SENICT News and Resources from Ian Bean, October 2014

beANZ2014 Tour Workshops

Allenvale School New Zealand

For ten weeks in the summer, Ian travelled first to Australia, then on to New Zealand and finally to Denmark to deliver his unique iPad and special needs technology workshops to 1000s of teachers, therapists, support workers and parents at schools and conferences. Feedback has been very positive with almost everyone rating the sessions as ‘excellent‘ and ‘highly relevant‘.

We’re already working on our 2015 tour which we hope will include some conference venues in the U.S and Canada. More information of dates and venues will be published on as our Facebook page in the coming months. Want to book Ian for your conference? Email

CALL for Excellent AAC Resources

CALL Resources

Here’s another wonderful free AAC and communication resource web site from our friends at CALL Scotland. This A3 poster for your classroom wall provides an A to Z of ideas for using single message communicators at school or home. Check out too the brilliant set of ‘ready to go’ communication games and activities.

Visit the AAC Resource web site

iOS 8 breaks Guided Access

Guided Access icon

I’m hearing lots of troubling reports from colleagues who have updated their iPad operating systems to IOS 8 that Guided Access is now broken or bugged. I’ve tried it and it won’t work for me. I’ve heard a couple of work arounds but they almost all involve resetting the iPad, something we don’t want to be doing in the classroom. Best advice right now is don’t upgrade until Apple sort out this bug.

Pirates land in Auckland

Workshop attendees dressed as pirates

You may remember when we shared the brilliant PMLD thematic units of work from Northern Ireland a few weeks ago. If not you can get them from HERE. During the summer I ran a workshop exploring these resources together with Julie King from Click Special Ed NZ and Catherine Brill from DTSL. Our aim was to take one of the units (we chose the pirate theme) and use it as inspiration to help plan inclusive lessons differentiated for a wide range of needs. We adopted a ‘High Tech, Low Tech, No Tech’ approach so everyone could take part. Over 50 colleagues came along dressed as pirates to the workshop held at BLENNZ on a Saturday and they all came up with some wonderful teaching ideas around the topic.

Free switch activities for Halloween

Halloween monsters ilhouettes

Just a quick reminder that there are lots of free Halloween themed cause and effect activities for switch and touch-screen users on our web site for you to download and use with your students.

We’ve also added some new activities suggested by visitors to our Facebook page. Check out the new ‘Dr. Who‘, ‘Elmo’s Song‘, ‘Top Gear‘ and ‘Minions‘ along with over 100 other free cause and effect activities for switch, touch-screen and now eye gaze control. Get them from here:


Tried and tested free apps

Free apps October 14

More useful free app recommendations this month including the brilliant ‘Talking Pictures‘ app which lets you add talking ‘hotspots’ to your photographs. Please note: While all of these apps were free at the time of writing, always check the price of an app before downloading it.

Many apps are offered free by developers but some are only free for a short period of time.

Image of a nocturnal animal

Talking Pictures is a wonderful, easy to use tool which lets you add ‘hotspots’ to your photographs or images. Use it to make VSD communication boards, to create simple activities or let the students use it as a motivating and easy way for them to record what they have been doing. The free version of the app lets you create ONE talking picture. Upgrade costs 69p ($1) and allows you to make any number of talking pictures each with up to 10 embedded sounds.
Get TALKING PICTURES APP on the app store

Make learning to use the camera fun with Pirate Cam app. Take a photograph or choose one from your device or the internet and with one touch of the screen, you can turn them into a pirate. More advanced users can choose different pirate features such as beards, eye patches and hats too.
Get PIRATE CAM on the app store

If like many UK schools you’re exploring what the new computing curriculum might offer your students, take a look at the free Scratch Junior app which brings to the iPad a simpler version Scratch, the very popular visual programming language developed at MIT. Scratch Junior introduces new commands slowly and features iPad specific commands to enable some of our students to design and make their own game apps.
Get SCRATCH JUNIOR on the app store.

About my Day screenshot

About My Day is a useful app from the University of Victoria in Australia which enables young people (or adults) with learning difficulties to keep a record and comments on their day. I’ve worked with a number of schools who have been using this app with their older students very successfully. I love the emoticons for sharing feelings about the day.

Get ABOUT MY DAY on the app store

Win a copy of this great book

Brilliant ideas for ICT book cover

It’s time for another Facebook prize give-away, this time it’s a fantastic book brimming with brilliant ideas for using ICT in the Inclusive Classroom. Written by Sal McKeown and Angela McGlashon, this book shares great lesson ideas for using technology effectively with your students. From digital video to dance games, iPads to Clicker there are so many useful ideas in this book that begin and end with great teaching.

To win copy of this brilliant book worth over £20, simply visit (and like) our Facebook page and share one of the ways that YOU use technology in your classroom. One winner will be drawn from the comments on Friday 24th of October 2014. The competition is open to teachers, support staff, parents and carers around the world. Prize will be sent by mail.

Win ‘Brilliant ideas for using ICT in the Inclusive Classroom.’

Ian Bean

Ian was the ICT teacher and curriculum coordinator at Priory Woods School in Middlesbrough which is internationally recognised as an example of best practice in the use of ICT to support teaching and learning for students with severe and complex difficulties including Autism. HIs leadership of ICT won for the school many local, national and international awards. The school web site which Ian designed and ran for many years and welcomes millions of visitors each month from across the globe. Ian left Priory Woods to lead the Information Team at Inclusive Technology where he was responsible for delivering training and consultancy to schools around the world. While at Inclusive, Ian worked closely with the development team to help design much of Inclusive's software output over the last seven years. This includes titles from the 'Big Bang', 'Switch Skills', 'Target and Touch' and 'Maker' series, each design underpinned by best practice research Ian carried out in schools and colleges. Most recently Ian worked on MyZone LP, an innovate switch accessible learning learning platform for children with SEN.

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