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H810: Week 13 : Activity 25.4

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Week 13: Activity 25.4: Learning Styles and Dyslexia

  • What approach to dyslexia is used in your context?
    In student support we are encouraged to work with students in a social context. By this I mean that a student's literacy difficulties may be genetic in origin but they exist in a social setting which is the academic field of the university. We help the students form strategies to address the literacy difficulties that they are finding in their current situation.
  • To what extent do you think that current practice in supporting dyslexic students is based on a wide range of research findings?
    This is based on the New Literacy Studies approach which recognises that literacy difficulties are situated in social situations and heavily influenced by them. This socio-cultural approach means that practitioners change their focus from a medical approach that concentrates on a remedy for the individual to one looking at the social setting of the academic environment and how we can make that more suitable for learners with reading difficulties, whatever their origin.
  • To what extent do you think that the approach taken by Amesbury et al. is useful for supporting students with dyslexia?
    I can understand the reasoning behind this approach but it strikes me as isolationist and medical model in nature. I would be concerned that lecturers would think that students with dyslexia could be 'cured' by attending this course and that they need make no efforts to make their curriculum open to all learners.

 

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H810: Week 13 : Activity 26.1

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Week 13: Activity 26.1

1. There is a debate surrounding who is responsible (or most responsible) for accessibility. How helpful is this debate in ensuring that people working in post-16 education change their practices?

I feel that the debate is harming the situation. Too many people are sitting back and waiting for someone else to decide who is responsible, comfortable in their assumption that it will not be them!

If those with technical skills, such as learning technologists, are not ultimately or solely responsible for ensuring accessibility, what responsibilities do you think they should have and why?

I think that they should be responsible for training academic staff on the technical aspects of ensuring accessibility; the technical side of evaluation procedures with the associated interpretation of reports and code adjustments.

2. On pages 82-83, Seale uses an archaeology metaphor to try to encourage learning technologists to dig deeper beneath the surface of accessibility guidelines and standards. This is intended to develop a greater understanding of approaches to accessible design. How helpful do you think this metaphor is?

I really do not think this is a useful metaphor. Relicts of archaeology spread on the surface that give a hint to what happened in the past compared to digging deeper and finding relicts of the same age grouped together to give more information. I can see a vague link to guidelines and standards being grouped together to produce a clearer picture.

Can you think of an alternative metaphor, image, analogy or visualisation that could be used to help develop learning technologists' thinking in this area?

I am thinking along the lines of a family tree structure with the WCAG at the top as a global standard and then other groups of guidelines coming from these. It helps me understand that that they are all related and aiming for the same result but there are different methods of getting there. It also rationalises them to group them together. A set of references under these headings would be really useful for academic designers to quickly determine where to find the information they required and know what the focus/angle of the guidelines.

Family tree-type diagram showing groupings of guidelines

1. On page 98 Seale discusses the tensions regarding the use of technical tools versus human judgement to evaluate the accessibility of learning resources. What is your position concerning this issue?

Can we trust human judgement? If so, whose judgement should we trust - learning technologists working within educational organisations or external experts?

I followed an evaluation schedule that started with human judgement; proceeded to use two automated tools for a general assessment; used some tools for a specific purpose (e.g. colour contrast, readability analysis); went back to human judgement to check the results of the automated tools; and then went to beta testing and comments from specific users. I feel that this made a good testing schedule but ideally I would add in an easily accessible route to make comments about the resource that were recorded and gained a response from senior management. Nothing like a little pressure to improve human judgement wink

I would prefer to work with a learning technology team from within the organisation as they have superior knowledge of the aims and methods used within the organisation; they are easy to contact; and they have an incentive to get it right.

 

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H810: Week 13 : Activity 25.3

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Week 13: Activity 25.3: Online Assessment

These are similar to some of the guidelines that you looked at in Block 2, but they also include much more discussion of teaching and learning.

  • How far do the points made in these guidelines match the points discussed in the previous activity?
    They mention 'high-stakes' testing where accessibility provisions may have an effect on validity - equates to 'professional body' point in previous exercise.
  • Which staff role do you think these guidelines would be most useful for in your context?
    Really not keen on these guidelines as they are long winded, full of waffle and do not keep to the point. Much preferred the last exercise. Sections 9.3 and 9.4 do not seem to be complete.
  • Which guidelines that you looked at in Block 2 would be helpful for a web developer in addition to these?
    The JISC e-assessment training program:
    http://www.techdis.ac.uk/resources/sites/staffpacks/Staff%20Packs/E-Assessment/Presentation%20-%20EAssessment.xml

Really do not agree that 'low stakes' assessment are 'not a serious issue'. Formative assessments set up expectations of a student's performance in a lecturer's mind and effect later marking. They also have a big effect on a student's learning and motivation.

 

 

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H810: Week 13 : Activity 25.2

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Week 13: Activity 25.2

Make notes on the three important points which are noted in the Introduction:

  • whether particular assessments or examinations are core to the course

I have been working with a student with no usable sight studying for a computing degree. One of the modules covers coding for graphics. The university are happy to make reasonable adjustments but these generally involve working with a support worker which reduces his independence. He is very frustrated and suggested that the department let him study an alternative module but they will not do this as it is a core module and they have no time to write a module from scratch for him.

  • what adjustments are permissible within particular assessments or examinations without compromise to academic, or other prescribed, standards, such as competences required by professional bodies

I work with a blind student studying law and they have several exams coming up in May where they answer three questions in three hours. Last year the department organised her 100% extra time and rest breaks and she took the exams but was completely exhausted at the end of an 8 hour stretch and she had to postpone one exam and sit it in August as a first attempt. This week the department approached her and suggested that she answered one question in the exam and the other two as an assignment. In this way she will not be too exhausted to do her best work.

Another university has found problems on physiotherapy and medical courses as the professional body will not allow notetakers for dyslexic students. This one is a current dispute between the university and the NHS!

  • whether the successful achievement of the highest grades and awards, based on performance in examinations and other assessments, is equally attainable by disabled students.

