Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Offline PDF to Word

Here is an offline converter for PDF to Word. And it is free.

Free Converter

Monday, 27 December 2010

PDF to Word

I recently had a need to find a way to convert a PDF to a Word document. Here is the online service I used. I strongly recommend it.Quick, no registration, no hassle.

PDF2Word

Friday, 17 December 2010

Lost in Translation? No more

All I can say here is - check out this video! It speaks for itself. Awesome! I am not an iPhone fan, but this is just amazing, and so dyslexia friendly!

Word Lens

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Caldys2 - Teaching languages to dyslexic individuals

The new Caldys2 project has started a blog that looks to provide information not only on its own activities, but also links to the wider world of teaching languages to dyslexic individuals.

Caldys2

Friday, 12 November 2010

Google Instant Preview

Have you seen the new Google Instant Previews yet? It emulated the visual view for searching that I have been reporting over the past few years. Just click on that magnifier at the end of an entry, and up pops an image of that web page.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Saving memories from the Blackberry

I am always worried when I change phones how I can retain all those old sms and email that are on the Blackberry. I can forward emails, but text messages are more problematic. Today I found some software that can read all my old messages (on a 30 day trial, but I can convert to pdf if I want and then I don't have to pay!) They have many other converters too.

Blackberry message converter

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Gumnotes

Want to attach a Post-It note to a document. Here is how to do it, whether it is a web page, Word dot of email.

Gumnotes

Monday, 4 October 2010

Talking OCR on an iPhone

I have been watching the fall and fall of the cost of taking a picture of text with a phone and then having it read out. The lowest I have seen (of a commercial kind) is "Prizmo for iPhone 1.0 is available worldwide exclusively on the App Store, and costs $9.99 (USD). A speech synthesis voice is available as In-App Purchase for $2.99 (USD)." That is around £10 for the whole system!

Link to the iPhone OCR

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Whitesmoke - Improve your writing skills

I keep meaning to find a way to improve my writing. Here is a video that has convinced me to take a closer look at this software.

Whitesmoke

Saturday, 25 September 2010

iSheds Resources available


The EU funded iSHeds project - Identification and Support in Higher Education of Dyslexic Students - has now launched its major resources:
  • an ebook for dyslexic students
  • an ebook for those supporting dyslexic students
  • mini-profilers to help identification of dyslexic students
  • assistive technology for dyslexic students
All these are aimed at those in the Balkan states with resources available in EN, BA, HR, HU, RO, RS, SI.

iSheds

Friday, 17 September 2010

Embed Resources


Embed is a project that has, over the past two years, been refining a series of outcomes from a diversity of EU funded projects, whcih are no available in one central portal. The main ones are:
  • Online profiler for children
  • Online profiler for adults
  • Online e-book for parents and teachers
  • Online e-book for dyslexic adults
  • Self-audit for institutions
  • Self-audit for support workers
  • Self audit for dyslexic adults
  • Using technology
EMBED

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Live language translation from Google, on a mobile phone

If you had trouble with learning a language at school, but want to communicate in a language other than English for business or pleasure, then this may be of interest to you.

It seems that Google have just demonstrated speech translation (English - German) using an android smartphone. You speak the English, it speaks back German. Think of the possibilities of that! But no launch date announced as yet.

Google voice translation

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Languages and projects for dyslexic adults

I have recently compiled a list of EU projects to accompany the article "Dyslexia related resources in different language" in Journal of Inclusive Practice in Higher and Further Eduction. Here is the link to the page.

Link to Resources for dyslexic adults

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Dys2 Coming to life

It seems that Dys2 is just about ready to launch with its new set of games, following on from the original 135. These are activities to promote the integration of cognitive skill development activities within the overall teaching practice. Below is the link and the description from the web site.

Dys2

DYS 2.0 is intended for transfer and improvement of the successfully completed GRUNDTVIG project EDysgate 2006–2008. We offer here a motivating and stimulating learning environment for carefully selected range of skills known to be important to young dyslexic adults.

At project's end nearly 275 learning games and a game configurator will be free of charge available in 6 languages (English, German, Bulgarian, Greek, Czech, Lithuanian).

The learning games address seven areas of particular importance for vocational skills development:

Auditory Discrimination
Auditory Memory
Auditory Sequence
Visual Discrimination
Visual Memory
Visual Sequence
Spatial Position

The areas are targeted through direct and indirect stimulation. The principles behind the learning games are not specific to any given language – they will work for all individuals across Europe.
The learning games will be developed in collaboration with young dyslexic adults as well as those who train them.

The target groups are: young dyslexic adults at age app 16-26, their parents and trainers specialised on dyslexia. The main purpose of using the learning games is to support the development of vocational skills and life chances of young dyslexic adults and to provide a new kind of resources to trainers.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Cut that URL

I recently created a web site that would support an article I am writing. The article is: Smythe I and Molhova M (2010) Text-to-speech software for the multilingual dyslexic user. Journal of Inclusive Practice in Higher and Further Education. Autumn 2010.

The URL of the page is
http://www.learnerprofiler.co.uk/ws/nadp-text-to-speech-software-for-the-multilingual-dyslexic-users.aspx

Now while I can hide that with a hyperlink, that is not possible in a printed journal. So I looked for the shortest I could find where I could make the link memorable (i.e. not a random collection of letters). It is a tiny carbon copy. Or tiny.cc.

So the new address is www.tiny.cc/smythenadp2010

This reduces the number of characters from 105 to just 26. Perfect for a Twitter!

If you want to highlight a web page but do not want to write the whole web address out every time, I can recommend www.tiny.cc

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Welsh language voice for text-to-speech

I have just learned that a new Welsh language voice (commissioned by the RNIB has been launched by Ivona. (Thanks Alasdair.) I will give details of how to download it when I can track them down. It should work with most text-to-speech interfaces, including Claro, Ivona, Balabolka and TextHelp.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Readplease

This may be seven years old, and it may be cut and paste, but I think that this is still one friendliest pieces of text-to-speech other there. Its beauty is a simple download, easy to access interface, large symbols, and control of the key elements, namely speech, font size, it has several voices, and word highlighting. You can adjust the pause between paragraphs (to consolidate your thoughts) and adjust colours (e.g. for highlighting). You could even have it start on startup, and read your own text. How about "I know I've made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. I've still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. And I want to help you." In case you do not recognise it, it was spoken by the computer Hal in Kubrick's 2001, A Space Odyssey.

ReadPlease 2003

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Ivona Mini Reader


I rather liked this little reader. It is free, and has a good voice.

