Supporting neuro-diverse learners with iPad’s accessibility features

Supporting neuro-diverse learners with iPad’s accessibility features

Technology can assist those with a range of challenges to access and enhance learning. So what can iPad offer to neuro-diverse learners and, in particular, those with dyslexia?

To introduce myself, I am currently working as an Apple Education Trainer for Jigsaw24, who are the leading Apple Solutions Expert for Education in the UK. Previously, I have worked as a musician and educator, principally in the further education space. Jigsaw24 have been lucky enough to work alongside Dyslexia Action as well as the British Dyslexia Association, Patoss and Helen Arkell on the recent DfE supported training tour, where our five minute taster session presenting some of the ideas discussed in this article have been met with excitement and enthusiasm.

For some time now, technology has provided us with many wonderful – and usually bespoke – solutions for a range of challenges to learning that our students face in their classrooms. These clever pieces of kit often target one specific need and can be relatively expensive, not particularly portable, and require extensive training. Typically, learners will exhibit a range of challenges and behaviours – they are ‘neuro-diverse’. Providing technological solutions to support each behaviour could very quickly become unmanageable and cost-prohibitive, unless the technology can address both a range of challenges and, perhaps crucially, also support the learning of each student on a more general level.

Unfortunately targeted solutions can also create a stigma for the user or be seen as a label. This is not ideal in any situation, but in a classroom, which is already a highly sensitive melting pot of behaviours and emotions, the effect can be detrimental where the aim is to improve rather than detract from learning.

Stigma-free technology

So wouldn’t it be great if there was a stigma-free device for learning that included a wide range of tools that would support both learning in a general sense and challenges identified under the neuro-diversity umbrella? A device that all learners were using and which was able to support both those who have identified challenges and those who do not? Then the stigma created by technological technological solutions may start to disappear. iPad is that device.

iPad is fast becoming ubiquitous in schools, but that doesn’t mean simply by buying iPad that you will improve learning. In my role as an Apple Education Trainer, it has become my mission to increase awareness of the opportunities these tools give us, both to support those with identified challenges, and learning in the classroom in a more general sense.

It is not unusual for me to visit a school where iPad is being used just for browsing the internet, with no awareness of the possibilities they present and the support they can provide. At one recent event we asked the question: ‘How many of you have iPad in your school?’ 180 hands went up. Then we asked: ‘How many of your schools are using these devices effectively?’ 180 hands went down.

So I would like to give you a small range of examples that show how iPad can support a classroom where learning can be reimagined, and students with a range of needs can work alongside their peers with no fear of stigma. My intention is to catch your interest, and encourage you to find out more – details at the end of the article!

Help with reading

Computers traditionally display text as small fine black shapes against a bright white background. Ironically designed as an enhancement of the printed book, this format presents challenges on a number of levels. iPad contains a simple function in the Settings app called Invert Colours (tap General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations). This will literally swap white for black, which for some immediately makes reading more comfortable, reduces visual stress, and makes print more legible.

Invert Colours

Invert Colours

An intervention for those with forms of dyslexia and/or Irlen Syndrome has been to provide colour overlays for printed materials and computer screens. The latest version of the operating system that runs on iPad (iOS 10) now includes a feature that allows you to customise a colour overlay for the whole device. Again in the Settings app (tap General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations) simply choose your colour tint and hue, and visual stress can be immediately reduced. This overlay will then feature in any app that you use on the iPad.

Colour FiltersImage 02B

Help for the visually impaired

Screen readers are a proven technology and very helpful for some. iPad contains several ways for users to make their device talk to them, from the ‘light touch’ to a complete voiceover feature for the visually impaired. Enabling Speak Selection (in the Settings app, tap General > Accessibility > Speech) allows the user to select specific text when required and have it spoken to them in a range of voices. Speak Screen (also found in Settings > General > Accessibility > Speech) on the other hand, enables the screen reader function which is activated by simple gesture (swipe down with two fingers from the very top of your screen, once the function has been enabled in Settings.)