Another university has a student who uses notetakers on field trips for geology. After discussion, it has been decided, that the notetaker should take notes in the assessed notebook but to label each section with the name of the person speaking i.e. the student who is dictating notes or one of the lecturers. In this way the student is only marked on their work rather than that of the notetaker's ability to record the lecturer's words. This would seem to be a reasonable approach but actually it works to the student's detriment as the other students mingle their thoughts with that of the lecturer's comments and get marked on their good ideas which may actually have come from the lecturer.

Would you have emphasised the same three points?

I think that these points are important but I also think that the perception of the other students needs to be considered. In the case of the law student, her friends and colleagues think she is being assessed just as stringently as they are being assessed. In the case of the notetaker on field trips, one student I worked with went to great lengths to explain to the other course members the way her assessment worked and the fact that her DSA paid her notetaker on several occassions. She informed me that there had been very rude comments from other students about the fact that she was marked on a professional notetaker's work and that the others had to pay for it too!

Are there any positive or negative aspects of online assessment for disabled students?

Online assessment can work well but too many institutions consider online assessment to mean multiple choice tests with a time limit so that students do not have an opportunity to research the questions. This can disadvantage many disabled students. For example, in the last few weeks one student, who has Asperger syndrome and is severely dyslexic, has had mid-term tests in his first year at university. The two modules he has found most difficult had straight tests and he achieved first class honours in both. The two modules he has no problems with, used multiple choice tests and he has failed both. Researchers put the problem down to problems with working memory and poor eye coordination.

 

Creating Accessible Examinations and Assessments for Disabled Students

Evaluating Practice

  • Staff are consciously aware of, and in agreement about, what aspects of student attainment or performance they are trying to assess.
    This seems to vary between the three universities where I am employed and also between departments. I know that the OU have course team meetings to try to ensure that this happens but I have personally been penalised for following guidelines issued by one tutor which my tutor did not agree with.
  • Students are aware of the aspects of attainment or performance which are the subject of assessment.
    Not always
  • The nature of marking criteria are kept under regular review: such matters as the importance of spelling, grammar, the ability to calculate, and the ability to remember dates and constants are collectively evaluated by the staff including part-time staff and teaching assistants.
    There is a lot of disagreement on this one. Some lecturers place great emphasis on grammar and spelling in examination conditions and penalise heavily. Lack of knowledge, and in some cases, disbelief concerning dyslexia leads to a response that is less than helpful. This summer I was assisting a student on a field course that involves spot tests in the field. I know all the students well and several were upset as they could not immediately recall the information. These were students with dyslexia and I spoke to the lecturer who was very concerned that he had disadvantaged those students. He had no idea that short term memory problems were an issue.
  • Policies concerning electronic aids to spelling, grammar and calculation in examinations are kept under regular review.
    A real annoyance of mine! One university insists that they will not allow electronic spelling aids in examinations despite the student's access report stating that they need one. They supply dictionaries for students with dyslexia, which the majority cannot use!
  • Where a student is unable by reason of an impairment to show evidence of relevant attainment or performance in the standard way, alternative arrangements are put in place if it is possible to do so.
    Yes, at all three universities
  • The flexibility referred to above is available in terms of deadlines and timetabling of assessments.

Yes, but this varies between universities. Two universities require an extenuating circumstances form to be completed; the third states that extenuating circumstances are for unexpected occurrences and extensions required due to disability are just to be granted with consultation between student, tutor and lecturer.

  • Alternative assessment arrangements as referred to above are well controlled to ensure consistency and fairness, vis-à- vis both the students taking them and other students.
    No, at one university everyone who is assessed with dyslexia gets 25% extra time; everyone who needs rest breaks is allowed 15 minutes despite disability or length of exam.
  • Assessment feedback to students is accessible to all our students, both in terms of content and format.
    No, some departments put handwritten reports on a printed version of an assessment. This results in a student with reading difficulties or visual impairment having to ask a support worker or friend to read this private material to them.
  • Those responsible for our examinations and assessment appeals are well versed in the ways in which procedures may need to be adjusted in acknowledgement of the needs of some disabled students.
    Definitely not!

 

 

 

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H810: Week 13 : Activity 25.1: Seale (2006) Chapter 6

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Week 13 : Activity 25.1: Seale (2006) Chapter 6

1.   On page 70, it is suggested that accessibility is frequently framed as a technical issue rather than a pedagogical (learning and teaching) one.

Bit confused here as the page numbers seem very different from the version I printed out!

I can understand that lecturers find accessibility a difficult and complex area to deal with. They are experts in their field and many are also very experienced with pedagogy and have a good knowledge of technology. On top of this they are then asked to become experts in the field of accessible design. Witt and McDermott (cited by Seale, 2006, p.57) report that many accessibility and technology experts find the guidelines hard to interpret and it is no wonder that lecturers can feel the helplessness, embarrassment and defensiveness suggested by Sloan and Stratford (cited by Seale, 2006, p.68) when attempting to cope with all the accessibility and legal issues surrounding their work. It is no wonder that they prefer to design learning resources and then pass them onto technology/accessibility teams to sort out any issues. However, it is the lecturer who can understand the underlying educational objectives and thus make the adaptations needed to the material without losing the overall aim of the work. This places the work firmly in the grounds of a pedagogical issue. An example from my work setting is in neuroscience where it is the lecturer who knows the point of showing a video and whether the same objective can be achieved by providing d-links or whether it would be better to provide models for a blind student to examine.

2.   Some of the key principles that underpin different design approaches include: inclusivity, equity, holism, proactivity and flexibility.

  • Inclusivity - designing materials with the aim to include all students from the outset.
  • Equity - Useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities
  • Holism - Starting with pedagogy first (Schenker & Scadden, cited in Seale, 2006, p. 60)
    Providing accessible learning resources that may not necessarily be online (Kelly et al., cited in Seale, 2006, p. 60)
  • Proactive - Thinking about the needs of students at the beginning of the design or refit
  • Flexible - Thinking of ways to offer equivalent and alternative access to the curriculum that achieves the same learning objectives.

Are they sufficiently clear and consistent so that lecturers can apply them to their own practice?

They are certainly clear when they are discussed in isolation but they are usually discussed in combination with the plethora of guidelines for design, guidelines for evaluation and automatic tools available and so the whole situation gets confused.

 

 

 

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H810: TMA02

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Your assignment, number 02 (TMA) for module H810-10I,
was received by the eTMA system at 18:36 (UK time) on 23-Nov-2010.

