April 2002

Newsletter of ELR Software Pty Ltd

ABN 67 090 738 702

ELR Software Pty Ltd combines the skills of speech pathology and computer programming. We produce software in the fields of Internet access for people with disabilities, and specific speech pathology resource material. We have also been involved in consultancy to clinicians and research projects in the fields of literacy and accessibility issues with the Internet.

The aim of this newsletter is to inform you of developments and changes to our major products eLr (Extra Language Resources) and EIA (Enhancing Internet Access). We welcome the opportunity for feedback and questions, and will be pleased to consider including reader contributions and announcements.

This Newsletter (and previous editions) is available online at www.elr.com.au/news and an email version is sent monthly to members of our mailing list (See Subscribing/Unsubscribing).

In this issue -

  1. eLr - An Overview
  2. New eLr Materials
  3. eLr Changes and Revisions
  4. Literacy Online Project
  5. Free Downloads
  6. ELR 2002 Calendar

  1. eLr - An Overview

    For readers of this Newsletter who are not familiar with eLr, the following has been prepared to provide an overview of this resource.

    eLr is the culmination of our efforts to provide Speech Pathologists, teachers and clients with easily available, high quality, speech, language and literacy resources. Its Internet base enables the materials to be used from any location, and also allows clinicians to efficiently provide clients with home practice activities, and school based programs.
    What is eLr?
    eLr is a comprehensive collection of thousands of on-screen, targeted, therapy activities in the areas of phonology, phonemic awareness, reading and spelling, and semantics. The activities are designed to be used as the basis of an interactive session with client and clinician or helper. Each task is flexible in its delivery style, and the huge range of tasks means that there are activities appropriate to clients with developmental or acquired language disorders (paediatric & adult). Currently there is no sound or speech associated with the tasks, as the helper provides reinforcement appropriate to the client needs and cultural style. Optional sound and speech is being developed and will be available in the coming months.
    How do I use eLr?
    eLr is subscription based. This method allows for the continual expansion of the resource, as new materials are added each month. It also means that the web site can remain dynamic, providing clinicians and clients with a well serviced resource set. Each month a newsletter is sent by email to all subscribers (and other interested people), informing them of new tasks and changes to the site. With each subscription two forms of eLr access are provided:
    1. Registered access to the eLr Internet site enables clinicians to use the resource from any location (eg clinics, schools, home visits).
    2. eLr-Offline is a CD based "compiled, mirror version" of the eLr web site, which enables clinicians to have access when the Internet is not available. It may be run directly from the CD, or installed on a laptop, desktop, or networked computer. An eLr-Offline CD is provided with each subscription, and a free update CD is sent each 6 months. An eLr-Offline installation may also be updated directly from the web each month, so that the materials are as current as the Internet version.
    Providing Home Practice Activities
    Provision of home and/or school based programs may occur with the use of Program Goals sheets (refer to the Support area). The "Program Goals" sheet is used for schools and families who are already subscribers, as they have access to the Directory of tasks. Families who are not subscribers are able to use eLr on the Internet via the free Guest Access, using the "Program Goals (Guest)" sheet. They do not have access to the Directory, and the clinician needs to provide specific task numbers.
    Supporting Documents
    The Support area www.elr.com.au/support.htm contains documents and information for reference and use within therapy. To document progress and results of therapy sessions, "Session Record" sheets are available. The "Getting the Most out of eLr Sessions" sheet explains the nature of the tasks, and hints about ways to expand on each task using non-computer activities. There is a section on "Frequently Asked Questions" relating to technical issues. The "eLr Prac Notes" gives outlines of various speech, language and literacy disorders, and highlights eLr sections which would be useful to develop skills in those specific areas. An "eLr Printable Directory" allows the user to print the main headings of the Directory, or in the case of subscribers, the entire classification and listing of tasks (currently about 90 pages).
    Feedback to the developers
    ELR Software combines the skills of speech pathologists and computer consultant, and we are always happy for subscribers and visitors, to provide feedback and suggestions. Our aim is to continue to develop a flexible set of resources and activities, which meets the needs of busy clinicians and families, and people who work with clients who have speech language or literacy difficulties.

