This week representatives from DnA came along to Solent to give us a talk on what tools disabled students can use to help them with their studies. The session was led by a guy called Adam, Campaigns Director for DnA (a recent graduate from Bournemouth Uni) and Joanna Knight.
DnA’s mission is to promote the use of open source and cloud-based tools to disabled and dyslexic students in education.
- In the UK it is estimated that only a third of disabled students take up the offer of training on their assistive technologies – leaving two-thirds without.
- Not every disabled student is eligible for Disability Allowance so not all can benefit from expensive technologies.
DnA have a list of free technologies that they promote as useful tools for higher education (these are actually useful for everyone – not just disabled students!)
It’s easier for some students to get their ideas written down and then organise them. Many people cannot think things in a linear fashion and therefore software to assist with mindmapping is great:
Not everyone can afford MS Office so they recommend the following:
Text – to – speech software
- Great for proof reading work – you can hear errors better than reading errors.
- Text can be saved as an audio file can be listened to on the move – so large PDFs and other compulsory text can also be converted to audio
- ‘Creates a proactive learning situation’
Adam spoke very highly of Google calendar:
- Great for colour coding events and timetabling studies
- Google Calendar will text your phone with reminders
- ALL FREEE!!!!!
Organising research materials
We were given a hands-on demo of Zotero where you can store all of your weblinks and bibliographic information. See demo below:
This software was so easy to use! So much easier than what we are already using at Solent (and free too!).
- Their website is still being built but will be available soon: http://www.dnamatters.co.uk/
- They organise a ‘Ambassador Scheme’ where you can get involved in promoting their services and ‘rewarded’ for your hard work (I wonder if this counts? 😉 )
- They use Mahara for their newsletters – can can see their Mahara site here: http://mahara.org/user/view.php?id=20375 where you can also watch Adam’s welcome video.
If you’re thinking of organising an event to promote technology in education I would really recommend these guys! What they’ve got to say is fresh as they are recent graduates and really tell you how it is!
Cheers DnA – great session and I hope to meet you all again soon!