(Your receipt code is: 716C3E30).



Your submission included the following files:
Name (Size in Bytes)

Carolyn Hunt H810 TMA02.doc(92,672 bytes)
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Week 11: Activity 24.5

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I was working with a student who is blind on Friday and I asked if I could look at my resource using her copy of Supernova. She was happy to let me and I was thrilled to find that it was easily accessible. She asked to have a look at it too and gave me her comments which were very useful.

She uses both text-to-speech and magnification. She was very happy with the navigation of the site and the speech function and she liked the font I had chosen, Arial, as it was clear when magnified. She especially commented on my use of headings so that she could jump directly to the section in which she was interested. She also liked the clear alt text for images and the long description of the more complex image.

She did not like the blue text on the main pages and the text font on the left hand menu. I cannot see any way to control the menu font as it is built in to the Google Sites program but it was a deliberate choice to have a blue font as a high contrast such as black on white can be difficult to read for people with dyslexia although a high contrast can be more easily accessible for people with a visual impairment. The resource is designed for support workers at OU Summer Schools and so I made the decision that it is more likely that support workers would have dyslexia than a severe visual impairment.

It raises the point that universal design can be problematic when impairments require conflicting accommodations.

 

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Week 11: Activity 24.4: Evaluating online learning

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Edited by Lynn Hunt, Saturday, 13 Nov 2010, 20:02

Week 11: Activity 24.4: Evaluating online learning

Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) guidance

Preliminary review of websites for accessibility: http://www.w3.org/WAI/eval/preliminary.html

Select a representative page sample

From the Web site to be reviewed, select a representative sampling of pages that match the following criteria:

Note: there are special considerations for web sites with database driven dynamically generated web content.

Examine pages using graphical browsers

Use a graphical user interface (GUI) browser (such as Firefox, Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, Opera, Safari, or others) and examine the selection of pages while adjusting some settings in your browser or operating system as follows (some of these manual checks may require additional software):
Some pages do not display correctly or at all on Mac browsers

  • Turn off images, and check whether appropriate alternative text for the images is available.
    Alt text on home page of KLE but not updated - Image contains text saying 'Keele Learning Environment' alt text still says 'Blackboard Learning systems logo'
    No alt text on images on home page which results in it being unusable as many of the text instructions are in image format
    Format changes with images removed from some pages and words printed on top of others.

1. Turn off the sound, and check whether audio content is still available through text equivalents.
Transcripts available for video but no captions - a deaf person could not watch the video at the same time as reading the transcript as it is written underneath.

2. Use browser controls to vary font-size: verify that the font size changes on the screen accordingly; and that the page is still usable at larger font sizes.
Yes fine

3. Test with different screen resolution, and/or by resizing the application window to less than maximum, to verify that horizontal scrolling is not required (caution: test with different browsers, or examine code for absolute sizing, to ensure that it is a content problem not a browser problem).
yes, fine

4. Change the display color to gray scale (or print out page in gray scale or black and white) and observe whether the color contrast is adequate.
yes, fine

5. Without using the mouse, use the keyboard to navigate through the links and form controls on a page (for example, using the "Tab" key), making sure that you can access all links and form controls, and that the links clearly indicate what they lead to.
Some of the links are also images and no alt text to describe where they go
Some are labelled but with names that make no sense to general user

Examine pages using specialized browsers

Use a voice browser (such as Home Page Reader) or a text browser (such as Lynx) and examine the selection of pages while answering these questions:

1. Is equivalent information available through the voice or text browser as is available through the GUI browser?
Not always e.g. no directions available - just map

2. Is the information presented in a meaningful order if read serially?
Not always - headers used in various orders e.g. H3 before H1

Use automated Web accessibility evaluation tools

Use at least two automated Web accessibility evaluation tools to analyze the selection of pages and note any problems indicated by the tools. Note: these tools will only check the accessibility aspects that can be tested automatically, the results from these tools should not be used to determine a conformance level without further manual testing.

I had intended to use two of the automated tools mentioned in Seale: Bobby and APrompt. IBM has taken over Watchfire and no longer provides a free version of Bobby, it is part of IBM's Rational Policy Tester Accessibility Edition. APrompt was discontinued in 2007 and a new version, Achecker is now available. I used this and also the  WebAIM tool: WAVE.

As the KLE requires a log-in, I was only able to test the log in page which was reported to have no errors using WAVE (Web accessibility evaluation tool) from WebAIM http://wave.webaim.org/

I continued to check the website pages I had manually checked. The Geoscience intro page had 3 errors in images and headers and the second page also contains 3 errors in heading order and empty headings

I thought that it was quite difficult to identify the errors as they are marked on the page and I had to go through each one to detect where the problem was located. I would then have had to go through the code to find the section to correct.

The second automated test I used was Achecker (formerly A prompt which was discontinued in 2007) which uses WCAG2.0 (level AA) guidelines. http://achecker.ca/checker/index.php

This tool not only provided much more information but did so in list format with the section of HTML highlighted. This was moving towards a conformance evaluation rather than a simple accessibility check.

For the KLE log in page which has very little content, it detected 3 known problems which WAVE had not detected. It also identified 9 likely problems in link text and 87 potential problems.

For the first Keele page, it brought up 4 known problems(the same as WAVE), 56 likely problems (most of which I had detected on the manual test) and 152 potential problems (many of which I had detected manually and others which proved to be a problem when I rechecked)

For the second Keele page, it brought up 3 known problems (the same as WAVE) but also highlighted 42 lightly problems that I had noticed in my manual check and 120 potential problems, some of which I had noticed in my manual check and most of which were problems when I checked them.

 

Summarize obtained results

Summarize results obtained from previous four tasks:

1. Summarize the types of problems encountered, as well as positive aspects that should be continued or expanded on the site.

2. Indicate the method by which problems were identified, and clearly state that this was not a full conformance evaluation.

3. Recommend follow-up steps, including full conformance evaluation which includes validation of markup and other tests, and ways to address any problems identified.