This has many uses – aside from the obvious screen reader functions which will support those with visual challenges, this enables all learners to review their own work and check it where simply reading the words is not enough. Speak Screen works everywhere on iPad once enabled. Combined with the Reader function in the Safari web browser app (which removes all the clutter from a webpage leaving the simple text), gives easier access to online materials for those for whom graphics and text layout create a barrier.

Screen Reader

Help with focusing

Guided Access (Settings app, tap General > Accessibility > Guided Access) is a feature some say was originally added to iPhone to help tired parents on long-haul flights, but it is also a great feature for assisting learners who are easily distracted by the possibilities that a device like iPad offers. Enabling Guided Access allows you to lock the iPad into a single app. This means the user can stay on task, and remain in a safe environment while your busy back is turned supporting another student.

And while Guided Access is ideal in a one-to-one intervention scenario, Apple’s recent release of the Classroom app means that teachers and those working with groups can focus activity on a set of devices with simple commands from the teacher’s device.

Guided Access

The accessibility features listed above work most effectively where each student has their own device, so features can be personalised to every situation. In many schools this is simply not an option from a cost point of view, which is where the Shared iPad feature comes in. Each shared device will remember the individual settings chosen by or for each user, and recall those settings when the user logs in (a simple matter of tapping your own image on the Home screen).

Apple Classroom

Accessibility apps

Most apps haven’t been designed with accessibility in mind, but many of the most popular classroom apps offer learners a choice of ways to create content and capture evidence, combined with their ease of use – something that’s essential for the teacher or assistant who is not necessarily technologically minded!

Book Creator lets you add photos and type – but any word processor can do that. Where Book Creator scores is the ability to quickly and simply add rich media content (sound recordings and video recordings, for example) at the press of a button. Learners challenged by text can easily record rich ideas without barriers. This also lends itself really well to the notion of providing instruction, recorded by teacher or student. Its page-based layout supports the clear structuring of information, and it is very easy for teachers or students to create a book comprising rich media as a way of sharing instructions or ideas.

And it helps that Book Creator is designed by developers with a keen eye on the education space. A clear example is the inclusion of the Open Dyslexic Font in the font choices.

Book Creator

These examples are but a small selection of what is possible, both with built-in features and apps. iPad is continuing the great tradition of Mac in offering an inclusive approach to technology which was started back in 1984 by Steve Jobs, a man who himself didn’t allow dyslexia to be a barrier to success.

Meeting Learners’ Needs events

If you’d like to know more about iPad and its accessibility features, and get hands-on with these ideas and many more, why not enrol on one of our upcoming half day Meeting Learners’ Needs courses? Suitable for both primary and secondary teachers, they’re a great chance to find out more about how you can use iPad to make an impact with a wide range of learners. Venue and date details as follows:

– 28th February 2017, London. 9am-12pm or 1pm-4pm. £75 per delegate.

– 1st March 2017, Nottingham. 9am-12pm or 1pm-4pm. £75 per delegate.

For more information about iPad, and to book yourself onto our courses, call us on 03332 409 290 or email For all the latest technology in education news, reviews and articles, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page.


Video: Our 1:1 iPad Impact Study on the benefits of iPad

Video: Our 1:1 iPad Impact Study on the benefits of iPad

We’ve worked with some of our partnering schools gathering data to measure the effects of their 1:1 iPad rollouts and give an honest look into the effects iPad has had on teaching and learning, including progress, attainment, judgments by Ofsted and curriculum goals, rather than just the technology itself. This video highlights some of our key findings from the report.


If you’d like to find out more about iPad in education, drop us an email at or call 03332 409 290. For everything else, including the latest news, events and offers, follow us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24 or ‘like’ us on Facebook.


