The 500,000 worldwide users of Clicker software have children at Fairfields special school, Northampton, to thank for their popular literacy and cross-curricular tool. Many children at the school had severe problems accessing the curriculum because of physical limitations. John Crick, who was responsible for ICT at Fairfields in the early 1990s, was determined to change that. And he did - by writing Clicker.
His wife Ann, also a teacher, quickly recognised the wider uses of Clicker and began creating curriculum resources for the program. At the BETT technology show in January 1995, Clicker scooped the gold award (the first of many gongs).
Since then they haven't looked back, and Crick Software is now a household name in primary schools across the UK and abroad. Crick opened its doors in the US in 2001, and the community of users on the other side of the Atlantic is rapidly growing. Every school in Ontario has Clicker.
John attributes Clicker's success to the principle of "universal design".
"When you design a product for the least able people you are making sure that it is good for everyone. So although accessibility for children with disabilities was central to the program's design, Clicker is now used in primary schools everywhere with children of all abilities. When someone asks me if our software is for special needs, I ask them if the architect who designs a building incorporating disabled access is a special-needs architect."