 

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Week 11: Activity 24.2

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My main check so far has been to ensure I comply to the guidelines. In my role I can access screen readers (JAWS, Supernova and Zoom text) and I am also able to consult with students with dyslexia, Asperger syndrome and those who are D/deaf, blind or visually impaired. However these are all busy people and I do not want to impose on their time, so I tend to restrict this form of testing to essentials. I have also had a good response from my PLN on Twitter as three people tested and commented on my resource. This enabled me to check accessibility on other Windows' browsers such as Internet Explorer, Firefox and Opera; and also on Mac OSX 10.6, Firefox and Safari version5.

I am reluctant to totally rely on accessibility tools although I intend to try out one or two to see if they concur with manual methods of assessment.

For a large VLE system I would consider that the most efficient way to test it would be to supply guidelines to everyone adding material to the VLE and then appointing one person per department to assess conformance to these guidelines, either manually or by automated checker. I would also like to see a quick, easy and accessible (!) method to report any problems to a manager so that the student does not have to contact each lecturer individually in order to ensure they can access the material. In this way the student does not have to personally complain to the person who was marking their work and it is shown that senior management take the issue seriously.

 

 

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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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E801:Action 1.21: Reflecting upon the impact of national literacy strategies

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Action 1.21: Reflecting upon the impact of national literacy strategies

To what extent do your own national literacy policies impact upon your professional practice?

I generally work with students who have good functional literacy as I am based in higher education. There are exceptions to this with students who are diagnosed with dyslexia or have English as a second language. In this way national literacy policies do not have much impact.

What impact could national literacy strategies and national literacy policies have upon educators working in areas other than primary schooling?

I think that national strategies/policies will have an impact on secondary and FE college educators because they have been used to being able to remediate a percentage of those learners who are struggling with functional literacy. If the policies work as advertised, then secondary support workers will need to have specialist knowledge and techniques to help those learners with more resistant problems.

With a lower percentage of learners reaching secondary school with literacy difficulties, there will be more of a stigma attached to having difficulties and thus barriers will increase. Secondary teachers will also become accustomed to classes where the nearly all the learners can access the material and they are likely to reduce their efforts to ensure it is accessible to all.

Drawing upon your own experiences and your reading of this section identify any of the themes and issues explored above which are relevant to your own professional contexts

Very difficult to do as I work in higher education. I am concerned about  some of the reports about learners having functional literacy but not reading for pleasure. One University has high entry levels and has identified problems with literacy standards of students studying history and geography. I have recently started work at another university which has lower entry levels and more practical courses. I will be interested to see how they address the literacy levels of their students, many of whom have taken NVQ and vocational A-levels where they can submit  work and have it corrected and resubmit it again until the teacher is happy with it.

What do you think are the positive and negative aspects of national literacy strategies?

I think that one of the major positive effects is that they set a teaching standard and give educators strict guidelines to follow. This reduces the effect of poor teaching and there are still plenty of poor teachers out there. The strict guidelines also restrict good teachers from giving individual treatment to learners and helping them all follow individualised learning programmes.

Comparisons between teachers and schools do serve to drive up standards but it is likely that schools will insist on teachers teaching students to reach the standards rather than encouraging them to develop a wide range of skills.

To what extent do you think national policies need to allow flexibility in the ways in which educators can address difficulties in literacy?

In order to meet the standard the government requires, the policies cannot be too flexible. I think this is wrong for individual learners but will meet the political agenda.

Make a note of any other issues and tensions related to meeting the needs of students who experience difficulties in literacy development that are related to your national or institutional policies and initiatives.

I worry that the target of a certain percentage of learners meeting functional literacy standards for their age group will allow educators to 'give up' on the students with most severe difficulties as they do not need them to meet the percentage.

 

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E801:Action 1.20: A tale of early phonics in early reading in England

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Action 1.20: A tale of early phonics in early reading in England

Hall, K. (2007) Literary policy and policy literacy. In Solar, J., Fletcher-Campbell, F. & Reid, G. (2009) Understanding Difficulties in Literacy Development: Issues and Concepts. London, Sage.

What lies at the heart of the analytic and synthetic phonics debate?

Synthetic phonics - sounding out and blending. Concentrates on phonemes

Analytic phonics/analogy phonics - perceiving patterns and drawing inferences. Taught key words with common spelling patterns (onsets and rimes)

Both statistically indistinguishable (Togerson et al., 2006)

What factors does Hall identify as being responsible for 'phonics winning out'?

Media coverage of Clackmannanshire

A seemingly simple solution was very attractive

Support by all parties

Where would you position yourself in relation to this debate?

I believe that phonics are important for all learners to decode words. I hated the real books approach but it was successful for many learners because they simply taught themselves to decode words using phonics. It was unsuccessful for those who had any problems with the process including visual, aural or social.

I do think that learners need to be motivated, enthusiastic and involved in the process of learning to read. Whole word methods can be preferable to synthetic phonics as they have more relevance for the learner and also encourage interest and comprehension.

However one approach does not suit all learners and a mixture of methods is preferable. How does this work in practice with 30+ students in a class with one TA? I have no idea. I think that if we are going to have large class sizes, then we have to use structured, whole class teaching. This means that there will have to be a focus on one method of teaching and, if this is the case, then phonics has to be the method. This will result in a high percentage of learners being functionally literate, although there is some evidence that they no longer enjoy reading. Functionally literate is what we need to look good in international comparisons and to produce a reasonably effective workforce. We do have to realise that one method does not fit all and there will be failures in this method. We can use schemes such as reading recovery to pick up the pieces of some of the learners when it fails them and thus force percentages even higher but we have to recognise that there will still be people who do not achieve functional literacy without individual help and still others who will never achieve it.

 

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E801: Action 1.1: Research and the National Literacy Strategy

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Action 1.18: Research and the National Literacy Strategy

Beard, R. (2000) Research and the National Literacy Strategy. In Solar, J., Fletcher-Campbell, F. & Reid, G. (2009) Understanding Difficulties in Literacy Development: Issues and Concepts. London, Sage.

Retrospective justification for research drawn upon by NLS

Concern over literacy standards

  • Moral panic in press
  • Political pressure, 1997 was an election year when Labour came to power

International/national comparisons impact on initiatives

  • Competitive - England had 'long tail' but needs to be considered against cultural and linguistic biases
  • Slavin (1997) working in US influenced NLS - but he adds in early intervention

School Effectiveness Research

  • Measured by progress cf intake
  • Structured teaching and whole class teaching to maximise teacher attention - effective learning time

Structured and whole class teaching superior to individualised teaching?

