Computing is for everyone
To help Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and LA pupils to stay focused and motivated, pupils are introduced to KS3 concepts of project management which involves breaking larger tasks into smaller units of work e.g. task, reward and deadline.
The DSH requests that the class teacher completes a seating plan before arrival to the DSH. This is to assist the DSH teacher in the afternoon session with the provision of opportunities for independent learning e.g. use of independent learning videos. The seating plan downloadable from the DSH website together with the other trip documentation facilitates the allocation of seats based on pupils’ learning needs, learning styles and ability.
In addition to the classroom seating plan, an individual learning needs (ILN) form is also emailed to the class teacher. This form provides the DSH teacher with notes on specific teaching strategies (both educational and behavioural) for dealing with visiting pupils. This information also helps the DSH teacher to deploy the appropriate hardware and software support.
Inclusion through technology
In an effort to become a fully inclusive and valuable learning environment the DSH has successfully integrated a variety of software and hardware technologies into lessons. In particular, the DSH has employed the following specialist ICT equipment.
- Larger keyboard with enlarged keys for physical disabilities, fine motor skills or visual impairment.
- Rollerball mouse for physical disabilities and fine motor skills.
- Dedicated enlarged 20” flat screen monitor for the visually impaired.
- All electronic worksheets have been designed to allow the DSH teacher to amend the font style and size to suit each individual pupil needs.
- Wireless keyboard and mouse connected to the teacher’s computer and IWB i.e. pupil sitting a specified distance (three meters) from the IWB for various epilepsy conditions.
- Text-to-speak software combined with personal headphones to support pupils with EAL and lower ability (LA) at literacy.
- Use of the Microsoft Windows Magnifying Glass application for modelling tasks on the IWB so that pupils at the back of the classroom can clearly see the learning.
To make auditory instructions clearer and simpler for all pupils to follow, the important function keys on a keyboard and mouse buttons have been labelled using coloured dots. This coloured labelling is found on all equipment in the room and is supported by a wall display at the front of the classroom. In addition to this, the teacher also models the more difficult keyboard skills using a keyboard displayed on the IWB.
To assist the independent learning of pupils with EAL and SEN status, the DSH employs text-to-speech freeware software with headphones. Pupils use the headphones and software to help them complete the word processed worksheets which are differentiated by the use of macro drop downs and fill in fields. Furthermore, some of the pupils are also provided with yellow keyboard keys showing both upper and lower case characters.
To develop the independent learning skills of the more able and gifted & talented (G&T) pupils, the DSH employs independent learning videos created by the DSH teacher. These videos are step-by-step video tutorials using a freeware screen capturing technology to model and demonstrate a given task. After an explanation has been given on how to use this resource with media player, the pupils are expected to independently work their way through the videos – problem solving where necessary to complete the task. The visiting class teacher is provided with all the video tutorials for their subsequent lesson via the DSH website, to embed the learning when they return to their school.