Spectronics Email Update: 10th March 2010

 
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SPECTRONICS EMAIL UPDATE
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10th March 2010


In this issue:
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- Inclusive Learning Technologies Conference 2010 Update

- iZoom: A lower cost alternative for people with low vision

- Clicker 5 SuperDrive - Save over $7000 on 62 titles all on one
drive!

- A new PowerLink - at last!

- A new Lightwriter too!

- And a new Co:Writer - Best version yet!

- Take a picture - hear the words on your mobile phone

- Footy Tipping in Boardmaker!

- Ginger spelling and grammar checker - now even more clever!

- Other cool stuff to know about
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Hi [FULLNAME,FALLBACK=]...

Hope your year has kicked off to a great start! This first
edition of the Spectronics newsletter for 2010 contains more
information about new technologies than usual. I suspect this is
because many new releases are timed to coincide with two major
inclusive technology conferences which happen in January each
year - the BETT Conference [http://www.bettshow.com/] (and
associated Special Needs Fringe
[http://www.inclusive.co.uk/exhibitions/sn_fringe_10/index.shtml])
in the UK and the ATIA Conference
[http://www.atia.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3545] in the USA.
Some exciting initiatives have emerged as a result.

Our year started with welcoming Anita Raftery
[http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/conference/timetable/presenter/anita-raftery]
on board as the newest member of Spectronics' training and
advisory team. Anita has a teaching background and brings with
her many years experience in applying technologies in mainstream
and special ed classrooms and, most recently, within the TAFE
sector. We are really excited to have her join us.

This newsletter also updates you on the Inclusive Learning
Technologies Conference 2010
[http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/conference/] happening in just
three months time now. We have nearly 300 registrations already,
with 10 new registrations being received each day! We definitely
need to limit total registrations to 700 only. So please do think
about registering sooner rather than later to ensure your place
is secure.

[http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/conference/2010/pdfs/Prelim-Program.pdf]

Oh ... one more thing to point out to you! 

Due to the rapid movement in technology, we frequently find that
technologies on our shelves have been replaced by upgraded
versions or newer technologies. These items are listed on the
Spectronics website on our Shelf Stock Clearance Bargains
[http://spectronicsinoz.com/catalogue/2770] pages. All are
significantly reduced from their original selling price - but are
fully functional and usable technologies! It's worth a look to
see if any of the bargain priced items are of value to you, your
students, or the people with whom you work.

Cheers for now

Barbara Landsberg
Sales and Marketing Director
SPECTRONICS 


PS Spectronics is now on Facebook. Become a fan of the page and
be part of the Spectronics online community. We look forward to
seeing you there too!

[http://www.facebook.com/pages/Spectronics/130062430521#/pages/Spectronics/130062430521]


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Inclusive Learning Technologies Conference 2010 Update
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Early Bird Registration Prize

As we mentioned earlier, registrations are coming in very quickly
for the conference now. Very exciting to see. Don't forget there
is an Early Bird Prize for all registrations received before the
end of the Easter weekend. Be in the draw to win a WriteOnline
[http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/product/writeonline] 3-year
subscription valued at $399 - just for registering before
midnight on Monday 5th April 2010!

[https://www.spectronicsinoz.com/conference/2010/register]


Priory Woods Pre-Conference Workshop - change of plan

Because of unprecedented demand for places in the "Make and Take:
Priory Woods Style"
[http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/conference/timetable/session/29]"
workshop by Ian Bean
[http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/conference/timetable/presenter/ian-bean],
we have moved it to a larger room and will now be running this
session as a B.Y.O. laptop workshop. If you registered before 1st
March 2010, when it was being conducted in the smaller Hands-on
Laptop Lab, the Conference Committee will be in touch with you to
see if you would prefer to work on your own laptop, or to
continue to share one of the Laptop Lab computers
(two-people-per-laptop). Please feel free to contact us to
discuss your preference on conference@spectronicsinoz.com
[conference@spectronicsinoz.com] or phone (07) 3808 6833 or 
+61 7 3808 6833 if calling from outside Australia.


