BDA Contact magazine. May 2010.
Using I.C.T. to support Wave 3 interventions for pupils with Dyslexia and similar learning difficulties.
Victoria Crivelli. A resume of the presentation at BETT 2010.
Waves of intervention, is a model used by the DCSF (Department for Children Schools and Families) in their National Strategy for education to demonstrate additional support in schools. At Wave 1 there is the general expectation of Quality First teaching for all children. Wave 2 is described as additional interventions to support pupils who need some help to enable them to catch up with their peers. Wave 3 interventions are those offering more specialized and personalized support to meet the individual learning needs of pupils and are usually offered in small groups or on a 1 to 1 basis. Many dyslexic pupils require Wave 3 interventions and the recent Rose Review on Dyslexia suggested an increase in specialist teaching and teachers to meet these needs.
Personalised learning – tailoring teaching and learning to the needs of the individual – is being promoted to schools as a critical driver in helping pupils to make the best possible progress, and achieve the best possible outcomes.
Effective interventions ‘personalise learning’ by matching provision to meet children’s individual needs and quicken the pace of learning for those with literacy difficulties, thus narrowing the attainment gap with their typically developing peers.
Rose Report on Dyslexia 2009.
I.C.T. can provide a key tool and be used to help support such interventions in school and at home. It is especially helpful for Dyslexic students since it offers learners the opportunity to practise their skills independently, at a pace and challenge to suit their needs. It can create a multi sensory environment which encourages and supports a student to take risks and measures success and progress. All of these are important to both learner and those teaching them. It is vital that any programs used have the option of full speech support.
The presentation explored the use of I.C.T. in this context and different programs and tools that can support Literacy skills in particular. Programs to support phonics, word recognition, reading and spelling skills were demonstrated together with evidence of pupil progress.
There are a range of popular programs that support personalized learning and have pupil and teacher options to meet precise needs. Examples shown on this occasion included Lexion, Wordshark 4 and Rapid Reading with supporting examples of pupil progress recorded.
Wordshark 4 supports phonics, reading and spelling skills. It has many options that include changes to font style, colour background, content level and challenge. Lexion includes many similar features, together with an assessment tool. It also supports other additional and related skills such as comprehension, memory and some numeracy skills together with further options on content, pictures and sound. Both programs track user progress in detail.
Rapid Reading offers learners the opportunity to read in a supported environment, digitally record their reading and have this analysed for accuracy in a very motivating way.
Other similar programs mentioned included Clicker Phonics, Lexia and Nessy.
Other examples of Wave 3 interventions to support writing and planning skills were demonstrated with exemplars of pupils’ work before and after such interventions. These included using talking word processors and tools that can make MS Word talk, onscreen word banks and spellcheckers with speech support and predictive tools. Programs demonstrated included ClaroRead, Clicker, WriteOnline, Penfriend and Co:Writer with examples of the positive impact these could have. Planning tools such as mind mapping with Inspiration and the soon to be released Workspace that form part of WriteOnline, were also explored. Examples were also shown of pupils who had used portable writing aids such as the Alphasmart NEO with prediction and text to speech tool.
However useful and successful I.C.T. can be, it cannot and must not be seen as a panacea for overcoming difficulties or as a replacement for adult intervention and specialist support. It must be used, with careful planning, as part of an intervention, be regularly reviewed with the options provided within any program deployed to meet individual learners’ needs.
Brooks says that:
“I.C.T. approaches work best when they are precisely targeted … the mediation of a skilled adult is essential to ensure technologically-driven schemes meet children’s needs. Time needs to be allocated effectively so that the diagnostic tools of programs can be used for each child appropriately.”
Thus I.C.T. should be seen as part of the solution and not the complete solution: simply giving students access to technology without supporting them in understanding how it works and then embedding its use in classroom routines is unlikely to succeed.
From the Rose Report on Dyslexia 2009.
References for software:
Clicker 5, Clicker Phonics and WriteOnline: Crick Software.
Penfriend, Inspiration, Lexion and Nessy available from: iansyst.
Co:Writer and Alphasmart Neo available from: Inclusive Technology.
The Rose Review PDf file is available via Dyslexia S.p.L.D. Trust web.