With huge classes and few qualified teaching assistants then it has to be structured and whole class but I would not agree it was superior.

Accumulated Inspection Evidence - importance in future policies

I tend to think that political considerations and moral panic in the press are more likely to influence future policies than the more impartial evidence of the accumulation of inspection evidence. I would not agree that the inspections are completely apolitical as the government directs the inspection criteria.

 

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E801: Action 1.17: Illiteracy, literacy and social inequality

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Action 1.17: Illiteracy, Literacy and Social Inequality

Payne, G. (2006) Recounting 'illiteracy': literacy skills in the sociology of social inequality. In Solar, J., Fletcher-Campbell, F. & Reid, G. (2009) Understanding Difficulties in Literacy Development: Issues and Concepts. London, Sage.

Terms already encountered:

  • Functional literacy - low levels of literacy/numeracy for tackling specific social tasks - social definition
  • Moser (1999)- tested domains (prose, document, usage, numeracy) in 'real-life' material
  • New Literacy Studies

New ideas

  • Post modernism led to social perspective
  • Reaction to NLS (Brandt & Clinton, 2002)
  • Literacy not investigated in sociological research
  • Moral panic over literacy rates
  • Formal qualifications determine entry to middle class occupations
  • Normative literacy - literacy presented as skill of concerned citizen, responsible member of the community, useful employee - deficit view
  • Adult = 16-65 (working age); limited info on gender or ethnicity

 

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E801: Action 1.16: Reflecting on the writing process

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Action 1.16: Reflecting on the writing process

Lea, M. R. & Street, B. V. (1998) Student writing in higher education: an academic literacies approach. In Fletcher-Campbell, F., Soler, J. & Reid, G. (2009) Approaching Difficulties in Literacy Development: Assessment, Pedagogy and Programmes. London, Sage.

What are the arguments for a practices approach to literacy that takes account of the cultural and contextual component of writing and reading processes?

Allows analysis of academic literacy and differing expectations without value judgements

How has this approach drawn from 'academic literacy' and 'new literacy' studies?

It is placed in a social setting of the particular academic field. It relies on the social customs and practices of the academic peer group and, in more applied courses, of the employment contexts.

Study skills - isolated, fix problems and transfer to context - behavioural psychology approach

Academic socialisation approach - induct student into new culture - social psychology, anthropology, constructivist
-criticised as academy is not homogeneous

Academic literacies - closest to new literacy studies - epistemological approach; institution is site of power. Switching practices, social meaning and identity - threatening to student

To what extent do you think the RLF is an example of how this approach might be implemented in specific departments in universities and other HE settings?

Professional writers are likely to be outside the discipline and so an academic mentor is required to advise them on practices in the university, department and discipline (English Subject Centre, 2003, from study guide). Surely it would be better to have a good academic writer from within the university department to supervise this? I can understand that it may work well in English but I cannot see it working well in other subjects.

The link in the study file is wrong. The English Subject Centre is located at...

http://www.english.heacademy.ac.uk/

In what ways do you think the themes and approaches related to academic literacy and new literacies discussed by Lea and Street could be relevant for those working with other adult students and school pupils who are not enrolled in HE institutions?

I do some work at Keele University which prides itself on a broad base to their degrees. This means that students may be studying with up to six different departments in their first year. Each of these departments will have different guidelines for writing and different referencing systems. This paper threw some light on the difficulties experienced by students.

  • Linguistic switching / code switching - in different disciplines, modules and interdisciplinary studies
  • Tutors find it difficult to prepare handouts on 'good writing' for particular contexts
  • Academics can explain form but not what constitutes the elements such as 'critically analyse' or 'evaluate'. These terms describe the results of years of practice in a particular field and cannot be defined. This makes study skills irrelevant as the technique required is part of academic practice not an isolated skill.
  • Writing skills are not transferable across departments and sometimes not between tutors in the same department.

I consider that several things could be worth looking at in other areas of education. One of these concerns looking at study skills as isolated practices. If students in higher education need to be able to study in context to learn these skills, what are we doing with our basic skills learners when we withdraw them from context with synthetic phonics or isolated skills practices?

If tutors cannot describe 'good writing' in a particular context, why do we describe it authoritatively to learners at GCSE and A-level? Shouldn't we be emphasising that we need to suit our writing to context?

 

 

 

 

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E801: Action 1.15: Views on adult literacy learning

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Action 1.15: Views on Adult Literacy Learning

Freedom to Learn is the report of the working group looking into the basic skills needs of adults with learning difficulties and disabilities. It sets out ways in which access to good basic skills teaching and learning could be improved for adults with learning difficulties and/or disabilities.

http://www.lifelonglearning.co.uk/freedomtolearn/index.htm

From executive summary:

"sufferers from dyslexia" Sir Claus Moser (1999) - medical model or charity model of disability

"basic skills needed for employment or further education" - employment focus

Low self-esteem/low self confidence - a major barrier and one that prevents learners approaching colleges, community support is vital.

"Learning difficulties such as those caused by poor short-term memory, poor sequencing skills or language dysfunction require specialist high-quality teaching. Currently, this is not available to many learners because of a shortage of skilled and qualified teachers." - This is not recognised and specialist staff have low status which comes from relying on volunteers and low level training courses.

Staff need to be aware of facilities for disabled learners - legalities too!

Community education should be recognised - I really agree with this as working with learners on a simple aromatherapy course allowed them to realise that adult education was not like school and they were then ready to move into learning literacy/numeracy skills.

"alternative ways to demonstrate achievement" - yes, Key Skills are not appropriate as too high to achieve in some cases and too close to school experiences in many.

 

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E801: Action 1.14: Dyslexia and adult literacy learning

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Action 1.14: Dyslexia and Adult Literacy Learning

The Skills for Life Improvement Programme came to an end on
31 August 2009 but their materials are still available to download from:

http://sflip.excellencegateway.org.uk/resources/lddresources.aspx

Kerr, H. (2001) Dyslexia and adult literacy: does dyslexia disempower? In Fletcher-Campbell, F., Soler, J. & Reid, G. (2009) Approaching Difficulties in Literacy Development: Assessment, Pedagogy and Programmes. London, Sage.

