ASN bases

In this session, Gillian will cover options for setting up activity-based AAC tools for learners with a variety of complex communication needs. The purpose, to introduce learners to AAC, and develop communication and participation in a classroom learning activity. 

Gillian is one of CALL Scotland’s specialist speech and language therapists. She will consider matching AAC tools to learners’ associated needs, including physical and visual impairment and will include examples of printed symbol resources and alternative options of displaying and accessing these, such as eye pointing. The AAC device examples, will include simple single messages devices, small vocabulary multimessage devices and simple iPad AAC app options. Alternative switch access options will be shown.

This session is particularly suited to education staff supporting children and young people in a school setting, as well as health professionals and social care and voluntary sector staff, and parents.

Room 3: Complex Needs Expressive Arts

Presenter(s): Fiona McGregor, Artbeam

Suitable for: Primary & Secondary, FE & HE, Special Schools, ASN bases

Fiona is a multisensory storyteller working with children and adults with complex and profound additional support needs. In this session, she will demonstrate the use of Soundbeam 6 technology in a storytelling setting. 

Along with puppets, percussion instruments and props she uses Soundbeam 6 in her ArtBeam workshops. This equipment consists of switches and soundbeam sensors with pre-recorded sound bytes or musical notes, which assist in the telling of the stories by providing sound effects or music pieces. The switches are robust, sensitive and easily activated, and can be programmed to suit different touch requirements or can have assistive switches added to them. 

Soundbeam sensors can be programmed and sited to suit individual preferences, activated by a physical action breaking the invisible sound beam. This technology offers the opportunity of storytelling and music-making to participants of all abilities. 

4:00pm - 4:20pm

Raffle Prize draw / Closing conference comments