Closing Session and Prize Pool - you gotta be there to win!

The 2010 Conference will be offering an excellent pool of prizes
to be drawn at the Closing Session
[http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/conference/2010/prizepool] of the
conference. The exceptional generosity of our valued suppliers in
supporting this initiative is VERY much appreciated. How do you
win? You just have to complete a Conference Feedback Form and be
there at the Closing Session from 4.15pm to 5.00pm on Friday 28th
May to win. Winners will continue to be drawn until all prizes
are claimed! If your name is called, you choose the prize you
want! So keep this in mind and leave plenty of time to attend
when booking your flights back home!


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iZoom: A lower cost alternative for people with low vision
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At less than half the cost of ZoomText, iZoom
[http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/product/izoom-standard-3-magnifier-reader]
is an exciting new option for people with low vision who need an
easy-to-use program for magnifying text on their computer
screens. Another big bonus is that iZoom speaks out the text
using clear male and female Australian voices!

Other benefits of using iZoom?

* The USB version of iZoom does not require you to install any 
  software onto the computer at all. Just insert it into the USB 
  drive and you are instantly up and running. Other programs, like 
  ZoomText, need users to install a small file, effectively locking 
  them out of any public computers (like those in libraries) and 
  school or Uni/TAFE computers where students do not have 
  administrator privileges.

* Exceptionally easy to use interface.

* Zoom scroll-bars appear on the side and bottom of the screen to
  assist users to know where they are on the screen once it is
  enlarged.

* Font smoothing ensures clear, non-jaggy text when magnified.

* SmartAlign technology makes viewing web pages, emails and
  documents that don't fit on the screen much easier. No need to
  continuously scroll back and forward horizontally to read the
  text. With just one mouse click, SmartAlign will realign the text
  so that it fits on the screen allowing you to be more productive
  and reducing eye-strain.

The Spectronics team have just finished a new Comparison Chart
[http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/article/magnification-software-comparison-chart]
reviewing the features of several magnification software
programs. If you have any questions about iZoom or other screen
magnification programs, the best person on our team to answer
your queries is Anita Raftery, our new teacher, with many years
experience in supporting students with vision impairment. Anita
can be contacted in our Brisbane office on phone (07) 3808 6833
or by email at anitar@spectronicsinoz.com

Want to try the program for yourself? A 30-day trial version is 
downloadable from the Spectronics website 
[http://www.spectronics.com.au/product/izoom-standard-3-magnifier-reader]
but at a hefty 388 MB, it takes a while to download! So please 
feel free to contact Spectronics 
[http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/contact]
to have a copy of the trial version sent to you on CD. If you 
have enquiries about site licence options and pricing, we are 
also happy to assist.
 

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Clicker 5 SuperDrive - Save over $7000 on 62 titles all on one
drive!
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[http://www.spectronics.com.au/product/clicker-superdrive]

The Clicker SuperDrive is an incredibly convenient and affordable
way to own the entire collection of "Powered by Clicker"
[http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/product/clicker-5-anz-australiannew-zealand-version]
curriculum titles (titles released up until 1st January 2010).
Gain instant access to Crick Software's vast range of acclaimed
titles to develop literacy skills across your school. Install on
your network for access by all computers on your school site or
simply connect the SuperDrive to the USB port of your standalone
computers. Saves HOURS of installation time shuffling CDs in and
out of your computers!

What's included on the SuperDrive?

