Software on Home Access Computers
Notes on the Software
These notes give information about some of the most important software loaded on Home Access computers. They may be helpful in giving guidance to families before they choose an approved supplier. They will certainly be helpful if you are going to help families get started with the new equipment.
You can download pdf documents about the iZoom and Netintelligence software. You can also download notes on the software which include the wording below but with additional notes and a list of the current suppliers.
Notes on the Software
The first point to note is that the suppliers for the package were able to choose some of this software themselves, so be ready for variations. In particular they were able to choose
- which ‘Office’ software to make available
- which parental control (filtering) software to offer, and
- which anti-virus software to introduce
The downloadable notes tell you which option each supplier actually chose.
The second point to note is that every computer obtained with a grant comes pre-loaded with three useful ‘Assistive Technology’ items. (If a family buys the package direct, without a grant, they will need to activate these items and there is an extra cost of £45. Once the family has the computer they need to be on-line, then they need to click on the icon for any one of the three pieces of software, and this will enable them to make the payment. They will then be sent a product key to type in and this will activate all three pieces of software).
- The ‘Read and Write’ software offers a number of options which can reinforce literacy work. It will highlight and read out text to the learner; both existing text and words generated as they are typed. It offers spelling options, including spelling a highlighted word aloud, as well as a dictionary function and much more. Each function comes with a very good introductory video which the families need to be encouraged to look at first (the last item on the menu for that function).
- The ‘iZoom’ software is designed to help those with visual impairments. It will highlight and increase the size of areas of the screen. There are options for different types of ‘lens’ for the learner and to enhance or change colours (e.g. of text and backgrounds) as seen through the lens. There are also audio options. There is no introductory material but a user guide is available if the family search for it in the programme listings on the laptop. The guide can also be accessed here with the permission of ‘Issist Assistive Technologies Inc.’
- The ‘MindView‘ software is a valuable tool which covers mind mapping and planning. It can be used for a range of applications; anything from the outline for a story to planning for a major project. It seems easy to use and comes with a useful ‘getting started’ video. (NB families may be asked to download Windows Media Player in order to view the video).