Using student experiences to deliveran employability resource aimed atdisabled studentso Simon Ball and Lisa Featherstoneo JISC TechDiso www.jisctechdis.ac.uko email@example.com
What do JISC TechDisdo? (In theory)o A leading UK advisory service on technologies for inclusion. We explore and promote inclusive practices, resources and advice for learning and teaching in UK higher education, and the wider further education & skills sector.
What do JISC TechDisdo? (Actually)o Staff development o TechDis Voices o TechDis Tuesdays o Jack & Jess o Xerte Friday o Text-to-speech o Accessible IT Practice o SBRI Support Programme o MyDocStoreo TechDis Toolbox o Navitext o Aimed at learners o uKinect o Working smarter with o PSLT technology
TechDis Tuesdayso Fortnightly updates on Tuesdays, 13.00 o Intro dialogue (~10 minutes) o Detailed discussion with delegates (~20-30 mins) o Show notes to highlight further reading o Podcast, transcript, discussion summary and show notes all posted onlineo www.jisctechdis.ac.uk/tdtuesdays
So, why am I here?o In the creation of the Toolbox (including the Voices), we utilised students heavily to design, develop and disseminate the resources.o First of all, a brief introduction to the resources….
TechDis VoicesWho will benefit?o People who prefer to listen.o People who prefer to multitask.o People with better oral than literacy skills.o People who like making use of dead-time eg travelling, queuing etc.o People who don‟t carry around files but do carry around phones. Listen to them.o People with print impairments.o Tutors who want to give more options to learners.
TechDis VoicesHow do I get started?• Make sure you are eligible (post 16 learning provider in England delivering publicly funded courses).• Go to www.jisctechdis.ac.uk/voices• Watch the videos and follow the instructions and links.
Community-BasedParticipatory ResearchKushalnagar, Williams and Kushalnagar (2012)“Most accessible technology research approachesinclude the target population as end-users, not ascommunity partners”“Community-Based Participatory Approach: Students asPartners in Educational Accessible Technology Research”Lecture Notes in Computer Science 7382, ComputersHelping People with Special Needs, ICCHP ProceedingsJuly 2012, Part I
Why the Toolbox cameabout…o We asked students (via focus groups in special schools, independent specialist provision for young adults, mainstream colleges and students from Higher Education with diverse needs) „what should your tutor have told you but never did‟?
What they said…o Feedback from students showed many had informal support networks outside of education environment.o It also showed that in the wider skills area, there were a lot of gaps in people‟s knowledge, and the informal support networks were the only real way of obtaining „training‟
So we created mini-videoso Inspired by the Commoncraft videos – parents and carers told us they were ideal.o Here‟s an example: o http://jisctechdis.ac.uk/techdis/multlinkres/detail/CC_ Wikio We commissioned similar videos to „fill the gaps‟ in basic digital literacy skills. Here‟s one example: o http://jisctechdis.ac.uk/techdis/multlinkres/detail/PDF_ ReadOnScreen
Simultaneously tothis….The Voices….We regularly received anecdotal feedback that free text-to-speech voices were: o Too „computerised‟ or „robotic‟ o Too old o Too AmericanMost institutions only had licenses for the „good‟ voices for specific students, mitigating against their wider use.
BIS agreed to funddevelopment of twonational „free‟ text-to-speech voiceso CereProc won the tender, and provided us with voice samples from 7 young British actors.o 400 students provided feedback as to which they preferred (not only existing TTS users)o Many were still critical: „too posh‟, „too Southern‟
Jack and Jesso Following the feedback on the voice of „Jack‟ we asked Cereproc to find 7 female actors with „not posh‟ and „not Southern‟ voices.o Eventually „Jess‟ was selected from feedback from 400 students again – the first ever „Northern English‟ text-to-speech voice.o Both voices were taken back to the 400 students again who suggested re-working to better pronounce key words.
Feedback from students 1o I have quite a basic Dell laptop perhaps not as sofisticated [sic] as some (obviously provided by my employer for the job) so chose this one to use rather than my personal computer . I think its clear enough .o I didnt read the instructions - as might be expected to be the case for many :)
Feedback from students 2o The files are big and the install takes a while to get going - or perhaps my slow old PC. I used Powertalk to test and the voices are pretty good.o I did the installation and I listened to the Jess and Jack voices in the Speech properties. I then listened to both voices. Both of which sound really great, the best I have heard. I now cant seem to get this to work or find instructions on how to get this to work in the BBC news site for example.
Feedback from students 3o Nathan, from Henshaws College “I like using the Voice with my light writer as it helps me chat up girls”
Now using students fordisseminationo Both Toolbox and the Voices need to be spread widely, at both institutional level (in which we have some experience) and at user level (where we have much less).o Students have been absolutely key here. We have worked with a variety of „Ambassador‟ groups such as the DOTs (Digital Outreach Trainers)
Who are these„ambassadors‟?o We discovered that several regions have schemes where young people are used as informal „trainers‟.o South Yorkshire DOTs – Digital Outreach Trainers – give an hour a week to train people on IT. o Waqas – used Toolbox to get his autistic sister online o Khaled – working with refugees in Rotherham using Toolbox and Voices to teach English and IT
We decided we couldlearn a whole lot moreo The Ambassadors so astounded us we started looking for them elsewhere. We went to ISCs to ask students how they used technology, both formally at college and informally at home - and some of the results were quite impressive:o http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEGLlOiLHLU
Future worko A large Ambassadors project in the South Easto www.clickstart.org – London based communities for students with learning disabilities – we want to roll this out nationwide, possibly using Inbooko Bid currently in for creating Northern Ireland voice(s)o Many more short videos on Freemium services eg Evernote, Skype, Dragon Dictate for iPhone, Twitter, Camstudio, Jing etc
This has been just a small sample of what JISC TechDis has to offer.Visit our main website for more advice on technologies for inclusion. www.jisctechdis.ac.uk