Ivona MiniReader

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Natural Reader Text-to-speech

Inspired by the comment left by Lis yesterday, the next TTS to consider at is NaturalReader. This is free software which comes in two versions: cut and paste or a Floating Bar (see bottom left of the image above).

It is downloadable free, and uses free microsoft voice. If you want higher functionality, such as saving files as audio, you need to pay for it.

Natural Reader

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Text to speech voice

I am currently writing an article about text-to-speech, and therefore a number of the entries will be about that work. Today, I give you the list of all the voices I know of that can be used for text-to-speech. If you know of others, please let me know. As far as I know, these can all be used with other software such as Balabolka.

List of Voices

Monday, 26 July 2010

Balabolka text-to-speech software


When it comes to Text-to-Speech software, there is so much out there that it is hard to find a recommendation. But today I have one. And what is more, it has everything I could ever imagine needing, which is a far cry from much of the others which appear to have been not full through through. It is also multilingual, so you can line it up with any voice you wish and have the menus in the right language.

Balabolka

Friday, 9 July 2010

Online text to speech

Here is a review of the current top ten online text to speech systems.

Top 10 Text to speech

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Riot - Radical Image Optimization Tool

This is a wonderful little tool that gets better with every update. Pictures can be very useful, as part of coursework, or illustrating a point in a presentation, or a website. But it is always good to have it at the right size, to speed up loading, and for when you email it. The latest version now has Brightness and Contrast control.

RIOT Download

Friday, 11 June 2010

Skype Screenshare

People keep asking me where they can find Screenshare in Skype. It is difficult to explain without ..... screensharing! So here is a little video I have prepared.

Skype Screenshare

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Claro Capture

While recently looking for a "research" tool for capturing text from the internet, I came across Claro Capture. Well worth having a look at. It is reasonably cheap (around €20) and there is a free trial.

Rather than list all the feature (most of which are best seen visually on their webpage) just click on the link for details.

Claro Capture

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Presentations reaching a new level!

It is not often I am impressed by a presentation. But just look at this one!

Prezi example

I have noted Prezi (
http://www.prezi.com/) on this website before as possibly being dyslexia friendly. But this it the best sample I have seen so far.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Online assessment - in Bosnian

Free online screening / assessment is now available online at this website.

Bosnian Profiler

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Adystrain - supporting those supporting dyslexia adults

"ADysTrain is a project for trainers in the field of adult training and for high-level personnel in leadership position as well as high and mid-level management. We want you to look again at those you work with. We want to help you understand how to get the best from those who may have reading and writing difficulties, and may need a different approach to learning than others."
Adystrain

Monday, 17 May 2010

How to study guides

An excellent site on how to study, with many wonderful tips.

How to study

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

SpLD web site

This website is a guide for educators, employers and parents to help children and young people in the preparation for their transfer from one educational establishment to another or on to employment. Developed by the Dyscovery Centre.

SpLD Transition

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Blog to ponder

I was recently pointed towards this blog. You may find it of interest.

Dyslexic Storyteller Blog

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

13. Online study skills for higher education - iSheds

It seems that the iSheds study skills guide for students is now available online in English. Languages to follow include Bosnian, Serbian, Croatian, Slovenian, Hungarian and Romanian.

You will find it on the iSheds website (www.isheds.info) under study skills.

Monday, 12 April 2010

11. Back - Ultra backup

I could not resist what could be called the ultimate backup - 256 GIG of memory. I don't remember to back up often enough, but this could help. Normally I have to pick and choose what to transfer to storage. But that required thinking, which these days I have little time to do. So I would love one of these. But at a slightly lower price!

256 Gig

Friday, 9 April 2010

09. Text to speech on the move

It seems that Captura has moved onwards and upwards. Check out their web site for the latest on this software that can be on your mobile phone which allows you to take a photo of text and have it read back to you. There is even a 30 day trial.

CapturaTalk

Thursday, 8 April 2010

08. Web site of the week

This is a great web site for dyslexia research. Not sure who runs it, but good job!

Dyslexia Research

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

SBD

Sorry but due to Specific Blogging Difficulties (personal) I have been unable to update this past week. I hope to return shortly.

# end

Thursday, 18 March 2010

18. Note taking

As the website so clearly puts it, "A.nnotate is an online annotation, collaboration and indexing system for documents and images, supporting PDF and MS Office formats. Instead of emailing different versions of a document back and forth (e.g. with a tutor) you can now all comment on a single read-only copy online. Unlike online word processors, the document is displayed in high quality with fonts and layout just like the printed version. It is easy to use and runs in all common web browsers, with no software or plugins to install." I have no more to add (except I am curious about that "magnifier"!)

Annotate

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

17. Dyslexia friendly

I decided to look up "dyslexia friendly" on the internet, just to see what appeared, thinking there may be something with respect to ICT. I am delighted to say that I found this - the section on "Using ICT to support dyslexic pupils" in the BDA's Dyslexia Friendly Schools pack.

Dyslexia Friendly ICT

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

16. Useful websites

Most of us take YouTube for granted. But it can be a little daunting for some. So here is a very brief introduction to how to get started in what is often seen as a sea (see?) of confusion.

Using YouTube

Monday, 15 March 2010

15. Search and research

Intute is a great site for researching subjects, putting a lot of material in one place. Unfortunately, there is a question of sustainability beyond August 2010. But at least until then, it should be a good source of information. In particular, look at the Internet training.

Intute

Sunday, 14 March 2010

14. Computer hardware - Monitors

While many are heading for smaller and lighter laptops, do not dismiss the joy of using large screens. The latest from Dell is a a 24 inch high spec screen for $339 (£260/€290)with a massive 1920 x 1080 resolution. We are not talking about size for the sake of it. To me this is equivalent of having the floor space to spread everything out and see it (every document) all at the same time. So I no longer have to remember what is where.

Of course I did see a computer lecturer with three 24 inch screen last week. But that would be greedy, wouldn't it? Wouldn't it?

Dell 24 inch monitor

Saturday, 13 March 2010

13. Supporting students

I was desparately looking for a video to recommend which had ideas about study and support. I reviewed far too many which were just inappropriate. Then I suddenly realised that I was going about it the wrong way. Instead of having them watch a video, why not ask the student to make a video on "Study Tips for Friends" or similar. That will require planning and understand what they need to do. So use it as a method to help them understand themselves better. Here is one short example.

