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Social Software Tools Opening Up The Horizons Of A Home Based Learner
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Social Software Tools Opening Up The Horizons Of A Home Based Learner

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  • The trend clearly is towards more work while on the move or from remote locations. And at the same time the collaborative factor in work is increasing. This is clearly one case for social business software. More about our view on work from home and social business software at http://www.inkattech.com/social-business-software-and-work-from-home/
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  • Hi I am Dan Woodhouse – I am pleased that I have this opportunity to share my experiences In mid November 2003 I needed a life alternating operation but it changed my life completely after it went wrong. I was left quadriplegic and in need of a ventilator 24 hours a day 365 days a year.
  • Why should I deliver this presentation here and now; why should I make it available in the public domain? I have embarked on a journey; on an investigation to see if the rapidly developing social software tools can help me, a home-based learner. I want to share my experiences with the hope that I will help other home-based learners. If you want to ask any questions or need to seek clarification, please raise your hand at any time and I will attempt answer your questions
  • I am a 21 year ols, home-based learner. My Favourite Film: The Lord Of The Rings Favourite Sport: Football Football Team: Boro Favourite Song: My Way – Frank Sinatra
  • I was born with Morquio’s syndrome – my skeleton grows at a reduced rate while my internal organs to grow at a normal rate I was told on June 3rd 2003, that I needed a operation in order to prolong my life. On November 14th 2003, my life changed dramatically a routine life changing operation went wrong and I was left paralysed from the neck down. When I woke up on the morning of November 13th,2003, I thought it was a normal day but how wrong I was. I wasn’t due to go down to Manchester for another week but because of a cancellation I had to go down then and there. There were times, in hospital, when I and my family thought I would never get home. Despite everyone being considerate and caring, while I was in hospital, all I wanted was to get home and be with my family. I was in hospital for 11 months 6 days, it felt like the nightmare would never end .
  • How my illness affects my education? I can’t go to school, I can’t have a full time education. I could continue this list but what is the point. The way I look at it is; Why should I let it? I’m still the same man so why should I think differently?
  • What I consider myself to be and Why? I have always wanted to be an accountant. So why should I let my circumstances change my dreams. People feel that, because I am different from most people, I can only have limited dreams. My question to these people is; Why? Why should I have different dreams? Why should anyone? My question to these people is; Why? Why should I have different dreams? Why should anyone? The only reason I have different dreams is because all my life I have been realistic and that is who I am .
  • It’s only obvious that my life has changed but I’m still the same man. Alright it’s very difficult for me to plan but I’ll NEVER let being paralysed get in my way. I don’t feel paralysed.
  • When I was in hospital, despite everyone being nice, I felt like I was in prison. As soon as I heard about electric wheelchairs specially for people like me, I wanted one. This was the beginning of my search for tools and technology that might help me Wheelchair let me …….. Clicker? …. Really opened up communications
  • Clicker lets me control keyboard and mouse functions by using a cheek operated device The Clicker has 4 switches (NORTH< SOUTH, EAST, west) that I can select and depress using my cheek – normally pillow mounted Makes available a number of control menus from which I can select functions Predictive language Quite slow and frustrating to use A drawback is the lack of compatibility
  • before the operation I could write, after it I could not – I found Ez Keys, this was the turning point – it became my ‘keyboard’, I could communicate again –- it meant that I could continue my education just like I was at school except woodwork! – I was able to use the word processor, I was able to communicate again, that was really important because at that I was not really able to talk because of my injuries . Also meant that I could use Facebook and play games I was starting to operate independently and was able to communicate with old friends
  • When I found out I could continue with my education I felt like I was getting my life back. On the 25 th August 2005, after I sat three GCSE Business Studies papers, I felt great because I got a ‘C’ grade. After conquering Business Studies, I turned my attention to Maths and English were I got a ‘B’ and ‘C’ grade. This took me 2 years to complete but I consider them to be 2 years of freedom! That left me thinking about what I could do now…
  • When in Hospital I felt that I had become trapped in daily routines. I was simply surviving and following someone else's plan. I had very little control over what I did each day. When I first came home I felt free, I could decide what it was that I wanted to do. I wanted to find out what I could still do and what option I really had. I needed to learn. My Gcse courses gave me something positive to focus on, and a goal to work towards.
  • It kept me busy and gave me less time to focus on the negatives. I found that I became more confident in my outlook and with everything that I did. my self-confidence took a major boost. I realised what I could still do and what opportunities were still available to me. By engaging in the learning process I was forced to practise and develop my communication skills and became an expert in using ‘Clicker’ and a wide range of software packages, as well developing my understanding and interest in Maths, English and Business Studies. Most importantly, I FOUND THAT I enjoyed learning and discovering what was possible for me.
