ELR Software Pty Ltd
eLr - What's New 2004
27 new tasks have been added to Sentence Processing, Single Clause Active Sentences. These new tasks all appear in a new subsection which is called "Using Descriptive Phrases". The goal of this subsection is to provide materials which
SceneTyper is a model where the client views a scene and is required to rearrange the phrases or words so that the meaning of the sentence matches the picture.
The level of difficulty can be modified depending on the client's skills and/or the goals of the session. You may choose to either use "rearrange phrase" or "rearrange words". In the "rearrange phrase" mode, you may use color coding which highlights the roles of the different parts of the sentence (eg subject, verb, adjectival phrases etc), or the color coding can be turned off. In both the "phrase" and "word" mode, each item can be repeated a number of times by using the "Shuffle" button which reshuffles the words or phrases. If the client requires a cue or prompt, the target sentence can be displayed by selecting "Prompt". This enables the client to complete the task as a word matching activity. Or alternatively, the client can read the target sentence, then remove the prompt, and continue the item without the target sentence visible.
In the second model, SceneSentence Matcher, a scene is displayed, along with 2 or 3 sentences. The client is required to read the sentences and select the sentence which matches the meaning of the picture. The tasks in this subsection highlight how the position of a phrase affects meaning. For example, "The girl is washing the dog with a long tail", "The girl with a long tail is washing the dog".
The level of difficulty is controlled in two ways:
- - the number of phrases in the sentence - The first few tasks contain sentences with 1 descriptive phrase. You may choose a task which focuses on phrases which describe the subject, the object, or the verb. There are also tasks where there are 2 or more phrases.
- - the number of choices - There are tasks which contain 2 sentences (f2), or 3 sentences (f3).
We hope these tasks are useful, and we welcome any feedback. We'd like to hear your comments about any aspect of this section, eg the nature of the errors which are included in the tasks, the sentence types etc. This feedback helps as we continue to develop this section, as we plan to provide materials which target multiclause sentences, adjectives, adverbs etc.
We have continued reviewing Phonemic Awareness - Final Consonants - Identifying Final Sounds. Last month we added new tasks to this section using the PicTextMatch model. These tasks focused on strengthening the ability to first of all identify the final sound in a word, and then be able to match the letter to the sound. The focus of those new tasks was on long sounds (eg m, s, th). Tasks are divided into those with "long" sounds and those with "short" sounds, because long sounds are easier for students to hear, as they last longer. So for some students it is useful to start this type of activity with easier sounds, ie long sounds.
There is now a new subsection in Phonemic Awareness - Final Consonants. called "Sound Letter Matching", and all the new tasks from last month and 27 this month have been included in this section. This naming describes more precisely the nature of these tasks, and the subsection is divided into tasks which are easier (low level), or more difficult (higher level). The low level tasks are those where the student makes choices between sounds which are very different, or have a "high contrast" (eg p/k, or m/s). Mouth position for these sounds look different (ie use different articulators), and also the letter shapes are quite different. The higher level tasks are those where the sounds look or sound similar, and the letter shapes may also be similar (eg m/n, p/b, s/sh). The task names allow you to select appropriate tasks for clients, depending on their understanding of sound and letter concepts, and the ability to discriminate sounds. For example, you can choose between:
An IALP conference suggestion, this new model is included in "Activity Toolbox-Game generators" to allow Registered Users to build/play/print a word search puzzle based on their own words sets. It is based on our existing WordSearch model which is used extensively through the "Reading and Spelling" section particularly. The screen starts in "Create" mode which has a text-box into which words may be typed directly, or inserted using standard "cut-and-paste" techniques. Switch to "Play "mode and the screen is essentially the same as in model 1041 (See http://www.elr.com.au/support/log_2002.htm#2002_02 for operating details). This new "builder" version also allows the user to select the dimensions of the puzzle grid to generate easier, smaller puzzles or larger, more difficult versions.
The new sequencing model introduced last month was much appreciated by conference visitors to our stand. This month we've added a "going to school" and "fishing" sequence. And again,on the basis of conference suggestion, added a new sub-section "Seriation". These tasks involve sequences within one activity, eg drawing a face. We would welcome suggestions for more examples of sequences which would suit the various populations with language and cognitive impairments.
