January 2006

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).

Season's Greetings, and we wish you all a safe and happy new year. And special thanks to all to have provided us feedback - always helpful!

In this issue -

  1. Where did 2005 go?
  2. New eLr Materials
  3. Other Independant Developers
  4. Free Downloads
  5. ELR 2006 Calendar

  1. Where did 2005 go?

    This time of year provides a good opportunity to "take stock", reflect, and review where we've come from and what's been added to eLr. Every year seems incredibly busy, and 2005 was no exception. We always wish we had more time, and were able to fulfill our plans for eLr.

    This year saw us in Sydney in March, far North Queensland and the Brisbane area in April, Canberra in May for the Speech Pathology Australia Conference and Melbourne in June and August

    We conducted introductory workshops in all locations where we met lots of clinicians and school staff. We also met with many current subscribers who gave us feedback and suggestions. It's always good to hear how eLr is used in the range of locations, and to discuss ways that we can make it more accessible. One of the main goals we have in the new year, is to provide you with easy ways to find groups of activities for specific goals. eLr has become a very big resource, and for new users it will be useful to have some "pre-selected" sets of activities which may be useful for particular goals. There will be more about this in the new year.

    eLr has now existed for 5 years. It was launched in February 2000 with 1,600 tasks in 4 sections (Phonology, Phonemic Awareness, Reading and Spelling, and Semantics). It now has over 7,000 tasks and three extra sections (Phonology Early Skills and Sounds, Sentence Processing, and Using Language). Each month, we add tasks, and make what we hope are, improvements!

    This year, about 400 tasks were added. These were mainly in Phonemic Awareness, Using Language (picture based sequences, and "what's wrong"), Sentence Processing, and Semantics (generating words in categories, synonyms and antonyms). New models were developed. "PictureFixer" is a fun model which is used in the "What is wrong" section, and "ImageSequencer" is used in the sequencing section in Using Language.

    One of the major improvements this year was the development of the "Session Planner". This enables you to quickly provide a home or school program, without having to write all the task numbers. As you use the Directory, you are able to select tasks, and then create a "Program Goals" sheet, typing in your goals and suggestions for the client. Further improvements will occur, so give us your feedback on how you have found it so far.

    Another addition to your "tool box" was the introduction of eLr-Guest. This is a disk which may be purchased by subscribers. This disk is useful where you have clients who are unable to easily access the internet, and for whom purchase of eLr is not an option. Subscribers may use eLr-Guest as a "loan disk". Your clients may "borrow" eLr-Guest, and install it on their computer. This gives them access to eLr as a Guest. They are able to make use of the activities by following the Program Goals sheet, designed for them by the clinician.

    Improvements were made to a number of models. "LookThenCover", "Smiley Man", and "Clue Words" have all had a "Keyboard" mode added. This allows for quite powerful extensions to each of the activities. Once the client has completed the intitial task, they may then work on the same set of words, by retrieving the words and typing in their response.

    Four of the models were also added to Clinicians Toolbox - "LookThenCover", "SmileyMan", "WordSearch" and "Memory Words". These models work very well together to increase reading and spelling skills. They were added to Clinicians Toolbox so that as clinicians and teachers you are able to add your own word sets when using the models. Things like class spelling lists, theme words, or specific words relating to the client's interests may be used within these four models.

    So, in many ways, even though it was a busy year, much was accomplished. We hope you all had a fruitful year, and that you have a well deserved rest at some point over the coming weeks. We are very grateful for all your support over the past years

  2. New eLr Materials

    This month we have continued to add material to the Semantics section. Forty-eight new tasks have been added to Associations, Antonyms. The activities use the "List matching", and "ClueWords" models.

    In "List matching", the client is presented with 2 lists of words. One word is selected on the left side of the screen, and the matching word is selected on the right hand side. Correct answers are highlighted red and the two matching words appear below the list - reinforcing the correct match. The activity may be extended by having the client put the words into sentences, and explain how the words differ in meaning.

    The "ClueWords" model presents the same sets of words using a different format. In this model there are two modes. In the default mode, the client is presented with a set of words on the screen. The client clicks the "Go" button, and one word appears below the set. The matching word is selected from the set of words at the top of the screen. The second mode is called the "Keyboard" and works on word retrieval and spelling skills. The client clicks the "Go" button and is presented with the clue word and is then required to type in the matching word (in this case the antonym). A range of cues may be provided. They are given the number of letters in the word. By selecting "Assist", they are able to presented with either the first, last or vowel letters (or combinations of first, last and vowel). This extension is an excellent way to consolidate skills and new learning. The client is primed with the target words in the default mode, and is then able to practice recalling and spelling the target words.

    In this section, there are graded levels of difficulty. the number of words presented in each task range from 4, 6 or 8. the tasks are graded from easier more frequent words to higher level words, ie "common", "specific", and "higher level" vocabulary.

  3. Other Independant Developers

    As an occasional feature of this Newsletter, we include simple, unpaid announcements 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. Links and brief information about these sites may be found at www.elr.com.au/links/developers.htm. To date we have listed -

    If you would like your materials listed on this page (at no charge), please contact us.

  4. 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.

  5. ELR 2006 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.aur

Copyright ©2006 ELR Software Pty Ltd

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