Want advice on how to start supporting your learners with technology? Here are five tips from BDA New Technologies member Victoria Crivelli for Dyslexia Awareness Week:
1. Find out what technology is available and working in the school or classrooms – hardware, software, apps or hand-held gadgets. Create an inventory to share with all staff, label the pupil options beside or on the hardware for all users. Every user needs to be aware of and know which IT tools are available and how to use them.
2. Explore the built in accessibility features that are freely available and can make a huge difference, like text to speech tools (TTS) or voice recognition (VR) for those who find reading information or recording written information challenging. Reading, writing and understanding new, technical or subject vocabulary can create barriers to learning.
3. Ensure pupils and support staff know how to access personal settings and how to save them, such as options for colour background, font style and size, line spacing and speech settings for TTS.
4. If funding is an issue, find out what is freely available for support in free apps and tools like talking spellcheckers, or that enable TTS to be used for web pages or accessible formats of educational texts such as found in RNIB bookshare.
5. Many pupils may be entitled to use technology for reading and /or recording in exams, depending on access arrangements. They will need to be using the technology routinely in the classroom. This could have a huge impact on pupil success and save schools precious funding for readers or scribes. Is this happening in your school?