Issues to be included in courses aimed at people working with adults with dyslexia

  • Tendency to use term 'dyslexia' for all difficulties with literacy (p.280)
  • Intelligence/achievement discrepancies not pathognomic (p.280)
  • Established dyslexia industry - vested interest (p.281)
  • Illogicalities/inconsistencies in science (p.281)
  • Diagnosis - preferable to being stupid but leads to reduced expectations (p.281)
  • No gene for literacy: "The first literate acts (clay tablet invoices) were only about 6000 years ago. This is some 94,000 years too short a time for a skill or aptitude to be encoded in our DNA." (p.283)
  • It is feasible that a gene effects literacy (p.283)
  • Genetic sex-linkage not demonstrated (p.283)

 

 

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E801: Action 1.13: Policy Context

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Hamilton, M., Macrae, C. & Tett, L. (2009) Powerful literacies: the policy context. In Solar, J., Fletcher-Campbell, F. & Reid, G. (2009) Understanding Difficulties in Literacy Development: Issues and Concepts. London, Sage.

Notes

International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS)

  • cognitive, independent of context
  • primarily reading: prose, document & quantitative literacy

Serious critiques of methods/validity but relied on in policy

England and Wales

1970s The Right to Read - first adult national literacy policy

1:1 and small group tuition

Basic Skills Agency - 1975 (materials, events, good practice)

Many volunteers at first, increasing professionalism

Late 1980s accreditation framework produced - related to NVQs

Increasingly formalised

UK - Creating a skilled workforce; Europe - informed citizens

Moser (1999) - tighter control

Integration with other education provision; no link to research

Wales - bilingual materials and tuition; more flexibility and local discretion

Scotland

Mainly 1:1 with volunteers, locally

Writing and numeracy more popular than reading

Scottish Adult Basic Education Unit (SABEU) - wanted broader skills programmes; generally ignored by regional councils

Since mid 1980s no national agency and wide disparity across country; mainly volunteers; mainly 1:1

Broad remit encouraged

NDP (2000) survey - poor quality and capacity were concerns

Literacy 2000 - task group

Northern Ireland

Further education colleges- adult literacy organiser + group tutors + volunteer tutors for 1:1

Also voluntary/community groups and prisons

Adult literacy liaison group (ALLG) + Adult literacy and Basic Education Committee (ALBEC) - material, guides, courses, standards

General education is mainly grammar, secondary highs/colleges, denominational, single sex

Economistic emphasis

Ireland

Long history of voluntary literacy schemes

>1985 paid literacy organisers

Locally based

Research on participation and access - increased quality

Literacy has high priority; multidimensional approach

My Thoughts

I cannot equate the picture of the provision in England with the adult literacy teaching that I did in 2003. This was organised by a small local college and it was led by a qualified teacher with help from volunteers and trainees. The group consisted of people who were learning either literacy, numeracy or IT skills. The focus was on social aspects of learning although some people were hoping that it would also improve their job prospects. Certification was not a focus and people generally left the course without any extra qualifications although many moved on to take Key Skills or GCSE qualifications at the same college. It was a really relaxed atmosphere with coffee and biscuits available at any time. It was very student focused: one man was trying to learn to read in order to read to his grandchildren and so he wanted to practice with children's books; another wanted to be able to write to his children in Australia so he was concentrating on typing on the computer, not handwriting.

I would agree that ABE professionals are not valued or supported and certainly not listened to when it comes to designing provision. The people with whom I was working were ashamed of progressing to qualifications with the same name as those their children/grandchildren were doing, but at a lower level. The college were not interested in what we were saying about this fact as they were being encouraged to standardise the qualifications.

 

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H810: Week 10: Activity 22.1: Resource

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Edited by Lynn Hunt, Monday, 8 Nov 2010, 18:59

 

https://sites.google.com/site/cmahh810activity211/

Wow! This one exercise has taken me about 20 hours to do and it still needs work but I am running out of time this week. I will try to get back to it later and adjust the length of the subtitles on the animated video. They could be on the screen for a little longer but this involves an awful lot of work. I am sure I could get faster with practice but I am still feeling my way around at the moment.

I have published it on Google Sites which they report to be screen reader accessible but I will find out on Thursday when I have access to Supernova. I may also be able to test it with Jaws but cannot get access to WindowEyes at the moment. If anyone else is going to try Google sites they should be aware that you need some coding knowledge. I had to edit the HTML just to add alt tags!

Survey Monkey reports it is easily accessible by screen readers but I don't trust these things so I have included a transcription of the information as well! The reason for including the Survey Monkey format was because some of the students I work with, including those with dyslexia and Asperger syndrome, prefer to see a few lines of text at a time and this is an easy way to assist them to do this with the most important part of the learning exercise.

I also included a transcript of the YouTube Xtranormal animation as the subtitles are in beta and generally come up but I have heard reports that they don't always! The subtitles were done using CaptionTube which was fairly easy to use but fiddly.

I really wanted an accessibility bar at the top of the screen to change font and background colour but I could not find any code that I could use to design a Google gadget and I think it may be a bit beyond my minimal programming skills anyway. I just added a link to the new RSC Scotland "My Study Bar".

This resource is designed to encourage those people supporting students on Open University summer schools to start considering the ethical decisions that they may have to make. These people come from a variety of academic and non-academic backgrounds and so I have kept the language to a sensible level!

Currently the Open University insist that student support workers attend one training weekend every two years and also complete an online training program. In the eight years I have worked in student support, I have come across many situations that were difficult to deal with and the ethics course I was offered as part of my other job has helped me a great deal. I have not been offered this sort of training by The Open University and I think that it would be best offered at the weekend training where there is the possibility of students considering scenarios in small groups but an online resource would also be useful.

I hope that this screed helps anyone who wants to analyse this work for their TMA02. I will add information about its accessibility to the various screenreaders once I test it. Currently I have only tested it by removing the images to see the alt tags.

