The use of Clicker in the classroom

Program: Clicker6

Age: Reception

I looked at how Clicker could be used in the classroom and thought it would be useful to post it on the resource bank, I was surprised at the amount that can be done on Clicker and how beneficial it can be supporting and developing: listening skills, sentence structure and help engage children the writing of sentences in a visual and auditory way. I also believe it provides good opportunities for differentiation in order to meet the needs and abilities of all children.

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The simplest way of using Clicker is by using it as a simple word processor,  a sentence can be written and once a full stop is added the sentence is read aloud. This allows either child or teacher to write a sentence and it then be read aloud to them. The use of Clicker could massively support children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) as it is an auditory, interactive way of learning, they are able to hear what they have written said back to them, it may help them to make sense of what they have written or begin to understand which words don’t make sense. The teacher or teaching assistant could support children in the process of this, asking lots of questions and supporting all areas (cross curricular) I would use Clicker as a simple word processor with all children in reception, I believe that by the program reading the words back to the children allow them to hear the sounds within the words and allows them to create simple printed text.

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Moving on from the simple word processor you are able to have a  predictor at the side, this predicts what words may come next and as you begin to type letters new words appear so if children are unable to write the whole word they have options to choose from. Again once the full stop is added, the sentence is read aloud. This is visual learning for children and can support their language and literacy as they have the option of reading words as well as writing them, something I really liked was the way you could houver over the predicted words and they would be read aloud, this then does not only support word recognition but also supports children’s listening skills. Again I believe this would be a great way in engaging children within simple sentence writing in the reception year, they are beginning to construct simple sentences using simple words, but with the predictor is allows them to use ‘bigger’ words as if they can identify some sounds and write them, the program will predict what word they are attempting to write.

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As well as just writing sentences, you are able to add pictures to the words, if children read the sentences without the program reading it out the photos can be used as guidance. You are also able to add your own pictures using a webcam or inserting photos from your picture library , this makes it more personal for the children and for those children that are not interested in writing or constructing sentences is a way of engaging them within the activity giving them a visual stimulus, they know that if they write a word then they are abel to add a picture to that word.

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As the teacher you are able to add keywords for children, allowing them to make their own simple sentences using the words provided. This can be used in many ways, children can create the sentence independently or the teacher can write the sentence first and the children then copy that sentence by clicking on the words underneath, this supports childrens word recognition, listening skills and ability to copy a sentence. This part of Clicker can be used in many ways to suite the needs of the child. Not only does this support word recognition but supports childrens ability to structure a sentence.

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A more advanced stage of Clicker is where teaching assistants or teachers can create a matching game for children, this can be matching pictures, sounds or words, so it is a successful way of providing for differentiation.  The example I have created is words, the children need to match the word Dog, this supports word recognition.

I would definitely use Clicker within the classroom with children in reception, I believe it is an effective way of introducing children to creating simple sentences and for those children who are still working on letter formation is a clear way of them structuring and being able to read a sentence that they have created. To organise the use of this within the classroom, I would have one or two computers set up with the program on, changing it every day to meet the needs of all children, one day with the option of matching, another to copy a sentence, another to create their own sentences, ensuring it is differentiated in order to meet all the needs of the children within the class. For those children who may need more support with word recognition and sentence writing I would have one to one support as a way of assessing the children, I would ensure children didn’t feel pressured and saw it as just an activity but ensure that the teaching assistant supporting was identifying the needs of the child and supporting those needs where possible, using different features of the program to support.

I particularly think that the use of Clicker with children with Special Educational Needs would be massively beneficial. Clicker could support children with a range of needs including dyslexia, autism, learning difficulties and especially speech and language. The program offers a range of different features to support all children’s needs both visually and audibly. To support my reasons and extended them I completed some further research, I looked at the Cricksoftware website, which had individual tabs on how it aims to support children with Special Educational Needs. I mentioned earlier about children having the option to click on keywords that the teacher has created, this supports children with dyslexia as children with dyslexia sometimes may have a reading block, instead of reading the words children can point and click which allows them to listen to the word and then structure the sentence. This can really support a child’s self-esteem as the program is supporting their development and enabling them to do something they may struggle with on paper, it is a way of differentiating the activity to support the development and understanding of sentences. For children with autism Clicker can support children’s communication and handwriting skills ( this doesn’t just support children with autism, this could benefit all children) It also is a way of engaging children with autism and giving them a visual stimulus. “Many people with an ASD are thought to be visual learners, therefore presenting information on screen can help to support them. Clicker can be used to help your child understand their day, with a visual timetable or a learning log. Or provide information about expectations in the form of an on-screen book” (CrickSoftware, 2014) Clicker can be a way of enabling children to express themselves and is something I would use in the classroom to meet the needs of all children adding a different approach to sentence writing. “If your child has communication difficulties you can support by them by using Clicker with pictures or symbols. Add any pictures to Clicker Sets so that they are able to use completely personalised grids to communicate, and with the speech feedback reading all completed sentences aloud, Clicker becomes a powerful communication tool.” (Cricksoftware,2014)

References:

CrickSoftware. (2014). Support Children with Special Needs. [online]. Available from: http://www.cricksoft.com/uk/home-users/clicker/special-needs.aspx [accessed on 17.1.2014]

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