Royal Air Force Cosford

Your name:

 Stephen Hern

Your role: 

Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD) Advisor

 Your company name:

 Royal Air Force Cosford

 Describe your company:

Military trade training environment. A range of trades including, aircraft mechanic/technician, communications technicians, physical training instructors, officer cadets and photographers. Age ranges from 17 – 55.

Did you trial the ExamReader initially, if so, what “review process” did you follow and what conclusions did you draw?

Yes. We used 2 Students who have previously had ‘readers’ within their previous schools/college. We then got them to trial them for 3 weeks and then give their feedback on their experiences.

What do you most like about the ExamReader?

The feedback we got was very positive. The best thing being that they could replay the spoken text as many times as they wanted without the fear of embarrassment they would have got with a real person doing the reading. The charging time and length of use once charged was also positively commented on.

Please describe how you are using the ExamReader?

Students can use it for their everyday studies and then within any examination.

Please describe how the use of the ExamReader has affected your students (performance, confidence, independence etc)?

Students who have previously failed exams not using the pen have subsequently passed the resits. Confidence is the biggest change and the feeling of not worrying about lengthy exam questions.

The biggest change is not having to get another member of Staff to assist within exams and subsequently no need for an extra room being allocated.

 How likely are you to recommend the ExamReader to others?

Very likely.

Any other comments you would like to add ?

I have passed all the information to other RAF Units who may feel they can benefit from them.

 

 

 

Ayrshire College

IAIN STRACHAN

Inclusive Learning Officer

Ayrshire College (Kilmarnock, Ayr & Kilwinning)

Ayrshire College has three campuses across the councils that make up Ayrshire; East Ayrshire, Kilmarnock campus, South Ayrshire, Ayr campus and North Ayrshire, Kilwinning campus.  This college has students ranging from 16 to mature students of any age.  We also have school students who attend twice a week.

Across the 3 campuses we cater for circa, 11,000 students. Here at the Kilmarnock Campus around 20 students have access arrangements which involve the ExamReader Pen.

As an Inclusive Learning Officer at Ayrshire College I am always trying to keep abreast of any assistive technologies that can help students with various learning difficulties.  I came across the ReaderPen, specifically the ExamReader at an Assistive Technology event at the Golden Jubilee Hotel in Glasgow on the 15th June 2017 and was immediately excited about how it could be used to assist students. Many students with difficulties with processing information and students with dyslexia can sometimes misread questions during exams.  This can lead them to write a great answer to the wrong question.

On returning back to Ayrshire campus I brought this technology to the attention of my team leader who spoke to the Head of Inclusive Learning.  They both agreed that this technology was something that the college should invest in.  Now, at the end of 2018, the three campuses that make up Ayrshire College have at least half a dozen of these devices, both ExamReader and the ReaderPen each.  These devices are very popular with the students.

I am now presenting AT workshops across the campuses to different classes to inform all students, not just those with needs assessments, of the assistive technologies that are available.  One of the most popular items during these presentations is the reader pen.  Students like the compact size and how it can be set up for left and right-handed users.  Additionally, the fact that it is quite discreet and can be used with headphones was something the students commented on.

Student A, studying IMI Motor Vehicle at the Kilmarnock campus, uses the ExamReader. This student said this technology was a ’miracle’. They added it also boosted their confidence because they knew they would not get the words mixed up, so knew they were answering the question asked.

Student B, studying HNC Coaching & Developing Sport at the Kilmarnock campus, thought it ‘really helped’.  They said it made answering set questions clearer as they knew they would not misinterpret the information.  This student also liked the fact they could sit in the class with their peers and do the assessment without being taken out due to the headphones.

This equipment could be adapted in various ways but one that students have brought up is they would like to be able to use it on their laptop or desk top screens.  I don’t know how viable this would be.

I find this assistive technology a great learning tool and would definitely recommend it to other schools and colleges.   We are always looking at ways to make students more independent learners and this technology definitely helps them to achieve this.

 

 

Boldon School

Your name

Nicky Korn

Your role

Examinations Officer

Your school name

Boldon School

Describe your school (type, age, location, demographic etc)

Secondary Mainstream. Top 5% nationally for deprivation.

Did you trial the ExamReader initially, if so, what “review process” did you follow and what conclusions did you draw?
Following a demonstration of the ExamReader Pens at an Exam Course in Leeds in October 2017, the school signed up to trial the Exam Reader Pens and as the students had success in using them during their Year 11 mock examinations, we decided to make a larger purchase. It enabled students who find asking for help quite difficult to be much more confident during examinations.

What do you most like about the ExamReader?

That Learning Support Assistants (LSA’s) as a resource do not need to be taken ‘off timetable’ and away from students they usually to support for the assessments, students can use the ExamReader pens instead.
Access Arrangements do not need to be applied.

The ExamReader Pens give students independence and ownership of their own learning. The confidence that the ExamReader Pens give the students.

Please describe how you are using the ExamReader?

Students use the ExamReader Pens for assessments and in some lessons, during the school year and before assessments to get them used to them.

Please describe how the use of the ExamReader has affected your students (performance, confidence, independence etc)?
Students are more confident. We are making students less reliant on a member of staff and therefore promoting independence and giving them ownership of their own learning.

