Docstoc

ICT-issues-for-inclusion-and-access-for-all

Document Sample
ICT-issues-for-inclusion-and-access-for-all Powered By Docstoc
					ICT issues for access for all

Aim

The purpose of this document is to provide advice for schools/colleges/training providers/employers and other service providers to provide ICT based e-assessment resources and/or qualifications that are ‘accessible to all candidates’.

Who is included?

This includes learners or candidates of all ages and circumstances including those with particular learning or assessment requirements. For instance, learners or candidates:  That have a permanent or long term disability or learning difficulty;  That have a temporary disability, illness or indisposition that prevents them for accessing the e-learning/e-assessment resources/materials;  That have a statement of special educational needs;  Who are unable to sit and work at a workstation for a sustained period of time because of a physical, emotional and/or behavioural difficulties;  For whom English is an additional language and have limited fluency; and,  For whom additional specialist equipment is required to make the

learning/assessment experience appropriate for their needs.

Why?

This is essential for a number of reasons including:  To promote QCA’s agenda - ‘Access for all’;  To increase candidates’ self-esteem by not creating unnecessary barriers to achievement;  To enable the learner/candidate to make informed decisions on the selection of e-learning resources/qualifications/service providers that best meet their needs; and,  To comply with the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. In addition, a key role of QCA is to regulate and safeguard the public interest in the standards of e-learning resources/qualifications availability.

General Principles
This document has been produced to raise awareness of the range of special arrangements and use of adaptive technology/equipment that might be used to make provision for individuals when using ICT. It should be read along side the statutory guidance produced in respect of specific assessments/qualifications. It has been produced as a resource to assist with interpretation of what is meant by the term access for all. However, it should be noted that in a minority of instances for some SEN and EAL pupils/candidates the need and desire for making provision (for the purposes of access ) may outstrip the cost in making the provision available, the burden/resources placed not only on the provider but those supporting the individual during the administration of the assessment/test/exam and the overall benefit/relevance provided to the individual. i.e. a balance needs to be struck

QCA\

between burden. vs. cost. vs. benefit and it may be that in certain instances that there is no other option but to: exempt pupils/candidates from taking that part of the assessment (dissapplication); offer a paper based-equivalent assessment/test/exam; offer another method for assessing the pupils/candidates e.g. via internal and/or continuous assessment?

Design of e-learning and/or e-assessment resources and/or qualifications
All e-learning resources/materials and/or e-qualifications should be designed to be accessible to the vast majority of learners/candidates using ICT based resources/materials. During the development of the e-learning resources/materials and/or e-qualifications advice should be taken from a range of experts on the suitability of the materials/resources/qualifications. This will minimise the need to make special arrangements before the e-learning resources/materials and/or equalifications resource are used. Any ICT based materials/resources/qualifications should be designed to provide:  Learners/candidates access to the full range of the curriculum and/or assessment provision;  Opportunities for the learners/candidates to demonstrate their understanding, knowledge, skills and abilities;  A valid measure of the required skills, knowledge, understanding, and/or competence being assessed/tested/examined;  Differentiated provision in a manner that provision is only made available on the basis of the individual learner’s/candidate’s requirements;  Differentiated and relevantly targeted provision so that it is manageable (economic of effort and time), cost-effective for schools/colleges/training providers/employers and other service providers to operate with minimum disruption and bureaucracy and of use to all learners/candidates.

The use of special arrangements and adaptive technology
Learners/candidates require special arrangements and specialist equipment – ‘SEN access devices’ /’adaptive technology’:  To aid learning by enabling the learner/candidate to adjust and manipulate their own learning experiences by controlling the method of input, type of output and pace of instruction;  To aid the learner/candidate to demonstrate the skills, knowledge, understanding, and/or competence being assessed/tested/examined by controlling the method of input and type of output, thereby improving the assessment and learning experience so that it is relevant for their particular needs; and,  To provide access to the curriculum, which might not be accessible without the use of special arrangements and/or adaptive technological aids.