  2. New eLr Materials

    55 new tasks have been added to Semantics - Associations - Other Associations. (The "Other Associations" section is designed to contain activities which are not specifically synonyms or antonyms etc). The new tasks are picture based using the "MultiPic Slideshow" model, and contain tasks with a field of 2, 3 and 4 pictures. In field of 2 tasks, the client is encouraged to explain how the two pictures are related. In field of 3 and 4, the aim is to have the client identify which two pictures "go together", and if appropriate, to explain what the relationship is. A graded level of difficulty is provided, as the section breaks into "Common" and "Specific", referring to the relative frequency of the vocabulary. The default for the tasks is to present the picture + word. By clicking on "Images", the task can be presented with picture only. These materials should prove useful for child with developmental language disorders, and adult clients with acquired language impairments.

  3. eLr Changes and Revisions

    An error was detected in task number 1006-278 (one of the pictures was not showing), and this has been corrected. We encourage you to email us if you detect such errors - they are very readily fixed.

  4. Literacy Online Project

    New Internet based literacy materials are now available (free) at www.elr.com.au/lol. ELR Software has been involved in two research projects which have been managed by the Information and Telecommunications Needs Research group at Monash University, and funded by @ccessAbility Program - Round 2, Dept of Communication Information Technology and the Arts.

    "Literacy Online for People with Physical and Intellectual Disabilities" and "Literacy Online for Deaf People" aimed to produce Internet based materials which would develop the literacy skill of people with disabilities using content related to recreational interests.

    The project investigated the language and literacy issues and barriers to Internet access, and best practice with regard to approaches to literacy development. Web sites and content were developed and trialled with each of the target groups. Models of best practice for the design of web sites which aid traditional, visual/graphical and information literacy as well as catering to the recreational interests of the clients were investigated.

    The materials were designed to cater to the wide range of skills and needs which existed in the client groups. For some clients, a supported introduction to the web was required. For others, practice in mouse skills was needed prior to confident use of the Internet. Some clients had trouble working out longer words, or were unsure of the meanings of less familiar words. While others had severe difficulties learning basic word literacy skills, and would benefit from a smaller core of functional words recognised as sight vocabulary. Available materials (at the above site) include:

    1. Three linked web sites which were used as "portals" to the special interests of the client groups
    2. Word Games which were developed to provide structured practice of word sets which can be selected according to the client's interests and needs
    3. WordCue at www.elr.com.au/wordcue is a program which provides assistance in decoding and understanding word and phrase meanings. It underlies all of the content in the web sites and the word games, and provides a multisensory approach to improving word attack skills, and sight vocabulary. By clicking on a word, the person is provided with a range of cues. These include a picture of the word, the word or phrase can be spoken, syllabification, definition, and an example sentence. There are currently about 1,700 most frequently used words in English, which contain syllabification, definition, and example sentence as cues. Of these, 1,200 also contain a picture cue. All cues can be spoken to the client by the computer (requires the MS Agent/Text-to-Speech technology)

  5. Free Downloads

    For other supporting materials and documents available for free download, please see www.elr.com.au/support.htm.

  6. ELR 2002 Calendar

Subscribing/Unsubscribing to this Newsletter

You are receiving ELR-News because you are an eLr subscriber, or have expressed an interest in either eLr or EIA. To subscribe or unsubscribe, send an e-mail with details to news@elr.com.au

Copyright ©2002 ELR Software Pty Ltd

Postal ELR Software Pty Ltd
PO Box 1456
VIC 3875, Australia
(03) 5156 8309
+61 3 5156 8309
(03) 5156 8609
+61 3 5156 8609