ReaderPenUK|Case Studies - Colleges & Universities|Dún Laoghaire Institute
ReaderPenUK|Case Studies - Colleges & Universities|Dún Laoghaire Institute
Table of Contents Summary 3 Section 1: Background to DFEi Mission Statement of DFEi Brief History of DFEi Legislative and Political Context Qualifications. DFEi Student Cohort The current enrolment statistics for DFEi are as follows:
Section 2: DFEi Student Supports Application Process Overview of DFEi’s Disability Support needs 2018/2019 Ethos of Disability Supports
Section3: The Pilot Study Background to the Pilot Study Staff Demonstration 29th of August 2018 Student Profile for pilot study 2018/2019 Distribution and demonstration of pens to students 30th September 201 Webinar and Feedback Workshop 14th November 2019 Interaction with Disability Officer during the period of the study Final feedback from Students 29th of March 2019 . In Summary
Summary DFEi embarked on a C-Pen pilot study in order to assist students in their lifelong learning with the overall aims of helping students to complete their qualification and to develop capacity in relation to independent learning.
The study showed that there was no need for the examination pens as a pin code can be used to limit access to the dictionary function during examinations. In general the students found the pens easy to use and a useful tool. However for those students who were using an iPad and/or a laptop as part of disability supports the reading pen was not successful as it does not integrate with screen generate text. The students found that the pen assisted in confidence building around difficult to read words and in reading assignment briefs.
DFEi continue to offer the reader pens to those student who need them.
Section 1: Background to DFEi
Dún Laoghaire Further Education Institute (DFEi www.dfei.ie) is a consistent college of the Dublin and Dún Laoghaire Education and Training Board (DDLETB www.ddletb.ie) offering full and part-time Further Education and Training (FET) courses. DFEi is delegated by the DDLETB to respond to the educational, training and work life needs in the local and national community.
DFEi offers a variety of FET programmes to a diverse range of learners under many different programme strands. • Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) courses offered at Level 5 and Level 6 on the NFQ (www.nfq.ie) • Vocational Education and Training Scheme offered to students who participate in PLC courses • Back to Education initiative aimed at the Long Term Unemployed • Apprenticeship at phase 4 and phase 6 in Carpentry and Joinery • Part-time Adult Education at night
Mission Statement of DFEi To provide a holistic approach where the value of each person is equally recognised, fostered and nurtured in DFEi’s educational environment.
Brief History of DFEi DFEi was founded as a technical college in 1951 offering vocational education and training. In 1976, DFEi became a designated Community College offering post- primary education to the young people of Dún Laoghaire. Due to a decline in numbers in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s DFEi commenced FET provision in the form of the Post Leaving Certificate and Apprenticeship Programmes. Currently DFEi offers a wide variety of FET programmes to a diverse range of students from a wide variety of backgrounds. DFEi enrols every year for one year and offers students an opportunity to reach Level 6 on the NFQ. DFEi also offers a wide variety of part-time night classes.
DFEi offers courses that lead to employment and/or further and higher education. Students receive the benefit of education and training for industry by academic specialists who are skilled in their chosen area of expertise. DFEi interacts with local, 3
national and international initiatives in order to provide quality assured educational courses for all students.
Legislative and Political Context In recent years the legislative changes made in order to establish and define the fourth pillar of the Irish Educational Landscape i.e. the FET sector have been prolific. DFEi, like all other PLC colleges, now operates within this newly defined structure governed by measurable goals and targets. The following acts directly affect the strategic planning and development of DFEi and these are outlined below.
• Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012 • Education and Training Boards Act 2013 • Further Education and Training Act 2013 (SOLAS) • Schools Admissions Bill (2016)
However DFEi is also legislatively required to provide equal opportunity of access to students with disabilities through the Equality Act 2010 and the Disability 2005.
In addition DFEi has to strategically plan its provision around a changed political landscape that is focused on getting the country moving through up-skilling and labour market activation measures in order to prepare the population for employment. As a result a new FET landscape has emerged. This has resulted in an appetite for the review of existing provision, for the development of new and innovative courses, and for the additions of new and innovative components to meet government targets.
Qualifications DFEi graduates gain major qualifications certified by either QQI or BTEC at level 5 and level 6. Some courses offer additional certification from a range of certifying bodies including Order of Malta, Microsoft, AniEd, eCollege, SOLAS etc.