7 things you need to know about DEP

7 things you need to know about DEP

Ready to start enrolling devices? Our reseller ID is 2287450. Need a little more information? Here are seven things you need to know about Apple’s latest initiative…

1. It stands for Device Enrolment Programme.

It is, not surprisingly, a new programme that enrols new devices onto your system automatically, without your IT team having to get their hands dirty.

2. Enrolment is not the same as management.

The technology behind DEP doesn’t replace a Mobile Device Management system (MDM). You need to have a separate MDM solution to decide which apps should be on devices and what content students who’ll be using them should be able to access.

Popular MDM systems among schools include Lightspeed and JAMF Software’s Casper Suite. Once you have your MDM system in place, DEP puts your new devices into it automatically. (There’s a more detailed explanation here, if you want the technical bits, or you can take a look at Apple’s official guide.)

3. It’s free to use.

There’s no charge for using DEP but you do have to have an MDM solution in place for it to work, and alas, the good ones are not free. If you don’t have a device management solution in place, give our team a call to go through your options.

4. It applies to any kind of Apple device.

Desktops, notebooks, iPad, iPod touch and iPhone can all be enrolled in DEP, as long as they were purchased after March 2011 and from an Apple Authorised Reseller (like us). To enrol devices you already own into DEP, you need to associate them with the reseller ID of the company you bought them from – if that’s us, our ID is 2287450.

5. You can create multiple profiles.

So different profiles can be installed on desktops and iPad, or on devices intended for students and teachers – and they’ll all be applied automatically as soon as the device is turned on.

6. You can’t have devices on this and in Apple Configurator.

If you’re already using Apple Configurator to set up your devices, you can transition to DEP by wiping the devices and re-enrolling them. However, once a device is registered on DEP, you can no longer supervise it using Apple Configurator, as Apple don’t allow one device to be registered in both systems. If it’s easier for you, you can enrol only new devices via DEP, but still manage them through MDM. Just drop us a line to find out how.

7. It should not affect your Volume Purchase Programme (VPP) purchases.

Apple added a new managed distribution option to their Volume Purchasing Programme a while ago. With MDM you can now push apps out wirelessly without ever needing to type in a password on the iPad. Ask us to explain managed app distribution – the best way by far to deploy your apps.

We’ve got a more detailed explanation of DEP here or you can download the official Apple guide here. For more information, call 03332 409 333 or email For all the latest news and FAQs, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

5 ways iBeacon can improve your customer loyalty

5 ways iBeacon can improve your customer loyalty

You’ve probably seen iPad being used in retail environments for all manner of things from digital signage to till systems. But with iBeacon, it also has a nifty little trick up its sleeve for improving customer loyalty over wireless, with bespoke notifications, contextual special offers and more.

How does iBeacon work?

Apple’s iBeacon uses Bluetooth low-energy (BLE) wireless technology to create a different way of providing location-based information and services to nearby iOS devices. When a device is in range of a beacon (essentially a small, inexpensive Bluetooth transmitter), an app on the customer’s iPad or iPhone will pick up the signal from the beacon and respond accordingly.

How can beacons be used?

Say you’re a customer, and you pass a beacon in a particular store and have the app installed, that retailer could push out specific special offers, loyalty schemes and promotions, or more information around a particular display, to you. Strategically placed, this means you can also work out where your premium shop space and ‘hotspots’ are, enabling you to analyse and monetise your store. Customers feel like they’re getting a more personalised shopping experience, which all helps promote loyalty around your brand.

Apple, naturally, have been using iBeacon in their Apple Stores for a while, letting them pinpoint a customer’s location in the store and enable Apple to present relevant sales information. The Crown Estate, which owns Regent Street, is also dabbling with iBeacon technology; Regent Street resident brands, including Hamleys, Armani, Longchamp and Hackett have all installed to help push exclusive and personalised marketing messages to shoppers via a mobile phone app (Marketing Week).

I’m sold. Can I have some more beacons ideas, please?

