Hillcroft LRC

Posts Tagged ‘dyslexia

Immersive reader on OneNote Notebook showing syllablesThis year our college has over 60% of its learners with a declared disability which includes dyslexia/dyspraxia. Our team is currently experimenting with the use of Microsoft OneNote and the Class OneNote Notebook to benefit our learners with dyslexia/dsypraxia.

We learnt about the benefits of OneNote at the Microsoft Showcase in London over two years ago. Since then we’ve been watching the new features which have developed at the session Learning Tools for OneNote Transforming the Learning Experience One Student at a Time in the Learn Live Microsoft arena at BETT at Excel in London in January. Here we saw the immersive reader demonstrated on Office 365’s Word on the Cloud. It’s now available on OneNote.

What is the immersive reader? It basically strips down what you are reading to a single column which minimises other distractions. You can get it to read out loud plus you can display the nouns, verbs, adjectives in a piece of text in a different colour font. And it will show the syllables in words to help you pronounce them. Read more about it on the Microsoft blog.

We want to start using OneNote with learners because:

  • OneNote is like a coloured tabbed exercise book – we think learners will find navigation of it easy and more memorable
  • OneNote has a resource bank area for content, student’s have their own notebook and there’s an area for students to collaborate so we can get them recording group work together
  • There’s a search facility so you can easily find where something is in the Notebook
  • You can add checklists and record feedback for learners to do follow-up tasks
  • It’s easy to transfer websites and screenshots onto OneNote.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Microsoft Showcase Classroom events visit the Microsoft Showcase Classroom Regional Roadshow on the Microsoft Schools blog.

Advertisements
Gold Mine by Kuznetsov is licensed under CC by 2.0

Gold Mine by Kuznetsov is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

First of all, what do we mean by information overload? It is that feeling of falling down a dark hole when there is too much information to carry out a task. So even simple tasks can be made difficult when we are faced with too many options and no specific direction.

For example, you may need to find out about main theorists for a subject for your UCAS application. As Confucius is credited with saying ‘You can not open a book without learning something.’ There are entire libraries online and offline devoted to human knowledge. Where do you start?

If you have access to lots of information this gives you the chance to be selective and find a direction. The trouble is how can you be selective without being biased or limited? How can you read it all? We all need help with overcoming our biases, speed reading and managing time. The key is not learning willy-nilly (although this can be great too sometimes!) but to focus on what you need to learn for the task at hand. Finding the most appropriate, relevant nuggets of information is the ultimate challenge of academic study (and who knows, probably in life too!).

There is no one way to cope with information overload. We would like to hear about your advice to other students on that awful feeling of being overwhelmed with too many sources, too many theories, too many words. What do you do? What if you are dyslexic? What if you are starved for time?

If you post a tip to us by email, on Twitter or in the LRC and you may receive a World Science Day calendar thanks to UNESCO.

iPad standingThis week we’ve been digesting all of our data for our Self-Assessment Report (SAR). You may be scratching your head wondering what it is! Basically it’s a review of the impact of what we do on our students. We produce one every six months and this one is looking back at 2014/15. Part of the process is to identify our strengths and weaknesses as well so we can flag up improvements for the next academic year which go into our Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) for 2015/16.

Here are our some of our highlights from 2014/15:

Increased audovisual material for learners to borrow by 7%.
Introduced iPads into the classroom for learners to boost their digital skills – included reading apps.
Increased use of eresources by 47.2% – getting more learners used to ereading material and building digital skills.
Improved Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) material – embedded videos to reinforce induction content, new Reading for Pleasure section to encourage reader development and apps to help to hone information/digital literacy skills.
Greater promotion of reading – National Libraries Day, more Six Book Challenge completers, World Book Night and Reading for Pleasure Moodle VLE block.
Extra refresher/consolidation sessions on information literacy skills eg referencing.
Rolled out dyslexic friendly labeling for books to help navigate our material – based on the International Libraries Association Federation (IFLA) Guidelines for Library Services to Persons with Dyslexia.

Non-fiction with picturesGetting new textbooks and non-fiction books that are suitable for Further Education students is an enjoyable and challenging part of the LRC team’s job. There are fantastic books on all subjects but the problem is that some are higher education focused, i.e. really wordy.

Making the most of Illustrations is a central part of reading. A picture tells a thousand words, right? We keep an eye out for non-fiction that has lots of pictures and graphics alongside high-quality writing.This is good news for a faster engagement with new topics and understanding for visual learners such as dyslexics. At the same time, non-fiction books that are less text-heavy are also easier to skim read and skip to key subheadings. These can be good reading strategies. Humour is often used too which can make even the driest subject more interesting.

Here are a few titles that are new and focus on illustrating the issues (we’re not saying these subjects are dry!):

Let us know what other non-fiction ‘picture books’ you like. Which subjects lend themselves well to being illustrated or is this approach just for children?

Back in March our team submitted three entries for the Council for Learning Resources in Colleges (CoLRiC) Best Practice Awards 2015. This year there were three categories:

  1. customer service
  2. information literacy
  3. reader development.

We put in entries into each category and this week we heard that we’d got second place in the Information Literacy category for Copyright and Plagiarism Using Wordwall which is part of our information skills induction for learners on longer courses. We we use Wordwall with students on handheld devices answering questions on copyright and referencing using the Harvard reference system. We use the Wordwall kit to boost students digital literacy and as a fun activity which lets them get personal feedback on how they’ve done. Here’s one of our activities on referencing a book:

 

Referencing a Book on Wordwall

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also got third prize in the Customer Service category for our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Redesign and Dyslexia. For this project we worked with students, tutors and colleagues inside and outside our college to create a dyslexic-friendly look to our VLE, with a user-friendly course content template and accessibility plugins with read out loud and overlay features.

Here’s a view of the overlay accessibility feature in action:

Virtual Learning Environment with Green Overlay

 

 

 

 

 

Read CoLRiC’s press release to find out about other winners.  Many thanks to our students, staff and colleagues on working with us and inputting to our award wins.

 

A 'stair' of booksThis week we have been looking at the Load2Learn website which Jisc TechDis have been promoting. The site allows UK schools and colleges to give their students with print disabilities – and staff working with them –  access to an electronic version of a publication that the library/Learning Resources Centre (LRC) holds in paper.

Some of these electronic formats include PDF, MP3, ePub and Daisy. These formats are also dyslexic-friendly as they give them the chance to add notes, highlight, change background colours, increase font size and get them to read out loud. And it’s free!

It’s good to have a centralised system and repository for storing and accessing material without have to contact each individual publisher.

All you have to do is sign up on their website and get approved as a member for allowing access to download and upload material.


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 288 other followers

Follow me on Twitter

Advertisements