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Read the latest article by Teaching Times about the OrCam Learn:
Staff and students are acting as Assistive Technology Champions to help students improve their chances of exam success says Sal McKeown
When I spoke to Liz Wilcox, Programme Tutor for Dyslexia, and Faye McLaughlin, Assistive Technologist, at Oldham College, they were very excited. One of their learners had taken an exam the night before our interview. A device called OrCam Learn had read the questions and rubric out to her and she had passed!
Sarah has dyslexia. Recently she has been studying Central Heating Systems in the evening which is one of the modules of her Level 2 Plumbing qualification. While she has improved her literacy skills, exams have been a major hurdle. Many vocational exams are not compatible with text to speech software which left her with the choice of a human reader or overwhelming anxiety.
Sarah has a history of being so anxious in exams that she freezes and cannot read what is on the screen. This is a problem faced by many candidates, especially in adult education. It is awkward to ask another adult, one whom you have never met before, to read text out to you. It is even more embarrassing to say, ‘Can you please read that again? No, sorry, can you read it again?’
There are 5,852 learners enrolled at Oldham College and 325 learners with have agreed exam access arrangements, although this is currently increasing by the day.
So far there are five OrCam Learns which they loan out to students, lesson by lesson. These are wireless, pen-sized device that reads text aloud, not just from a computer screen, but from a whiteboard, a handout, or even text from a poster or a safety notice on a wall.
Sarah continued to borrow one of the five devices when she came to college in the evening. ‘Her anxiety has completely reduced and her independence has shot right up,’ said Faye. ‘She sat the exam last night and she passed it. This has been transformational for her so we couldn’t have asked for a better result.’
When reading aloud is the exam!
OrCam Learn is an assistive technology device that can become a learner’s normal way of working and help on the day of the exam by giving them access to text.
However, It has a Reading Pal function that will train users to be better readers. Once children leave primary school they may have few opportunities for people to hear them read and correct them. Many students who are not confident readers will have strategies in place to help them avoid situations where they read aloud.
Reading Pal uses artificial intelligence to listen to a student reading and to measure:
● Text difficulty level
● Fluency (measured by Words Correct Per Minute)
● Accuracy (% of accurately read words)
● Reading rate (Words Per Minute)
● Total reading time
Amir has dyslexia and as a student on a BTEC Performing Arts course has found it a challenge to sight read scripts. Fortunately, Oldham College has found a solution that works.
‘Amir is now practising reading using the Reading Pal which lets him listen to his reading and gives him feedback on what he is getting right and wrong,’ said Faye. ‘We are having conversations with him about getting one next year when he leaves college to be an actor so he will be able to focus more on his delivery and less on decoding the words.’
The OrCam Learn can be used within examination settings by activating ‘Exam Mode’ (with the QR code) which ensures there is no possibility of any Wi-Fi, cloud or Bluetooth connectivity, making it fully JCQ compliant
– Operating completely offline, OrCam Learn’s Exam Mode is accepted for in-school test-taking, allowing students with reading difficulties to complete exams independently, and without dependence on teaching assistants to read tests and quizzes out loud to them.
(This is a shortened version of the Teaching Times article. Click here for the full article.)
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