We have reviewed and added new tasks to one of the Phonemic Awareness sections - "Final Consonants-Identifying Final Sounds-Pictorial. The model which has been used is PicTextMatch. The 7 existing tasks have been reviewed, and 21 new tasks have been added. This model provides material to strengthen the client's ability to identify and name the last sound in a word, and to then select the letter which matches the sound (phoneme-grapheme knowledge). The aim of the review was to provide more activities in this subsection, and to present a gradation in the level of difficulty. There are 4 ways that the level of difficulty has been modified.
This review will occur over a couple of months. This month, we have focused on the "long" sounds , as these are generally easier for clients to identify. Next month, the short sounds will be reviewed .
We have opened up a whole new section this month, called "Using Language". This new section aims to provide materials for therapy which is focused on comprehension and expression beyond the single sentence level. The first subsection is called "Sequences" and includes a number of pictorial activities. The client is encouraged to rearrange the pictures to make a sequence, and then use language to explain the sequence. The subsection has been divided into sequences which are considered to be "common" or "less common". The "common" sequences are those types of activities which would be experienced by most people on a daily basis (eg brushing teeth). The "less common" sequences are those events which require wider knowledge of the world (eg eggs hatching). Most of the sequences would be appropriate for paediatric or adult populations, though some are more targeted to adult clients (eg filling the car with fuel).
A new model called "ImageSequencer" has been developed to present these sequence tasks. It is quite a flexible model, as the clinician or helper can modify the level of difficulty by selecting to present either 2, 3, 4, (and upto 5 or 6) pictures in the sequence. To use the model, first select how many pictures you require in the sequence. The client then selects any picture that needs to be swapped to a new position (by clicking on the picture), and then clicks the position in the sequence where it should go.
Reinforcement for correct placement of the cards is provided by red highlighting. The reinforcement is optional. By de-selecting "Highlight" there is no reinforcement which may be useful if you want to present alternative sequences, or for things like "silly sequences", where the client may be encouraged to explain and give reasons.
There are a total of 45 new tasks this month. Seventeen tasks have been added to the new section, "Using Language". These appear in the subsection "Sequences" "Common" and "Less Common".
Twenty-eight new tasks have also been added to "Sentence Processing". These appear in a new subsection "Single Clause Passive Sentences". Sixteen of the tasks use the SentenceTyper model. In this model the client views the picture and rearranges phrases or words to match the sense of the picture. In the "rearrange phrase" mode, color coding may to used to reinforce the understanding of the grammatical roles and themes of the sentence (eg "who" "what doing" "to whom"). In most of the tasks, only one sentence is presented - the passive form. In some tasks, there are two sentences - the active and passive. This enables the client to practise forming two forms of the sentence with the same meaning (eg "The boy kicked the blocks"; "The blocks were kicked by the boy".)
The other twelve of the new tasks use the SceneSentence Match model. In this model the client looks at the picture, and selects the sentence which matches the meaning in the picture. The level of difficulty is controlled by the number of sentences to choose from (easy level is 2 sentences, difficult level is 4 sentences). In some tasks, only one sentence is correct and the focus is the passive form. In others, there are two correct sentences - the active form and the passive form.
As of the August 2004 edition, the eLr-Offline CD contains "Trialware" versions of all 5 volumes of Rude Readers for users to examine directly, or to install from the CD. Users receiving new or update CD's from this month on should Look in the "Bonus Programs" section in the "autorun" loader program on the CD.
The "Free Trial" option will open the Rude Readers Library which allows cross-referenced access to these twenty five different "eBooks" intended primarily for children with speech, language and reading disorders. The "Installation" option allows you to install one or more volumes of Rude Readers onto your computer.
These Rude Readers are functional, but as "Trialware" versions they are slightly limited in that every second image in the contained Readers has been removed and the "Export" feature is not available. Please contact us, or visit our web site www.elr.com.au/readers to obtain your own licence "key" (User IDCode and Password) which will remove these limitations.
"SceneTyper" is a new model developed for the August edition. The client is presented with a scene and is required to rearrange words or phrases to make a sentence which matches the meaning of the picture. It provides the client with material to strengthen the ability to process and manipulate sentences, and increases the understanding of how meaning is affected by word and phrase order. This model has a number of features which enable modifications to suit the level of the client, or the goals of therapy-
The tasks load with color coding as the default, but the tasks may also be presented without color coding. Color coding has been described in the literature relating to Sentence Processing (Byng "Sentence Processing Deficits: Theory and Therapy", Cog Neuropsychology, 1988. Marshall Chiat Pring "An impairment in processing verbs' thematic roles: a therapy study" Aphasiology, 1997. Bryan "Colourful Semantics 2", www.naplic.org.uk, 1998). It has been used to develop an awareness of the roles of the different grammatical structures in a sentence (eg agent or actor, action, theme etc).