Tips for studying

Friday, 12 March 2010

12. Books to download

According to the Guardian, there are now more ebooks to download onto the iPhone (27,000) than there are games (25,400). And with the iPad set to launch next month, are we going to see the start of the accessible book age? A nice thought, but there is still a long way to go from 27,000 books that are mostly free and fiction to the provision of school and university text books that are mainstream. But while luddite authors and publishers talk about protecting their profits in a world where their products can be more easily photocopied that you can copy a music CD, it is easy to see the author of the future writing for an e-publisher, and then you can pay for and download a technical book in the same way as you do with music. And the author gets paid the same way as a musician. And illegal reproduction? If I pay for it, watermark it with my name, and that will limit any urge to pass it on.

Here is another budding ebooks site - Getfreebooks

Thursday, 11 March 2010

11. User preferences

Here are ten tips about preferences, from Dyslexia in the Digital Age:
1. Where the e-learning environment can be changed, change it.
2. Provide feedback to designers and content managers about the dyslexia-friendly nature (or not!) of their website.
3. Where modifications cannot be made in the learning environment, see if it can be copied and pasted into another program such as Microsoft Word.
4. Talk to other users of the program.
5. For chat and messaging, try composing in Microsoft Word (with their spellchecker) and then copying into the chat zone.
6. If the site is password protected, make sure it is written down in several obvious places.
7. Make printouts wherever possible. These are often easier to annotate.
8. Use text-to-speech to access content, if necessary copying the text into another environment.
9. If it does not work, do not assume that it is only you that has the problem.
10. Do not assume that everything has to be done by the computer.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

10. Comments - Policies

I do get some feedback from readers, but not a huge amount. But today I would like to make a specific request. What do you think should be in legislation with respect to technology and dyslexia that would be fair and easy to implement? This is not an empty questions, but one that will feed a project I am looking to pull together with respected friends and colleagues across Europe.

You can either email me direct, or post a comment here.


Thanks.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

09. E-Readers

This website does a short review of a series of e-readers, asking if the iPad is overprices and has a place.

Lifehacker E-reader comparisons

Monday, 8 March 2010

08. Website of the week

I almost put this into the text-to-speech section, but decided that web of the week may be a better description. Basically it is a huge resource for, yes you guessed it, text to speech. Sorry, but you just have to look!

Text-to-speech comparisons

Sunday, 7 March 2010

07. Speech to text 2

There was a lot of fanfare last week about the wider introduction of speech-to-text as captioning on YouTube, and finally I found a website that explained it! Unfortunately the service is not available on all videos. But, I hear you say, why would a dyslexic individual be interested. Because this is a step along the technical path. Imagine that instead of watching somebody's video, you uploaded a lecture and you then had access to that text! At the moment, from what I have seen so far, you cannot download the wording, and the text quality is very dependent on sound quality. But the principle is there and worth following.

YouTube Speech to text

Saturday, 6 March 2010

06. Text-to-speech

Ever wondered where you could find some more voices for your text-to-speech, or maybe run it in a different language. Here is a website that give you the change to download free (or commercial if you want) voice for your tts software.

Text-to-speech Voices

Friday, 5 March 2010

05. Speech to text

I confess to being slightly confused by this one! There are five peices of speech-to-text software reviewed on this page. Yet to get to it, I went past their reveiw of the Windows 7 speech-to-text, which is not included.

Five reviews

Windows 7 speech-to-text

Thursday, 4 March 2010

04. Organising - Evernote

Evernote, the way to "remember everything" has undergone a number of transformations recent. It is well worth another look.

Evernote

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

03. Dyslexia in different languages

This is both a signpost to information, and a request. For some time I have had this webpage with information for parents in different languages. If anybody can supply other languages (currently in Brazilian, German, Greek, Hungarian, Polish and Romanian), I would be grateful.

WDNF About dyslexia

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

02. Transcription

I tend to avoid trying to transcribe a sound or video file as I can never keep up. But I have just been told about a piece of free transcription software that could help type up lecture recordings. It works by slowing down the playing, having an auto-rewind function (for when it gets too far ahead) and cue points.

www.audiotranskription.de/english/downloads-en.html

Monday, 1 March 2010

01. Writing

As the website says "Ghotit intelligent, context spell checker developed by dyslexics for dyslexics" It also says "Spelling is an integral part of the writing process. Confidence in spelling often has a profound effect on a writer's self-image. With Ghotit, you can write confidently, continuing to misspell as you always have, but with the confidence that Ghotit is there with you to review your writing and offer the right spelling text corrections."

Ghotit

Sunday, 28 February 2010

28. Touch screens

It seems that X2 Computing has a device out to rival the iPad, which is not available until April. There are two versions, both of which are bigger than the iPad. But then many people were producing mobile music players before the iPod. We shall see who wins the tablet wars.

X2 Computing Touch Screen

Saturday, 27 February 2010

27. Presentation

Many individuals think they are good at presentation because they can use flashy graphics. But I say that flashy graphics usually hides a lack of interesting content. Here are 10 Important Tips for Powerpoint Presentations that help one concentrate on the subject matter and ensure a powerful presentation. There are also lots of other suggestions for how to make and improve presentations.

Ten presentation tips

Friday, 26 February 2010

26. Shortcuts

To me there is nothing more frustrating than searching through all those menus in Excel to find just the function you need. And of course, not only can I not remember it, it does not even appear on the menus. For example, Crtl + ; give the current date. Well, all you have to do it go to Help (F1) and type in "shortcuts" and you have all of them listed. Print out the results and there you have a very good Shortcut Guide. So much quicker than other methods.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

25. Learning resource - Videos on Office

Why read the manual if you can find an online video? I found this great resources, thanks initially to trying to find something through a not-always-helpful Microsoft Office Help. It pointed to a (independent?) website with videos. Here is one that answers a long-standing question of mine - how to get rid of track change. But explore the rest of the site.

Woopid - Track changes

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

24. Comment - Is your website dyslexia friendly?

What makes a website dyslexia friendly? There are many factors, such as the more obvious background colours, font size and clear layout. However, some people seem to get lost in the idea of what is a clear layout. To me it means that when the website appears, you can very quickly see what is there and go to the right place. So why do so many people still make websites where you have no option but to scroll in order to see key information and links? And yes, I am talking about dyslexia-related websites.

And what about those little add-ons that sit at the bottom of the screen, hiding the words you have been searching for? Why does nobody stand back as look at it? The answer is that nobody can be bothered to talk to the user group. So unless you can tell me that the user group has used it and provided feedback, please do not tell me that a website is dyslexia-friendly.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

23. Drawing package

I was looking for a recommendations today on a project but nothing monumental to announce. However, I did find this nice little online sketching website.However, I found it works in Firefox but not in IE.

Sketchpad

Monday, 22 February 2010

22. Browsers

I have not tried Google Chrome for a bit, but I do note that it has a good list of shortcuts, which I find is very useful as it saves lots of time and effort. Of course you still have to remember the combinations! But that is why I have Post-Its!