DFEi Student Cohort DFEi enrols students for many diverse backgrounds with different levels of educational attainment. Courses are funded by the Department of Education and Skills and SOLAS, the Further Education and Training authority established in 2013. DFEi enrols students from many different diverse backgrounds including the following: • Direct entry students from second level schools • Direct entry students from the senior cycle at special national schools • Direct entry students from Youth-reach centres • Those recently unemployed • Those who are long-term unemployed • Those up-skilling, or retaining, or seeking employment • Those with third level qualifications • International learners • Those who do not thrive in HE and revert to FE • Mature learners • Early retirees who are seeking a career change • Those seeking a change of career
The current enrolment statistics for DFEi are as follows: Full-time day provision 723 668 Part-time night provision PLC 547 Apprentices 96 VTOS 50 BTEI 30
Section 2: DFEi Student Supports DFEi provides support for students who present with a learning or a psychological need through the Higher Education Authority Fund for students with Disabilities (www.hea.ie). This fund allocates funding to further and higher education colleges for the provision of services and supports to full-time students who have a recognisable learning or health difficulty which impedes their learning. Unfortunately the fund is only accessible to full-time students. In addition it must be noted that DFEi does not receive an SEN allocation from the Department of Education and Skills.
Application Process When a student is accepted onto a course in DFEi they are asked to declare any health or learning difficulties they have, in order to ensure that supports are in place at course commencement. To do this all students are provided with a Supplementary Information and a Supplementary Application Form which gives each student the opportunity to declare any issues. Students return the completed form, in confidence, to DFEi’s Disability Officer. The Disability Officer then works closely with the student to determine the level of support required and an application is then made on the student’s behalf to the HEA for funding. DFEi has a robust Disability Policy and Procedure in place which outlines roles and responsibilities in relation to educating students with disabilities.
The HEA will make the final determination and funds will be allocated to DFEi for the student. It is then up to the Disability Officer to ensure that the approved supports are in place for students so that they can complete their course.
The supports can include the following • Assistive Technology • Educational Support • Examination Support
Overview of DFEi’s Disability Support needs 2018/2019 DFEi currently has 83 students who are been actively supported by the Disability Officer in relation to their needs within DFEi. These students are attending across all courses and have presented with the needs listed below. Only 75 of them students have given permission to the Disability Officer to declare their difficult to staff. DFEi is concerned for the 8 who have refused to disclose as it is difficult to support, assist and help them in the classroom environment. • ADHD • Apert’s Syndrome • ASD • Cystic Fibrosis • DCD • Dyslexia • Epilepsy • GAD • Hearing Impairment • Mental Health issues • Neurological Issues • Physical/Neurological/Diabetes • PTSD • Significant ongoing illness • Speech and Language • Visual Impairment • SPLD
Ethos of Disability Supports DFEi is constantly seeking new ways of ensuring that students receive supports and assistance, especially in the use of assistive technologies. The reading pen represented an opportunity to experiment with the use of a portable device to assist with reading and comprehension for those students that needed it.
Section 3:The Pilot Study
Background to the Pilot Study DFEi first became aware of the C-Pen at the BETT Show, London January 2018. At this show the C-Pen was demonstrated along with the examination pen. As a result DFEi purchased one of each pen in order to test and use them with students. DFEi’s Disability Officer and Examination Secretary tested and used these pens between February 2018 to April 2018.
The ReaderPen was accepted in 2018 by the Department of Education and Skills as an acceptable means of examination accommodations in state examinations. This meant that students enrolling in DFEi from mainstream post-primary education, with a learning difficulty, were familiar with them either through individual use or from watching others in their classes use them. In an effort to make the transition from post-primary to further education and training for students, DFEi decided to participate in a trail of using 10 C-pens and examination pens.
Staff Demonstration 29th of August 2018 As 10 of DFEi’s students were to trial the pen in the classroom and in examinations a staff demonstration and Q&A session was organised for Tuesday 29th of August 2019. All teaching staff were present, including DFEi’s Disability Officer and Examination Secretary. The reading and examination pens was showcased by Scanning Pens representation Jim Bowen. Teaching staff were able to see the scanning pen in action and were able to use them for the period of the demonstration.
The purpose of this demonstration was to illustrate to staff how easy these pens were to use and how beneficial they were to students. It was also designed to familiarise staff with them prior to course commencement.
Feedback from staff was very positive. Staff felt comfortable and confident in engaging with students who would use the pen in their classrooms. This was very important to the study as it familiarised teaching staff with the device and the contribution it could make to teaching and learning within the classroom.
Student Profile for pilot study 2018/2019 The Disability Officer reviewed the 75 students who were comfortable with declaring that they were receiving supports and determined that the 10 students chosen for the trail would come from a specific course discipline which spanned two first year classes (Level 5 on the NFQ). This course was designed for students who wanted to progress to Further or Higher Education. In addition the material content was very scientific based which meant that the students had to contend with a large number of long and 6
complex words used in the curriculum. As a result the course retention rates were significantly higher than students in other course areas and it was determined that these students selected chosen were likely to complete the trial period with the assistance of the pens.