  • “ That left me thinking about what I could do now…” I enrolled with online virtual academy which looked to offer everything I needed to continue my education. I decided to have a go at A Level ICT as I enjoyed working with Ict, and I had never heard of an accountant who wasn’t qualified in IT. For two years I struggled as I was not able to access or make the most of the available on-line support. I found the working style quite hard and tiring and, at times, I lost a lot of my motivation. But I persevered and completed the course in Jan 2010
  • Although voice interaction was available I did not use it as I cannot wear a headset due to the fact that I always use hearing-aids and I am always lying in bed I do appreciate being able to study from home otherwise learning would be a bigger issue entirely. Although I was part of a fixed ‘schedule’ I did not feel like had to be there but I wanted to be there so I barely missed a lesson even though I had a good excuse. I like a challenge because it helps me to feel like I have a goal I enjoyed having a ‘Course outline/plan’ to look at because it reminds me I am working to have the assignments finished by a set deadline. It is basically a calendar with deadlines and college holidays on. During my college tenure I felt like I was part of a group and it made me feel good because whenever I got stuck I could ask the other people in the group. Despite St. Mary’s College giving me a computer which I could use in bed unfortunately I did not get a computer which I could use at all times due to the fact that I did not have all of the functions I needed but I was given access to a virtual lab where I could access an up to date Operating System so I could use this to help me complete my work without being at a disadvantage.
  • Virtual colleges do help students who otherwise would not get an education so they are great but like so many things in life they could make a few improvements. They are not major but it would make the students experience so much better. I will try to describe how they can do this. If they had quicker turnaround of emails particularly during the run up to tests or deadlines for coursework. Personally this would of helped keep my spirits up They could have had more regular virtual tutorials per week which would make a big difference. The lessons could have been easier if there was a camera involved and it would have been nice if there was a meeting between students and tutors this would create a physical connection between them.
  • The most important thing I learnt from this course is I can achieve an A Level! I did believe this but it helped getting Conformation in March 2010!!!
  • When working on the coursework I found I needed a tutor to offer me extra help. I needed more than two hours per week. This is where St Mary's College helped because they searched for a tutor who could offer me the help I needed. I can easily guarantee that I would not have passed without Jp and his help because I only got confident I would pass once I received the extra help. Towards the end of the A level course
  • I was considering Continuing with ICT or even going back to English or Maths and possibly business studies. After looking at these subjects and courses on the ou I decided to take up business studies.
  • I have looked at this course in greater detail and decided this suits me as I am interested in business.
  • Speech recognition Tried earlier version 6 yrs ago – was not able to pick voice – my voice is now a lot stronger and speech recognition software has moved on a lot - so decided to look again at speech recognition I bought dragon Naturally speaking 10 – and experimented Had trouble with micro phones [ background noise? Positioning (skeleton stand – 2.5cm from mouth best results) - found the voice training – frustrations (2 hours? – woke Mum up in bedroom – difficulty running EZ Keys and Dragon at the same time - to be continued
  • I am starting to get the hang of Eluminate and I am also discovering different aspects that Eluminate can do with ease. The different aspects are The ability to talk using a web-cam, microphone or by sending instant messages and the audio set-up is easy to use Being able to share presentations or documentations to help solve queries or problems You can raise your hand if you are stuck or if you have a question
  • This has probably been my biggest discovery so far because this means I can talk to my friends as if they are in the same room. I also like the fact that I can see who is on line and decide if I want to speak to them.
  • I couldn’t ask for a better family or friends because all my life I have never felt disabled. In everything that I have done, big or small, my family and friends have always supported me. You would not have had the opportunity to listen to this presentation if I had a different family so if you did not enjoy this then blame them not me!!!
  • Here is a brief summary of what I will be learning
  • These 5 bullet points are the main focus during the course.

Social Software Tools Opening Up The Horizons Of A Home Based Learner Social Software Tools Opening Up The Horizons Of A Home Based Learner Presentation Transcript

  • Opening up Horizons A personal journey of investigation into the potential of social software to support a home-based learner. Dan Woodhouse March 2010
  • Setting Up
    • During this session I might have problems with my voice. To help I have recorded some audio files that I might need to use.
    • If I do use the recordings, Media Player will open up on your computer, you can re-size it so that it does not cover up the presentation.
  • Aim of this session
    • To explore the potential of social software to support my learning;
    • To share my experiences with the hope that I will be able to help others.
    • To promote discussion, learn from your experiences, and seek out new ideas
  • Dan – a home-based learner Never be negative Age: 21 years College: St. Mary’s College, Middlesbrough Favourite Film: The Lord Of The Rings Favourite Sport: Football Football Team: Boro Favourite Song: My Way – Frank Sinatra
  • background
    • Morquio’s syndrome – my skeleton grows at a reduced rate while my internal organs to grow at a normal rate.
    • I was told on June 3rd 2003, that I needed a operation in order to prolong my life. On November 14th 2003, my life changed dramatically.
    • A routine life changing operation went wrong and I was left paralysed from the neck down.
    • I was in hospital for 11 months 6 days, it felt like the nightmare would never end .
  • How my illness affects my education?
    • I can’t go to school therefore I can’t have a full time education?
    • “ Why should I let my circumstances prevent me from learning?”
    “ In my mind I’m the same as everyone else, so why should I think differently?”