QCA\

On the other hand, teachers, tutors and employers generally make use of special arrangements and specialist equipment as a teaching aid to provide access to the curriculum, particularly when individualised instructional sequences are required for learners/candidates with varying levels of disabilities. It is not possible to indicate all the different situations in which special arrangements might be appropriate, as each situation depends on the needs of each learners/candidate, and the nature and extent of support deemed necessary. When making special arrangements the focus should be on the learning and/or assessment needs of the individual learner/candidate. The type of support provided for e-learning and the different forms of assessment opportunities (diagnostic, formative and summative e-assessment) should, where possible, be part of the usual provision provided to the learners/candidates as part of their general provision and should not provide an unfair advantage to the learner/candidate. The following provisions are examples of the type of special arrangements available for consideration when making use of ICT:  Additional Time might be provided for those learners/candidates that have a difficulty in reading and/or typing their response. For instance, with those learners/candidates that might have:  a communication and interaction difficulty relating to written communication using the keyboard;  a sensory or physical disability (e.g. visual and hearing impairment and for candidates with medical conditions such as ME);  an emotional, social and/or behavioural difficulty (e.g. EBD, mental health disorders); and,  a cognition and learning difficulty where candidates may need additional arrangements for reading and typing text. Readers might be used with learners/candidates that have difficulty in reading questions or text on-screen, unless the assessment has the relevant software embedded (software that enables questions to be spoken out aloud and requires candidates to listen using headphones). For instance, the questions and /or text might be read out aloud for those learners/candidates that have a visual impairment resulting in poor eyesight and with those learners/candidates that have a cognitive and learning difficulty. Signers might be used with learners/candidates that have a hearing impairment and require the questions and/or on-screen text to be read out aloud or for the questions or text to be signed. Amanuensis might be used with learners/candidates that have difficulty in typing and/or responding to stimulus on-screen either because of a physical disability or a cognitive and learning difficulty. For instance, an amanuensis might be used to type the learners/candidates response from dictation, signing and/or to access selections of the resource/materials that the learner/candidate is unable to.







QCA\



Rest breaks and/or section breaks in the e-learning/e-assessment resource/materials might be used with learners/candidates that require ‘flexibility’ over when they access the e-learning/e-assessment resources. For instance, with those learners/candidates that have an emotional, social and/or behavioural difficulty that prevents them from sitting for long periods of time, tire quickly, lose concentration, and so on. Different text sized might be used to make the e-learning/e-assessment resources appropriate and clearer for learner/candidates with a visual difficulty and/or have difficulty in differentiating numerals/letters/text. Different font sized might be used to make the e-learning/e-assessment resources appropriate and clearer for learner/candidates with a visual difficulty and/or have difficulty in differentiating numerals/text/symbols. Different sized screens might be used to make the e-learning/eassessment resources appropriate and clearer for learner/candidates with a visual difficulty and/or have difficulty in differentiating numerals/letters/text. The use of different and personalised colour might be used to make the e-learning/e-assessment resources appropriate and clearer for learner/candidates that might have a visual and/or learning difficulty. For example, with candidates that have a specific ‘colour blindness’ condition or find it hard to differentiate aspects of the screen layout. A separate room and/or making use ‘off-site’ facilities might be used for candidates that have a sensory or physical disability, an emotional, social and/or behavioural difficulty or a learning difficulty. Individualised personal settings might be used to vary the workstation/laptop display, sound and keyboard settings so that these meet the needs of individual’s. These might include the use of personalised hardware, software adaptive technologies or taking a different pedagogical approach.













The provisions outlined should be available for centres to control and manage at centre level, with relevant advice provided by the awarding body. For example, centres will require systems specific advice on how to activate the facility for the allocation of additional time for individual candidates. In addition, diagrams, text, photographs and other visual prompts might be reconfigured, magnified, modified and/or simplified by making alterations to the presentation of the diagrams, text, photographs and other visual prompts in the same manner as their paper counter parts. However, such design changes need to be identified and agreed in advance by a centre and the awarding body.