Please describe any other areas in school you feel the ExamReader (staff time savings, school results, cost savings etc)
As previously stated, by using the Exam Reader Pens this cuts down on the number of LSA’s we have to allocate to exam reading, therefore ensuring students who are not sitting assessments across the rest of the school have their entitled support.

How likely are you to recommend the ExamReader to others?

I would whole-heartily recommend the ExamReader Pens to other schools.

Any other comments you would like to add?

As well as promoting independence the ExamReader Pens have empowered the students who struggle to read and have given those students the confidence to achieve positive outcomes.

Priory Community School

Your name:

Amanda Sheppard

Your role:

Exams Officer

Your school name:

Priory Community School

Describe your school

11-16 age range. @ 50 years old. located just outside Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset.

Did you trial the ExamReader / Reader initially, if so, what “review process” did you follow and what conclusions did you draw?

We did a trial using some SEND y11s. they were allowed to take them home to try to get used to them more quickly. The SEND dept. reviewed each student, it didn’t suit everyone, some students just didn’t get used to them.

What do you most like about the ExamReader?

That students can sit in a class with others and that they are able to use it in the parts of the English exams where readers are not permitted.

Please describe how you are using the ExamReader?

They are used as part of a student’s normal way of working. I am told which students are using them and when it comes to the exams and mock exams, I make sure that they are laid out on the exam desk ready. The student brings in their ear plugs.

Please describe how the use of the ExamReader has affected your students (performance, confidence, independence etc)?

The pen has made them more confident. They are able to sit in the same exam room as their peers and not be singled out as being different.

Please describe any other areas in school you feel the ExamReader has helped (staff time savings, school results, cost savings etc)

The exam reader certainly saves staff time and money, we can use less invigilators for exams as we use less rooms. Turing class time the SEND teaching assistants can be deployed around the entire room instead of having to stay with mainly one or two students.

How likely are you to recommend the ExamReader to others?

I have already recommended them to my local exam officer network group.

Wiltshire College

At the beginning on the year Wiltshire College was kindly trialled a ReaderPen and an ExamReader pen at each campus. We trialled using them by identifying students who accessed our Learning Skills and Development Service (LSDS) whom we thought may benefit from their use. We decided to trial them with a few students we knew who struggled with their reading, but who did not necessarily qualify for a reader in their exams, or for those who disliked using a human reader. They were trialled on a variety of ages and abilities across many different courses and across our four main campuses.

Largely the feedback was positive and students who had used them previously commented on how improved they were from the pens of old.

The main positives were; the ease of their use, how they looked fairly inconspicuous i.e. they did not stand out like a human reader would, and that the student felt so much more confident in being able to work independently rather than relying on another human to read for them (which, at times, made students feel self-conscious).

One of the major successes came from our Trowbridge campus whereby three mature students studying hairdressing used them for revision and exams. Having been out of education for some time, Students A, B and C had returned to study a Level 3 Qualification. All three students had struggled previously at school and, although all three were technically and practically very able, they struggled to access the carrier language of the technical exams. They approached LSDS to discuss their needs and the LSDS Assessor advised that the exam reader pen may be a suitable option for them. The students took it in turns to trial both the ReaderPen and the ExamReader pen for accessing class content, revision notes, reading through text books and for practice exams. As the pen became their normal way of working throughout the months leading up to the exam, it was agreed that the students could use the ExamReader in their next exam.

As a result, all students then passed the exam which they had previously failed. Students A, B and C were elated, and their confidence improved tenfold as they were able to demonstrate their true knowledge and subsequently they grew in confidence.

Student A reported –

“The ReaderPen is amazing. I have difficulty keeping information in my brain when I read books and reading with answering questions. This amazing pen helped me free my mind, so I could find the answer that I learned through the year to write the answer down. I would love to invest in this pen to help me read books at home coz I can read a few pages but then my mind stops remembering what was on the previous page. This is a great invention. How would I go about buying or investing in this pen for myself at home to help me for the rest of my future? I am happy anytime to give feedback and reviews of this pen. It is a great product to help dyslexic people. I am very grateful that I have had the opportunity to use the pen and use it in my hairdressing theory exam coz when I was at school I didn't not do very well with exams and this pen helped me open my mind and pass my exam. I know this reader pen with help other people in colleges and schools and great if it becomes a product to buy for home life too. Thank you very much for letting me test this wonderful product out. It has made me feel I can learn anything when I was using this pen coz I know it would free my mind to pass exams and make information stay in my brain. Thank you again for letting me try this product.”

To summarise, in my opinion, championing assistive technology such as the ReaderPen has to be the way forward if we want to remove barriers and promote confident, independent students who are equipped with the necessary strategies and tools to ultimately be happy and successful adults within our community.

- Alex Tuong, Specialist Co-ordinator for Exam Access Arrangements, Wiltshire College

Taverham High School

Your name

Pauline Phillipson

Your role

Assistant SENCO

Your school name

Taverham High School

Describe your school (type, age, location, demographic etc)

High School, Age 11-19. Norwich

Did you trial the Exam Reader / Reader initially, if so, what “review process” did you follow and what conclusions did you draw?
We gave the ExamReader to several students and asked them to do past Exam papers. We compared their results with and without use of the pen, and we asked them for their opinion on, ease of use, effectiveness and did they feel that the pen gave them more confidence in the exam. We decided that having the pens would be very useful to our school.

