Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Using BeeBot With Symbols

Having introduced all the kids to the ICT Suite, we're going to start doing some basic control work using a BeeBot. As simple as the BeeBot is to operate in itself, the element of planning, recording and reviewing how we control it is somewhat more complex for our pupils.
So some creative thinking was called for!
I say creative, what I actually did was 'borrow' some communication and scheduling systems that we already use widely through the school.
On the communication side of things there is PECS. If you're not familiar with PECS it is the Picture Exchange Communication System and boils down to using pictures to communicate a want or need. It is more complex than that and is used to build up language skills, but for our BeeBot needs we're just using the basic set up.
The other system we use at Hatton to help show what we're doing throughout the day are Transition Schedules. These use pictures to represent activities and places that the pupil using the schedule will be doing through the day.

So somewhere between these two systems lies our BeeBot symbols. Very simply they are PECS style symbols that represent each of the buttons on BeeBots back and a schedule on which to place them to create a plan of, not just which buttons the pupil will press, but also what BeeBot will be doing. This means that BeeBot's actions can be planned ahead, followed and recorded as the action takes place, reviewed and edited as needed. The folder at the top of this image is used to keep the many symbols in.

Hopefully you can see how the symbols represent the buttons on the BeeBot!

These are the Schedule Boards that the symbols can be stuck to using velcro.

The main advantage to this system, certainly here at Hatton anyway, is that it is a familiar process for the pupils. They will hopefully be able to transfer the skills they already have from class to the BeeBot, meaning we can focus on learning control, rather than a whole new method of planning and recording.

You can download the PDF of the symbols Here and I will add the Schedule strips asap.
If I haven't, or you're having trouble just drop me an e-mail at:

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Welcome, anybody who is choosing to read this!
The idea for this blog has come from meeting with Anthony Evans and Nic Hughes early in October of this year, both of whom use blogs to communicate ideas they have had or collected in relation to ICT within education.
So I shall attempt to do something similar here, which will hopefully help others, especially when working with ICT with children with SEN.
Here at Hatton we were, as at our last Ofsted inspection (in July 06), behind in our use of ICT. Ofsted recognised this and that we were, ourselves, aware of the issues. The report stated that the school must "Ensure that there is better use of ICT to support pupils' learning, progress and achievement throughout the curriculum."
So we spent some money!
Now we have a modestly sized, but well equipped ICT Suite. It contains 6 PCs, all with touchscreens that fold away into the desks so that we need only have the machines that we wish to use up and out, the rest are out of sight and of no distraction to the pupils. We also have a colour printer and seperate scanner in the suite and, of course, one SmartBoard interactive whiteboard with built in projector.
The suite was mostly built over the summer holidays 2007 and equipment was installed within the first few weeks of September.
The pupils were introduced to the suite over the first half term and all pupils were given an opportunity to try out the room. Tasks were set at a comfortable level for each pupil and changed on the fly to suit each pupil, because the goal here was to experience the room, which for some of our pupils can be quite a challenge in itself. However, all but one of the pupils happily entered the new room, which can be dauntingly bright from the now very dim seeming corridor. I am pleased to say, though, that that one pupil did, on his second attempt, enter and thoroughly enjoy the room!
So now that everyone has tried out the room and is reasonably comfortable with the equipment next half term we will be trying out some projects, starting with control. I'll let you know how we get on!