There are endless ways you could use iBeacon to provide information to customers, but here are a few of our favourites as a jumping off point:

1. Entice new customers with time-sensitive deals. Whip up a bit of urgency by pushing out a limited time offer to customers as soon as they step in your store, eg “Jim’s crazy deals: Get 50% off all underwear for the next hour!!!”. This would be especially effective around seasonal periods, blue cross sales and similar.

2. Help customers navigate your store. Tell your customers where they are, and direct them to where they want to be, using beacons. Ideal for large department stores, and multi-storey shops, eg “You’re now on the homeware level”.

3. Engage customers with in-store games. This is a bit of fun, but holding something like a store-wide treasure hunt using beacons (with a small incentive up for grabs) can really help engage customers, and even get them to visit parts of the store they may not have originally intended to.

4. Get feedback from customers. As well as giving customers information, you can also use beacons as part of your mobile strategy to get feedback from customers.

5. Give customers a joined-up shopping experience. As the Regent Street brands are doing in the article above, beacons can be used to promote multiple stores, or let you work in conjunction with other nearby stores to offer deals that are specific to a certain area.

Looking to learn more about iBeacon? Download our iBeacon in retail pdf here.

Want to find out more about improving your customer experience with iPad for retail? Give our team a call on 03332 409 306 or email For all the latest news and tips, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook


What does the future hold for retail technology?

What does the future hold for retail technology?

The face of retail is changing, with more and more retailers now looking to innovative new technologies to help increase sales conversion, reduce time at tills, and generally improve overall customer experience and engagement.

Mobile technology, for example, is massively on the rise, with devices like iPad now ubiquitous amongst consumers, who expect that level of engagement from retailers too. So they’re having to think about how to integrate these technologies both in-store and at headquarters too.

To find out more about the challenges retailers are facing, and what they really want from technology, LightSpeed (who create clever point of sale and ecommerce solutions for retailers), posed a few questions to their customers. The Lightspeed Annual Retail Tech Forecast 2014 (downloadable by clicking on the image below) from earlier this year polled 640 small to medium-sized businesses from across the globe about their retail technology buying habits, from clothing and apparel stores to home and garden retailers.

Download Lightspeed's Annual Retail Tech Forecast 2014

Download Lightspeed’s Annual Retail Tech Forecast 2014

The ultimate takeaway from the survey, it seems, is that retailers want “innovative inventory management and predictive analytics solutions above all else.” Of the biggest inventory challenges, keeping inventory stocked without over-ordering topped the list with 47% of respondents (single site, 35% multi-site location), salespeople’s lack of inventory knowledge in second (24%, 23%), then keeping checkout lines short (11%, 7%) and tracking inventory across stores (10%, 28%).

eCommerce and mobile technology forecasts

Being iPad nuts, we were particularly interested in seeing what impact mobile devices were having in-store, as POS or kiosk systems. According to the survey, 80% of those retailers who currently use mobile devices in-store report that they have increased sales, and apparently there’s a massive upward spike of uptake predicted by the end of 2014 too, with the percentage of retailers using tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices in-store expected to double.

You can check out the full lot of survey results by downloading LightSpeed’s Annual Retail Tech Forecast 2014 here, but we’ve picked out a few more choice cuts for you to skim over below…

– 43% of respondents want to improve the customer experience using mobile checkout; 34% want to improve mobile inventory lookup.

– 54% of retailers derive 1-10% of their total sales from eCommerce on the web.

– 38% of those retailers currently offer eCommerce, while 38% plan to offer eCommerce in the future (that’s a whopping 100% increase…).

Get your very own bespoke app

One of the best ways for retailers to get the most out of mobile tech is with a bespoke app, and we’re ideally placed to help. If, for example, you’re looking at getting your own app, and have salespeople out on the road and conducting meetings, we offer our free b7 app and iPad trial scheme, designed to improve field operations and make your team more productive and better equipped.