Profile of Students involved in the reading trial Student Number Issue Accommodations Student 1 ASD/DCD ET/SC/SR/Spelling and Grammar Waiver Student 2 SPLD ET/SC/SR/Spelling and Grammar Waiver Student 3 SPLD ET/SC/SR Student 4 DCD/ADHD ET/SC/SR Student 5 ASD/ADHD ET/SC/SR Student 6 SPLD ET/SC/SR/Spelling and Grammar Waiver Student 7 ASD ET/SC/SR/Laptop in Exams Student 8 GLD ET/SC/SR Student 9 SPLD ET/SC/SR/Spelling and Grammar Waiver Student 10 SPLD ET/SC/SR/Spelling and Grammar Waiver
Learning Issue ASD: Autistic Spectrum Disorder DCD: Developmental Co-ordination Disorder SPLD: Specific Learning Difficulty ADHD Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder GLD General Learning Disorder Examination Accommodations ET: Extra Time SC: Special Centre SR: Scribe or Reader
The students who agreed to participate ranged in age from 18 to 23 years. The students were given a blank canvas and were told to use the pen as a tool to assist them with their disability. Student were given the use of the pen for the period of the study which meant that they could bring them home with them. This gave the students the flexibility to use the pen in a comfortable safe environment which suited to their individual needs. In other words DFEi did not just want to restrict the pen to college time only, but wanted the students to integrate them into their everyday lives and generate a platform for independent study and investigation.
Distribution and demonstration of pens to students 30th September 2019 The 10 reading pens where distributed to students on the 30th of September 2018. Each students was shown individually by DFEi’s Disability Office how to use the reading pen. Students were informed that they could contact the Disability Officer or the Principal at any time with any issues in relation to the use of the pens.
Webinar and Feedback Workshop 14th November 2019 All students were invited to attend a webinar and feedback workshop facilitated by scanning pens on Wednesday 14th of November 2019. Attending this workshop was the Disability Officer and the Principal. Jim Bowen, Scanning Pens, facilitated this workshop and 7
illustrated to students how to get the most from the pens. In addition the students gave individual feedback on their progress to date. After the webinar students gave their initial feedback on the use of the pens and it was interesting to hear the different viewpoints.
Feedback from students • Easy familiarity with scanning pens due to use in state examinations previously. • Helps me interact with the material and I am now not frightened of the big words or the long sentences any more. • Prefer to use the Scanning Pens at home as I don’t want to draw attention to myself in the classroom. • I can independently scan long words and find out their meanings. • I found the science words and terminology difficult to read, pronounce and understand. The reading pen helps make it easy. • I am not phased now with reading and starting an assignment. • I like the way the pen can be used for either the right or left hand. • The pen works best with font size 12.
During the webinar we discovered that you could use the pin code option on the reading pen to disarm the dictionary. This can be used for examinations. DFEi then decided to use this option and return the examination pens.
Interaction with Disability Officer during the period of the study Students met with the Disability Officer on a regular basis to review the use of the reading pens and any associated issues. The Disability Officer provider detailed assistance to students on this study.
Final feedback from Students 29th of March 2019 The project finished on Friday 29th of March 2019 with individual feedback sessions held between the students involved and the Disability Officer. The following table outlines that feedback. What is your opinion of the Reader Pen? Student 1 • I could study independently with little interference • I used it mainly for briefs in Biology and Animal Anatomy. Reading the words back to me helped me understand them. The pace of reading can be changed but I found the default pace was perfect but really liked that I could have changed it • The pen was very dependable and I was comfortable with it
Student 2 "I was independent in my study I could get on with my work and didn’t need to interrupt the teacher to explain difficult words in the briefs" "I found the pen very easy to use" "I mostly used the pen for reading handouts in class" "The pen was great for helping me when I used the dictionary to explain difficult words" "The pen was perfect for briefs as it reads line by line and that was mostly all that I needed to do assignments"
Student 3 "Managing the pen to run in a straight line was difficult at first. So, I used a ruler to guide the pen along the page. As I got more used to the pen I could use it without the ruler. I used it mainly in editing class for briefs and the exam to explain difficult words. It was also a great help to me in class to read handouts".
Student 4 "I used the pen in class and at home. I used it for long periods of time, sometimes I had difficultly holding the pen as it would slip throw my hand".
Student 5 "I use it to read notes and revise for exams. It was very useful with the notes in Small Animal husbandry and Housing".
In Summary • Students need practice with the pens so that they can become a familiar learning tool. It is recommended that students watch YouTube clips which are very comprehensive and easy to watch. • Retention rates for this cohort of students was 100%. However it could not definitely be determined if this retention was as a result of the reading pens specifically. • The students that they found suitable ways of working with the pens to suit their needs and as a result the data and material covered for their course was easier to follow and understand. This manifested to happier students in the classroom as they knew that if they did not understand a word or a sentence they could look it up and not feel threatened by it. • Students in DFEi were allowed to bring the pens home for the period of the study. This was essential to the study as a number of the 10 students indicted that they preferred to use the pens in their home environment where they felt most comfortable. Many of the students cited that using them in the classroom attracted attention to their learning difficulty and they did not like that.