Help struggling writers overcome barriers to progress with DocsPlus – Cricksofts' exciting new writing tool for secondary schools.
Subject-specific writing support
What sets DocsPlus apart from other word processors is the extensive support it offers to struggling writers. Writing success for older learners
Intelligent word prediction
Curriculum vocabulary banks and writing frames
For students who experience significant literacy barriers, completing the writing tasks that are an integral part of every curriculum subject can be a real challenge. DocsPlus enables you to provide these students with curriculum 'Wordbars', giving them instant access to the specific words and phrases they need for their current assignment.
Use A-Z Wordbars for your Word Banks, or categorise your words by labelling your tabs with any text you like. Students can right-click on any word to listen to it first before using it in their writing.
Another real learning curve for secondary students is understanding how to structure different genres of writing. Using a Wordbar, you can teach them those structures by offering paragraph starters and the relevant supporting vocabulary. Take the following example of a discussion frame:
Create your own or access our Wordbar bank!
When you buy DocsPlus, you also get free access to hundreds of ready-made Wordbars via our LearningGrids website.
The resources cover a wide range of curriculum topics, and more are added regularly by our curriculum team. They are very easy to edit, enabling you to tailor activities to your exact requirements.
It's also incredibly quick and easy to make your own resources from scratch with our intuitive Wordbar Wizard – simply decide if you'd like a topic or A-Z grid layout, type or paste your text in and click create. In a matter of minutes, you've created a curriculum-specific support grid to help your students scaffold their writing!
Organising ideas and planning writing tasks
Organising ideas is a vital first step in the writing process. DocsPlus provides students with built-in planning support tools to help them prepare for writing.
The DocsPlus Voice Note tool gives students the opportunity to record their own audio notes before they write. Simply click on the microphone icon and start recording. Once you've finished, a speech bubble icon will automatically be added to your document. Students can click on the icon to listen back to their note, and also have the option to re-record it as many times as they like until they are happy with it. Voice Notes offer a powerful way to record initial ideas, giving students who struggle to express themselves in written form an opportunity to capture their thoughts without being distracted or held back by the mechanics of writing. You can add up to six colour-coded Voice Notes to a document. Your students may find it useful to create a Voice Note for each section of their document, creating an audio essay plan to refer back to as they write.
Struggling writers often find essays much harder to organise and structure. Problems such as a short-term working memory deficit or slow information processing speed can make it very difficult for them to express their initial thoughts and ideas in the form of a logical, flowing document. Students can use the WorkSpace tool to create their own mind maps, manipulating and linking any combination of words, pictures and sounds. To add text, just drag in a shape from the objects palette and start to type. Drag and drop pictures straight in from your folders or via your web browser. Students also have the option of adding Voice Notes to their mind map.
All of DocsPlus' support features are available within WorkSpace. Listen back to your text with the speech tool, use the word predictor to help find the right word and correct any spelling errors with the help of the talking spell checker. Ready to start writing? Students can instantly transform their mind map into a word bank that will sit at the bottom of the document as they write, providing instant point-and-click access to key vocabulary, sentence starters, connectives etc. The bank will mimic the structure of the map, helping students to organise their paragraphs and transfer their ideas to the page in a logical order. You are also able to send your mind map straight into the document as either an image or an essay outline.
* Help struggling writers overcome barriers to progress with DocsPlus – Crick Software’s exciting new writing tool for secondary schools.
* Help students organise their ideas and plan writing tasks with the built-in mind mapping tool and audio note creator.
* Offer subject-specific writing frames and word banks to support your learners as they tackle new writing genres and try to incorporate more relevant vocabulary into their work.
* Encourage students to actively review their own work with the DocsPlus speech feedback tool.
* Save time and money that would otherwise be spent on scribes and readers by using DocsPlus to support students who require additional access arrangements in exams.
Lots of ways to access DocsPlus
SuperKeys is a unique way of accessing keyboards for those who have difficulty with fine motor control. Instead of having 30+ small keys to target, SuperKeys provides just six large clusters. Simply tap the cluster containing the letter you want, and then choose the letter in the enlarged cluster.
- Eye Gaze friendly
DocsPlus has its own Eye Gaze setting that works with any eye gaze system, for example MyGAZE and Tobii. When you look at a DocsPlus cell and pause, the pointer locks on to it, and shows a red circle that gets smaller as you dwell. When the circle disappears, the cell is activated.
- Touch screen friendly
DocsPlus is just as at home when it’s being controlled with a touch screen as when you’re using a mouse. So if you’re using a Windows tablet or a PC with a touch screen monitor, everything is just as accessible as it is on your regular laptop or desktop computer.
- Switch Access
DocsPlus provides extensive access for students who cannot use a keyboard or pointing device. Switch users have access to writing activities to suit their own level, and have equal access to those classmates.
- High contrast colour option: To make text more comfortable to read, set the colour scheme used in the Wordbar and the document. Use one of the pre-set high contrast options or customise the colour of the document background and text with your own choice.