The BETT Special Needs Award 2011 will be announced at the Hilton Park Lane on Wednesday 12th January. Six entries have been shortlisted and they represent the diversity of products for young people with disabilities and learning difficulties.
Two products are aimed at literacy: Catch Up Literacy Digital Games 3 is for struggling readers aged 8 to 14 working at NC Levels 1-3. It works on high frequency words, comprehension and recall, segmenting and blending phonemes and is available in Welsh too. JISC’s MyStudyBar is a great money saving tool. It brings together freeware and open source software for students who have problems with planning, reading, writing, This free download has been used by learners as far afield as New Zealand and Australia and is likely to be very popular in these money straitened times.
Pupils who need help with speech often need expensive specialist Augmentative Assistive Communication devices but now there is another solution with Proloquo2Go. It is an app which will run on an iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. It has natural sounding text-to-speech voices, up-to-date symbols and an inbuilt vocabulary of over 7000 items. Another hi-tech solution is Nisai Virtual Academy which takes education out to pupils who cannot go to school. It offers qualifications from Key Stage 2 – Key Stage 5 and includes live lessons with teachers and other students from all over the UK.
Pupils with more profound disabilities will welcome TTS Sound Shuffle, a simple device that records up to four minutes of multiple messages and plays them back randomly or sequentially. It’s great for audio recordings for non- readers and ideal for adding sound or voice to wall displays. The final shortlisted entry is HelpKidzLearn, a set of free games which offer fun and purposeful activities for young switch users. Try whacking gophers down a drainpipe – great for develop anticiopation skills – and create a digital magic potion: leg of frog, eye of newt, and of course, lots of slime. Lovely!
The final decision on the winner of the BETT Special Needs Award 2011 will be announced on Wednesday night but all these entries will certainly find new audiences in 2011.