Chrome Shortcuts

Sunday, 21 February 2010

21. Hardware - Spellcheckers

I tend to think of spelling being checked on the computer these days. But sometime there is a need for a handheld spellchecker, for example for pupils in the classroom, or for when you just do not have that computer open (rarely in my case!). So I decided to look up the trusted supplier Franklin and was delighted to see the range they have available. In particular I like the talking spellchecker but it is "Temporarily out of stock". The one shown here is also very good, but does not speak.

Franklin

Saturday, 20 February 2010

20. Screen recording

If you want a simple frame grab from the web for a ppt of Word document, then you can always use Prt Sc on your keyboard. But if you are looking for something more sophisticated, then this could be the answer. Features include the options to capture the entire document (even the part off screen), to capture a draggable area, to copy to the clipboard and to save as a jpg or png.

Screengrab

Friday, 19 February 2010

19. Organisation

Need to organise "everything"? Here is one piece of software that claims to be able to do that. According to the website, it could assist with:
• Contact information
• Trip information
• Financial information
• Make notes on clients
• Password management
• Shopping
• Health
• Teachers notes
• Students notes
• Project planning
• Make notes in courtrooms
• Gift ideas
• TV programs
• Capture news, track articles in periodicals
• Write books
• Music
• Sport
• Kids
• Domestic pets

All My Notes

Thursday, 18 February 2010

18. Notetaking

There are many types of programs for note taking, and if I was to review one a month, it would take me quite a few years to get through the ones I already know. So here is a list to let you decide.

Notetaking software

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

17. Dyslexia Friendly web sites

Readers of this blog will know that I recently had published a book called Dyslexia in the Digital Age. In it I talked about User Interfaces and dyslexia-friendly websites. But I did not name any. Why? Because I could not find any worth citing.

Let us take for example the issue of coloured backgrounds. Why can't designers implement something simple and easy to access instead of telling you to go to Options/Tools. One that does a reasonable job (though I would like to see more colour combinations) is the EU Project Embed.

Certain websites make an effort to use something such as Textic which uses templates. (See for example the British Dyslexia Association website.) But try searching for a word on the web page using the browser search and you will find the answer sits behind the Textic toolbar, unseen!

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

16. Useful website

There are many collaborative tools, and this website brings together may of those tools from the diverse collaborative areas of

Social bookmarking and web clipping tools
Calendar/event scheduling tools
Mind mapping tools
Note taking/sharing/annotation/whiteboarding tools
Research tools

Collaboration Tools

Monday, 15 February 2010

15. Search and Research

There are a number of search and research tools coming online that are taking advantage of the lastest advances in web technology. Here is one such website. It includes the search tools as well as tutorials as to how to get the best from searching.

Noodle Tools

Sunday, 14 February 2010

14. Computers - Dual screens

GScreen - Source: Engadget

Last month I mentioned a dual screen with a 10 inch screen. I did try it at BETT, and to be honest it felt more gimmick than tool. But now the rumours from Engadget are suggesting that the dual screen laptop by gScreen will be a massive 17 inches per screen (!) and out in May. I also heard it could be around 5.5kg, and a price tag of close to $3000.

Dual Screens


Saturday, 13 February 2010

13. Supporting students

iSheds, the project that is developing support for the dyslexic student in the Balkan countries, is launching an online support e-book for tutors. This should include sections on

  • Understanding Dyslexia
  • Learner preferences and learning styles of the dyslexic student
  • Preparting matierals for the dyslexic student
  • Assistive Technology for Tutors
  • Supporting the dyslexic learner

Apparently the first section of the English version should be available in about a week. We are very interested in all feedback.

Friday, 12 February 2010

12. Books to download

An e-book reader is only as good as the content available. There are many possible sources of e-books, and you could even make your own using the content from Gutenburg.

I did come across this free one that allows unlimited reading on the web, but member ($7 per month) also can download pdfs, e-book reader formats as well as mobile phone formats. They also offer unlimited support. The range seems excellent, thought I did not go into details.

Free ebooks

Thursday, 11 February 2010

11. User preferences - Templates

When you start a new Word document, wouldn't it be nice if that Template was already set up with your own Preferences. Here is a good web site that has lots of diagrams that helps you to set up a new Template to your own preferences.

TechRepublic Templates

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

10. Comment

I am repeatedly asked "What's new?" and am never quite sure how to answer that. As I said last month, there is little now that is truly new and innovative. Little that would make me stop or turn my head. But what may make a difference is the way things are packaged. The company Creative was around selling mp3 players long before the iPod arrived. But Apple repackaged and revolutionised our access to music. Will they do the same with e-books with the new iPad? Rumour has it that they are already talking to many publishers, and some publishers are moving away from Amazon because they refuse to pay enough money. (The cheap price is good for buyers, but if the authors do not get a reasonable about of money, there could be less books to choose.) And after all, an e-book is just a tablet PC with limited capability. Personally, I will not get a iPad just yet. I need to see what you can do on it. If there are books, what about the text-to-speech? But there is little doubt that there will be a copycat response to this oversized iPhone. And as we all know, it is no longer the iPhone that is the selling point, it is all those Apps. So let's see how dyslexia-friendly these iPad's are, if they add something to a "learning" experience, or whether it is just another stepping stone towards something that will create the long awaited revolution.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

09. E-readers

It seems there are many reviews of e-readers. Here are two that will suit different types of people.

E-book Readers review (UK) - long detailed review, like a blog.

Top Ten Reviews - Short tables with key comparisons.

Monday, 8 February 2010

8. Website of the Week

Lexdis is a site I have highlighted before, but you would have to go back over 100 entries to find it. And it is worth mentioning again. As it says "LexDis is for those who are using or developing on-line learning materials. All the strategies have been provided by students who have first hand experience of e-learning. We have pulled together handy hints and tips on technologies you can use to make e-learning easier."

In particular:
* Applications that students use during their online learning that may cause issues.
* Assistive Technologies that students use with their strategies to solve some of the issues arising.

Lexdis

Sunday, 7 February 2010

7. Backup and storage

When it comes to backup and storage, it is always difficult to decide what to go for, or even what features to look for. Here is a review of thirteen of the most popular ones for 2010. They all have a commercial perspective, but five offer free service for low usage. (N.B. I am not sure why Dropbox is not listed.) I particularly liked the video reviews that are available for some of them.