 

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H810: Week 10: Activity 21.1: Tackling Descriptions

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Description - images shown at bottom of post

Diagram 1on the left of the image shows a cupula which is stationary. A main sensory nerve comes straight up into a bell-shaped structure which is the membrane lining the inside of the semi-circular canals. It is lined with rectangular cells. Inserted between these cells, at the top third of the bell are hair cells which are all connected to the sensory nerve by peripheral nerves. These sensory cells are more oval in shape with protrusions into the roughly triangular area of the cupula which covers the top third of the bell shape.

Diagram 2 on the right of the image is very similar but shows a cupula and bell-shape bent over to the right as fluid movement in the canals pushes it to one side. The image text states "Movement stimulates hair cells, which send a signal through the sensory nerve" and this is shown on the diagram with red arrows marked from each sensory cell, through peripheral nerves and joining the main sensory nerve.

Comments

Over the last few years I have been working quite intensively with two students with severe visual impairments who are studying neuroscience. Initially I was providing all support but the lecturer decided to employ a PhD student to create models and use the T3 to create tactile slides. This ensured that the students had the best possible access to the diagrams that they were required to be familiar with for their studies.

This meant that I only needed to make a brief description of each image on the slide as the student also had reference to a copy of the image in tactile format or a model if that was more appropriate.

At the start of their courses, I had to describe the images completely and this is what I have chosen to do for this exercise. I have chosen a simple image as the more complex images take pages of text to describe and really are not very useful for the student. Tactile images or models are much more suitable.

I also feel that you need to be very familiar with the material you are describing so that you do not mislead the student and you know which parts of the diagram are important to include.

Another point that I consider important is that it is possible to do a general instruction for a student but it is more effective if it is a description tailored to an individual student as you know the course material that they have already covered and you can use comparisons with which they are familiar. For example I know that one student I work with lost their sight at the age of 7 years, has a good understanding of colour and likes me to include colour into descriptions as it brings it to life for them. Other students would not like this at all!

Yet another point concerning individual descriptions is that the length of the description depends on personal preferences and impairments. One student requires short descriptions as he is also dyslexic and struggles with short term memory problems; another likes complete descriptions in full detail.

I do find it difficult to describe diagrams to students when they have to interpret them for themselves. It is possible but the person describing the image has to ensure they stick to describing shapes and do not include any academic terms - I find this easier if I do not know the subject well. I have had to do this for flow diagrams in computer science and chemistry.

The most difficult part of my job is at the start of the course when the images on slides may not have been transcribed. I am then involved in notetaking everything a lecturer says whilst trying to verbally describe the image they are talking about to the student sitting next to me! Sometimes encouraging the student to chat to the lecturer will result in the lecturer giving a brief description of the image before they go on to point out the salient points but it is still difficult. In some ways it is easier on an online course when the student can take all the time they need to work out the description of an image before beginning to study the text. In a lecture theatre it has to be done so fast that the student often loses track of what is happening and wastes an hour just sitting there before having to go away and start again either on their own or with a support worker. Of course this depends on whether a support worker is available and it can result in a student falling behind after just one lecture and being unable to understand the next lecture.

See description at top of blog post

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E801: Action 1.12: Policy and Reading Research

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Edited by Lynn Hunt, Wednesday, 3 Nov 2010, 11:12

E801: Action 1.12: Policy and Reading Research

Clackmannanshire Synthetic Phonics Initiative:

  • 19 primary schools - some very small
  • Lead researcher = teacher for some groups (2nd study)
  • 7 year study
  • Initially synthetic/analytic/phoneme + analytic groups
  • Synthetic progressed fast so all changed to synthetic
  • End of study: decoding words - on av. 3 ½ yrs ahead; spelling - 1yr 9 months ahead; comprehension- 3 ½ months ahead

Scotland:

  • No national curriculum
  • 5 broad national priorities
  • Local Authority has to justify policies to meet local needs
  • Devolved decision-making so in hands of those that deliver it
  • National tests for internal monitoring; taken when child is ready; teacher can award on class work

Funding:

  • Gov. money; extra to budget
  • Home-school liaison set up

Staff development

  • Specific content and teaching methods
  • Group support
  • Head teachers and management involved
  • Staff monitored and supported
  • Children monitored and support groups for those falling behind
  • Extra training for teachers moving into the school

I have been trying to find the research that discusses the effect of synthetic phonics on producing children that can read words accurately but no longer read for pleasure and so their comprehension and general knowledge is suffering.I cannot find the exact article but there is research that argues both sides i.e. that synthetic phonics benefits reading comprehension and also that it detracts from it!


 

 

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E801: Action 1.11: The Rose Report

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E801: Action 1.11: The Rose Report

'start 'guessing' at words and end up dyslexic.' (Palmer, 2006, p.23) - What! So guessing at words changes learners' genetic structure does it? You learn something new every day!

Having pointed this out, I have to say I agree with the vast majority of both the reports.

  • Young children do not have the attention span required for whole class learning of something they find difficult/uninteresting
  • Many young children do not have the discrimination skills to identify individual letters
  • Children are individuals: some will be bored at the level of teaching and some will be out of their depth

I have never understood why we cannot put the money into supporting teacher training and CPD and then trust them to be professionals and choose the right approach for each child.

Home educating my children has taught me to trust them. They know what they need and I just kept trying approaches until they clearly indicated that they were happy with it. Interestingly I later took qualifications in teaching basic skills to adults and this was the method recommended all the way through - an individualised response and plenty of variety until the learner found something that helped them understand. For example, I was teaching maths to a 40 year old blind student with 6 children. She was having great difficulty in understanding the concept of equivalency of fractions so I compared it to a large chocolate bar. If it had 24 squares and she broke it in half, how many squares would she have for her and her husband? So 12/24 was the same as 1/2 . She immediately came back with the fact that 1/6 was the same as 4/24 because she could relate it to sharing chocolate between her children. She progressed rapidly from there.

I think that individualised, personalised, concrete experiences are the best way for all learners, no matter what age they are. Learners need to move from concrete experiences to abstract experiences and may need to move back to concrete again at points in their learning when they encounter problems. I return to concrete experiences on this course when I read about a concept and then relate it to my own experiences before I can truly understand how the concept functions and then move on the constructively criticise it. Synthetic phonics from the start is trying to teach the abstract without putting the concrete in place first.

