Ideal keyboard for special needs

Great keyboard for pupils with dyslexia or dyspraxia

I saw Inclusive Technology’s Jumbo XL keyboard at the nasen Live 2010 show at the Reebok stadium last week. It’s not a new product and I have no idea how I have missed it up till now.

It is brilliant! It has big chunky keys and has everything except numbers. The function keys are in a different colour from the punctuation marks and the vowels are a different colour from consonants. So now when we tell kids with dyslexia that every syllable or ’beat’ in a word has to have a vowel or the letter y, they have a good chance of finding them.

It costs £49 + VAT and you can choose an uppercase orlowercase keyboard and it even has 2 USB ports so you can attach a mouse or track ball or a memory stick
More info from Inclusive Technology




New kit on the block

The Fizzbook in action

Fizzbook Spin sounds like a variation on a drinking game but in fact it is a handy piece of technology which is likely to be found in a school near you any time now.

The new 10.1” Fizzbook Spin classmate PC from Zoostorm computers has many great features: it is a netbook with a touch screen and has an inbuilt webcam. 2 USB ports, an SD card slot and Wi-Fi. The touch screen can be used with finger or stylus so will be good for children with dyspraxia or who have poor fine motor skills. It is not a super expensive ruggedized model but will take a good few knocks and has a reasonably waterproof keyboard.

The best features are that the screen flips round so children can easily show off their work to others.  It also has a decent size screen, will last the whole school day without needing to recharge its batteries and has a built-in camera and microphone to make it easy for children to create their own multimedia. It also has Office 7 and software which will turn handwriting into text and help pupils with their note taking.

The teacher can keep an eye on what pupils are getting up to, thanks to SMART Classroom Suite. This has SMART Sync 2009– so teachers can beam content to computers and SMART Response, a voting and response system which records pupils’ answers so teachers can identify children who need help.

Fizzbook Spin is just the sort of machine which should be part of the Home Access Project. Hopefully it will soon be a regular feature in UK classrooms.