Backup and storage reviews

Saturday, 6 February 2010

6. Speech-to-text in Windows 7

In the UK there are still many students waiting for their funding for assistive technology. However, even Windows 7 has lots of feature that can be useful. For example, try using Speech-to-text. You can access details through the computer Control Panel/Speech Recognition, where you will find the following:

Start Speech Recognition
Start using your voice to control your computer

Set up microphone
Set up your computer to work properly with Speech Recognition

Take Speech Tutorial
Learn to use your computer with speech. Learn basic commands and dictation.

Train your computer to better understand you
Read text to your computer to improve your computer's ability to understand your voice. Doing this isn't necessary, but can help improve dictation accuracy.

Open the speech Reference Card
View and print a list of common commands to keep with you so you always know what to say.

And here is a short video that show a few details.
Speech-to-text on Windows 7

Friday, 5 February 2010

5.Text to speech

Behind every text-to-speech software is a good text-to-speech engine. You may like to try these voices and compare them to what you already have. Some are very impressive.

www.cepstral.com/
www.voiceforge.com/demo/
www.acapela-group.com/text-to-speech-interactive-demo.html
www.loquendo.com/en/demos/demo_tts.htm
www.neospeech.com/Default.aspx
www.wizzardsoftware.com/att_NV_demo.php

Thursday, 4 February 2010

4. Outlining

I thought that I would look for something to build on concept maps from this time last month. So I looked for Outliners. I found a website, but was rather overwhelmed by the list. I tend to try to find one or two to recommend, but in this case, I shall wait for people to tell me their favourites!

Outliners

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

3. Dyslexia in different languages

I have recently been asked to write an article on supporting the multilingual dyslexic individual. So I thought why not list all those EU projects and the languages that are in. Then people can see what is available in various languages. Below is also a brief guide to those projects that have overall guides to understanding dyslexia and where to find them.

Bulgarian - Adystrain, Dessdys, Dys2, Embed, Include, Veto
Bosnian - iSheds
Croatian - iSheds
Czech - Dys2
Danish - Adystrain
Finnish - Adystrain
German - Adystrain, Dys2
Greek - Discovery, Dys2, Include
Hungarian - Dessdys, Discovery, Dystrain, Embed, Include, iSheds, Veto
Italian - Dessdys, Discovery, Embed, Veto
Lithuanian - Dys2
Polish - Embed , Include
Romanian - Dystrain, iSheds, Veto
Serbian - iSheds
Slovenian - iSheds
Spanish - Adystrain, Embed
Swedish - Dystrain
Turkish - Dessdys, Discovery
Welsh - Dystrain

Brief Summaries
Adystrain - Training for managers and vocational tutors
Dessdys - Study skills for students (temporary website)
Discovery - Transition support - Primary to Secondary
Dystrain - E-learning for teachers (Email me for details)
Embed - Dissemination of EU Projects
Include - Self-support for adults
iSheds - Identification and support in higher education in Balkans
Veto - BDA Quality Mark for institutions (Due online soon)

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

2. Portable Application

Portable applications are those that you can put onto a USB memory stick. The latest Portableapps Suite (from portableapps.com) has just been released, and includes:
* Mozilla Firefox, Portable Edition (web browser)
* Mozilla Thunderbird, Portable Edition (email)
* Mozilla Sunbird, Portable Edition (calendar/tasks)
* ClamWin Portable (antivirus)
* Pidgin Portable (instant messaging)
* Sumatra PDF Portable (PDF reader)
* KeePass Password Safe Portable (passwords)
* Sudoku Portable (game)
* Mines-Perfect Portable (game)
* CoolPlayer+ Portable (audio player)
* Pnotes Portable (sticky notes)
* OpenOffice.org Portable* (office suite)
- Writer (word processor)
- Calc (spreadsheet)
- Impress (presentations)
- Base (database utility)
- Draw (drawing)

This means that if you like to always use the same software, and need to move from one computer to another, you will always have your software with you. The one big item missing is text-to-speech. But I am working on it!

Portable Apps Suite

Monday, 1 February 2010

1. Dyslexia Update

Bosnian Dyslexia Organisation (Web launch Feb 2010 - http://www.disleksija.ba/)
This newly formed dyslexia association is developed out of Tuzla University, and is working in collaboration with the iSheds project. It will provide a portal for all those with an interest in dyslexia in Bosnia.


iSheds (www.isheds.eu)
Developing dyslexia support in higher education in Bosnian, Croatian, Hungarian, Romanian, Serbian and Slovenian as well as English. Online ebook for support workers to be available in March 2010. Paper based version already available.

Embed (http://www.embeddyslexia.eu/)
Self-evaluation tools for institutions now available as well as teachers self-assessment. Also self-learning modules. Available in EN, HU, BG, ES and IT.

Please help the Embed European Assistive Technology Survey by completing the online form at http://tinyurl.com/embedtechnologysurvey (NB If you want to return to it later, copy that long web address at the top. It refers just to your data.)


Dessdys (http://www.dessdys.eu/, but currently hosted at www.bf.hu/dessdys while in development). Online e-learning on study skills. First Newsletter already produced. Available upon request.Available from April 2010 in EN, BG, HU, IT and TR.

Dyslexia Veto
BDA-led project on European dissemination of the Quality Mark, creating dyslexia friendly vocational training centres in Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Romania and the UK. Website launch in February 2010.

GeoDysCo Contacts (www.wdnf.info/contacts)
This now has several hundred international, national, local and individual contacts, with more coming onstream this week. 100 professionals working in the field of dyslexia in Croatia to be added in February. If you/your organisation wish to be listed or know others, please contact me for a template.

Conferences
BDA Workshop Conference 25-26 Feb - Liverpool http://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/
EDA International Conference: Bruges 22-24 April - http://www.khbo.be/eda-khbo-dyslexiaconference


Books
Forgive me for "advertising" but my book is finally out. "Dyslexia in the digital age" was published by Continuum in January.


Sunday, 31 January 2010

31. Commentary on provision of technology

I co-authored a recent report that (in theory) could contribute towards an agenda which provides appropriate support to dyslexic individuals in Europe. One of the recommendations was that they "should provide free access to all for the main assistive technologies, such as text-to-speech, in all the official languages ....". I have seen a number of analyses that talk about the social impact of failing to support the dyslexic individual, and how there should be more trained teachers. But where is the comparison of how much the government pays out for provision of assistive technology compared to what it would be cost to produce a good open source series of products available for every student? Nor is there an analysis of why this analysis does not happen. Could it be the vested interests of the advisors?

