I have been following Anthony Evan's recent series of posts with interest, as he has trawled the web logging tools available online to support inclusion. Many of these freeware or open source environments may also be of interest to colleagues working with younger students, and interested in exploring tools available outside of mainstream suppliers to add to their software tool boxes well worth a visit to explore his recommendations.
On a visit to one of the sites linked from Anthyony's Blog, SEN Teacher, I came across "The Transporters," developed in partnership between Culture Online, Cambridge University's Autism Research Centre, Catalyst Pictures and the National Autistic Society. This Online Resource uses Thomas the Tank Engine like characters, to explore through stories, narrated by Steven Fry, how facial expressions portray emotions. As with most tools such as this they are adaptable to meet the needs of individuals. In my class I have a number of students who find difficulty in reading and comprehending the reactions of their peers, and whose emotional maturity may make this space valuable additional resource to use alongside SEAL resources already available.
With the recent emergence of Linux based tools such as the Asus ee, primary colleagues, might be interested in exploring some of these tools too, as I spotted one or two among these that offered Linux versions for download. Following a browse last night through a computer magazine at a local supermarket, I am hoping to find some time to have a play this weekend with a collection of "portable Applications" recommended for download to USB and Flash Drive. Among these was a version of Open Office, Audacity, Firefox, the GIMP and a bookmarking application, that run directly from the Flash Drive. Having just submitted a bid to develop an Asus project with our Y5 students, it will be interesting to see whether there are Linux Versions of these lite applications, and how easy it would be to run and integrate this use of software with the portable platforms. Instead of wheeling out the laptop trolley, perhaps we might find ourselves handing out the flash drives? Interesting thought! But something to be followed up later.