QCA\

The main adaptive technologies available are: HARDWARE
    Making use of Tactile Tablet PCs that enable freehand input. Making use of stand-alone word processors so that candidate’s settings can be personalised when preparing and typing in documents. Use of wireless links. Use of Touch Screens for use with physically disabled candidates (e.g. writing impairment or mobility impairment), those with learning difficulties and/or behavioural difficulties. Use of Large Screens to enlarged text for use with physically disabled candidates and/or those with learning difficulties. Use of hardware for use as Screen Magnifiers (e.g. screen overlay) Use of Mouse variants including Tracker Balls, Joysticks, large mice and small mice for use with candidates with physical and emotional difficulties. Use of different types of Keyboards including ABC layout, High contrast, Upper Lower/case, Concept keyboards and Intelli-keyboards that enable text differentiation. Use of switches including those with functionality in their own right, switches to activate/control technology, switches used to access specially designed teaching and learning programs, switches specially designed for a candidate with physical disabilities. Use of CCTV and Projectors for use when surveillance of the learner/candidates is required to observe and capture the learning/assessment experience/process or when large audiences require access during demonstrations. Use of Digital Cameras. Use of Braille printers. Use of Electronic Whiteboards to control, edit and annotate computer applications directly from a panel when presenting to a large audience.

 








  

SOFTWARE
 Making use of technologies that enable ‘Symbol Input’ to be used as an aid to language/literacy development and as an alternative means of communication for those candidates who have difficulty with written text. Making use of technologies that provide subtitling and transcripts as an aid to language/literacy development and as an alternative means of communication for those candidates who have difficulty with written text. Making use of software that makes use of Word Predictors and Assisted Word Processing (including Word predicators, Spell Checkers, Sentence Builders). These might be used with physically disabled candidates, and/or those with learning, emotional and behavioural difficulties. Use of software to Magnify Screens e.g. to zoom text and increase contrast, especially when the larger screens are unavailable for use. Use of software that recognises speech and convert this to text. For example, Voice Recognisers including those that use speech to input text or make use of speech to control the computer. Use of software that enables Text to be output as Speech. This might be used with learners/candidates that have communication disorders and/or physical disabilities.





 



QCA\





Use of software programs that read on-screen text or make use of integrated voice outputs that read aloud pre-recorded text as a function of the program and provide audio descriptions of the screen presenation. Use of Screen Readers for use with learners/candidates with communication disorders and/or physical disabilities and when the use of a human reader is unavailable.

An important element of access for all is that not all the technologies stated above are appropriate for the e-learning resource and/or the e-assessment. Much depends on what the specialist equipment is being used for, and the needs of the individual. The specialist equipment, as far as is reasonably possible, should reflect their usual methods of working and should not provide an unfair advantage to learners/candidates for whom provision cannot be made/provided. For instance, if their use is to support access to the curriculum rather than to the assessment, than consideration needs to be given to whether the candidates learning provider (school, college, workplace etc) is able to:     Afford the technology; Has time to set it up; Has the expertise to support the technology; and, Knows what is required and/or available to meet each individual candidates needs.

However, if the specialist technology is used to access an assessment/test/exam then consideration needs to be given to:  The ‘benefit provided/given’ to the individual does not ‘negate/ invalidate’ nor undermine the learning/experience/assessment/test/exam.

For instance, the specialist technologies must be ‘targeted, consistently applied and proportional to the task in hand’.1 That is, consideration needs to be given to each candidate as an individual, with individual needs. In some instances where it is not possible to provide on-screen assessments or learning materials, consideration should be given to providing a paper-based alternative for use. The paper-based alternative need not necessarily be a replication of the on-screen paper, but should be equivalent in demand in terms of the objective of the learning and/or assessment outcomes and knowledge based.

1

The statutory regulation of external qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (2004)

QCA\


				
DOCUMENT INFO
Shared By:
Tags: ICT-i, ssues
Stats:
views:9
posted:11/29/2009
language:English
pages:6
Description: ICT-issues-for-inclusion-and-access-for-all