Transforming support for d/Deaf students

Innovations in technology and the vital role of skilled professionals

In May 2014, BRITE and Nated Scotland curated an international conference hosted at Edinburgh University, where 100 delegates came together to evaluate a range of cutting edge strategies to support d/Deaf students at college and university. Two key themes of the day were the potential of mobile and web-based technology to revolutionise the provision of communication services, and the vital importance of skilled professionals to manage and deliver support for students.

iPad photo_Edit The image shows a sign language interpreter at the University of Cincinnati communicate with a student. The student accesses live video of the interpreter on his iPad. He could be based elsewhere on campus, or even off-campus e.g. having an informal study session at a classmate’s home. This system provides students with a new level of flexibility in how they access communication services. Research into the implications of this mode of service delivery was the subject of our keynote presentation.

A summary of the presentations and key topics follows. To request a copy of the conference brochure, transcripts of the presentations, or copies of slides, please contact Kellie Mote at

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Ai-Media article on our recent conference

ai liveAt our recent conference on Supporting Deaf Students at College and University, we were delighted to welcome Denise Bob-Jones of Ai-Media to deliver a presentation in partnership with Strathclyde University on remote live captioning. Ai-Media’s remote live captioning service, Ai-Live, also generously provided captioning during the morning session of the conference. As well as providing access to the content of presentations for many delegates, it was valuable for everyone to see the service working in a real world context. Ai-Media has posted an article reflecting on the conference. Click here to read the Ai-Media article.

ICT and Inclusion Presentations

Fil McIntyre presentingFor the third year running, BRITE partnered with CALL Scotland to deliver ICT and Inclusion: Two days of seminars and exhibition targeted at people working to include learners with additional support needs.  Niall Hardie and Fil McIntyre from BRITE were both presenting semimars on technology which may assist learners. With twenty exhibitors and twenty eight seminars, the days were pretty full and some people were unable to get to hear Niall and Fil.  A summary of Fil’s seminars is below, with Niall’s to follow shortly.

Tablets and Accessibility: iPad vs. Android vs. Windows

This session featured a brief run through of the accessibility options on the three main tablet operating systems.  iOS (on the iPad) came out strongest by far with a wide range of visual and cognitive support options (and more to come in iOS7), but this is not to dismiss Android and Windows.  Fil was keen to point out that users’ accessibility may be down to the size or format of the tablet.  In this case Android offers a much wider choice due to the amount of manufacturers providing Android tablets.

For Windows 8 tablets the accessibility options are very similar to a desktop PC, but (for example) provide a much wider range of high contrast display settings when compared to iOS’s normal or negative option.  Also the fact that a Windows 8 tablet can run full versions of Windows software may open it up as a possibility for users who cannot find an app equivalent to their access software.

BRITE can provide half-day seminars on the subject of tablet useage.  Two examples are “Tablet Tools” and “Bring Your Own Accessibility”.

Getting Captions Onto Your Video the Easy Way

Captioned videos can assist not only deaf students, but also those for whom English is a second language.  It is generally time consuming and expensive to get the captions onto videos. In this session Fil showed how to easily synchronise a transcript to your video by uploading both the transcript and the video to Youtube.  Youtube’s voice recognition will ensure the correct text is shown at the time it is spoken.

For further practical details on how to do this see this earlier post on the BRITE blog.

…and the first Investors in Inclusiveness CharterMark goes to…

iii award presentation mhairi and alisonIf you were one of the 100+ professionals who joined us at the state-of-the-art facilities of Coatbridge College Conference Centre for the first Investors in Inclusiveness conference on the 31st of May, you’ll already know which college has the chunky, laser-engraved crystal award on its mantelpiece. You’ll also know what a lively programme everyone participated in. It was inspiring to see so many delegates from such diverse backgrounds come together for the day to focus on inclusiveness in practice.

In addition to the presentation of the first Investors in Inclusiveness CharterMark to Forth Valley College, delegates enjoyed a variety of themed workshops, an engaging keynote from Karen Corbett HMIE, and an update on the review of Disabled Students Allowance from Neil MacLennan of the Scottish Government.

Looking to learn more about what it means to be the first recipient of the Investors in Inclusiveness award? Watch the video and read FVC’s response. To speak to BRITE directly about participating in Investors in Inclusiveness, or to request a mini brochure, email or call us on +44 (0)1383 749605.

® Investors in Inclusiveness is a registered trade mark of The BRITE Initiative

Deaf-initely Accessible? Exploring best practice working with and supporting deaf students

We’ve added a new workshop to the Investors in Inclusiveness conference programme. If you join us on 31st May, in addition to engaging key note speakers, a range of workshops, and the opportunity to network with key influencers and policy-shapers, you’ll also have the option to attend this workshop, scheduled just after lunch to run concurrently with our graduation ceremony.