What do you most like about the ExamReader?

Having the pens gives the students the confidence to be in control of their exams. They use them in lessons too which enables them to be far more independent. They cut the cost of invigilators/amanuensis in external exams.

Please describe how you are using the ExamReader?

In internal and external exams, in lessons with students that have EAA e.g. English, History, Classics lessons

Please describe how the use of the ExamReader has affected your students (performance, confidence, independence etc)?
Confidence and independence improved, work productivity increased

Please describe any other areas in school you feel the ExamReader has helped (staff time savings, school results, cost savings etc)
In the class room where several students need assistance with reading and the Teacher and LSA would struggle to get to them all, also a reduced cost of amanuensis for GCSE exams

How likely are you to recommend the ExamReader to others?

Highly likely

Frances Hutchinson, Head of Special Needs Department, Mount Temple Comprehensive School

I tried the ExamReader with several of our dyslexic students and the feedback was very positive.

The students were given an unseen text and asked to read independently and then at the end they had to give a review of the text and a run-down of the main points. The students found the pen easy to use after initial instructions and were fully able to engage in the task assigned without needing support.

The feedback from the students was as follows:

‘I found it easy to use’

‘It helped me read words I couldn’t figure out on my own’

‘I didn’t have to concentrate so hard on understanding the text because I wasn’t worrying about reading the difficult words’

‘I felt that I understood the text better because I wasn’t stressing about not being able to read sections’

‘I would definitely use this pen for class and homework’

As the teacher observing this work it was interesting to see how engaged the students were with the reading task and how informed they were at the end. The pen appeared to help them focus on the task and also helped with their comprehension as they were able to relay the information, they read to me.

One of the students had ASD and ADHD and there was a marked difference in his behaviour around reading. Usually this student is very distracted, finds it difficult to apply himself to a quiet task and begins to distract others before he completes a task. However, when he used the pen his behaviour was markedly different. He sat quietly and read a newspaper article without lifting his head once.

His feedback was very positive. He said that it helped him concentrate and to focus on the reading task. He was very clear that he found the pen very helpful and it worked well for him.

This was a very interesting outcome for us as it is often very difficult for this student to apply himself to a quiet, reading task.

Overall, I would say that the pen is definitely something that our students would benefit from. I feel it would be most helpful for students whose reading is at a halfway point between needing a paired reading program and those who just need assisted reading practice. In my view, the pen would be most beneficial to the students who just need an assisted reading practice as it allows them to read independently without having to ask for assistance with difficult multi-syllable words.

Oakwood School

Your name: Amanda Cradock

Your role:

Senior Administrator

Your school name:

Oakwood School

Describe your school (type, age, location, demographic etc):

Mainstream secondary. 11-16 age range on the Surrey/Sussex border. Mixed wealth area well served by transport links to the coast and London and then further afield by the local airport, Gatwick.

Did you trial the Exam Reader / Reader initially, if so, what “review process” did you follow and what conclusions did you draw?
Yes, I found it more effective than a previous model trialled and with the variations of append/replace, being able to scan different languages, the English voice and its read delay along with the clear readable window, and lastly but by no means least the functionality to use headphones which the previous model did not have. I was impressed with the reader pen’s ability and it was on my review, backed up with a sample of children testing it and giving their verbal ‘thumbs up’, the class pack was purchased. I have found that in order to really engage a student’s attention with the pen at first use, it is the ability of the pen to scan backwards but read the line in the usual left to right format.

What do you most like about the ExamReader?

The ease of handling. It is a comfortable unit and the delay feature to allow students with slower processing ability to use the pen. At exam times it frees up staff from reading to students.

Please describe how you are using the ExamReader?

Students’ needs are assessed by our Specialist Assessor and only students identified as requiring this support are provided with a pen. Any student given a pen is able to come to the Access to Learning Faculty and practice using it or to seek help with it, during break times in the first instance and then during lessons if there is an issue. Once students are trialled with a pen and agree to use it, they have a note taken of their preferences recorded (updated as required), to ensure that each student is provided with a pen that has their user preferences and is ready to go.

Please describe how the use of the ExamReader has affected your students (performance, confidence, independence etc)?
Students who have used the pen are usually really pleased to receive the help. It has reduced the stress on them for their tests and exams, and for some, enhanced their learning in class. Year 10/11 students have found a particular benefit to their English papers, as they are able to use the pen to read text that a human reader would not be permitted to read. It is almost impossible to say whether a student’s performance has been improved with the use of the pen, but for students who also use a laptop to type their answers the pen gives them complete independence.

Please describe any other areas in school you feel the ExamReader has helped (staff time savings, school results, cost savings etc)
Without a doubt the pen has relieved staff from reading to an identified student during tests/exams.

How likely are you to recommend the ExamReader to others?

I believe staff who have dealings with the pen would recommend their use to others.