Saturday, 30 January 2010

30. Learning resource

I confess I have not tried this one, but it was recommended by a reader. ( Thanks A). Apparently this free software is "very similar to Look, cover, write and check for learning spellings, but on the computer. It great for students who likes to learn things on the computer." According to the website "Unlike other spelling programs, the word lists are completely customisable so that they can always match what your child is required to do for school." Review comments include "Simple, research-based, easy for kids to learn & use. Good font size and face for kids. Self correction is built right in." and "You can add your own spelling list. This program is good for kids and adults because it isn't to childish."

RnRSpelling 1.3

Friday, 29 January 2010

29. Writing

Occassionally I come across a sight that is almost too good to be true. This is one such site. It takes your essay, and rates it for you. The four main sections are called Plagiariam clearance, Free text evaulation, Ultimate proofreading and Text enhancement. And it is free. There must be a catch somewhere, but currently I cannot see it.

Essayrater

Thursday, 28 January 2010

28. iPad

This year I am trying to highlight a different category each day rather than a specific product. Today, we have both, since the launch yesterday of the Apple iPad seems not only to be a product but also attempting to create a marked between the smart phone and the netbooks. Check out the BBC video. However, I have not yet managed to find out about the text-to-speech capability.

iPad

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

27. Presentations

What do you get if you cross a Powerpoint with a concept map? Answer: A Prezi. It Powerpoint is the linear presentation tool that takes you from A-Z in a straight line, which works for most, then Prezi is a presentation tool where you can jump to any point at any time. It is made for those of us who do not think in a linear fashion. It means you can have a lot of information to hand and jump to whatever you need next. Conversely it means that you need to be extra careful that you present all the information in a structured manner that informs the listener/viewer. Check out the Showcase presentations. They have also just made quite a few improvement to make it easier to use.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

26. Automated functions

Many people use the mouse to access the drop-down menus rather. But there is a quicker ways that does not require much memory. One of my favourites (it works in Microsoft Office) is F10. Hit that button and the short-cuts prompts appear. Then just hit Alt and the onscreen prompt letter, and you have the result. (It may not sound like sense but try it and see if you can find a better way to explain it briefly!)

Monday, 25 January 2010

25. OCR

I do not use OCR that often. But occasionally I come across a document that is a picture rather than text. For example, a few days ago I wanted to copy and paste something from the Rose Report but found I could not. The answer is online OCR. This is a recommended version. (Thanks Pietro.)

www.cvisiontech.com/

Sunday, 24 January 2010

24. Comment - What to recommend?

Having said yesterday about an exciting new project, and how it appear to have neglected the issue of technology, it made me think what I would do if asked. Of course I shall avoid the obvious answer (read my book Dyslexia in the Digital Age - sorry about the plug) and say that it will vary from country to country, but the requirements are clear - text-to-speech, concept mapping, memory aids and reminders as a minimum. If you can nominate those (in your language and preferably available free) then to me you are a long way towards being dyslexia-friendly with respect to technology. However, simply knowling the name of the software is not enough. There has to be working knowledge of it, and easy access to it. Does that mean everybody in the place awarded the Quality Mark needs to know how to use it? I think my answer is no, but everybody should know that there is a solution, and who has more details. Without this, how can you say that an institution (or even an individual) is dyslexia friendly?

Saturday, 23 January 2010

23. Projects - Dyslexia Veto

I have yet to work out what the title actually means, but the project is very exciting. It is about the expansion of the British Dyslexia Association Quality Mark (QM) into Europe. For those not familiar with it, the QM is a title of distinction that is given to an institution/organisation that reaches a certain level with respect to being dyslexia-friendly. It includes requirements for all aspects from requirements for staff awareness, to access to assessments. However, from the technology perspective, it appears to only talk about "awareness of resources" rather than access to resources and knowledge of resources. I shall watch with interest to see what appears in that respect. Despite this, I think it will be an exciting project to watch, and should have a huge impact across Europe, provide it is taken up wider than the partner institutions.

The countries involved are UK, Bulgarian, Hungary, Italy and Romania. Currently there is no website available. I will advise when available.

Friday, 22 January 2010

22. Browsers - Addons for appearance

There is nothing worse than having to inherit somebody else's "ideas" of what something should look like. In this case I am talking about browsers and that it may not be set up as I prefer. One reason why I like Firefox so much is that there are so many people out there who produce add-ons to make the browsers look like and respond as I like. There are too many to report on, but they are listed. But it may take some time to find the right one. Be careful to check what you are looking at is compatible with the latest version of Firefox.

Firefox Add-ons

Thursday, 21 January 2010

21. Hardware - E-Readers

I have reviewed many e-readers on this blog, and sometime it seems there are several launched every week. Therefore rather than try to look at each, I thought I would point out a good review page. Just click on one of the 25 (yes 25!) images to go to their nice and short review.

Bloomberg's Buyers guide to E-Readers

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

20. Screen recording software

A few days ago I realised that I needed to save something from the screen and send it to somebody. But I was not sure what software to use. After talking to a few friends and colleagues, I came across this website that made some recommendations. Although tempted by BB Flashback (I even downloaded their 30 day free trial version), I have decided to opt for Techsmith's Camtasia Studio, despite it costing more. The reason is that I found a friend who has it installed at the college where he does some teaching, and has offered to provide me with support if required. The problem is that too many of these softwares are crammed so full of extras that you can get lost in sub-menus. So my preference is to go for something that is either simple and free (e.g. CamStudio - OK, but not so dyslexia-friendly if you want to make a professional quality video), or where I know I can get some sensible help.

Screen recording software

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

19. Memory and organisation - Stickies


Once upon a time I used to write a note onto a small piece of paper and then put it on a cork board. Then somebody said use a computer. I miss my cork board, until now. Listhings is a simple website that allows you to do just that - put sticking on a virtual cork board. Hit F11 to make it fill the entire screen, and you have the cork board covering the entire screen.

I know of a good friend who complained that she have her entire desktop covered with Stickies. Could this be the way out of her problem?

Listhings

Click here for another 11 types.

Monday, 18 January 2010

18. Writing aids - word prediction

Word prediction is good, but not always. Recently I mentioned on this blog a really great little piece of free software called TypingAid. The beauty of this is that you can decide what you want in the predictor. That is, you have a text file, and put in the phrases you wish to have appear. At the moment, I have just three in there, which are common things I want to get right each time. If I type "ian", it provide "ian.smythe@ukonline.co.uk". If I type "Dys" (note the capital) it offers me the my full definition of dyslexia (I use it quite a lot!). And if I type "htt", it offers this blog. (I know this looks sad, but I do it for illustration.

However, the same company is now looking to extend this with BlitzType, which has similar features to TypingAid, namely
* Auto-complete words and phrases in any window.
* Automatically learn from typing.
* Hide or always show suggestion.
* Different ways to auto-complete, including 'text expand'.
* Add words and phrases to database with shortcut key.
* Portable.

