Aiding learning from home
The sections below are hardware and software which may be useful when learners are at home. For further advice or support please contact one of TechAbility’s Assistive Technologists email@example.com
SEND specific resources
Live auto-captioning in Microsoft Teams. Can be turned on by each individual on the call
Keyboard shortcuts in Microsoft Teams – Mute mic and Mute Camera are the most useful. In the Teams app use Ctrl + . to view the shortcuts
Keyboard shortcuts for Zoom – Mute mic and Mute Camera are the most useful.
Zoom have promised that live auto- captioning is coming in January 2021
Google Meet (Google classrooms)
Keyboard shortcuts for Google Meet – Mute mic and Mute Camera are the most useful. In Google meet use Ctrl + Shift +. To view the shortcuts
If you use an electronic communication aid the best source of support for hardware and software issues will be the company who makes it. The main companies are:
If you have questions about the content of the language pack please try to get in touch with the learners’ Speech and Language Therapist.
Barnsley Hospital have put together a set of videos on using AAC equipment – electronic and paper-based – for anyone who might be struggling.
Used for making visual guides and social stories. Activities can be assigned to learners, they can access them remotely via the Boardmaker 7 Student Center App on PC, mac, iPad or Chromebook.
Boardmaker 7 is currently available for a 30 day free trial.
Symbol supported word processor. To be used either by learners who need reinforcement of symbols when typing. Or for creating resources. 21 day free trial is available.
Please don’t just type and use all the symbols! Just key words – some guidance on how to use symbols here.
Engaging games and learning activities accessible by touchscreen, switch or mouse. Most also work on iPad – look for the iPad label on the game logos. HKL is available for a 2 week free trial. Parents / carers can sign up for a monthly Home Licence for £6.99 per month.
Great way to make quizzes and activities using images, text and sound. Created activities can be used on iPad with the free app.
Choose It Maker is available for a 2 week free trial. Parents / carers can sign up for a monthly Home Licence for £6.99 per month.
Numeracy, literacy and science early concepts presented in multiple-choice activities.
Ready Mades are available for a 2 week free trial. Parents / carers can sign up for a monthly Home Licence for £6.99 per month.
Loads of free, engaging activities for switch, mouse, touchscreen and eyegaze. The SENict portal is here.
There is also a SENict subscription site which has a 7 day free trial.
A collection of free, easy-to-read, and accessible books on a wide range of topics. Each book can be speech enabled and accessed using touch screens, mouse switches.
Free, easy-to-play, and accessible games. Each game is speech enabled.
You can create your own games using videos from the huge collection at YouTube.
Grid 3. (PC only).
This is a fairly complex piece of software, but has many pre-made activities within it. Importantly there is a full functional 60 day free trial. Most activities can be accessed with mouse, touchscreen or switches.
You can also access activies created on Grid 3 with the free GridPlayer app for iPad. Certain limitaions do apply such as not being able to use PCS symbols.
Literacy based activities, many pre made or make your own. Clicker 8 and DocsPlus are available on a 28 day trial and there is preferential pricing for home use or extension licences for school/colleges.
Before you start switching…
- Read this great switch progression guide.
- If you need any assistance or advice email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have a switch and a switch box (interface) you will need this software to make it work with the online software mentioned above. Switch Driver is free and a user manual for Switch Driver is available.
If you don’t have a switch or interface get in touch on email@example.com and we can give you some tips about other ways to access.
iPad and Android Apps
Great for making social stories, guided activities, instructions and loads more. Will read out any text you put into pages. Really simple to use but does cost £18.99
Our Story. (iPad)
Create social stories, guided activities, instructions etc. This app is free but you will need to record any speech output and it is a little harder to use than Pictello.
Inclusive Technology Apps (iPad and Android)
Wide range of apps at a basic access level – many of the apps are free.
Sensory App House (iPad and Chrome)
Loads of free apps aimed at sensory learners. Also can be run in Chrome Browser if you don’t have an iPad.
These posters show a range of apps which are available for learners with Additional Support Needs. Including:
- iPad Apps for Learners with Complex Additional Support Needs
- Android Apps for Complex Communication Support Needs
- Android Apps for Learners with Dyslexia / Reading and Writing Difficulties
- iPad Apps for Learners with Dyscalculia/Numeracy Difficulties
A webinar on Remote Therapy is available from TechAbility.
You can also download a number of resources for remote therapy, including how to prepare learners for remote therapy sessions and examples of activities for sessions.
Computer, Tablet and Phone Accessibility
If you have Office 365 there are accessibility tools built in which can assist reading and writing. Anyone in full time education can get a free Office 365 account.
Short video guides to changing settings on computers, phones and tablets.
General guide to making changes in Windows 10 which may improve access.
General Guide to making changed in Mac OS which may improve access.
Updated for 2021, this is a growing resource of links put together by the Assistive Technologist at Bridgend College. Loads of links to software and guides which may be useful.
Guides from BT explaining how to conduct basic practical skills online for anyone who might be doing it for the first time.
A set of resources from UCL’s Centre for Inclusive Education about adjusting children and young people with SEND to a new, home-schooling routine.
General Resources for everyone
An Article from Jared Spataro, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft 365, on how they’ve transitioned to remote work.
General Guides to Online Teaching
The following are general guides on advice for teaching online:
- Arizona State University: Best Practices for Teaching Online
- Future Learn: Preparing to Learn Online at University
- SICSA Education Webinar: Online Teaching
- UCL: teaching online: where to start
- Blended Learning Essentials: a course for vocational teachers looking to put integrate digital learning into their teaching
- Jisc Guide ‘Ensuring continuity of learning during enforced absence’
- Jisc Planning for coronavirus webinar series.
- Jisc e-books for FE (normally requires organisational subscription, at no additional cost to Jisc FE members, note that there are some infrastructure requirements for this service, however Jisc has now made these resources freely available until 31st July 2020 to support organisations planning for coronavirus (COVID-19) closures):
- Access essential online content for free
- Free student e-textbook programme to give university students and staff access to learning resources.
- School’s out! What this means for the #onlinepivot: advice for how to manage a move online & thoughts about how various activities consume bandwidth.
- Online meeting survival guide: advice for staff on how to manage online meetings.
- A compilation of information, advice and guidance, hints and tips and tools and techniques shared by Jisc’s planning for coronavirus community of practice.