We were very grateful for the opportunity to attend the Naace Networking event on Friday 17th June and engage in conversations around inclusion and SEN and meet other Naace sponsoring members and find out about their educational product offerings. We were also keen to discover the latest Naace developments and find out how Naace continue to support educational establishments with technology.

The Inclusive Computing Curriculum

The morning was kicked off with a fantastic presentation by John Galloway (@Johngalloway), an advisory teacher for ICT/SEN and inclusion, and why he believed that the computing curriculum can be made more inclusive. He reiterated the point that all learners are unique, some of which have barriers to learning which in turn presents challenges and opportunities. He used the example of children with autism and how they are ‘very comfortable working in the computer programming world’ as they can grasp logical reasoning.

John concluded his talk by discussing how we all favour different senses and that we should consider this with our teaching approaches such as Multi-Sensory/Multi-modal. We also thought it was really interesting that he stated that ‘Children expect challenge to overcome in computer games. The same should apply to learning’.

Dyslexia Apps

Following John was Myles Pilling (@Mylespilling) sharing his research project findings about the use of ‘Dyslexia Apps’. The apps used were ‘Intowords’, ‘CoWritersBE’, ‘WriteOnline’, iReadWrite’, ‘ClaroSpeak’ and ‘CapturaTalk’.

Myles received some interesting feedback from students, most were unaware of good apps to use, the ‘quality of apps’ and lack of iPads and tablets to use apps on were raised as a barrier to their success. Myles’ suggestions for app suppliers was to ensure that apps themselves were simple and clear, allowed for progression of skills, costs should be kept to a minimum and clear instructions for use. For schools, he stresses the importance of training and the ability to manage the apps as part of ‘one platform’ – he suggested Microsoft 365.

Other great Apps to consider for supporting Dyslexia and phonic development include: ‘DyslexiaQuest’, ‘Reading Age’, ‘Hairy Phonics’ plus others shared by @Musicmind view them all here.

Challenges faced by SENCOs

The next speaker, Terry Waller (@TPAWaller), got straight to the point from the get-go with his title – ‘The current challenges faced by SENCOs including technology related issues and opportunities for commercial partners and others to engage’. Terry discussed how SENCOs are required to juggle so many elements and when it comes to technology some of the key concerns are the impact of the technology vs the ‘whizziness’, long term outcomes and trying to ‘fit’ a product to meet the needs of SEND.

Useful Resources for SEND/SENCOs

We met with Martin from Animate2Educate (@Animate2Educate) at the event, who offers a range of fantastic services around ICT/Computing and he has a guide for ‘Apps to Support Children with SEND’ which can be downloaded, for free, from his website. Well worth checking out if this is something you are considering for your school.

Preferred learning resources (Eye Tracking Key Findings)

The next speaker Dr Christina Preston discussed the findings from an investigation into the use of Eye-Tracking Technology for Assessment; the findings could also be utilised in other ways in order for teachers to have the greatest impact on teaching and learning.

The findings were that SEND pupils preferred ‘real world and personal rather than cartoon imagery’ and responded to visuals that they were used to seeing in their everyday life. Christina also commented that SEND pupils required uncluttered screens as well as uncluttered working spaces.

These findings could be utilised within other classroom settings, possibly by reducing the amount of information in the classroom or ‘clutter’ and using tangible resources which your pupils can recognise from their day to day lives could have an impact on their engagement and ultimately attainment. If you have any thoughts on this, or have previously trialled this, let us know @DerventioEdu.

A particular comment from the event which really struck a chord with us was ‘By thinking about the least able you are providing something better for everyone’ – the example of an access ramp was shared - the purpose is to allow for better access for those unable to use stairs, but in fact it also benefits others who might be able to use the stairs but find it easier to use the ramp. This really is food for thought, and reiterates the comments above about creating something that is designed from the outset for SEND and not ‘modified’ to encapsulate SEND requirements.

Self Review Framework & ICT Mark in a special school setting

We were fascinated to hear from Linda James and Anne Westoby from Chasetown Community School and how after ICT had been outlined as an area for development they begun the journey of improvement and utilised the Naace Self Review Framework. As a result, the special school has achieved many awards and accolades including the ICT Mark award.

If you feel that your ICT provision and your school's competencies with the use of technology is an area for development, we really encourage you to check out the Naace Self Review Framework and how becoming a Naace member can support you and your school. Visit the Naace website and find out more about Naace and the Self Review Framework. In addition, Naace member schools can receive an abundance of fantastic offers from sponsoring members; including 10% off your first SchooliP subscription.

InfoMentor

We had the pleasure of meeting InfoMentor at the event who provide a range of teaching and learning solutions, including software to link planning with curriculum, assessment and monitoring. We really encourage you to check them out if this is something you are interested in for your educational establishment. You can also find them on twitter @InfomentorUK.

We hope you find these highlights useful, please take full advantage of the range of the (mostly free) resources and apps and we encourage you to consider a Naace Membership for your school.

We would like to extend our gratitude to Naace once again for inviting Derventio Education to this fantastic event and we look forward to supporting Naace at their future events.

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