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.

Host a BRITE seminar and receive free training for your employees

We’d love to hear from you if you’re interested in hosting a seminar during the next academic session.

In exchange for providing facilities and refreshments, you’ll receive a minimum of 6 free places on the seminar for your employees. We provide the seminar content, teaching staff, marketing, and admin.

If your institution would be interested in hosting one of the following seminars, please get in touch with our training manager, Niall, at nhardie@brite.ac.uk.

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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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Assistive Technology Update Seminar

Seminars graphic

BRITE is pleased to host another of the popular Assistive Technology Update seminars on the 16th December.  We can confirm contributions from Iansyst; VoxEnable and Claro software.

There are still a small number of places available for this free training event.  If you are interested in attending please contact Sharon or Collette on 0131 535 4756 or email Sharon on sglenn@brite.ac.uk

For further details on this seminar, and upcoming seminars for next year, visit our website at www.brite.ac.uk

Courses to help you create inclusive environments for D/deaf students

We’ve received information about a range of courses which will build the skills of college staff to create an inclusive learning enviroment for students who are D/deaf, or who have a hearing loss.

Two forthcoming courses at Deaf Action in Edinburgh will address Deaf Awareness and How to Work with Interpreters. Full details can be found on the Deaf Action website.  Note that Deaf Action can also offer courses which are tailored to an organisation’s specific needs.

The Scottish Sensory Centre runs a range of courses. Some look at support for learners who are D/deaf, while others focus on support for learners who are blind or who have low vision. While the courses often address the needs of school age learners, some courses look at transition issues and forms of support that would also be relevant to post-16 education.

Improving the Listening Environment in Educational Settings in May 2010 may be of particular interest. BRITE team members previously attended a similar course (also featuring popular occasional BRITE guest presenter Richard Vaughan!) and found it to be a valuable introduction to the importance of ensuring good acoustics in a learning environment. Further details can be found by clicking on the link above.

Colleagues at Jewel and Esk College have also asked us to flag up their next Introduction to Sign Language course. It will take place at the Edinburgh Campus (24 Milton Road East, Edinburgh EH15 2PP) on Wednesdays 3 Feb – 16 June. The fee is £90 (eligible for ILA funding). To book please call 0131 344 7100 or go to www.jec.ac.uk

Learning Support Assistants working with Deaf young people in Schools and Colleges

The Scottish Sensory Centre is hosting this one-day training course in Edinburgh on Wednesday 9 December 2009. Aimed at Learning Support Assistants working in schools or colleges, the course will consist of basic deaf awareness training which will include:

  • How well do you hear? 
  • Noises in the classroom
  • Why do young Deaf people struggle with English language?
  • How do young Deaf people learn?
  • Discussion of different communication tactics
  • Audiology workshops focusing on linking radio aids to cochlear implants and hearing aids and making use of listening tests.

This day will also provide an opportunity to explore some of the issues involved in supporting deaf learners, e.g. promoting independent learning skills and working effectively with classroom teachers.

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New portable Soundfield System

A soundfield system is a ‘whole class’ inclusive technology which ensures that the tutor’s speech is delivered to all parts of the classroom at an appropriate level above the background noise. This technology is of benefit for everyone in the classroom, not just hearing aid or cochlear implant users. A soundfield system can reduce vocal fatigue in lecturers and improve class control and attentiveness.

Typically, a system consists of a transmitter with a microphone, a receiver/amplifier and 4-6 wall-mounted speakers. While effective, this set-up can be expensive and availability is restricted to the specific rooms where the system has been installed. However, Connevans has designed a new soundfield system which combines a speaker, infra-red receiver and amplifier into a single unit. This unit can either be wall-mounted, or moved around a college. Featuring attractive design, the Swift provides a natural sound. The image will give you an idea of the size and stylish look of the unit. Lecturers will find the infrared neck-worn microphone lightweight and easy to use.

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