 

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E801: Action 1.10: Models of Reading in the National Literacy Strategy

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E801: Action 1.10: Models of Reading in the National Literacy Strategy

Introduction: definitions of literacy and approaches to reading

I had to read and re-read this. I was horrified! I just hope individual teachers vary their approach to suit individual learners more than these guidelines suggest. How on earth do they expect reception class to all be ready for writing? Some of them have very limited vocabularies and cannot colour match. If colour matching is not yet mastered, how can they discern letter shapes and copy them? It is my understanding that becoming able to write is a process that comes into play much later than reading. It certainly was with all my children so why is it introduced at the same time?

Literacy hour and its structure

An hour, when universities keep their sessions to 45-50 mins to improve concentration? There are several reports that suggest that young children have a maximum attention span of 30 mins and this is when they already understand the material and they are interested and engaged. This has a lot of implications for the method of whole class teaching which includes those who are struggling with the concept or disinterested as it does not contain material they are interested in or the material is outside their reach.

What is the model for teaching reading and the associated approaches to the teaching of reading that are advocated in this document?

Searchlights model - explained by a simple diagram with a circle labelled text in the middle of the page. Around it are four boxes: phonics; grammatical knowledge; word recognition and graphic knowledge; and knowledge of content. From each box an arrow points to the text in the middle - showing that readers can use four aspects in their reading. It gives the impression that the techniques are equally useful but Ofsted (4 years after introduction of the NLS) reported that the searchlights should fall in different places at different stages of learning to read.

Accessed from: http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=2213282 [2nd November 2010]

What could be some of the problems of implementing 'interactive whole-class teaching' for children who have difficulties in literacy?

  • Comparison to other children
  • Competition
  • Work done by more able children

What do you feel are the implications of these aspects of the NLS for students with special educational needs?

I commented above  on some of my thoughts but I think that this quote says it all!

A small study of teacher and pupils discourse in the literacy hour showed that the longest utterances were made by the teacher with only 2% of pupil utterances exceeding ten words and 90% of these being no longer than five words. For children with special educational needs, nearly 90% of their utterances were of one to three words. The contributions made by children with SEN were not only fewer than might be expected from their numbers in the class, they also tended to be of the shortest length. (Lee and Eke, 2004)

Accessed from: http://www.ite.org.uk/ite_topics/special_needs_KS1-2/013.html [2nd November 2010]

 

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H810: Week 9: Activity 20.1: Finding guidelines

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Edited by Lynn Hunt, Sunday, 31 Oct 2010, 21:43

Find web resources with guidelines for each of the online learning elements in the list below, selecting those that would be most useful in your context.

I have recently changed jobs and, as part of my new role, I am supporting a student with a severe visual impairment in her second year studying a law degree at university. She lost her sight suddenly at age 16 years and has problems remembering the layout of web pages etc. I started working with her last week and found that she is struggling to access some resources and so I thought that this exercise would be useful to examine which guidelines would be useful to ensure the resources were accessible for her. She is using a pen drive version of Supernova.

  • Web pages
    Studying law relies heavily on being able to use two specialist databases hosted on websites: Westlaw and LexisNexis Butterworths. Previous students I have worked with have managed to use these sites on their own once they were used to them but my current student is still having problems after a complete year so I think it is time to look for other solutions!
    Guidelines for web pages do apply to this area but the added database functions add to the complexity of each page. Searching the web gave me the information that Westlaw is available as a plain text version in the US but I can find no link to it in the UK. I have emailed both companies for further information.
    For general staff guidelines on creating accessible web pages I like the WebAim version of the guidelines as these provide a basic list with links that explain in more details how to create the features required.
  • PowerPoint presentations
    The student has problems accessing PowerPoint presentations and has organised for her support workers to transcribe the slides into plain text. Her electronic notetaker then adds lecture information underneath each heading so all the information is in one place.
    The guidelines that I prefer in this case are still the WebAIM version as they are suitable for lecturers and contain guidance for all three versions of Microsoft Office currently in use!!
  • Word documents
    The student copes well with Word documents but, due to the versatility of having all the versions of Word currently in use, I still have to go with the WebAIM version of the guidelines.
  • PDF documents
    The student has had problems with inaccessible pdf documents in the past and now refuses to accept them from lecturers. She insists on all documents being given to her in Word. Having studied the guidelines on how to convert documents and the lengthy checking process required, I can understand that many busy lecturers just convert and trust they are OK without checking them. I looked at several versions of the guidelines but many were very much out of date and only quoting Word 2003. Many also had their own guidelines but referred to WebAIM guidelines as a definitive source. I did like the YouTube video that explained how to produce pdf documents but this was with an older version of Word as well.
  • Flash animations
    I was quite surprised to find that my daughter was writing an accessible website in Flash - firstly that she could do it at all and secondly that it could be made accessible! Adobe reports that the latest version is now very good with screen readers whereas the older versions needed a non-Flash alternative. This information seems to vary with who you talk to and which site you read! WebAIM guidelines still say that it is very difficult to access and alternatives should be provided.
  • Web video
    I found it difficult to find anything between far too general and specific uses for individual programs. I eventually found the Skills for Access guidelines which were at the right level for general guidance for lecturers.

 

 

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H810: Week 9: Activity 19.3: Readability Level

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I found this an interesting point. My instinct is that generally pages ought to be easy to read but there can be exceptions. I think that the introductory pages should be easily readable but that they can link to more complex pages depending on context. For example, my daughter is currently designing a website for a module of her Masters in Geoscience. The topic of her website is Magma chamber dynamics and chromite formation. The module outcome is to produce an accessible website with an illustrated literature review. This is a highly complex area covering advanced physics and chemistry and I can see no way of simplifying the reading level once the reader is past the introductory page but surely this is fine. If the reader can read the first page easily and realise that it is not the material they need then I think that this is what is required.

As part of H800, I looked at the OU site introducing the Evolution Megalab project involving citizen science. It is designed for the general public so the majority of the pages are written at a simple level but there are also people who have a more specialised interest in science and so the factsheets are highly scientific and at a higher reading level.

I do feel that guidelines for reading level should be included as part of accessibility guidelines. It is important to make general web pages accessible for everyone. My daughter is deaf and has many friends whose first language is sign language and they often struggle with higher levels of written and spoken English.

 

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