* Oxford Reading Tree for Clicker
[http://www.cricksoft.com/uk/products/clicker/ort/default.aspx] -
everybody's favourite reading scheme meets Clicker (5 titles)

* New to English
[http://www.cricksoft.com/uk/products/clicker/newtoenglish/default.aspx]
- active English language learning for new arrivals (5 titles)

* Planet Wobble
[http://www.cricksoft.com/uk/products/clicker/planetwobble/default.aspx]
- award-winning graded literacy series for struggling readers (7
titles)

* Find Out & Write About
[http://www.cricksoft.com/uk/products/clicker/fowa/default.aspx]
- active comprehension through curriculum topics (19 titles)

* Trackers for Clicker
[http://www.cricksoft.com/uk/products/clicker/trackers/default.aspx]
- the reading series for struggling learners aged 7+ (7 titles)

* Clicker Phonics
[http://www.cricksoft.com/uk/products/clicker/phonics/default.aspx]
- acclaimed series going from early listening skills to synthetic
phonics (6 titles)

* Clicker Books
[http://www.cricksoft.com/uk/products/clicker/clickerbooks/default.aspx]
- content-rich literacy resources for early readers (13 titles)

The best SuperDrive for you?

The Clicker SuperDrive is available in two formats. For schools
that already have Clicker 5
[http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/product/clicker-5-anz-australiannew-zealand-version],
Clicker SuperDrive includes the resources listed above and can be
used on any computer in the school that has Clicker 5 installed.
The Clicker SuperDrive Solution includes all the above, plus the
Clicker 5
[http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/product/clicker-5-anz-australiannew-zealand-version]
and Clicker Paint
[http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/product/clicker-paint] programs,
for use on up to 30 computers in one school.

If you would like more advice about any of these programs or
guidance on choosing which might best meet your needs, our
advisory team is happy to assist. Feel free to contact
Spectronics' Educational Technology Consultants by phone on (07)
3808 6833 or email Greg O'Connor [grego@spectronicsinoz.com] or
Anita Raftery [anitar@spectronicsinoz.com] directly with your
questions.


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A new PowerLink - at last!
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[http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/product/powerlink-4-control-unit]

MANY students with physical disabilities have benefitted from
using the PowerLink 2
[http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/product/powerlink-2-control-unit]
allowing them to use a switch
[http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/catalogue/5] to control electric
appliances, tools or switch-adapted toys. Now, after 10 years of
solid service, the Powerlink 2 will be replaced by the PowerLink
4
[http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/product/powerlink-4-control-unit]
- due for release next month.

PowerLink 4 features

* Easy set up with built-in display and six modes of control 
  - Direct Mode: Keeps the appliance "on" for as long as the 
    switch is activated
  - Count Mode: Shows number of activations for easy, precise 
    data collection
  - Two-Switch Mode: Both switches must be activated - for safety
    reasons or allowing for cooperative play
  - Timed Seconds Mode: Runs appliance from 1 to 99 seconds
  - Timed Minutes Mode: Runs appliance from 1 to 99 minutes
  - Latch Mode: First activation turns appliance "on"; second
    activation turns it "off" 

* Flexible outlets allow for custom positioning of up to two 
  appliances, activating independently    

* Two switch input jacks for use with any standard switch
  [http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/catalogue/5]

* Able to be used with multiple Big Beamer
  [http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/product/big-beamer-twist-wireless-switch]
  or Jelly Beamer
  [http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/product/jelly-beamer-twist-wireless-switch-2]
  switches - for instant wireless access from up to 10 metres 
  away (no pointing required)!


Still want a PowerLink 2?

We have arranged for AbleNet to ship all of the remaining ANZ
PowerLink 2's to us, so that we have some in stock for you if you
wish to stay with the earlier, more familiar version. They had
only 25 left, so once they are gone, we will not be able to
supply them anymore. But of course, Spectronics will continue to
support the PowerLink 2's for as long as they are in use.


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A new Lightwriter too!
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[http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/product/lightwriter-sl40-standard]

Yes! After nearly 20 years of the very popular Lightwriter SL35
[http://www.spectronics.com.au/product/lightwriter-sl35] being
available, and remaining relatively unchanged, a new Lightwriter
has just arrived this week in Australia and New Zealand. Meet the
Lightwriter SL40 Standard
[http://www.spectronics.com.au/product/lightwriter-sl40-standard]!

