We developed our Talking Mats’ digital resource way back in 2012 when the online world was a simpler place. When first launched our technology was cutting edge – we were one of the few applications that worked on both Apple and android devices as well as web browsers. Over the years it has been used in many different settings; schools, hospitals, health centres, social work support and day centres to name a few. Unfortunately, digital development does not stay static and what was cutting edge then is now becoming outdated and so we need to revise and produce Version 2. We are delighted and excited to let you know we are launching our new digital resource early in 2021.
2020 has seen an unprecedented focus on digital communication and our web-based digital resource has proved to be invaluable. Our Talking Mats’ community applied the web-based digital resource in conjunction with Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Attend Anywhere to allow remote contact when it was needed the most. However, technology progresses and recently many of you will have noticed a message from Adobe Flash Player plugin when you access the digital resource from the Google Chrome web browser. This is because Flash Player will become obsolete at the end of 2020, making it very difficult to use our current resource from the web. We began upgrading this year to ensure the stability of the digital resource and we have also taken this opportunity to improve its functionality and include new features. Flash Player will hopefully work on other browsers and it looks like its best to swap to Opera as a web browser but we are still seeking guidance on this and will let you know when advice is clearer. However you can also hare your iPad on teams and zoom and guidance on how to do this is can be found here Using Talking Mats virtually with two devices update Jan 21
Downloaded apps will still work on tablets and iPads but Talking Mats will only offer support for a limited time in 2021.
We have been working with Dundee based media company, MTC Media, over the past few months to design our new digital resource and whilst it is not quite ready, we wanted to share some of the new features.
‘Can I make the mat on the screen bigger and less cluttered?’
‘I’d like to be able to use a card from Health in my mat using the Secondary symbols, but I can’t’
‘Can I upload my own photographs?’
These questions and comments are some of the most common that our digital users ask.
Our new resource is user friendly and intuitive with bigger text, a larger area to create your mat and the ability to hide symbols until you are ready to use them.
You can create your own library of topics from across the different bundles.
Photographs can be easily uploaded and added to your library
This is just a small teaser to whet your whistle and to end 2020 with something to look forward to.
The way we sell this new resource will be changing to a subscription model but we will keep in touch with you about this and all existing digital users will automatically be moved over to our new digital resource. We are sure you will like it and want to stay with it.
A new report with a focus on children’s participation will launch on Thursday, 10th December. John Swinney, Depute first minister of Scotland said that “The UNCRC (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill will revolutionise the way we listen to children and take their rights into account”
In 2018, the first review of ‘Ready to Act’ took place: a plan with bold ambitions and a key focus on child participation. Around the same time the Scottish Government was making plans to incorporate UNCRC into law.In preparation for this, the Chief Allied Health Professions Officer, approved project funding for Talking Mats Social enterprise to investigate what was happening across our services in Health, Education and the Third sector.The question we focused on was‘How much did practitioners understand about the obligations of UNCRC Article 12 and what were they doing to ensure child participation?’.
We chose 3 services who were already committed to upholding children’s rights. We wanted to share good practice and identify areas requiring further support.
Indigo childcare, a Glasgow based social enterprise. They support families with children from birth up to the age of 16yrs.They provide a platform for improved life chances for young people.
Langlees Primary school in Falkirk was working towards a Gold Rights Respecting Schools Awards and has an explicit focus on pupil wellbeing.
Children and Young People’s Occupational Therapists – Fife Health & Social Care Partnership were focussing on increasing the involvement of children and young people in therapy decisions.
Practitioners were trained in how to use Talking Mats. Over three months they were asked to give children and young people a space to share their views.We gathered all the learning and asked the children about how they felt. The overwhelming comment was “It was nice to be listened to” Many practitioners reflected that when CYP are given theopportunity to voice their opinions and are supported to come up with their own solutions, real change happens.
I’m sure John Swinney is right, one thing that will revolutionise our practice is by ensuring our services adhere to the three UNCRC core principles of Dignity, Equality and Respect. We can then incorporate those shared values to give space, voice, audience and influence to the views of our children and young people and that will radically change our approach.We are delighted that this report called Can Scotland Brave will launch on Human Rights Day, Thursday 10/12/20 .
Discuss the report and celebrate with us at our Twitter Chat from 7.30-8.30pm. Watch this space for our second blog which will include more information about the chat.