The aim of this newsletter is to inform you of developments and changes to our major products eLr (Extra Language Resources) 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 is available online at http://www.elr.com.au/news and an email version is sent monthly to members of our mailing list (See Subscribing/Unsubscribing) .
In this issue -
eLr is designed by a small team comprised of Speech Pathologists, Toni Seiler and Anna Breakell, and computer programmer Rob Seiler (Toni's husband). It is intended to provide interactive web-based activities targeting a wide range of speech, language and literacy goals, in both paediatric and adult populations.
The concept of eLr began in 1997. We discussed methods that would allow Speech Pathologists to utilise the advantages of the Internet to provide an efficient, stimulating service. Such a resource would allow clinicians to provide the same materials in the clinic, school or home, without the need for photocopying.
Many hours were spent discussing how to design such a concept, and how to translate traditional speech therapy activities and concepts to a computer based environment. It took a good 12 months for Toni and Anna to have a grasp of the limitations and opportunities that a computer based system introduced, and likewise for Rob to gain an operating knowledge of the language of Speech Pathology.
The site was launched in February 2000. At that time there were about 1,800 activities. During the year 2000, we continued to add activities, so that at this point there are more than 3,100. We have also been undertaking trials of eLr in different service delivery models with a focus on the paediatric population. It has been trialed in schools, and in private practice. We have had much positive feedback about the content, and the ease of providing a range of sessions within a small amount of time.
The main difficulty has been that the Internet is sometimes unreliable. This is no news to most of us! Also, at this time, the schools are in the initial phase of Internet connection, so to speak. Many schools have lots of computers, and have most of the computers connected to the web. But there are often practical issues, like, the computer that the speech pathologist needs to use is not in the right spot to conduct a therapy session etc. Thus we have been working on an extension to the service - eLr-Offline.
eLr-Offline is a CD based "compiled version" of the Web site and although slight technical differences were necessary to allow CD version to operate smoothly, you will find it essentially "mirrors" the Web version. Naturally, the material on the CD will not always be as current as the version on the Internet. This will happen because we are continually adding new material to the Web site. However, subscribers can continue to access the Web site as usual.
A new edition of eLr-Offline will be published every month (to coincide with updates to the Web site) and each CD will expire after 6 months. New subscribers will automatically receive the current version as part of their registration package and will receive an update disc after 6 months. At any time a subscriber can also update directly from the Web. Hence, all subscribers will now be able to either use the Web and/or CD version as appropriate. The same licence and user access details (User ID, PIN and Expiry Date) will apply for either access method. See http://www.elr.com.au/offline for more details.
EIA is a specialised Web Browser designed to enhance Internet access for people with disabilities, older adults and others with special needs. It combines appropriate awareness, confidence building and tutorial materials (usually on a touchscreen) to allow clients to "experience" the Web in a sympathetic, non-threatening way, without the "confusing" details of standard computer interfaces or the need for precise mouse control. A major component is the "Awareness and Assessment Protocol" (AAP) which can assist clinicians to predict whether a client's visual, cognitive, physical and literacy skills are sufficient to use the Web.
Rob & Toni (with the assistance of Occupational Therapist, Judy Ireland) developed EIA, initially under the business name of Sarsfield Solutions. We are currently in the final stages of moving the management of EIA to ELR Software Pty Ltd. More information is available at http://www.elr.com.au/eiad
The eLr team is conducting research into the issues relating to use of the Internet and eLr within therapy sessions. The project was commenced in February 2000, and is ongoing. The initial phase involved a small number of therapists who were given complimentary subscriptions, and were asked to complete a questionnaire at the end of 2000. The second phase involved evaluation of eLr in two schools in the Gippsland area. As part of this project, we plan to seek further feedback which will highlight the impact of eLr on service delivery (eg preparation time, ability to access a range of resources). We will keep you informed of progress.
You are receiving ELR-News because you are an eLr subscriber, or have expressed an interest in either eLr or EIA. To subscribe or unsubscribe, send an e-mail with details to firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright ©2001 ELR Software Pty Ltd
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