Friday, March 22, 2013

CALL Centre

Paul Nisbet described how CALL centre and SFL more generally have made use of 1:1 technology for years.

"Let me see, let me see; is not the leaf turn'd down Where I left reading? Here it is, I think." by nikkorsnapper
A photo by nikkorsnapper on Flickr.
Pointed out that there are issues about getting access to electronic versions of Scottish text books. Gave the example of a boy who could not access textbooks and they discovered he needed 28 textbooks but none were available electronically. By approaching publishers, they were able to get electronic versions of seven. The rest they had to scan. Of the list of Scottish texts identified for English, none were available electronically.

Challenge 2: Training
What do newly qualified teachers identify as their biggest needs? Number 1 is ICT and number 3 is SFL!

Challenge 3: Accessible ICT
In general, using school equipment is made very difficult because they can't even do something as basic as adjusting the mouse speed because the control panel is locked down. Basics such as text to speech with a Scottish voice (free to schools) is missing. Getting specialist software installed is very difficult.

Challenge 4: Difference
Quality of work is clearly better but pupils may choose not to use because they don't want to be seen as different. For example, in some schools the AlphaSmart device has been re-christened the AlphaThick.

Use of 1:1 devices such as iPads help. They are considered cool. They can be personalised. They are a practical solution - small, light and easy to use. (Apparently iPhone is the most popular smartphone with the visually impaired because can be accessed using the built in tools.) Built in camera and microphone provides great opportunities - especially when we look at a broader definition of literacy.

Less difference - More inclusion.

For SLF, the iPad is a low cost solution - especially with Procurement Scotland prices. ReadWrite Gold for iPad is relatively cheap compared to PC version.

If all students are all using digital resources, more likely that the materials will become available in digital format.

The pace of technological change does cause problems. How do you recommend the best solution when that technology changes on a daily basis. Although 1:1 makes many things easier, there are still accessibility problems and so one size does not fit all and you can easily find yourself back in creating differences.


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