  • Dreams and Aspirations
    • Career aspiration: accountant or running the family business
    • “ I am different from most people, but should I let my circumstances change my dreams and aspirations?”
    • “ my life has changed but I’m still the same man. Alright it’s very difficult for me to plan but I’ll NEVER let being paralysed get in my way. I don’t feel paralysed”
    • I needed to find someway that would help me to:
      • communicate
      • keep in touch
      • Interact with media and control devices
      • Research and access educational opportunities
    Always be positive Looked towards Technology to help
  • Possum - Electronic Assistive Technology
    • Would let me control my environment such as dimming my lights, adjusting the height of my bed, and changing the channels on my TV
    • I do not use this often because I find it quite difficult to use.
  • EZ Keys ‘clicker’
    • ‘Clicker’ lets me control keyboard and mouse functions by using a cheek operated device
    • Quite slow and frustrating to use but I could not be without it.
  • Start of independence
    • Using the ‘Clicker’ interface opened up:
      • Communication –email, Facebook, word-processing
      • Game playing [speed of games interface]
      • Research and access educational opportunities
      • Interact with media and control devices
    • Allowed me to communicate and operate independently
  • A step towards the future - getting my life back
    • I found that I could continue with my education by working at home with a Tutor
    • Worked hard –
    • In August 2005, I obtained a GCSE grade ‘C’ in Business Studies - I felt great!!
    • In 2006 and 2007 I achieved GCSE Maths ‘B’ and GCSE English ‘C’
    • “ 2 years to complete but I consider them to be 2 years of freedom!”
  • Learning gave me:
    • ‘Freedom’
    • Opportunities to find out what I could still do
    • something positive to focus on, and a goal to work towards
    • Opportunities to develop communication and subject specific skills
  • What it did for me
    • It kept me busy and gave me less time to focus on the negatives
    • I developed skills including communications and ICT
    • Increased my self-confidence
    • I found that I enjoyed learning and that I wanted to continue my studies
  • After GCSEs – virtual learning
    • “ left me thinking about what I could do next…”
    • in 2007, I enrolled with an virtual academy to study Advanced Level ICT
  • Virtual environment/academy
    • allowed me to work from home
    • provided weekly timetabled virtual tutorials
      • Two way ‘dialogue’ with distance Tutor
    • gave me outline/plan and short-term goals for assignment completion
    • allowed me access to a resource bank that I could use whenever I needed to
  • coursework in a virtual environment -
    • learners need:
    • personalised help, available ‘instantly’
    • a reliable, high-speed broadband connection
    • frequent (2 per week) Tutorials to discuss progress
    • opportunities for students who are working on the same course, to ‘meet’ and communicate
  • Working in a virtual environment
    • I learnt that I could :
      • persevere and complete work independently
      • Solve problems by individual Research and experimentation
      • work even though I was not in a physical classroom
    • I enjoyed the challenges as well as developing advanced ICT skills
    • Gained an Advanced Level qualification
  • Importance of Face-to-Face support
    • Towards the end of the course I found I needed extra help when working on my coursework.
    • I enjoyed and benefited from the face-to-face, real, in-room support
  • Moving on to Higher Education
    • I looked at potential courses offered by the Open University
  • Enrolled on ‘An introduction to business studies ‘
    • Open University Level 1 Course
      • Course code B120
      • Credit points 30
      • QAA level 4
    • 4 Tutor-marked assignments
    • End-of-course assessment
    • No residential school
  • Experimenting with voice recognition software
    • tried speech recognition in the past but because I did not have a strong voice it was a failed attempt.
    • my voice is stronger and speech recognition has moved on
    • decided to look at it again - experimenting. ‘Dragon naturally speaking 10’
      • struggle to find the right microphone due to my ventilator or other background noise.
      • Positioning the microphone was an issue to start with although I cannot say if it has been a success just yet.
      • Unfortunately will not co-exist with EZ keys so cannot use
  • Experimenting with virtual classrooms
    • I can manage my own ‘room’ – delivering presentations, sharing desktops and communicating with others
    • The audio set-up is easy to use
    • I am getting more confident every time I am in it
  • Experimenting with VOIP
    • I can use Skype relatively easily
    • I can talk to my school friends as if I am right next to them
  • Dan Woodhouse Hope my experiences have helped you to move forward Always be positive
  • Family and Friends, Thank You
    • “ I have never felt disabled. In everything that I have done, big or small, my family and friends have always supported me.”
    • My family have been great,
    • They love me a lot,
    • I love them with all my heart,
    • They have got me through a lot.
  • Summary of Open university course
    • It explores the question ‘what is a business?’ and investigates the business functions of human resource management, marketing, accounting and finance. Business structures, cultures and functions are identified and the political, social, economic, technological and ethical considerations affecting business are introduced
  • Text to speech software
  • Course content of open university Introduction to Business Studies
    • Here are the main modules that I will cover
    • What is a business?
    • An introduction to human resource management  in business
    • An introduction to accounting and finance in business
    • An introduction to marketing in business
    • Different ways of looking at business