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2007: Accessibility and Special Educational Needs: new approaches for bringing eLearning to SEN learners
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2007: Accessibility and Special Educational Needs: new approaches for bringing eLearning to SEN learners

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Presentation given by Jonathan Hassell (Accessibility Editor, Digital Curriculum for BBC New Media) at BETT 2007. ...

Presentation given by Jonathan Hassell (Accessibility Editor, Digital Curriculum for BBC New Media) at BETT 2007.

Covers: how to make eLearning resources inclusive by making them accessible to learners with Special Education Needs by including subtitles, text to speech, keyboard & switch access, customisation of font size and colour; where you may need to produce different 'beyond inclusion' eLearning resources where groups of disabled learners have different curriculum needs or different needs in learning approach (mostly to do with sensory impairments); 'Performing Hands' innovative signing avatars and BSL videos for letting Deaf children learn literacy in English and BSL; 'Benjamins House' innovative audiogame and new poems written and read by Benjamin Zephaniah for letting Blind children learn literacy in English and Braille

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  • So we have two aims for our accessibility programme: to be as accessible as reasonably possible across all dc materials to produce unique, innovative and groundbreaking materials for specific commissions for SEN groups
  • Our target and challenge, is to create materials which can be used by learners from each of the following SEN groups… Those with vision impairments, ranging from colour-blindness, through low-vision, to complete blindness Those with hearing impairments, whether they are capital D Deaf, using BSL and English as a second language; or small d deaf where they require audio to be visualised using captioning Those with motor impairments, who have difficulty in using a mouse to interact. And those with learning, cognitive or literacy difficulties All of these needs are bundled together into accessibility, but the different SEN groups will have different (sometimes conflicting) needs
  • So we have two aims for our accessibility programme: to be as accessible as reasonably possible across all dc materials to produce unique, innovative and groundbreaking materials for specific commissions for SEN groups
  • So how do we make our materials accessible? – is there any guidance we can get from the market? Looking at the accessibility of current eLearning software is interesting… There are pockets of experience in the eLearning community, but very few companies produce software which is accessible to all the SEN groups. For example, there are quite a lot of companies who are experienced at producing software for children with learning difficulties, but our research has found few companies advertising the accessibility of their software for children with sensory impairments, especially blindness. You can contrast this to the website production community, which has been gradually waking up to the needs of disabled users for a while, and has established guidelines in place to aid production. Unfortunately few guidelines are available for making interactive products or games accessible, and it ’s a much harder challenge to make multi-media accessible than websites. So accessibility for us is a journey, and we ’re on it together with our suppliers. The aim is to show that games-based eLearning materials can be made accessible, at a reasonable cost. Like all journeys it will take a while to get from our current practices to the final target – we ’re not trying to get there in one step. The aim is that digital curriculum materials will get progressively more accessible over time. as our collective experience and production tool support grows But at our start we have already included, as standard, accessibility preferences such as allowing children to change the colour and size of fonts, for example. And we have set out guidelines to cover the planning the accessibility of a commission… which are based on forthcoming best practice guidelines that I have been working on for the British Standards Institute. The important thing is to understand that… “ Content is accessible if user-testing has proved it is accessible… to the audiences for which it was designed to be accessible”
  • So how do we make our materials accessible? – is there any guidance we can get from the market? Looking at the accessibility of current eLearning software is interesting… There are pockets of experience in the eLearning community, but very few companies produce software which is accessible to all the SEN groups. For example, there are quite a lot of companies who are experienced at producing software for children with learning difficulties, but our research has found few companies advertising the accessibility of their software for children with sensory impairments, especially blindness. You can contrast this to the website production community, which has been gradually waking up to the needs of disabled users for a while, and has established guidelines in place to aid production. Unfortunately few guidelines are available for making interactive products or games accessible, and it ’s a much harder challenge to make multi-media accessible than websites. So accessibility for us is a journey, and we ’re on it together with our suppliers. The aim is to show that games-based eLearning materials can be made accessible, at a reasonable cost. Like all journeys it will take a while to get from our current practices to the final target – we ’re not trying to get there in one step. The aim is that digital curriculum materials will get progressively more accessible over time. as our collective experience and production tool support grows But at our start we have already included, as standard, accessibility preferences such as allowing children to change the colour and size of fonts, for example. And we have set out guidelines to cover the planning the accessibility of a commission… which are based on forthcoming best practice guidelines that I have been working on for the British Standards Institute. The important thing is to understand that… “ Content is accessible if user-testing has proved it is accessible… to the audiences for which it was designed to be accessible”