It is still a compact, user-friendly package, and includes high
legibility dual displays, one facing the user and a second
out-facing display allowing natural face-to-face communication.
This unique feature gives the user the opportunity to maintain
eye contact, facial expression, and body language with their
conversational partner - and has been the reason for many
Lightwriter purchases over the years.

So what is better about the SL40?

* High quality UK and US male and female Acapela voices.

* NaturalSelection Word Prediction, which learns as you type,
  ensuring that the device will learn your speaking style,
  providing greater speed and flexibility.

* Intelligent Abbreviation Expansion will enable you to access
  phrases stored in the memory of the Lightwriter SL40 in many
  different ways - reducing the memory load for the end user and
  increasing speed of access. 

* The new notebook function for storing and delivering speeches
  will make public speaking a breeze.

* The alarm clock makes it easy to remind yourself what you need
  to do!  Four alarms can be programmed with a text prompt about
  what needs to happen, such as "Get yourself a manicure"! 

* Larger memory, adjustable keyboard options and a range of
  keyguards mean that the SL40 Standard offers significant
  improvements over the SL35 for those who require these additional
  features.

Why is it called the Lightwriter SL40 Standard]. Developing an
Australian and New Zealand Standards-compatible version of the
SMS messaging tool has proved a challenge. No formal release date
is yet available for this model, as it is still being developed.

Click below
[http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/product/lightwriter-sl40-standard]
for more information about the Lightwriter SL40 Standard. If you
wish to be advised of when the new device has been added to our
Equipment Trial Pool for Australia and New Zealand
[http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/trials], please contact Jane
Farrall, Spectronics' AAC Support Services Manager by email
[janef@spectronicsinoz.com] or on phone (03) 9848 4812.


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And a new Co:Writer - Best version yet!
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[http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/catalogue/cowriter-uk-version]

For the past 20 years, Co:Writer has been offering support to
students who struggle with reading and, particularly, writing. It
is an incredibly clever word prediction program, capable of
suggesting correctly spelled and grammatically appropriate words
in place of words misspelled by students. This is of great value
to students who struggle to even type the first two or three
letters correctly, or omit and reverse letters. Many other word
prediction programs are not able to accurately predict words in
such cases. It is also of value to students with physical
disabilities which make writing a painfully slow process - even
when using a computer.

At Spectronics, we often refer to Co:Writer as the "Rolls Royce"
of word prediction programs. The latest release of Co:Writer 6
[http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/product/cowriter-6-uk-version]
lifts the bar even higher again. And it really does live up to
its claim that it only takes 30 minutes to learn how to use the
program. The "Train-in-30 Tutorial
[http://www.donjohnston.com/pdf/solo6/CoWriter_6_Train-in-30.pdf]"
backs this one up. We attended a two-hour hands-on Co:Writer
training at the ATIA Conference
[http://www.atia.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3545] in January
this year and, being familiar with earlier versions of Co:Writer,
we had mastered ALL features (both beginners and advanced) in an
hour. It was really difficult for the trainer to add much more
after that point.


So what's new in Co:Writer 6?

Check out this informative video
[http://www.donjohnston.com/media/flash/product_demo/cowriter6/index.html]
demonstrating the many features of Co:Writer 6.

Highlights include:

* Works immediately on starting the program - no need to log in.

* No need to open programs in any set order - Co:Writer will
  automatically assist with text entry into all open documents, 
  web pages, Facebook, Twitter, email programs, Skype and more -
  automatically moving with the students as they move between
  programs.

* One single window onscreen - no other onscreen clutter to
  distract students from their writing.

* Speech Anywhere! Highlight text onscreen and Co:Writer 6 will
  read it back to you. It works in any application including: MS
  Word, Google Docs, Open Office, Outlook, Internet Explorer and
  Firefox using the natural sounding Acapela 6 speech engine. If
  you have the Australian voices of "Karen" and "Lee" installed 
  on your computer, it will also be able to use these.

