Tag Archives: software

Little Man The Secret Agent On A Mission

21 Sep

When little man was asked to review items from the Spy Net range he was more than happy to oblige.

Me, I didn’t mind! Yes, I’d be required to record his thoughts and opinions but a little writing never killed anyone, especially when it means you can sit back and enjoy watching your sons confidence grow as he gains more and more self confidence with each review he does. Growing up he had limited interests but this kind of thing was right up his street. For starters it’s Tech and he relates to this very well. Secondly it involves spying and he quite enjoys this too.

Was I worried… No…. After all it’s just a toy isn’t it!

But as usual I had spoken way to soon, and I mean way to soon!

The Spy Net™ range isn’t just some plastic fantastic toy that lets the child feel like a spy… No, no! It’s the ultimate in cool spy technology, Spy Net™ offers a range of fully-functional gadgets and I’m not talking alarm clocks or fancy sound effects!

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Spy Net™ provides today’s secret agents with everything they need to do the job and do it well.

Little man was sent two products from the range, one being the Spy Net™ Video Watch RRP £49.99. Now I understand this is for today’s spy but again I didn’t think to much about it, after all, as mention, it’s just a kids toy!

Yes, the clever device had me fooled! So well in fact that the Little man and his watch have caught me of guard more than once.

The Spy Net Video Watch looks just like your everyday watch (if anything a tad bulkier, but not obviously different from the norm)! As one would expect, it tells the time like an ordinary watch, but hidden deep within its packed with a whole host of innovative features, the type that only an under cover secret agent would require.

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Amazingly one of these features is a real-working hidden video camera and audio system that allows its owner to record and store over 20 minutes of video (thats a lot of time to collect some pretty incriminating evidence). Whats more the watch has the capability to collect over 4 hours of audio evidence, or even 2000+ still photo! All features are displayable on a built-in, full color 1.4 inch TFT video screen so Mr Secret Agent can sit back, relax and watch the playback!

Once back at their headquarters, agents can upload to SpyNetHQ.com via USB where analysing of evidence commences

If this isn’t enough the watch has even been loaded with lie detector software… Yes, I did just say lie detector software! With this the little agents can check if your telling lies during a conversation or instead analysis the audio produced on that secret video you know nothing about.

When they are finally bored of spying on family members they can move onto something else like having a go at ‘Secret Code Cracking’ or maybe train for missions in way of the preloaded mini games.

To say little man loves this watch is to much of an understatement! His bonkers about it. Again I’ve been proven wrong this versatile Spy Net Video Watch that also downloads video missions from the HQ is far beyond a toy.

Do you know that thing we do as parents! We’re tired, stressed and not in the mood. The kids go on & on about something and we end up saying… “Yer maybe” or “OK, Ok whatever” Those with a child on the autism spectrum will particularly understand as the child with Aspergers has mastered the fine art of obsessiveness. Well, Little man has been doing this about his birthday and the little sneaky devil (that’s a polite term) has been secretly recording me as he bangs on about wanting the entire contents of Amazon. He has some pretty strong evidence of myself saying “OK, OK, we will see” as well as “Yes… Yes” I try not to do this as a child will never let you forget it, especially one with Aspergers but Yesterday I received a little shock. We had a discussion on the subject of birthday lists and he states i’ve agreed to get him something that I’m pretty sure I haven’t! To my complete and utter horror it turns out that I kinda have agreed to something and he holds the proof in that of his little watch. I’m considering suing the boy for entrapment… Seriously! His even got me singing (extremely badly) as I dance with the mop in my PJs… Something I’m not wanting leaked on YouTube! The boy has the potential to make a mint in blackmail money but we won’t tell him that ah!

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Verdict: 9/10 it’s a brilliantly clever piece of kit that I’m considering borrowing when I speak to his father next * Evil Laugh*

Parents be careful your child could be spying on you.
www.SpyNetHQ.com

Little Man also received the Spy Net™ Bionic Ear Stealth Listening Device RRP £19.99
Another devices that allows him to become a top spy and does so by allowing him to hear distant sounds through walls and doors in-order to detect intruders and defend against enemy… AKA the parent.

By Putting on the Bionic Ear a long with his Spy Net Video watch, Little man has all the tools needed to be a super agent. The Bionic Ear has real ultrasound technology and allows him to listen in on all the action (not always appropriate I know)! He can even use it to hear round corners ensuring him a safe distance from his enemy (in our language… Little sister).

Does it work? Just look at the Little mans cheeky chops! Do you really need to ask?

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At £30 cheaper than the Video Watch it’s a good price! However it doesn’t compare in terms of what it is able to do and the many features that come with the watch does put it way up there on a pedestal! I do love the watch and together with the Bionic Ear it’s the perfect set to delight boys and girls alike.

Verdict Bionic Ear 7/10 Great product that kids will love.

Both products are available from all good retailers including Toys R Us & Amazon.

Disclaimer: I was not paid for writing this post! Little man received product samples for the purpose of the review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Creative minds, pupils with autism use ICT to create Art.

9 Sep

There are so many things I love about blogging, hearing good news alongside inspiring stories of success from my readers, has to be the ultimate highlight to blogging.

Last week, I got my kicks of happiness, when I received an email from reader and teacher, ‘Joanne’

Joanne contacted me and asked if I was happy to upload some art work to the, ‘Autism & Art’ Page, here on the blog.  The art was created by pupils with Autism and Severe Learning Difficulties who attend a unit for children with autism and SEN (special educational needs) that forms part of the mainstream school, “Evergreen”  Most of the children at the unit are non-verbal but are very expressive when it comes to art. The  children’s artwork has been created on computer with the use of free art software packages, which Joanne has been kind enough to share (this can be found later on in this post).

