ABC Maestro is a keyboarding / early literacy program which provides motivating opportunities for students across a range of abilities to work on letter and number recognition and to begin to build short words on the computer. It’s designed and published by E-Glas, an assistive technology company based in Croatia. If you follow my Facebook posts, you’ll know that E-Glas organise the amazing ATAAC Conference each year in Zagreb and Belgrade, where in 2018, 1500 teachers and therapists came together to share experiences and learn about the use of assistive technology and AAC in education, therapy and rehabilitation. ABC Maestro was one of the stars of the show
I downloaded the free seven day trial directly from the ABC Maestro web site where you can also read the manual, teaching guide and other support materials. Once installed you choose your language and the voice you wish to use. You can choose a boy or girl’s voice. Both are very clear and easy to understand even in a noisy classroom.
From the main menu, you can choose to work with letters, words or numbers. Selecting any of them opens up another menu where you can choose tasks such as finding a specific key on the keyboard, completing simple letter and number sequences and typing or completing short words, all supported by lovely graphics and clear speech.
ABC Maestro displays a keyboard at the bottom of the screen which can be used to enter letters and numbers. This makes it really good for use with your interactive whiteboard. The on-screen keyboard matches the colours and layout of the Clevy Keyboard, one of the most popular and in my opinion, the best large key keyboard available. Don’t worry if you don’t have a Clevy Keyboard. The program will work with any keyboard that you have connected to your computer.
I tried the program recently with some young people at a special school I’m working with and they really enjoyed it, especially the explore levels where they could choose an image and then try and type the associated word.
ABC Maestro brings simple, structured keyboarding and letter recognition activities into the 21st century. Motivating graphics, clear voices and a large range of activities make this a really useful tool for any teacher or therapist working with students who are just beginning their journey with the keyboard.
E-Glas have very kindly given us five lifetime licences for ABC Maestro which we’re giving away in a free draw on my Facebook page. Simply like and comment on the post for your chance to win a copy. While you’re waiting to see if you have won, download the free trial and take a look for yourself. If you’re lucky enough to win, you can enter your licence code directly into the trial version.