Coming features:
* Support European languages with accents.
* Read user-defined phrases from an external word list
* multiple suggestions in the tooltip.
* improve usability

But to me the most exciting part is that TypingAid can now handle many more scripts, such as Bosnian. If this is the case, then simple, dyslexia-friendly word prediction can be made available in far more languages than previously. I would welcome feedback of test languages.

BiltzType and TypingAid

Sunday, 17 January 2010

17. Design award

I was recently given the opportunity to contribute to a debate about what new guidelines should be put forward with respect to web accessibility. I suggest that it was not new guidelines that were required, but implementation of the old guidelines.

As I recently wrote:
3. The EU needs to ensure its own sites are compliant with dyslexia guidelines.
The page entitled Focus eAccessibility (http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/policy/accessibility/index_en.htm) is not a good example for designers. The page is too cluttered, and does not have any buttons for accessibility. If you use the menus, you can change background colours, but the clarity of navigation decreases. The EU and other recognized bodies, such as government departments and the WAI, should practise what they preach. (Dyslexia in the Digital Age, Smythe, 2010)

The trouble is that the people who ask for such advice do not have the power to implement it. What makes it worse is that those supposedly working for the good of the dyslexia community fail to provide adequate exemplars that could be a reference source for those catering for all and not just dyslexic individuals.

Perhaps what we needs is some form of Award for Dyslexia Friendly (Websites and Design) - The DyFrA's.

16. Website of the week

While this blog can give you the latest information on dyslexia and technology, and you can search back through the archives using the search box (top left), sometimes you need to be able to access more information, of find company/product details which are not always accessible on a manufacturers website. Emptech provides this and much more. As the blurb says "EmpTech aims to provide information resources on assistive technologies that are designed to help those with specific difficulties or disabilities work and study more effectively. The database includes product descriptions, links to manufacturers, suppliers with addresses as well as other related resources including advice and training guides where available. News items linked to the use of assistive technologies are regularly posted and updates occur on a weekly basis."

Emptech

Friday, 15 January 2010

15. Search and research

There are many ways to do research, most of which produce masses of words which simply confuse. However, there are two ways that make life a little simpler, using the latest internet technology. The best appear to be Zotero and Yahoo Search Pad. Both have videos on their front pages to help explain how you can log information, its source and save in a convenient format.

However, there is a rumour that there is another (commercial) form which not only save the information from the web, but then turns it into a concept map. However, more details are awaited before I can confirm it. But it could be of significant benefit to many people.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

14. Computers


At the BETT (technology and education) show today there was little new that would be of interest to many people. There was no cutting edge hardware that would guarantee learning success. Nor was there software that seemed much different from last year.

The one thing that caught my eye was the dual screen laptop from Kohjinsha. Apparently they are the one of the first on the market, boasting two 10.1 inch (1024 x 600) screens. These would be great if you are like me and hate having to drill down through all those open windows to find what you want. How wonderful it would be to be able to see all the documents you need at the same time. That said, this one is a little small for me, but suggests that others will be coming along soon.

Vyepc

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

13. Supporting students

Following on from the blog of yesterday, I receive an email which raises something that have been a concern of mine for some time. With permission (thanks, A) I quote the following "I have found that people with dyslexia are given the technology to help them, but not given support on how to use it. I was give a number of things to help me, but was "NOT" shown how to use it and a few other dyslexics have told me the same thing. To me this is just a waste of money, because if you cannot use it, because you have not been shown or can work it out for yourself, you do not use it. I think this needs highlighting too." So the question is not just where is the support, but what is effective support, and how do you ensure the right support is given to each individual? Clearly, a standard one-off technology needs assessment is not the right answer.

In iSHeds (www.isheds.eu), a project supporting dyslexic students in university in the Balkan countries (Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary and Romania), the "solution" has been to develop e-learning for both those supporting dyslexic students and the students themselves. Of course it cannot cover all aspects, but in a region where currently there is nothing, it offers a starting point, a kind of lifeline, to many who would otherwise have nothing. The irony is that those Balkans students could end up with more support available than what many students currently receive across the UK.

The iSheds material is, apparently, due to be available in about a month, and will be in English as well as the languages mentioned. And it will all be free. However, the concept mapping tool developed as part of the project is already available at www.ikonmap.com

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

12. Books

I know that I do not usually mention books here, but this one is slightly different - it is mine!

Dyslexia in the Digital Age is launched tomorrow. As you can imagine, it talks about dyslexia in the digital age, in just about every aspect. For more details, visit the publishers website through the link www.tinyurl.com/didasmythe

Monday, 11 January 2010

11. User preferences

There are many ways to aid reading, and one that many dyslexic individuals have found useful is to change the background colour. This can be by using coloured paper, or it could be by changing the background colour on the screen. There are several says to do this.

By changing browser setting - this can override the website colours, and can be accessed through browser Tools/Options.

By changing preferences in programs such as Microsoft Word and Acrobat.

By download programs such as T-Bar, a simple tool that you can make bigger and small, and choose any colours you wish.

The last is the best I have found, and it is free.

And how do you know what is right for you? Try www.wdnf.info/colours/en/

Sunday, 10 January 2010

10. Nothing new!

This coming week sees the 2010 BETT Show in London, the trade show that is billed as the biggest Education and Technology Show in the world. I shall be going, but only to network with a few colleagues. Sadly, there is little new to see. Why am I so cynical? Because a few years ago there was exciting innovation that gave the show a real buzz, and in a field devoid of content, there was the potential to excite the imagination. But now we are at some sort of saturation, with little potential to be amazed by something new.

Does this mean that there will be nothing new? Are we doomed for years of incremental change that is marketing rather than needs driven?

Sadly I think that is the case. I am sure there will be new netbooks and tablets, 3D televisions and robots. There will be those hand-held voting devices, learning on mobile phones and many other increments. But will there be anything which mean that kids learn literacy skills, better, faster, easier? I will let you know!

BETT 2010

Saturday, 9 January 2010

09. E-readers

What is an e-reader? Basically it is a tool that allows you to read a book from a flat screen. The other way to look at it is a computer, but with limited capabilities. The one most in the news is Amazon's Kindle. But there are many more out there - Barnes and Noble Nook, Asus, iRex, Stanza, not to mention Google book. Already this year we have seen the launch of iRiver's Story, Hanvon's WISEreader and Bookeen's Orizon! So else is in store?