Of course, I informed Joanne that it would be an honour to feature the children’s fabulous artwork on the blogs Art page, however, while chatting with Joanne, I felt inspired to write a post to show the world how talented these budding little artist are!

Yes, they really are some talented lot, and it’s not just me, Joanne or the rest of the staff at Evergreen Primary school, who think so!

The pupils were nominated for the Northern grid awards (ICT In Education Awards) where their work has been widely showcased and celebrated as a result.

The Northern Grid Awards recognise and celebrate the excellent practice happening in North East Schools. The pupils at Evergreen, were actually Highly Commended in the “Surprise me” category. This was for an activity that was actually formed to support literacy for the KS1 class. The presentation began as a teacher made resources to present the story, ‘We’re going on a bear hunt’ to pupils. The pupils were then involved with developing the presentation into their own, ‘Bear Hunt’ story through their interaction with the story props and resources. Seriously guys, check it out on the site hosting the awards, the teachers and parents of these pupils must be beaming with pride!

Joanne is a lady who is very passionate about her work and she has a great fondness for those she teaches. She told me that, “Most of the children are non-verbal but can actually teach me a thing or two!” It’s refreshing to see teachers and teaching assistants, so passionate about what they do, I really love that, it’s something so simple but for a mother of a child on the spectrum, it’s something you are truly grateful to find.

Joanne’s role with the children is to create creative & sensory friendly learning experiences and her success shines through within the children’s beautiful, yet talented work. She talked about the way the children use computers to create and learn and like myself and many other parents, she really understood the importance of using ICT as a resource for children with autism, both in education and within their everyday lives.

It’s my belief  that children and adults on the spectrum, have an amazing way about them when given a computer. A child that is branded a menace due to their refusal to participate in written work can then excel if put in-front of a computer. When I went to view Little man’s work at a past parents evening, at his old mainstream school, they didn’t have a single exercise book to show me! The only work they had to display was all done with the use of a PC. Little man has fine motor skills difficulties and like many children on the spectrum his handwriting took the force of this. Little man is extremely aware off these difficulties and the fact he is often considered less able within certain areas of his learning (despite his intelligence). He is overly proud and he would rather not engage at all if it meant that by doing so, It would only portray him as some kind of “failure”. Its my opinion that every child with autism as-well as those children with other communication difficulties, should be able to express themselves with the use of ICT, by way of having regular access to a computer. Now, I’m not stating we should give up, stop encouraging them to engage with written work, not at all! I’m just stating that expression is important especially for non-verbal children like those whom Joanne teaches.

 Here’s the wonderful creations of art, that will feature on the Autism and Art page.

Spiderman, By: Thomas Age: 9 

Mr Men, By: Liam Age: 6 

Thomas the tank engine By: Ethan Age: 5

Worms By: Jacob Age: 4 

Wow, I think they are simply wonderful!

 Joanne was kind enough to share the resources that herself and the teaching team regularly use with the children in the unit. All resources are ICT packages that are used to create  different types of art. What is so awesome about these resources, are… amazingly all are “FREE!” meaning you can use these with your child at home.

Tux paint: A great piece of free computer software for kids.

Sumo paint: A free piece of software introduced to Joanne by one of her pupils. Sumo paint has a complicated yet detailed set of features. Greater colour and texture options, fine detailing, filters, layers, and effects. Here you will be presented with endless possibilities.

Nga Kids: Interactive art you can make online. The National Gallery Of Art’s great range of resources enables you to create your own classic masterpieces.

Art pad: An online canvas with basic tools, its appeal to it’s users is that you can re-play you’re painting to watch your creation take shape; you can also email a finished painting.

Cbeebies: Cbeebies have a fantastic selection of activities with characters that appeal to Joanne’s pupils’ interests. Programmes such as Mr maker and Get Squiggling, have magic paint-box activities.

Help kidz learn: Free online games from the guys at inclusive technology with its own creative section.

Create Comics: Create your own comic strip Joanna’s pupils like Garfield, DR Who and Marvel comics.

Audactiy: a piece of kit that can be used to record voices, sound effects, music etc… and can also be used in developing resources. (Free downloads)

Having obtained these from Joanne, I discovered there was only one or two I have used before (Cbeebies, Help Kidz Learn). So, I tried the rest with both Little man and Alice.

Little man enjoys art on a much greater scale when It’s created with the use of a computer. He loved Sumo Paint and has used it for the last three days.

Alice is very creative and like me she has a passion for Art. Though she loves the more practical aspects of art, she also had great fun with this.

I love the comic strips and find the software an invaluable tool for children with autism. These comics can be used to build social stories together which your child. The Comic strips you make, can also be used to help a child with autism to communicate perspectives, feelings and more. All this while remaining fun and creative.

 A massive thank you to Joanne and her wonderful pupils at Evergreen Primary school’s unit for children with autism. Check out the Class website by Clicking HERE  (please note… there is also a special members only section for parents of the pupils whom attend the unit).

Disclaimer: Please note that the above images are the property of Evergreen Primary school and should not be copied without the permission of its owner. The images are subject to copyrite and all terms apply. 

If you are interested in the story or want to find out more, then please leave your details, and I’ll be sure that Joanne gets them.

Thanks Claire-Louise

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