This enables the client to complete the task as a word matching activity if literacy skills are low. Alternatively, the target sentence may be viewed and then clicked away, so that the client receives an initial prompt, but completes the task without viewing the target sentence.
In some instances it may be useful to first of all do the task as a "rearrange phrases", and then repeat the task as a "rearrange words" activity.
Fifty-one new tasks have been added this month. Forty-five new tasks have been added to Sentence Processing [Single Clause Active Sentences]. The tasks use the new model ("SceneTyper") which is described above, and also "SceneSentenceMatcher". All of the new tasks appear in the Subject-Verb, Subject-Verb-Noun, and Subject-Verb-Prepositional Phrase subsections.
Six new tasks have been added to Phonology Skills and Early Sounds [Auditory Discrimination]. These tasks are in a new sub section "Vowels". The tasks present minimal pairs for 6 commonly confused vowels - long /ee/ short /i/ (seat sit), short /i/ short /e/ (tin ten), short /i/ short /u/ (hit hut), short /a/ short /u/ (hat hut), long /er/ long /or/ (shirt short), short /a/ long /ah/ (cat cart). The "WhiteboardPics" model is used. The tasks may be used as an auditory discrimination activity, or the client may be encouraged to produce target words and receive feedback from the clinician/helper regarding accuracy of production. The pictures can be shuffled on screen to provide extra practice and repetition. By printing the activities, paper based activities can also be encouraged. These tasks will be useful for clients who have difficulty articulating vowels, and also for clients with literacy difficulties who have trouble hearing the difference between vowel sounds, and spelling vowels.
Two areas have had changes this month - a review of some tasks in Sentence Processing, and a change to the default presentation of 2 models ("Typing with words", and "Typing with phrases")
We reviewed the picture based tasks on Sentence Processing which use the "SceneSentence Matcher" model to make them less confusing for some clients. So far this model is found in the "Subject Verb" and "Subject Verb Prepositional Phrase" subsections. Previously the task presented the client with repetitions of each picture with different sets of sentences. This meant that the client was exposed to a range of different error types within each activity. We requested feedback about this new section, and after discussion with clinicians concluded that some clients may be confused when presented with repetitions of the same picture. Following this feedback we changed the tasks, so that those tasks now have a different picture for each item.
The Sentence Processing section is a relatively new one. It is useful for clients who have acquired language disorders, and also for younger language impaired students who have difficulties understanding, producing and manipulating sentence length material. The activities are based on the literature relating to the cognitive neuropsychological model of language processing. So far the models have enabled clients to-
These subsections take into account the different types of verbs (verb arguments), ie those that demand an object versus those that don't. By rearranging words the client gains an understanding of "actor/agent, theme" concepts, and how changing word order affects meaning.
In these tasks, the client has to process semantic (eg incorrect subject, verb or object), and syntactic errors (incorrect word order, tense, pronoun use).
This is similar to the text based task, but provides the client with context in the form of a simple scene.
We welcome further feedback and discussion about the existing tasks, and also ideas for further development.
Previously the "Typing with words", and "Typing with phrases" models came to the screen with the target sentence ("prompt") visible. This enabled the client to complete the task as a word matching task - the easiest level. We have received feedback that it would be desirable for the task to be presented without the prompt sentence visible, so that on initial presentation the task is a "rearranging word/phrase" activity. If the client requires the extra cue (ie seeing the target sentence), selecting "prompt" will display the target sentence and provide the client with the extra cue. Feel free to email your comments.
There have been a couple of subtle changes to the directory this month. The "Syntactic Processing" section is now called "Sentence Processing". As we have completed tasks for this section, we have realised that the tasks require both syntactic and semantic processing skills. So the new name more accurately describes the section. The organisation of this section has also been changed to enable you to more easily locate the new picture based materials. So far we have pictorial activities in "Subject Verb" and "Subject Verb Prepositional Phrase". By selecting either of these subsections, you are then presented with a choice of "Pictorial Activities", or a variety of "Word Based" activities.
