ELR Software combines the skills of speech pathologists and software designers to create software for speech, language and literacy intervention. Our programs may be used within therapy, to increase efficiency in service delivery using the Internet and CD based materials, 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) 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).
In this issue -
The arrangements for the 2 workshops in Townsville and Cairns have been confirmed, and we are looking forward to meeting our colleagues in the far north, and also to the promised change in weather! Each workshop will run for about 2 hours, and we will present eLr (Extra Language Resources), Word Meanings, Rude Readers, and the EIA Browser. Dates, times and locations are detailed below:
These workshops will be free, and interested people can still contact us via email or phone to register.
100 new tasks have been added to the Phonology - Sound by Sound section. The main aim of these tasks has been to provide clinicians with materials which will appeal to students who are a little older, who need more challenging material, and enjoy using their reading skills. Two models have been used - "WordSearch" and "SmileyMan". So far, these models have been included in the /s/, /z/, /l/, /th/ (voiceless and voiced), and /r/ sounds. In each of these subsections, you will find them in the CVC, Single Syllable Words, and Multi-syllable words. Over the next 2 - 3 months, these activities will be added to all the sub-sections of Phonology - Sound by Sound, and text based tasks will be included in the "phrase" level of each sound.
A small change has also been made to model 1030 ("SentenceSplits"). Used to date in the Phonemic Awareness (Word Awareness) section this model encourages the client - usually a child, to listen to a sentence and separate the words. The "Prompt" sentence is revealed/spoken/covered for each sentence in the task. We've now "joined" the prompt words together to make it less easy for the child to simply count the words.
eLr is more like a large computer "program" than a conventional web site. Our main goal is to provide a comprehensive, exciting range of on-line therapy games and activities. We've used advanced dynamic HTML to achieve the highly interactive screens we wanted, but unfortunately only the Internet Explorer browser provides all the function we needed. For Mac computers it was only with the release of Microsoft IE5.0 that eLr became accessible.
There have now been several further releases of IE by Microsoft. There is Version 5.0, 5.1 and 5.2 (available only for the OS/X platform), so, not only are there several versions to choose from, but each release has included substantial changes in the way the programs handle web pages - some issues (bugs??!!) have been fixed, but some new ones have also been added. Over the last month we done a complete "Mac access" review of eLr and have endeavoured to make all of the online activities functional from Macs using any of these versions of MSIE. For some tasks, I think we've been entirely successful, while in others there remain some inconsistencies - especially in the spacing and placement of objects and text on the screen.
We've already had considerable feedback and assistance from eLr users who have Macs, so if this is of interest to you, we'd appreciate continuing comment and feedback. Let us know the Mac OS and MSIE version, total memory and memory allocated to MSIE you are using, as well as problematic tasks etc. Our next challenge is to to examine ways of using eLr-Offline on the Mac. Although this is a Windows based program, we've had feedback to suggest that it will run effectively on Macs using "Windows emulation" software. More on this topic later in the year.
ELR now 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.
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