Wellington High School teacher, Ben Britton explains how digital technologies are used to create an inclusive environment for students.
For me, the most powerful impact a one-to-one environment can have on inclusion for my students, is the fact that if you do your lessons digitally, it is available online, anywhere, anytime. For the kids who do have other learning needs, they can get the text read to them.
If I’ve given them a handout that the font is just too small, they can enlarge it on their screen. They can dictate to their computer, they can do all sorts of things like that. Having one-to-one, ubiquitous throughout the class means that if a student is not present, they’ll know that the class is online and working on things. Once students have that, they can come back to it, they can look at it at home, they can show their parents what they’re doing and get help.
If they have tutoring outside of class, the tutor can actually see what is going on in the classroom and for me, that is the biggest thing. Just this year, so many more assistive technologies have become viable. We are playing around with the text to speech plugins which are excellent for struggling readers, and even strong readers who want to sit down and listen for a while.
There’s also a lot of speech to text tools that are becoming useful that we are also using which is excellent for any dyslexic kids and most of them are actually good enough that you can use them in class, even if it is a little bit noisy. Take those things as well as OCR, so that you can take a photograph of the exercise book and two minutes later, the student is having it read to them by their device. It’s wonderful, it opens so many doors.