Although spell checkers are very useful, they should be used with caution. Firstly it is important that they are set to the UK mode. Beware that pupils could become discouraged by the use of word processors which indicate every spelling or grammar error with a red or green line. It might be best to turn them off during composition and then only use them afterwards. In the early stages, it is important to teach pupils how to use the spelling check tools as they can be very confusing in some packages. It is a good idea for each pupil to build up their own word processing dictionary.
On screen grids can help with language and spelling. Clicker and other similar applications allow text or pictures and/or sound to be inserted into cells. When the pupil clicks the cell the word can be heard and inserted into a piece of writing on screen. Colour coding can be used to help a pupil think about word order, e.g. beginnings of sentences in green, middles amber, endings in red. Encourage pupils to use their own words as well either by writing them or by using a blank cell where the teacher can insert the child’s suggestion.
Set up a relationship with a partner class in another part of the country or abroad. Use email to encourage exchange of information. Get pupils to email each other about events that happen at different times of the year, e.g. the school fair etc. This project encourages better communication, improved spelling, better sentence construction and enhanced self-esteem. for ideas click here.(pdf)
Information from the Internet or on CD ROMs is often too difficult for pupils with special educational needs. Teach them to copy and paste it into a talking word processor from where they can then listen to it.
For those with reading or visual problems text book pages can be scanned into the computer using OCR software and then read to the pupil with text-to-speech software.
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