Yvonne Waddell and Veronica Nelson of NATED Scotland will lead this 30 minute session, asking: Is your college providing the best service it could for the needs of deaf students? This interactive and informative session will cover deaf and communication support awareness, what good practice looks like in context, and how NATED Scotland can support, advise and work with your team to ensure you truly match the needs of your deaf students.

You will be able to sign up for this workshop on the day.

Click here for more details about the conference, and a link to the booking form.

FREE ICT and Inclusion exhibitions in June 2013

ICT and Inclusion is Scotland’s leading annual exhibition with a focus on the use of ICT to support learners with additional support needs. BRITE is excited to once again partner with CALL Scotland on this event, which this year, will be held at:

  • CALL Scotland, University of Edinburgh, 18th June 2013
  • Thistle Hotel, Glasgow, 19th June 2013

Up to 20 of the UK’s leading suppliers of software and technology to support learners with additional support needs will take part in the exhibition and give short presentations on their latest products.

There will also be short presentations by staff from BRITE, CALL and local schools, colleges and services, illustrating the use of technology to support learning.

The days are free to attend and run from 9.00 until 4.00 pm. Lunch is provided for people who book in advance.

Though ICT and Inclusion is aimed mainly at staff from schools and colleges, equipment and software on display may be of interest to adults with disabilities and the people who support them.

For more details about the venues, exhibition timetable, exhibitors and online booking visit

Investors in Inclusiveness conference – Friday 31st May 2013

This free event brings together practitioners and policy shapers throughout Scotland (and beyond) to:

  • Hear from leading educators and innovators in the field of Inclusion
  • Learn more about the new CharterMark Investors in Inclusiveness® (IiI)
  • Participate in two themed workshops (from a choice of 8) which explore the IiI quality standards
  • Receive up-to-the-minute news on the Scottish Government’s current review of Student Support funding (including DSA)

Delegates will be able to engage with policy makers, practitioners and fellow professionals in a series of keynotes, presentations, question and answer sessions, case studies and workshops.

Refreshments and lunch will be served during breaks throughout the day, giving opportunities to network with peers, speakers and workshop facilitators – and to enjoy the state-of-the-art facilities at the Coatbridge College Conference Centre, where this event is being held.

Click here to register

® Investors in Inclusiveness is a registered trade mark of The BRITE Initiative

Training opportunities for Communication Support Workers and Educational Interpreters

nated logoPersonal Development session for Classroom Assistants/Communication Support Workers using British Sign Language to support D/deaf students

Saturday 2nd February 2013 9.30am – 4.30pm at The Hub, Deaf Links in Dundee city centre £35 for Non Members (£25 for Nated Members)

Nated Scotland has designed this 1 day workshop specifically for people who work as CSWs and Educational Interpreters within further and higher education settings.

Participants will have the opportunity to evaluate what they do day-to-day in a non-judgmental, supportive environment. By discussing dilemmas, coping strategies and complexities of the job, your knowledge and awareness of the job will increase and you will leave the session with tools you can use in your own workplace.

To book your place, email or any of the other NATED Scotland Committee members. Contact details for the committee and more information about the content of the workshop can be found at

Free assistive technology showcase at Reid Kerr College in Paisley 2nd May 2012

Care Innovations will be showcasing new assistive technology products at Reid Kerr College in Paisley on the 2nd of May from 10am-12pm with lunch afterwards.

Reid Kerr has kindly extended the invitation to attend to staff from other colleges, particularly BRITE graduates and trainees.

Products featured on the day will include the Intel Reader and the Achieve range of reading devices. More details about this range can be found on the Care Innovations site.

If you would like to book a place at the event please email the names of those attending along with any dietary needs to by 23rd April.

If you know of an event that may be of interest to our BRITE links, drop a line to

Please note that BRITE is not affiliated to any commercial companies, nor does it endorse any specific products. We simply believe in providing impartial access to information, and in equipping our trainees with the skills to choose the right technology in a student-centred way.

Check out our top tips for getting the best from assistive technology.

ICT and Inclusion 2011

In June, CALL Scotland, BRITE and JISC RSC Scotland North and East worked together to offer two days of free exhibitions and demonstrations of technology for students with additional support needs.

Attendees, including many colleagues from the further education sector, enjoyed the opportunity to see a large range of resources all in one place. There was also a chance to meet suppliers, ask questions and gain more in-depth information where required.

In addition to a timetable of supplier sessions focusing on key products, members of the BRITE team joined CALL, JISC and local practitioners to deliver presentations looking at ways in which technology may be used to create more inclusive learning environments.

Sessions were very well-attended, in some instances there was standing room only! Read on for summaries of the BRITE workshops, including useful links.

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