We have added 147 new tasks to the Directory this month. 22 tasks are in "Sentence Processing" (Single clause active sentences - [Subject-verb] and [Subject-verb-prepositional-phrase]). The model is SceneSentence Matcher which presents the client with a picture under which are 2, 3, or 4 sentences. The client reads the sentences and selects the sentence which best matches the picture. The tasks are based on the cognitive neuropsychological approach to sentence processing. The task names highlight specific target areas so that you can select tasks according to the client's needs and capability. For example:
- use of pronouns and pronoun confusion
- choice of either two, three of four sentences
- regular or irregular verbs (some clients may be focusing on spelling)
- sentence choices contain errors which are close/distant semantic distractors, syntactic distractors, or errors which are related to either the subject, verb or object.
Many thanks to the clinicians who have provided feedback and suggestions about this section. After you have reviewed the sentences and tasks, we'd welcome further comments. The nature of this program means that we can continue to change and upgrade the activities.
125 tasks have been added to "Reading and Spelling" - [Most Frequent Words]. This subsection was new last month when we added the "First 100 Most Frequent Words". This month the "Second 100 Most Frequent Words" have been put into four models - LookThenCover, WordSearch, SmileyMan, and MemoryWords.
MemoryWords is a fairly new model, and we'd like to highlight a particularly useful feature. Some of the MemoryWords games contain small sets of words so that the client can master the words in a controlled manner. At the end of each subsection there is a MemoryWords game that allows for review of the entire Level. The task name for these review tasks is "Random selection of words from Level N". This task then allows you to select a varying number of words (eg either 6, 8, or 10), allowing the client to play a game which is a manageable size. The words are presented in a random order, so the game can be repeated a number of times, and each time the client is reviewing a different set of words within that level.
This month 121 new tasks have been added to Reading and Spelling. All of these tasks appear in a new section which targets the "Most Frequent Words" (Ref: Davidson & Wicking "Wordswork" Richard Lee Pub 1998, Reiter "Magic 100 Words", Magic Words International 2002). This section focuses on providing clients with activities that encourage word recognition and spelling of the first 100 most frequent words. In the next edition we will include the second 100 most frequent words. The words are arranged in levels of difficulty. Within each level the tasks have been designed to provide practice with either smaller or larger sets of words. For example in each level the user can elect to work with only 4 words, or a larger number of words (such as 8 or 10). At each level there are also tasks which use all of the words at that level.
Four models have been used. Three of the models will already be familiar to users of eLr (LookThenCover, WordSearch and SmileyMan). We have also developed a new model called MemoryWords which is a word based memory game using either a fixed or a randomized set of words. The fixed word sets are best used when the student is learning smaller groups of words, and the randomized games enable the student to review and consolidate word recognition skills. In the randomized games, the student is presented with a different set of words each time they load the task. The words are drawn from the particular level that they are working at. In all of the MemoryWords tasks the words can be shuffled after a game is completed so that repetition of the task remains a challenge. If the student is having significant difficulty with word recognition, the games may be played without shuffling so that success can be experienced.New Shuffle Feature
We have added a new "pre-load shuffle" feature to many of the models in eLr. Currently, some of the models are designed so that the user can elect to shuffle the pictures, words or sentences by clicking an onscreen button. However, as some users have pointed out, there are some models in which the items are always presented in a fixed order so that some clients may be able to predict the next item. The "pre-load shuffle" mechanism means that each time the task is loaded, the items will appear in a different order. The models which have this new mechanism include "Slide show", "WordSplits", "Word sound buttons", "Pic sound buttons", "TicTacPics", "Fortune cookies", "SpinWord", "SpinPic", "TicTacWords", "LookThenCover", and "SmileyMan".
We'd like feedback about this function. If you feel it works, let us know. If, for some reason, it impacts on the usefullness of the task, email us so that we can further adjust it.
20 new tasks have been added to Syntactic Processing in the section Single Clause Active Sentences - Subject+Verb - Present tense. These are the first of the long awaited picture based tasks in this section. To date we have had only text based models in Syntactic Processing, and a number of clinicians have given us suggestions about including models which provide more context, eg with pictures. So we're very pleased that we can start including picture based models in this section.
The tasks use a new model called SceneSentence Matcher. In this model a scene is displayed on the screen with 2 - 5 sentences under the scene. The client reads each sentence and selects the sentence which matches the meaning displayed in the scene. Immediate feedback is provided for correct choices by red highlighting. The task name alerts you to different levels of difficulty, with a choice of 2 sentences (field 2) being easier than a choice of 5 (field 5). It also enables you to select activities which target specific goals. For example, tasks may focus on the verb or the subject. The client may be provided with repeated practice by using the "Shuffle" button, which shuffles and re-presents the sentences.
