June 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).

In this issue -

  1. New and Changed eLr Materials
  2. eLr "apps" on the iPad
  3. Win an Apple iPad!
  4. Updating Your Copy of eLr-Offline
  5. Other Independent Developers
  6. Free Downloads
  7. ELR 2011 Calendar

  1. New and Changed eLr Materials

    New Materials
    There are 38 new tasks in "Phonology - Later Sounds" in the "blends with /l/" and "blends with /r/" sub-sections. Most of the new tasks use the recently developed model, LadderPics. This model provides a game format, based on Snakes and Ladders, to encourage articulation practice of words that have /l/ and /r/ blends. It is recommended that practice sessions be guided by a speech pathologist who will advise on strategies that are appropriate in the production of these sounds, and the level that matches the skills of the person, eg whether to practice the words by themselves (in isolation), or within phrases, sentences and conversation.

    We've also added a new item to the "Where is? - locating common target areas" section in "User Guides". This section was developed to help users find particular sorts of activities. The first 6 target areas covered were "Blending and segmenting activities", "Basic concept words", "Similarities and differences", "Word finding", "Categorisation" and "Verb tense". This month we've added "Non-words for literacy development" which focuses on using non-words to develop word decoding skills in "Phonological Awareness" and "Reading and Spelling". Please let us know of other areas you'd like covered.

    Changed Materials

    The "MemoryPics" and "MemoryWords" models have been adjusted so that the default setting is for the cards to start in "shuffled" locations. They can be still be presented in a "unshuffled" layout with matching pairs in predictable locations (diagonally opposite each other) by un-selecting the "Shuffle" checkbox at the top of the screen.

    When we designed these models we had a perceived requirement to "start easy" (unshuffled) and once the client understood the process the operator could make the task more "challenging" (by switching on "shuffle"). But, we've had a lot of feedback about this from parents and clinicians. Many have reported that the clients quickly learn where the cards are and so the game looses its punch. It seems that most users have not been aware that they could adjust this. So, apologies to those who have become familiar with the old process, but this is one case where it seems the majority should rule, and thanks to those who've alerted us to this need.

  2. eLr "apps" on iPad

    We're getting a lot of feedback about the value of an iPad in speech pathology sessions. These machines are so portable and "cool" that they are becoming a primary tool for clinicians working out of the office. If you are not aware, they essentially come in 2 models: "WiFi only" or "WiFi+3G". Both use an internet connection to work with eLr from our website, but to date it hasn't been possible to use eLr on the "WiFi only" model in locations without an internet connection.

    We've now modified our website so that if you are using an iPad (either model) you can save eLr activities as "web clips" so that they'll persist and work like a regular "app" even without and internet connection. To do this, use Safari to open the task(s) you are interested in, touch the "Share" icon (box with an arrow in it) and choose "Add to Home Screen". This will save the full content of the task to your iPad and you can later open this task without needing any internet connection for as long as you remain an eLr subscriber (or "Guest" of a current eLr subscriber). In this way you can make any of more than 11,000 standard eLr tasks behave like an iPad "app". If you do this for a number of tasks you'll probably want to organise them in folders.

    We are continuing to work on this mechanism to make easier ways of retrieving and organising these eLr web clips. We are also looking at ways to make eLr-Offline a full iPad "app" so that task retrieval can happen from anywhere without an internet connection. Incidentally, we've been able to connect our "WiFi only" iPad to the internet in the field by using a mobile WiFi router and USB 3G modem. It's apparently also possible to use an iPhone to create such a "WiFi hotspot" for this purpose. This provides a very versatile option if you have a "WiFi only" iPad.

    Your questions, thoughts and comments on these approaches will be very welcome.

  3. Win an Apple iPad!

    Time to enter our Apple iPad is running out. The winner will be drawn and announced at the Speech Pathology Australia 2011 National Conference in Darwin, June 26th-29th 2011. Our entry form (see below) asks that you leave us comments about "What do you like", "What would you like to see changed" and "What would you like to see added" to eLr. We've had some very valuable comments.

    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.

    Entries are open until June 28th 2011. 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. Several entrants have also asked for materials which we're continuing to cover in the new "Where is?" section (see above). There've also been some great positive comments, such as:

    "The time saving factor! Clients are more willing to do computer-based home practice than paper-based. Interactive nature of some activities, therefore also working on turn taking skills etc. The client is exposed to correct models while the adults takes their turn."

    "Ready access to resources to use in sessions. Easy to set homework tasks for parents to follow through with. Easy to use, great for children only motivated by computers. I have been using eLr for many years and will continue to do so".

    "Very versatile. I can use all or some with nearly every client!"

    "I use the ConnectWords and the WordSearches, but I love the variety of tasks. So many tasks to choose from, so there is always one or more that can be used, depending on the need".

    More next month.

  4. Updating Your Copy of eLr-Offline

    eLr-Offline is a version of eLr which can be installed on your own computer and allows you to use the materials without needing an internet connection. We add new content each month to the eLr web site which is immediately accessible to all users. We also create an updated edition of eLr-Offline each month which you can install yourself directly from our website www.elr.com.au/offline.

    Many subscribers regularly download their update from the above site. However there's a simpler way to do the update, and we'd encourage users to try this method. Make sure your computer is connected to the web, then start your existing eLr-Offline as usual. Open the "Help" menu (at the top of the screen) and click on the item "Check for updates". The program will check whether a newer edition is available, you'll see a confirmation box, then follow the prompts and the newest edition will be automatically retrieved and installed for you.

    If you are using Windows Vista/7 you may find that the process doesn't seem to work. In which case try running eLr-Offline with "administrator rights". You can always open a (any) shortcut as administrator by right-clicking on it and selecting "Run as administrator", but if you want to have it always launched as administrator, do this simple change:

    1. Right-click on the shortcut and select "Properties"
    2. n the "Shortcut" tab, click the "Advanced" button
    3. Check the box for "Run as administrator"
    4. Click "OK" to apply your changes
  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

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PO Box 1456
VIC 3875, Australia
(03) 5156 8309
1800 018 309
+61 3 5156 8309
(03) 5156 8609
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