But to me an eReader is nothing more than a tablet PC, in black and white (usually) which can do only one thing - present books and magazines for reading. How is that different from having a tablet netbook? The answer is that the latter will do a lot more. Why do I mention all this now? Because if the rumours are right, Apple are looking to do with books what their iPhone did to music. How to you do that? By launching a tablet Apple. The rumours have been around for the best part of a year. They are having a big event later this month. Could we see Apple change the world of reading? And if so, where will text-to-speech feature on their agenda?

Friday, 8 January 2010

08. Wiki of the week!

This is one of the most useful dyslexia document resources I have come across recently. Although it calls itself a DSA (disabled students allowance) Assessors resource, the breath of the documentation goes well beyond that. It includes links to news reports, official government documents, IT links etc.

DSA Assessors wiki

Thursday, 7 January 2010

07. Backup and storage

If you are away from your computer and cannot get access to a file, it is inconvenient. If your computer is stolen just before you are supposed to hand in an essay that you have spent months preparing, it is devastating. The need for Backup should never be underestimated. Dropbox provides a no/low cost solution to backup. To confirm how simple the latest version is, I opened a new (second) account yesterday, downloaded about 20 Meg of software to install, and chose a free account (2 gig). Then I drag and dropped my latest document (around 12 Meg) into the folder. While I worked on other things, it magically transferred itself to an online deposit folder, creating instant security. Furthermore, my friend (or could be a tutor) could also immediately have access to it irrespective of where they are and the file size. They just have to go to the web site and I give them my user name and password. Check out their video for a quick explanation.

Dropbox download

For alternatives use the following keywords in the Search (top right): storage, backup.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

06 Speech-to-text latest


Speech-to-text is moving forward rapidly! Now you can have a free (at the moment) full speech-to-text system on your iPhone, drive by Nuance Dragon Dictation App, launched in December 2009. This high quality four minute guide provides all you need to know. As the screen shows, the results can be sent by email with no problems, send as an sms, or you can add it to your clipboard and paste wherever.

Dragon Dictation

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

05. Text-to-speech

There is a new player in the text-to-speech market, which could be very interesting on three counts.

1) The prices are very good - British English for $75

2) They have Polish and Romanian voices as well as British and America.

3) They have a demo video on the front pages that uses an avatar which just has to be seen to be believed. I am not sure how they sync it, but if it is done automatically, it offers a taste of what is just around the corner.

There are also other goodies tuck away, such as creating sound files for presentations.

Ivona

Monday, 4 January 2010

04. Concept mapping update

The concept mapping blog called mindmappingsoftwareblog has some of the latest information what is happening in the concept mapping world. Currently they are highlight the new version of Inspiration, their search for the most improved software, and and "Ten steps to a killer project min map."

On YouTube, I did a search for "mind map" and found that
Mind Mapping by Stephen Pierce had over 120,000 hits. Well worth the seven minutes.

Ikon Maps is now up and running. It is a simple free online concept mapping tool. The beauty is that there are few menus. This means we (I am involved) can provide versions in many different languages very easily.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

03. GeoDyCo - the ultimate dyslexia contacts

20 years ago, when I first became involved in dyslexia,the best way to get information was to physically go to a local knowledgable person and ask for details. Thus in the UK there was a thriving system of local associations. Now the internet is the place to go for information. Hence the slow demise of the local groups. However, we still need to find connections, either to what few groups there are, or to national associations, information centres, institutions, local tutors or any other form of information and support centre. It is for this reason that I have developed GeoDysCo (Geomaps Dyslexia Contacts). It is currently in Beta, and I would welcome contact from anybody who has organisations, institutions and individuals they think should be listed. See the website for the details I needs.

GeoDysCo

Saturday, 2 January 2010

02. Portable assistive technology suite

The Regional Support Centre Scotland North and East have produced a form of portable assistive technology suite. (See my blog entry for 28 Oct 2008.) Their version has broken down into three sections - AccessApps, LearnApps and TeachApps.

The full list of sections covered includes
Guides
Office
Planning and Organisation
Multimedia Tools
Reading and Writing Support
Visual Support
Keyboard/Mouse Alternatives
Browsers
Presentation Tools
VLE
Utilities
Backup/Synchronise
Simulation and Modelling
Games

All this software will operate on a USB memory stick and therefore can be carried anywhere and used on any (Windows) computer. This is an excellent extension of the
PortableApps suite. Note that the full collection is more than 6GB.

EduApps

Friday, 1 January 2010

01. Dyslexia Update

This is a brief update on various projects, trying to be in the style of Twitter (<140 face="arial">
Adystrain (www.adystrain.org)
Training for managers and tutors supporting dyslexic individuals, with online e-books. Contents available in EN, FI, DE, HU, BG, ES.


Embed (http://www.embeddyslexia.eu/)
Self-evaluation tools for institutions now available as well as teachers self-assessment. Also self-learning modules. Available in EN, HU, BG, ES and IT.

Please help the Embed European Assistive Technology Survey by completing the online form at http://tinyurl.com/embedtechnologysurvey (NB If you want to return to it later, copy that long web address at the top. It refers just to your data.)

Dessdys
Online e-learning on study skills. Available by April 2010 in EN, BG, HU, IT and TR.

Dys2 (Son of http://www.edysgate.org/)
Edysgate won a UNESCO World Summit Award for Best in E-Content and Creativity in 2009. This is games and activities that may be used by tutors to help develop cognitive skills. Dys2 is Son of Edysgate. It is in development but Edysgate is still online at www.edysgate.org. Languages of Edysgate – EN, BG, DE, DK, ES.

iSheds (www.isheds.eu)
Developing dyslexia support in higher education in Bosnian, Croatian, Hungarian, Romanian, Serbian and Slovenian as well as English. E-books online in March 2010 for students and support workers.

Dyslexia Veto
BDA-led project on European dissemination of the Quality Mark, creating dyslexia friendly vocational training centres in Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Romania and the UK. Website launch in February 2010.

Ikonmaps (www.ikonmap.com)
Intuitive, free, multilingual, online concept mapping designed for dyslexic individuals. We have menu translations for Bosnian, BG, Croatian, HU, IT, RO, Serbian, Slovenian, Welsh. Please email if you can supply in other languages. (Needs less than 20 words translated!)

Dyslexia Contacts (www.wdnf.info/contacts)
GeoDysCo - an open access international, national, local and individual contacts database with GeoMaps I have been developing – is launched in a Beta version. If you/your organisation wish to be listed or know others, please contact me for a template.

Conferences
BDA Workshop 23/24 Feb and Conference 25-26 Feb - Liverpool http://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/
EDA International Conference: Bruges 22-24 April - http://www.khbo.be/eda-khbo-dyslexiaconference