December 2003

Newsletter of ELR Software Pty Ltd

ABN 67 090 738 702

ELR Software produces a range of computer programs designed by speech pathologists for speech, language & literacy intervention. Our programs may be used interactively within therapy sessions, to increase efficiency in service delivery, and to improve access to the Internet for people with special needs. We are also available as consultants to clinicians and research projects in the fields of literacy and accessibility issues associated with the Internet.

The aim of this newsletter is to inform you of developments and changes to our major products eLr (Extra Language Resources), Rude Readers, Word Meanings 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. Your Comments About eLr
  2. Spit Spit Spat - Featured Rude Reader
  3. New and Changed eLr Materials
  4. Other Developers - Innovative Communication Programming
  5. Free Downloads
  6. ELR 2003/2004 Calendar

  1. Your Comments About eLr

    For the last few months we have had a "Win a Rude Reader" competition. In our endeavor to continue improvements in eLr, we asked for feedback about the things that work well in eLr, and those aspects which don't work so well. Every person who emailed a comment with feedback or suggestions was put into the draw bag, and last month we announced the winner (Nancy Mills from Ingham in Queensland). We received lots of comments and suggestions, so here are some of the things you said.

    1. Useful aspects of eLr
      • organised in a logical way
      • the New Task loader
      • the ability to print out the Directory in PDF format
      • ease of communication with the staff at ELR
    2. eLr not having speech
      • I prefer it (without speech), because it emphasises the interactive nature of the activities - you don't just give it to the child and walk off
    3. Client responses
      • great to have alternative to pen/ paper resources and games
      • allows a larger variety of tasks
      • can give exciting homework - kids will do anything on a computer
      • parents find it easy to use
    4. Problems/issues which were reported
      • People had difficulty remembering where an activity (task number) came from in the Directory.
        This issue was addressed in October 2003 with revision of the "eLr Quick Loader". As a task number is entered into the Loader, a description of the task, and its location in the Directory are revealed.
      • Numbers sometimes appear instead of icons.
        This has been a problem on some systems (especially Windows-XP on networks), and a full explanation is outlined in the Support area - Frequently Asked Questions http://www.elr.com.au/support/elrfaq.htm
        It occurs because many eLr tasks use our own "icon" sets (such as animals, dinosaurs etc) which are prepared as small (8-10k) "embedded fonts" which are temporarily downloaded (and "embedded") by MS Internet Explorer as required. The settings on some computers may prevent this downloading, but this is usually easily adjusted, and causes no adverse effects. We are planning to release an alternative solution to this problem in the January 2004 edition.
    5. "Wish List" - various suggestions were made about content and tasks
      • Syntactic Processing Section - include picture based tasks and sentence judgement activities.
        We are currently working on Syntactic Processing. A range of models are being developed which will include graphics and various sentence judgement activities. These should appear in the first half of 2004.
      • Picture based activities in "Associations - Synonyms and Antonyms"
        This has been included in our plans for development, and will possibly follow the Syntactic Processing work we are currently developing.
      • Expand the picture based activities in the Categories section to include the "field of 6" tasks.
        This is certainly possible, and will be worked on within the next 3 months.
      • Black and White Scene Library (outlines for colouring)
        This is very achievable, and has been included in our list of short-term developments.
      • Auditory Discrimination - include sentence length stimuli ("there's a goat/ coat in the box"), and tasks with several word stimuli (no, snow, sew, toe).
        This has been included in our development list.
      • Verb Naming Tasks
        We are planning to expand the verb subsection in Semantics within the next 6 months.

    There were many other comments which are very useful for our continued development of eLr. Please feel free to email us with corrections, suggestions, new ideas, and comments about any issues with use of eLr. We also appreciate the positive things you may wish to tell us about.

    Any email we receive which provides us with feedback will be put into the "Win a Rude Reader" drawer. Four times per year (March, June, September and December), a winner will be announced.

  2. Spit Spit Spat - Featured Rude Reader

    In three-line rhymes a child gets birthday gifts from aunts and uncles, some with strange names, until finally "Spart, Spart, Sport / Aunty Wart / Gave me nought." Spit Spit Spat (Volume 1) has a total vocabulary of 29 words and syntax that is mostly SVOO (LARSP IV), but it does a lot of teaching. It practises/sp/ blends in nonsense words. Spit Spit Spat also focuses attention on the middle vowel of the opening string of nonsense words - a phonologic awareness task. The rhyming lines are another phonologic awareness input. Rhythm is used to link the three rhymed lines. Grapheme-phoneme matching is sneaked into the text - wart/sport/nought all have the same vowel. And there's not a rude bit anywhere in this reader.

  3. New and Changed eLr Materials

    We have continued the review of the Phonemic Awareness section. The focus this month is Rhyming (Rhyme Identification, Odd One Out and Word Generation). There are a total of 39 new tasks.

    In Odd One Out, we have replaced the existing 4 tasks with 18 new tasks using the Multipic Slideshow model. Task complexity has been controlled in two ways. In some tasks the vocabulary is "common" which means they are easy to name, and in other tasks the vocabulary is "less common". A second level of difficulty has been used. In some tasks the difference between the rhyming words and the "odd one out" is a "high contrast" word, and in others it is "low contrast", making those tasks more difficult.

    Nine new tasks have been added to the Rhyme Identification subsection. These nine tasks contain words which are "low contrast", which means they are more difficult than the high contrast tasks that are currently in that section. This provide clients with a more challenging rhyme judgement activity.

    In the "Word Generation" subsection, there are now 12 tasks which replace the existing 3 tasks. In this section the client is provided with either one or two rhyming words, and they are asked to generate more words which rhyme. The task names allow you to choose whether you work on words which contain long or short vowels, diphthongs, or a task with mixed vowels.

  4. Other Developers - Innovative Communication Programming

    As a new feature of this Newsletter, we will be including from time to time, a simple, unpaid announcement of products developed by other small, independent developers, who, like ourselves, are practising clinicians who have put their ideas and experience into resource materials for general distribution.

    A link to these sites has been established at http://www.elr.com.au/links/developers.htm. If you would like your materials listed on this page (at no charge), please contact us.

    For this month we're pleased to introduce Innovative Communication Programming, an organisation comprised of 2 speech pathologists (AAC specialists) Ylana Bloom and Dolly Bhargava. They have produced products for individuals with with severe communication impairments. See www.innovativeprogramming.net.au

    Products include: Softpics Picture Literacy Image Library, the Let's Talk Together Great Ideas Manual, Let's Read Together Literacy Programme (Parts 1 and 2), Participation Through Communication Guide, and Using Visual Connectors and Question Maps in the Classroom.

  5. Free Downloads

    ELR has a number of free or evaluation files available for downloading directly from our website. Please see www.elr.com.au/downloads.htm for specific details. For other supporting materials and documents available for free download, please see www.elr.com.au/support.htm.

  6. ELR 2003/2004 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, Rude Readers, Word Meanings or EIA. To subscribe or unsubscribe, send an e-mail with details to news@elr.com.au

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