* Network ready! Now you can save your student's Co:Writer files
  anywhere on your network, WebDisk or on a USB drive for instant
  access anywhere.

* "Always Active Prediction" meaning that if a student clicks
  anywhere in a document, Co:Writer will immediately start 
  offering suggestions for grammatically appropriate words and 
  correctly spelled words - much more cleverly than a standard 
  spell checker can do.

More powerful than taking our word for it, why not check out the
before and after samples of students' writing improvements
[http://www.donjohnston.com/media/flash/cowriter_student_samples/index.html]
when using Co:Writer 6. Way more powerful. And think about
joining one of our free online training sessions demonstrating
many of Co:Writer 6's new features. To view timing of the
sessions, just visit Spectronics' Online Training page
[http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/onlinetraining]. 
 

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Take a picture - hear the words on your mobile phone
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[http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/product/capturatalk]

We mentioned CapturaTalk in a newsletter last year - a clever
program that allows your Windows Mobile phone to take a photo of
written text and then have it read aloud to you in a clear UK
English voice! It will also read aloud text in documents on the
phone - including emails, SMS messages and web pages visited. PDF
files can now be read aloud too.

Version 3 of the program has just been released and is definitely
worth a look. Click here
[http://www.capturatalk.co.uk/files/CTV3Install.CAB] to download
a free 30 day trial of CapturaTalk Version 3. Or visit the
Spectronics website
[http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/product/capturatalk] for
information on compatible phones; to view a video of CapturaTalk
in action; or to read case studies from successful users of this
fully portable way of supporting people who struggle with
reading! The program even includes the Concise Oxford English
dictionary, if you don't understand a word simply select it and
have the definition read to you by your phone. Truly mobile
learning!
 

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Footy Tipping in Boardmaker!
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[http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/activities/boardmaker-plussd-pro-activities-to-use-on-a-computer-with-touch-screeninteractive-whiteboardmouseswitch]

After lots of requests, we have now taken our Boardmaker Plus
footy tipping one step further and have developed interactive
2010 footy tipping packages for use in Boardmaker Plus
[http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/catalogue/boardmaker-plus] for
the following codes:

* Australian Rules Football
[http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/activities/2010-afl-footy-tipping-for-boardmaker-plus]

* National Rugby League
[http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/activities/2010-nrl-footy-tipping-for-boardmaker-plus]

* Super 14's Rugby
[http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/activities/2010-rugby-super-14s-tipping-for-boardmaker-plus]

Just click on the code you are interested in to be taken to the
link so you can download your Boardmaker Plus package - or
download them all! Too much sport is not enough? You will be
ready to begin tipping as soon as the season starts - just around
the corner now! By completing your tipping in Boardmaker Plus,
everyone in your competition can make their tips independently -
using a touchscreen, mouse or switch.

Good luck and GO THE WESTERN BULLDOGS!!!

(PS. The Queensland team are backing away from that last line
Katie. Go the Lions, Broncos or the Reds!)

Note: For after-sales support of Boardmaker and add-ons, please
ensure your copy is an authorised Australian and New Zealand
version, with Spectronics indicated on the packaging. If in
doubt, contact Spectronics for details of authorised resellers.


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Ginger spelling and grammar checker - now even more clever!
-----------------------------------------------------------------

You know that MANY students in your classroom struggle to achieve
age-appropriate reading and writing skills. This then limits
their ability to independently realise their full potential. Just
giving these struggling students a laptop will not improve their
ability to benefit from your teaching nor from their own research
or written work. Adding literacy support software into the
package definitely will! Literacy support software like Ginger
[http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/product/ginger].

