Dyslexic get revision and special centre

Tuesday 20th October 2009
Lochaber High School Courtesy: www.panoramio.com/ photo/3569787

An innovative study aid system created at Lochaber High School received top marks from a leading national charity. Believed to be a Scottish first, the school's Lochaber Podcast Project was hailed by Cathy Magee, chief executive of Dyslexia Scotland, during a visit. Meantime in Glasgow, the Cambridge based specialist iansyst opens new offices.

The venture blends latest technologies with traditional methods, effectively delivering revision opportunities across the curriculum. The idea originated from a working group set up to identify the technologies that actively support children with specific learning difficulties that led to an idea to create audio revision material which pupils access to support their exam revision.

As a result of a fundraising campaign, Dyslexia Lochaber was able to buy two Coomber machines for recording purposes. School librarian Ann-Marie Masson bought the award-winning Podium software for podcasting. A dedicated team of volunteers drawn from Dyslexia Lochaber, staff and pupils from Lochaber High undertook the task of recording revision materials en masse for Higher and Standard Grade courses, co-ordinated by additional support needs teacher, Catriona Drain.

From the original concept of recording revision materials straight to CD for issue to pupils on request, the plan evolved into a comprehensive facility available to all pupils. The school's network manager, Kerry Guy, used her technical expertise to expand the initial project by developing the delivery methods, training materials, podcasts and creating the audio revision website

From the school's curriculum network, pupils have the option of listening to the audio revision files during study time, downloading to their USB pens, mp3 players or burning to CDs for listening while on the move. External access is through the new site which makes use of technologies such as RSS feeds and podcast subscriptions, with traditional streaming or downloading of audio files, offering pupils the freedom to choose their preferred method on demand.

Lochaber High head teacher Jim Sutherland said: "The site is aimed at pupils who have dyslexia to ease their burden at exam time when too much text-based learning can be a struggle. We are delighted that in developing the project we now have a fresh approach to providing learning opportunities both in and out of the classroom, for the whole school community."

Cathy Magee's visit followed a successful bid to Dyslexia Scotland for funding, which was awarded by Royal Bank of Scotland, to help develop the initiative.(Left Liz Tangney of Dyslexia Lochaber demonstrates the program. Courtesy: Iain Ferguson, The Write Image)  Tangney said: "RBS granted a significant amount of money to Dyslexia Scotland specifically for use within education and young people. The Lochaber Podcast Project applied successfully for some of this money which has helped buy computer hardware and software, training and web design.
Many local businesses and individuals gave generous donations to help purchase MP3 players through Dyslexia Lochaber's A-Z campaign."

In the South new specialist offices for disabilities
In Glasgow assistive technology specialist iansyst Ltd headquartered in Fen Road, Cambridge, has opened its first Scottish Office in Glasgow this month.

Based in the Centrum Building (right) in Glasgow city centre, off Queen Street, this  provide tailored advice and training on the latest hardware and software solutions for people with dyslexia and other disabilities including dyspraxia, dyscalculia, visual impairment as well as Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI).

A registered supplier under the ‘One Stop Shop’ Service Level Agreement to provide equipment and services under the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA). This scheme is designed to help students in further and higher education.

Jonathan Park, regional manager Scotland, commented: “The new centre will provide people with dyslexia and other disabilities in Glasgow with a one-stop-shop for advice, technology and training. Our doors will be open to all questions, queries and enquiries and our trained staff will be on-hand to help provide tailored solutions to each individual’s needs.”

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