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H810: Week 11: Activity 23: Reflection

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Week 11: Activity 23: Reflection

Trying to choose subject matter was difficult as I am not currently teaching. I decided to use some personal experiences and develop these into learning material to assist other support workers in an OU summer school.

I had worked through all the week 9 activities on guidelines and I work closely with students with various impairments so I found that I did not have to refer to the guidelines again.

As this was an exercise in accessibility I did not concentrate too closely on pedagogy although I was aware that I wanted learners to draw on their own experiences before looking at the points I had provided for them to consider. This was the reasoning behind using Survey Monkey with the facility to move from page to page. I intended that the answers would be private so learners could be confident in exploring their own views and not concerned with 'getting the answer wrong'. I think that I should have clarified this within the material.

Survey Monkey advertises that it complies with Section 508 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act but I have not yet tested it with any screen reader so I also included a transcript of the scenarios. Another reason for using this format was that it people with one or more of the neurodiversity disorders (Asperger syndrome, ADHD, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia or Tourette syndrome) report that they prefer short paragraphs of information without distraction.

The audience for this material varies from people who have very few qualifications to those with PhDs. I kept the language at a level accessible by all and this also had an effect on the way the material was presented. As people move through the educational system they improve at accessing material in a variety of formats. At lower levels they find it easier to digest material in their preferred learning style. The animated video gave an alternative format and also illustrated a pattern that could be adapted to suit various situations. I added captions to the animation for learners who were hearing impaired or those who may find it more difficult to access the speech pattern of animated characters e.g. those for whom English is a foreign language.

I did have problems with the technology as it was the first time I had used Xtranormal or CaptionTube; the first time I had uploaded videos to  YouTube; and the first time I had embedded gadgets into websites. I ended up having to write my own gadget to embed Survey Monkey and also had to edit the HTML to add alt tags to the images. It was a great learning experience for me but I am not sure that it would be possible for a busy teacher designing a course with no technological knowledge. I have enough experience with programming and web design to cope with the demands of learning the techniques and I am very interested in new technologies so I was willing to persevere but it took me over 20 hours to design a half hour learning experience!


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