  • So how do we make our materials accessible? – is there any guidance we can get from the market? Looking at the accessibility of current eLearning software is interesting… There are pockets of experience in the eLearning community, but very few companies produce software which is accessible to all the SEN groups. For example, there are quite a lot of companies who are experienced at producing software for children with learning difficulties, but our research has found few companies advertising the accessibility of their software for children with sensory impairments, especially blindness. You can contrast this to the website production community, which has been gradually waking up to the needs of disabled users for a while, and has established guidelines in place to aid production. Unfortunately few guidelines are available for making interactive products or games accessible, and it ’s a much harder challenge to make multi-media accessible than websites. So accessibility for us is a journey, and we ’re on it together with our suppliers. The aim is to show that games-based eLearning materials can be made accessible, at a reasonable cost. Like all journeys it will take a while to get from our current practices to the final target – we ’re not trying to get there in one step. The aim is that digital curriculum materials will get progressively more accessible over time. as our collective experience and production tool support grows But at our start we have already included, as standard, accessibility preferences such as allowing children to change the colour and size of fonts, for example. And we have set out guidelines to cover the planning the accessibility of a commission… which are based on forthcoming best practice guidelines that I have been working on for the British Standards Institute. The important thing is to understand that… “ Content is accessible if user-testing has proved it is accessible… to the audiences for which it was designed to be accessible”
  • So how do we make our materials accessible? – is there any guidance we can get from the market? Looking at the accessibility of current eLearning software is interesting… There are pockets of experience in the eLearning community, but very few companies produce software which is accessible to all the SEN groups. For example, there are quite a lot of companies who are experienced at producing software for children with learning difficulties, but our research has found few companies advertising the accessibility of their software for children with sensory impairments, especially blindness. You can contrast this to the website production community, which has been gradually waking up to the needs of disabled users for a while, and has established guidelines in place to aid production. Unfortunately few guidelines are available for making interactive products or games accessible, and it ’s a much harder challenge to make multi-media accessible than websites. So accessibility for us is a journey, and we ’re on it together with our suppliers. The aim is to show that games-based eLearning materials can be made accessible, at a reasonable cost. Like all journeys it will take a while to get from our current practices to the final target – we ’re not trying to get there in one step. The aim is that digital curriculum materials will get progressively more accessible over time. as our collective experience and production tool support grows But at our start we have already included, as standard, accessibility preferences such as allowing children to change the colour and size of fonts, for example. And we have set out guidelines to cover the planning the accessibility of a commission… which are based on forthcoming best practice guidelines that I have been working on for the British Standards Institute. The important thing is to understand that… “ Content is accessible if user-testing has proved it is accessible… to the audiences for which it was designed to be accessible”
  • But there are going to be times when it is not possible to make our materials accessible to all – when the needs of some SEN groups diverge from those of the main learning community and require specific support. So, for example, w e will create specific materials for groups who have different curriculum needs – such as SLD learners, who may be working at sub-national curriculum p-levels We will also create specific materials for children whose sensory impairments cannot be overcome by accessibility features of the original content, and require a different approach to getting over a learning outcome As there is so little content available in this field, it ’s easy to be complementary here A secondary aim of our SEN commissions is to create innovative tools and techniques which can then be used in future non-SEN commissions to make them accessible without a major increase in production cost.
  • So to give you some examples of what specific SEN commissions we are progressing: You ’ve seen a trail on the film of what we’re doing to help literacy in the Blind community. Literacy for blind children is all about learning Braille. Early Braille tuition and practice is currently only possible in one-to-one sessions with a teacher or Teaching Assistant, often only on one or two days a week. At present, the lack of appropriate materials and time allowed for Braille tuition make it very challenging for teachers to make this fun or engaging . We ’re looking to use new Braille technologies to allow Braille learners to practise their literacy skills without the aid of a teacher, over a wider, more engaging set of stories, rhymes and poems than they currently have access to. We ’re doing something similar for bilingual Deaf learners, who have the challenge of learning written English and British Sign Language at the same time. We ’re looking to use new technologies such as BSL Avatars, which have been developed by the academic community, to support Deaf learners to grow their literacy skills. Finally, we are looking to use Soundscape techniques taken from the evolving Blind games community to open up hands-on, interactive learning to Blind learners, by using sounds to indicate their environment and what is happening, rather than the usual “tell don’t show” multiple-choice quizzes or book learning. I could say much more, but I hope that this has given you a flavour of the innovative and creative approaches we are using to bring learning to life for many children who have often been under-served by recent advances in learning.

