On Wednesday 22nd February 2023 some of the CENMAC team Mary, Maureen and James joined other teachers and leaders to take part in an exciting staff training event; The Inclusive Technology Teaching Conference at Shooters Hill Sixth form College.
This event was an afternoon of focused CPD for the teaching staff and support staff at the college on how to get the best out of inclusive technology in the classroom, with college staff moving between different rooms in a carousel style.
Mary presented on the Accessibility Tools in Microsoft. This session demonstrated some of the best accessibility tools that are already built into everyday programs in Microsoft 365 that many people don’t yet know about – everything from changing page colours to speech-to-text dictation software and immersive readers. These can be invaluable tools to help students to read and write more efficiently.
Maureen presented on MyStudyBar, a suite of portable Windows freeware applications assembled into one package to support learners with literacy difficulties. MyStudyBar supports planning and structuring thoughts and ideas to help with reading and writing. It was originally designed to support learners with literacy-related difficulties such as dyslexia, but the toolbar can offer potential benefits to all learners to embed study skills for those who perhaps need a little more scaffolding. And the best thing about it is that it is totally free!
James taught staff how to get the most from Scanning Pens. These are pen-like devices that are actually little scanners, which recognise text and translate it into speech. Staff attending this session were taught how to use the main features of the scanning pens and given an opportunity to ‘have a go’ themselves.
The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and we hope that we and the other presenters were able to create a buzz of excitement and that the staff at Shooters Hill will be able to incorporate lots of the tech shown during their lessons.