Tyler is a Year 6 student at Parkvale School. He has dyspraxia. Using a netbook gives him the freedom to write creatively instead of being inhibited by the speed of his handwriting or his ability to form letters. Tyler comments, "It is the best thing that ever happened to me at school. It’s just completely changed everything. It’s been much easier. I’ve been able to actually complete my work and generally just have a good time."
Well I always used to struggle with writing back when I was in Year 5 and earlier … well my whole life at school. And I always used to never finish it, it, and even so it wouldn’t be good enough ‘cause it was all messy. Well it’s more my handwriting. I’ve got all the ideas down but I can’t get the handwriting properly because of a condition I have called Dyspraxia which is eye hand coordination, balance, ya de ya de ya da but what it affected the most was handwriting. But I got on the computer and it was much easier. I could just type it on and I’d have it done in minutes.
Jody Garland, teacher
Well the netbook gives him the freedom to really show me what he’s thinking, show me the thoughts that he’s got, show me his writing skills, instead of being stuck by the speed of his handwriting or his ability to form letters. Now he can actually focus on showing me his thoughts and his amazing writing. The difference that I’ve seen with Tyler though is the pride that he has in it. With his writing that he did by hand, he would be reluctant to share it, wouldn’t want to have feedback on it but now it looks like everybody else’s so we can actually, he feels more confident to share what he’s done because it looks like everybody else’s. He doesn’t stand out because of that. Now he stands out because his writing’s amazing not because it’s written messy.
Well it’s nice when I get everybody like from round the class commenting on it and telling me ways to improve and get better. I don’t actually have to publish it to do that they can actually, I can share it with them on the actual writing so they can go on and watch me write it and help me write it. I used to spend literally hours ‘cause of my handwriting on homework trying to get it perfect, perfect, perfect, with mum sitting right beside me all night, trying, hours, but now I just breeze through it in ten minutes tops.
Sharon, Tyler’s Mum
It becomes another limb, basically to that child. The impact on Tyler has been huge. He is full of confidence, full of self esteem. He loves to go to school ‘cause he knows that, that new limb of his goes everywhere with him basically. That’s how he sees it and yeah it’s opening up a whole new world of possibilities for him too, in his learning and for his future really.
Well I’m actually gonna be in another computer class at Intermediate so I’m feeling quite happy about that, quite confident that it’ll be another good year.
For supporting the writing what I like to do, as well, is to give them some variety with presenting so I find that instead of always focusing on the written form of it. Tyler loves to do the voice recordings, so we like to use sites like divShare where we can upload our audio then embed little players. That’s cool because then he gets to add his expression to his writing so we can really hear him speaking to us, which is a really great tool for him to use.
It’s been a Godsend literally. It is the best thing that ever happened to me at school. It’s just completely changed everything. It’s been much easier, it’s just, I’ve been able to actually complete my work and, generally just have a good time.