Ginger is an online contextual spell checker that corrects not
just spelling, but also identifies misused words and grammatical
errors, suggesting the right word every time - no matter how
poorly spelled or poorly constructed a sentence is! It works with
sentences written in Microsoft Word, emails constructed within
Microsoft Outlook and text entered online when using Internet
Explorer. The latest version of Ginger has MUCH improved checking
of grammatical errors. AND checking of punctuation will be added
in future upgrades (available free of charge to all subscribers).

Click here [http://www.gingersoftware.com/demo] to view a short
video of the Ginger software in action. Read more details on the
Spectronics website
[http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/product/ginger] or in the
downloadable PDF flyer.

[http://www.spectronicsinoz.com//downloads/thirdparty/Ginger_Software_from_Spectronics.pdf]

Or click here [http://www.gingersoftware.com/download_premium] to
download a FREE 14-day trial of the program. If it is more
convenient, contact Spectronics on (07) 3808 6833 or email
mail@spectronicsinoz.com [mail@spectronicsinoz.com] to receive
the trial version on CD and a printed information pack.

 
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Other cool stuff to know about
-----------------------------------------------------------------

* TimeTimer App for iPhone and iPod touch
    
Given that the Spectronics team delivers many presentations
each year, the TimeTimer App (available from Apple's iTunes
Store) has proved really helpful for helping us to keep track and
finish sessions on time by having it running on our iPhones and
iPod touches! It's a cool new way of accessing the clever visual
display of time passing that has made the Time Timers
[http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/product/time-timers] so popular
in special education classrooms. This new app will definitely be
in use during presentations at our Inclusive Learning
Technologies Conference 2010
[http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/conference/] in May. Click here
[http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/time-timer/id332520417?mt=8] to
read reviews.

* Weblinks for accessible text and eBooks - by Greg O'Connor    

We are often asked about where to find alternative text formats
for people who have difficulty accessing traditional printed
text. The team at Spectronics has put together a comprehensive
listing of web links for accessible, digital text (also sometimes
referred to as eBooks). Check out the resources listed on the
Spectronics Blog
[http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/blog/web-links/2009/09/weblinks-for-accessible-text-and-ebooks/]
entry on this topic and let us know of any websites we have
missed! This entry will be updated on a regular basis. Click here
[http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/blog/web-links/2009/09/weblinks-for-accessible-text-and-ebooks/]
to view the 35 useful links already listed in our Blog. 

* Wordle - So cool! - by Anita Raftery    

I used Wordle [http://www.wordle.net/] to create the "word cloud"
above using some of the text from my recent posting on the
Spectronics Blog
[http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/blog/?s=wordle&x=15&y=18]. Wordle
is a great online tool to display your text in a different way,
simply copy some text from a document or website, open up the
Wordle webpage and paste in your text. Wordle generates "word
clouds" from text that you provide. The clouds give greater
prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source
text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts,
and colour schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours
to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to
the Wordle gallery to share.
    
Ideas for using Wordle?

* Create and print out book covers for school, home or work
* Create a title page for a topic or assignment
* Create personalised wrapping paper or cards
* Display brainstorming ideas
* Use as a starter at the beginning of a lesson, display on a
  Interactive White Board
* Create a Wordle to check word frequency and the main ideas in a
  piece of writing
* Use as a vocabulary enrichment resource in your classroom
* Let students use it themselves to compensate for writing
  difficulties as a result of poor fine motor skills or learning
  disabilities/difficulties.



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SPECTRONICS
PO BOX 88
ROCHEDALE, QLD 4123
AUSTRALIA
Phone: (07) 3808 6833
Fax: (07) 3808 6108
Email: mail@spectronicsinoz.com
Web: http://www.spectronicsinoz.com

SPECTRONICS
PO BOX 20 1186
Auckland Airport
MANUKAU CITY 2150
NEW ZEALAND
Phone: (09) 275 5744
Fax: (09) 275 5743
Email: mail@spectronics.co.nz
Web: http://www.spectronics.co.nz

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