Transcript

  • 1. BBC jam and Special Educational Needs – new approaches for bringing eLearning to more SEN learners Jonathan Hassell Accessibility Editor BBC jam
  • 2. What BBC jam is…
    • eLearning for:
      • 5-16 year olds
      • curriculum-based (in 4 Nations)
      • bridging home and school divide, via internet
      • learner-centred games
        • explore. learn. create.
      • use of BBC archive
      • innovative
      • complementary to market
      • bbc.co.uk/jam
  • 3. The challenge…
    • need to be reasonably accessible to learners with the following Special Education Needs…
      • sensory impairments:
        • vision impairments - colour-blind, low-vision, blind
        • hearing impairments - (capital D) Deaf, (small d) deaf
      • motor impairments:
        • slight (slow mouse),
        • moderate (keyboard),
        • severe (switches)
      • learning, cognitive, and literacy difficulties (incl. dyslexia)
    • they ’ re bundled together into SEN/accessibility, but groups will have different (sometimes conflicting) needs
  • 4. Aims for the SEN-accessibility strategy:
    • two aims:
      • inclusion: to be as accessible as reasonably possible across all dc materials
      • beyond inclusion: to produce unique, innovative and groundbreaking materials in commissions for specific SEN groups
  • 5. Inclusion…
      • cf. the market
        • eLearning community good at learning difficulties, not so good on sensory impairments; very few can handle full inclusion
        • websites generally more accessible than eLearning software
      • it ’ s a journey…
        • we ’ ll get progressively better over time
        • learn from experiences => evolve guidelines and production tools
        • standard features – e.g. accessibility preferences
        • cf best practice PAS-78 guidelines from BSI (forthcoming)
    • “ Content is accessible if user-testing has proved it is accessible… to the audiences for which it was designed to be accessible ”
  • 6. Standard inclusion accessibility features…
      • Captioning…
  • 7. Standard inclusion accessibility features…
      • “ Speak text ” and keyboard access
  • 8. Standard inclusion accessibility features…
      • customising size and colour of fonts
    from to Changing preference…
  • 9. Beyond inclusion…
    • create materials for specific communities where their needs require, due to:
      • specific different curriculum needs
        • e.g. SLD community
      • specific differences in learning approach…
        • mostly due sensory impairment which cannot be overcome by accessibility features of the original content
        • e.g. blind or Deaf
    • develop innovative tools/techniques for possible reuse in future non-SEN commissions
  • 10. 1st SEN commission (launched) – SLD Field Studies
      • “ experiential and multi-sensory environment … a range of skills, including communication, emotional response, control & interaction ”
      • exploratory, interactive real-world environments
      • cross-curricular approach with a focus on understanding of the world and daily living skills
      • age appropriate content and design (11-16)
      • allowed BBC jam to learn more about switch use and symbols…
  • 11. Primary Literacy for Blind Learners
      • highly innovative
      • Bilingual: written English & Braille
      • learner centred & engaging
      • uses new techs: Braille displays and embossers
      • series of reading and writing exercises …
      • on curriculum of texts (story, rhyme, poetry) which support (and extend) existing Braille reading schemes
  • 12. Primary Literacy for Deaf learners
      • Bilingual: written English & BSL
      • Uses innovative new techs: Action books & signing avatars
      • Includes ability to create “ BSL stories, poems & dramas ” using multiple avatars
      • on curriculum of texts (story, rhyme, poetry) which support (and extend) existing Deaf literacy schemes
      • R&D: includes BSL sequencer & translation to English support tools
      • delivers production tools and techniques for BSL (to be used in future commissions)
  • 13. e: jonathan@hassellinclusion.com t: @jonhassell w: www.hassellinclusion.com Contact me