Second PLC meeting 7th February 2013 Trinity Fields School and Resource Centre.


It was a very busy meeting on Thursday! After introductions from the Headteacher and the delegates (nice to see Flo and Sue there, and some more delegates from Crug Glas!)

PLC Discussions


Trinity Fields, Oak Grove College and Heronsbridge all fed back to the PLC about the work currently in progress via video evidence. The use of gesture based technology is beginning to embed itself into our settings now, although teething problems still remain around technology, space and time to hold sessions and ICT support in schools.

Evidence Gathering

Andrew gave a presentation on the evidence gathering method the PLC will use.

Introduction

In order to continue and develop gesture based interaction work, it will be necessary to collect evidence of the value of these approaches.
The most obvious benefit is in pupil Engagement, so this is the area in which we should look to collect evidence. (Although one could argue for looking at improvements in Communication or general attainment)
Recent work by the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT) has highlighted the importance of engagement and personalization of learning for students with Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities.
There are three main sets of materials developed by the SSAT on the subject of Engagement. These are:

What is Engagement for?

“Engagement is the connection between the student and their learning outcome. Students cannot create that connection for themselves; it is educators, families and colleagues who must construct it with and for them.” Carpenter et al, 2011
Engagement in itself is probably not a sufficient outcome for us as educators, though with the most challenging students engagement may seem like an end in itself! We need to engage the pupil and then use that emotional connection to move the student towards some new learning. The Engagement Profile and Scale are designed to facilitate this.
The above SSAT links include detailed material on how to use the Profile and Scale, in outline however the process is:
  • Identify features of engagement for a particular student by completing an Engagement Profile whilst they are doing a highly engaging activity
    • Take a low engagement activity and measure current level of engagement (Engagement Chart and Scale)
    • Use what we have learned about high engagement for the pupil to modify a low engagement activity to make it more engaging for the pupil.
    • Repeat the activity (that was of initially low engagement) and measure again with the Chart and Scale to see if there has been an improvement in engagement
    • Repeat this process as necessary to fully engage the pupil

What next?

PLC members might like to complete Engagement Profile sheets for a pupil that engages highly with the Kinect or other gestural interfaces. Then discuss them in detail with staff teams colleagues, families etc.
Observe that pupil in a low engagement activity and fill in an engagement Chart and Scale
Discuss and modify this activity in the light of the Engagement Profile.
These Profiles and Chart/Scales will begin the process of accumulating evidence. Hopefully repeated Charts/Scales will show improving engagement.
Good luck!


The Engagement Profile and Scale can be found here:


Somantics and Reactickles


Dr Wendy Keay-Bright gave a very interesting presentation on Somantics and Reactickles. It was great to hear about the design process and the background to the interactive programs, especially the fact that they are developed with pupils involved throughout the design.
A copy of Wendy's presentation is here:


More about Somantics and the free download can be found at www.somantics.org
There are instructions on installation, but any problems please get in touch with the PLC members.

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More about the Shape project can be found here:

Sensory Eyegaze


After a morning of working with our pupils Hector Minto from Tobii gave a presentation on the Eyegaze system and also the EyeFX software from Sensory Guru. Of special interest to us was the Eye Gaze Learning Curve and we are hoping to do some work on suitable programs to use with early eye gaze interaction with Portfield School in Havorfordwest. At Trinity Fields we have begun using an eyegaze system with a number of our PMLD pupils for interaction and sensory exploration.

It was great to see the system in action and I think all of the delegates could see a practical and empowering use in their schools. Some of us also enjoyed using the system themselves. Thanks to Hector (@hminto) for such an informative presentation.
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Next Meeting


Next meeting is on Thursday 20th June at Heronsbridge School in Bridgend.
We will focus on evidence gathered in the morning and possibly have a workshop discussing the interaction of SLD pupils with the Kinect and maybe make a wish list of programs we'd like to see.

Don't forget to do your homework!!!!