January 2011

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), Build-a-Sentence, Word Meanings, Rude Readers 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) as well as a "print-ready" PDF version of the current edition is available online at www.elr.com.au/news. An email version is also 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. Looking Back on 2010
  2. New eLr Materials this Month
  3. Win an Apple iPad!
  4. Other Independent Developers
  5. Free Downloads
  6. ELR 2011 Calendar

  1. Looking Back on 2010

    2010 had some fairly major milestones for ELR Software. In February we celebrated the 10th anniversary of eLr (Extra Language Resources). This is our main program which was launched in February 2000 with about 1,600 tasks. Since then we have added tasks each month, modified some, and added new models, so that there are now almost 11,000 tasks.

    In September eLr finally became fully Mac and cross-browser compatible. This means that clinicians, schools and families can confidently use eLr from the web using either Windows or Mac computers, and a range of different browsers such as Firefox, Safari, and Google Chrome. It also works on the iPad which holds the promise of a liberating new way to use eLr.

    We've also built into eLr-Offline (the "CD version") a way to easily install our monthly updates directly from the eLr website. All subscribers are now able to do this anytime they wish, and we plan to make training and help for this process a priority for 2011. eLr-Offline is still a "Windows only" application, but there are ways of running it on Macs if you really need it (please contact us for details).

    Content updates have continued throughout the year and we've added about 260 tasks in these sections:

    1. "Reading and Spelling": segmenting 3 letter words, and decoding words with consonant blends and digraphs
    2. "Semantics": spatial concepts, categorization, word retrieval, and picture associations
    3. "Sentence Processing": developing the ability to use verb tense in expressive language
    4. "Using Language": similarities and differences

    Three new models have also been developed:

    1. IconPositioner used in "Semantics" to encourage expressive language to describe spatial concepts and categories
    2. ImageBoards used in "Sentence Processing" to develop expressive use of verb tense
    3. LadderPic currently used only in "Semantics" to encourage use of specific vocabulary

    WordMeanings and Build-a-Sentence, our other two main products, have also been updated in the last 12 months to ensure Windows 7 compatibility. These "standalone" programs cover specific semantic and language targets with sound and graphics, in ways that are not part of the design principles of eLr. You can find more information at www.elr.com.au.

    The small team at ELR Software has enjoyed all your feedback. We meet a lot of you at the Speech Pathology Australia Conference each year, and this year in Melbourne was no different. That conference is such a great way to catch up with clinicians who provide feedback and suggestions, chat with other small developers like ourselves, discuss our products and share ideas, and Toni usually attends many high quality presentations that are on offer.

    We also receive many emails from the range of people who use eLr. This includes clinicians in small and large organizations, schools, and families. Your comments indicate that eLr continues to provide the flexible and extensive resource we intend it to be, but there are always new suggestions for us to work on! We thank you for your support, and welcome your feedback. Have a safe and happy new year, and all the best for 2011.

  2. New eLr Materials this Month

    We have added a new model this month called LadderPic which provides a game activity for clients who need something a little more advanced than our existing SpinPic spinner games. This new model is based on the classic "Snakes and Ladders". There are rolling dice and markers to move around the board. Land on a ladder and "go up" the ladder, or land on the head of a snake and "go down" the snake. At each turn (before or after moving) the players should click the "Chance" button to reveal the pictures which are the target of the activity. As with all eLr tasks, there are ways to modify the activity. You can select to have from 2 to 4 players, and if you want a faster moving game, switch off the snakes (success becomes much easier when there are only ladders!), or select to use 2 dice instead of one.

    The first 20 tasks using this new model are in "Using Language - Similarities and Differences". All tasks use the new model, LadderPic and provide material to strengthen the client's ability to use specific language to explain complex and abstract information. This type of activity develops expressive vocabulary skills. The client needs to be able to use category words to precisely explain associations (eg they are both for "transport"). And to describe differences they need to use vocabulary to explain the features of each item that make them different.

  3. Win an Apple iPad!

    As referred to above, eLr now works on Mac computers and in particular the iPad. For those who've not yet see one, the iPad has a large, very clear touchscreen, is light and portable and children love using them. It is a joy to use eLr on a iPad and we're sure that they'll see wide usage in schools particularly.

    To help us celebrate the 10 year anniversary of eLr, and to thank the many people who've supported us over the years, we are running a draw to win an iPad. Results will be drawn and announced at the Speech Pathology Australia 2011 National Conference in Darwin, June 26th-29th 2011.

    To be eligible for the draw, you must have a current eLr subscription on 1st of July 2011. So any new subscribers in 2011 will be automatically eligible, as will current subscribers with an expiry date of July 2011 or later. Current subscribers whose subscriptions expire before June 2011 will also be eligible if they renew at any time before the draw. If you have a multiuser subscription, all those covered by the subscription may individually enter.

    To enter the draw, you must fill out and submit the electronic form at www.elr.com.au/ipad.htm. Or you can phone us on (03) 5156 8309 to give us your details. Good luck!

  4. Other Independent 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.

  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 2011 Calendar

    ELR Software is now able to offer eLr support and short tutorials over the web. We can provide this sort of support to individuals, or to groups who would like to have an overview of eLr. Please contact us for details.

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, Build-s-Sentence or EIA. To subscribe or unsubscribe, send an e-mail with details to news@elr.com.au

Copyright ©2011 ELR Software Pty Ltd

Postal ELR Software Pty Ltd
PO Box 1456
VIC 3875, Australia
(03) 5156 8309
1800 018 309
+61 3 5156 8309
(03) 5156 8609
+61 3 5156 8609