This month we have added 38 new tasks in Semantics - Concepts. To accommodate these tasks a new subsection has been opened - "Spatial Concepts". The concepts include "on/under/beside", "in/out", and "top/middle/bottom". More concepts will be added in future editions of eLr.
Two models have been used. DragCentral is a free form task with an image in the middle of the screen (eg a box, a table etc) and on either side are sets of icons which may be dragged to any position on the screen. The client is encouraged to drag the icons to the image to practice the target concept. The clinician or helper provides language modeling and expansion to teach the concept, and encourage the client to use expressive language describe the activity.
The other model, LR-IconPlacer, is similar but it's additional feature is that a prompt is provided. The clinician or helper may use the prompt as a guide when completing the activity with the client. This model may also be used in a free form manner. Depending on the client's needs, the prompt may be turned off, and the activity modified to suit the client's needs and interests.
Update: Thanks to feedback about the animated "swallowing process" task using the new model "How it works", we've added a short summary to accompany each step in the animation. We'd be very happy for people to email any comments about either the model or the descriptions which have been added.
A total of 176 new tasks have been added to Syntactic Processing. The tasks are in two new sub sections - "Subject-Verb", and "Subject-Verb-Indirect Object-Object" sentences. Two models have been used, "Typing with words" and "Typing with phrases". These are both word based activities. "Typing with phrases" is the easier task as it requires the client to rearrange phrases to make a sentence. "Typing with words" involves rearranging each word to make a sentence.
The "Subject-Verb-Indirect Object-Object" sentences may be a challenging concept. We have provided material within these new tasks which will make it easier for the client to understand how such sentences relate to the more direct form of the sentence. A brief review of Direct and Indirect Objects will highlight what we mean by this.
A Direct Object is the person or thing that is acted on by the subject. Asking "who" or "what" after the verb indentifies the object. So in the sentence "The boy hit the ball", we could ask "The boy hit .... what", and the answer is "the ball", so "the ball" is the Direct Object.
An Indirect Object occurs between the verb and the Direct Object. It refers to the person or thing that is secondarily affected by the action of the verb. You can identify an Indirect Object by seeing if you can insert "to" or "for" in front of the word. An example would make this clearer.In the sentence "Mum gave me a drink."
Within these tasks we have encouraged the client to make two sentences - one using the "to"/"for", and the other without using "to/for". In this way, the client is able to use the Indirect Object, and then rearrange the words so that it is no longer a sentence with an Indirect Object.
We have added a slightly different type of activity in the Activity Toolbox section. In a new section "Animation Library" is a task called "How it works - the swallowing process from the mouth past the larynx". This animation depicts the normal swallow and may be useful for clinicians who are describing the swallowing process to clients, or who are giving a presentation to groups of people about swallowing.
We have been experimenting with using such animation as our goal is to include these types of tasks in our future developments. As it is in the slightly experimental stage, there may be some computers that have trouble running this task. Specifically, the computer will need to have the Macromedia "Flash" player installed.
Once you select the task, it operates in much the same way as other standard eLr tasks. The Color Changer (top right hand corner) enables you to present the material using a colour which best suits your client or audience. The image is in the middle of the screen, and either side of the image are buttons which allow you to either show the swallow in a "step by step" fashion, or "play" the full swallow.
We would appreciate any feedback about this task. Let us know any comments about its use, and also if you have trouble getting it to work on your computer. It is helpful for our programmer to know what types of computers it works with, and those that are unable to display the Flash content.
This month we have reviewed "blends with /r/" - a sub-section in Phonology - Later Sounds. This completes the review that was started last month when we focussed on "blends with /l/" and "blends with /s/". The aim of these reviews has been to ensure that in each sub section, there is a good range of games and activities. We have added 16 new SpinPics, 13 new TicTacPics, 8 new Slide show, 7 new PicCards, 7 new MemoryPics, and 9 new CluePics.
This month the focus has been Phonology - Later Sounds, blends with /s/, and blends with /l/. Our aim is to have a full range of different graphic and text based activities for each of the sub sections, and in some areas games like SpinPic or TicTacPic were missing. So we have added as many of these games as is possible. The difficulty is that for some sounds, the words are abstract and difficult to depict with graphics.
There have been a total of 85 new tasks using Slide show, PicCards, TicTacPic, SpinPic, MemoryPics, and CluePics. In January, the blends with /r/ section will have been revised to ensure that the above models are well represented in all sections.
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