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Final SCALED Conference – Presentations – abstracts

Zbigniew Drzazga

Making language education accessible to visually impaired and blind students

In this session, I will try to explain the difficulties that blind and visually impaired students face when learning foreign languages. I will suggest solutions, too which will make the learning process easier for teachers and students. I will briefly discuss some basic terms such as Braille, screen reading programme, Synthetic Speech, tactile graphics, visual impairment. During the presentation, I will demonstrate electronic devices that assist visually impaired people in their learning activities. 

In particular, the following issues will be examined:

  • how technology help visually impaired persons,
  • The blackboard in the classroom – challenge for visually impaired learners,
  • Adaptation of materials for visually impaired students – a very brief introduction,
  • Individual computer and phone applications accessibility for visually impaired people,
  • Picture description for visually impaired persons,
  • IPA and  blind students.

After this session you will get basic understanding what visually impaired students can gain from the technology and what you can do as a teacher to make their learning experience more effective.

Veerle Garrels

Making Language Education Accessible for Students with Autism, ADHD, and Dyslexia

With more awareness in society about various disabilities, as a teacher you are also more likely to encounter students with special needs in your classroom, whether it be in primary, secondary, or higher education. For many teachers, it is a challenge to know how to help these students as best as possible, so that they can succeed in their education. Yet, “education for all” is a basic building block of an inclusive society. 

During this presentation, you will learn about the basic characteristics and challenges of some high-prevalence disabilities, namely autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, and dyslexia. You will also get some tips about how to accommodate your teaching to a diverse student population. After attending this presentation, you may have gained some knowledge about how to meet students with disabilities and you may feel more confident in differentiating your teaching.

Agnieszka Kałdonek-Crnjaković

Making language education accessible to students with diverse language and cultural background

In this presentation, I will illustrate different profiles of students with diverse language and cultural backgrounds and why they may be challenging for the students themselves and their school teachers. I will then offer some strategies that teachers can use to support their multilingual students to make target language education for them more accessible. Theoretical backgrounds will be supported with hands-on activities and my professional experience which I gained while working in primary and secondary schools in Poland and the UK. By the end of the presentation, I hope the participants will have a greater understanding of the needs of students with diverse language and cultural backgrounds, will be able to ascertain these needs adequately, and will know how to support these students appropriately. 

Hege Knudsmoen and Astrid Gillespie

Responding to diversity: Inclusion and accessibility

Diversity is constantly being brought to the agenda. The term evokes positive associations and is often linked to concepts such as inclusion, equality, and equity. The right to education for all is clearly communicated through international agreements, including human rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the various states and education regulations. In this way, one can claim that the intentions are present, but good intentions and commendable attitudes and values are necessary but not sufficient. Teachers, who are ultimately responsible for implementing inclusive practices, need time to collaborate and reflect with teacher colleagues and the school leadership. Teacher educators must be given space to prioritize teaching to enhance inclusive education and provided with the necessary competence enhancement to succeed in this work. In this session, we invite you to reflect upon and collaborate on what characterizes inclusive practices and values, what possibilities such practices offer, and how barriers on different levels of the education system can be dealt with.

Norun Christine Sanderson

Universal Design for Learning: Accessible and usable digital learning materials – documents and multimedia

Although most teachers are aware that they should make sure their digital learning materials are accessible, many teachers do not know how to do this or find it difficult to get started. In this workshop, the focus will be on learning the basics of how to make documents and multimedia more accessible. The aim of the workshop is to help teachers get started with making more accessible digital learning materials and begin practising this in their daily work, and to be a starting point for learning more about this topic. After a quick overview of the most important things to do when making documents more accessible, we will focus on how teachers can ensure their Microsoft PowerPoint presentations are more accessible, alternative text for images, and take a closer look at how to use the Microsoft Accessibility Checker. If time permits, we will also look at adding captions to a video.

Dorota Sidor and Joanna Nijakowska

Universal Design for Learning: Accessible online learning platforms – SCALED course

Inclusion is a process of promoting the presence, participation and achievement of all learners. Understanding diversity as a norm as well as proactively removing or neutralizing various barriers to learning by making the mainstream educational environment accessible to everyone are keys to inclusion. Universally designed online learning environments and digital materials can be customised to individual needs. In this way learning content can be more accessible to many learners, including learners with special needs.

During this presentation, based on the example of the SCALED course, you will learn about the accessibility features of online courses, including technical accessibility, and the ways in which online learning platforms can support universal design for learning. You will gain an understanding of the challenges to universal design of online courses and of the role of the teacher in designing universally accessible online courses, activities or repositories of materials. The presentation will offer a handful of tips for preparing course materials for online learning.

Dina Tsagari

Inclusive and accessible Language Assessment

Over the recent years the number of student population who is becoming culturally and linguistically diverse along with children with Special Educational Needs (SEN), e.g., Specific Learning Differences (SpLDs) such as dyslexia, Developmental Language Disorders (DLDs), and visual, hearing, or physical impairments has increased. This situation combined with increasing awareness of individual human rights, has led to a demand for special provisions in language testing and assessment for second or foreign language learners – SLLs.

This presentation will focus on inclusive and accessible language assessment drawing on the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) approach and will consider the practical considerations involved in assessing SLLs with SEN. The presentation will engage participants in raising awareness over these issues through hands-on-practice activities. It will also give participants the opportunity to reflect on the effectiveness of assessment accommodations employed in both high-stakes standardised tests and classroom-based assessment.