If you’re looking for something more specific to you, while also reducing costs, then talk to us about developing your own bespoke app. We recently worked with Welcome Furniture to develop their own custom app, and they’ve since seen a massive £130,000 saving per annum on logistics purely because of the app (check out the Welcome Furniture case study here).

Find out more about the b7 programme, and how we can help you get the most out of iPad, by giving our team a call on 03332 409 306 or emailing For all the latest news and tips, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook


Infographic: Introducing the e7 iPad scheme

Infographic: Introducing the e7 iPad scheme

e7 is the UK’s leading iPad deployment scheme for schools. Made up of three separate programmes – a free iPad pilot, iPad training for teachers and a full iPad 1:1 rollout – it’s everything you need to successfully roll out iPad on a 1:1 basis.

But how does the e7 scheme work? Our talented design team have explained the whole thing in this natty superhero-filled infographic (just give it a click to see it in more detail). If you have any more questions about the scheme, and want to get involved, give us a call on the details at the bottom.

Infographic: Introducing e7, the UK's leading iPad deployment scheme for schools

Want to know more about the e7 scheme? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 333, email, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Facebook page for all the latest technology in education news, reviews and articles.



Is this the classroom of the future?

Is this the classroom of the future?

By now, most schools are familiar with Apple technology. Teachers and students have always loved Mac for its creative solutions, while iPad and iPod have changed the way pupils access information and resources.

But the Apple ecosystem is about real learning benefits; it’s about helping schools find new ways to enhance the experience students have on a daily basis, to embed IT into lessons in a way that wasn’t previously possible and to level the playing field when it comes to accessibility.

To find out more about how Apple can help your school, and ways that our team can make the transition to new technology a smooth one, get in touch with us on the details below and ask about our training sessions.

Click the image to see it in full!

Anytime, anywhere learning

There have been 8 million iPad devices sold to schools. From the small and mighty iPad mini with Retina display to the full-sized and powerful iPad Air, there are different models to suit different needs. Whichever you use, iPad lets students learn in the classroom, the corridor, at home or even on the way to school.

Notebook and desktop computers

From the lightweight and portable MacBook Air and Mac mini desktop to the powerful MacBook Pro, iMac and Mac Pro, there’s a Mac for every classroom function. As well as supporting creativity, Macs are intuitive and do everything (and much more) that’s possible on a PC.

Support for every type of learner

Whether watching video, listening to audio, reading, writing or using physical movement helps students best, there are solutions available to help.

Accessibility built-in

Mac and iPad include built-in features for students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), plus support for up to 21 languages.

iPad as a study aid

90% of students believe that tablets help them study, while 43% of teachers currently allow students to use iPad in lessons.

Parents love iPad too

According to Kid Industries, 77% of parents believe that tablets can help children’s learning and creativity, and Apps In my Pocket reported that 88% of parents who use education apps with kids support the use of iPad in primary schools.

The content your students need

iTunes U includes over 500,000 free lectures, videos, readings and podcasts, and iBooks is an interactive library that has both free and paid-for textbooks from leading publishers, such as Collins, Hodder Education, Pearson and Oxford University Press.

Over 100,000 education apps

There are thousands of education apps aimed at children available in the App Store. Many of them are completely free, and through Apple’s Volume Purchase Programme, even more are available with a 50% discount.

Presentation tools

Mac and iPad can both be connected to a classroom display using Apple TV, which lets you wirelessly stream the device screen in HD for presenting to peers. And go for a touch screen display to take interactivity and group work to the next level.

Storage in the Cloud

Photos, videos, documents, music and apps all saved in iCloud against each Apple ID for access on any device.

Safe backup and wireless

Make sure your students always have access to the resources they need and that their work is never lost. Whether backed up through Apple’s Time Capsule, WiFi rolled out across the whole school or dynamic web filters to keep students safe.

Want to know more? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 333 or email For all the latest news and FAQs, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook