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The aim of this assignment is to evaluate a piece of software finding out the benefits the programme has to offer for children with additional needs in ICT. The software that is going to be evaluated is Units of sound. The unit of sound programme was created in 1972-3 by Walter Bramley. The programme contains a CD ROM which is installed on a computer; a user guide and a reading book are also provided. Units of sound are also associated with the Dyslexia Action Organisation Group. The software was mainly designed to help Dyslexic readers. Rice and Brooks (2004) found that "Units of Sound was designed to help dyslexic readers but has been used to help non-dyslexic poor readers - in line with the research that 'ordinary poor readers' benefit from the same teaching and learning methods designed for dyslexic students". The Units of sound is a structured cumulative and multisensory programme teaching children reading, spelling, memory and dictation, it involves the child to work at their own pace independently. 'Information and Communication Technology has a unique and valuable contribution to make to the learning experiences of pupils with special educational needs' (Aquilonis, 2007) It is an additional programme that helps support Special Educational Needs (SEN) children with Literacy, helping the child to build on their vocabulary, reading and answering simple comprehension building on their self confidence.
The advantage of Units of sound it has the capability to change the background colour font size if the child types in an incorrect spelling or grammar it highlights by changing the colour text, also it has a programme that would read the sentence back to you in full. If you cannot recognise the spelling the word can be heard before writing the text. Data is provided which shows how the children are improving over the term effectively monitoring and recording the children's progress.
There are three stages of Units of sound stage1 Basic is coloured Green stage2 Functional is coloured Blue and stage3.Independent is coloured Orange. Each stage has two elements to it reading and spelling there are four programmes for the children to complete at each stage. First the child is assessed with a small reading and spelling test of fifty words to see if they are successful to begin the programme using the computer which is visual and auditory. The individual child's level is set depending on their score by the computer to the reading page, and the spelling sets.
Units of sound is a literacy programme that is used to stimulate a child's mind by memorising visual, there are also benefits parents as well as teachers can support their child form home with Units of sound if they have a PC.
Before starting my observations I spoke to the parents of the children I would like to observe by asking for their consent to take photographs of their children working on the computer accessing Units of sound for part of their curriculum in literacy. Assuring the parents all their children's photography would only be used for the school internal webpage and my assignment. (See appendix) Under The Data Protection Act (1998) and the Freedom of Information Act (2000) control the uses of information produced by schools. Such websites must protect the identity of children and if, for example, photographs of children are to appear, permission from the parents or carers must be obtained and care taken not to provide information that could be misused (pg4).
Title: Units of sound in the ICT suite
Duration: 35 minutes
Observer Jacqueline Wildman
Aims: To observe Child A gaining access to the software Units of sound.
Observation: Child A comes into the computer suite he says hello and goes over to the chair pulls it out and sits on it. Child A switches on the computer, waits for a while and says this computer is taking it's time. Child A turns to another child and what are you doing? The screen comes up child A logs in and access the software Units of sound, Child A asks "should I do the reading first miss," I said yes Child A puts the headphone over his ears he looks over and smile. Child A puts his hand up and says miss my headphones are not working I said you have plugged it in the wrong socket, Child A says, oh! and carries on. Child A accesses the reading and starts the activity Child A reads what is on the screen in the microphone hearing his voice what he has said ,Child A completes the reading task and clicks the mouse onto the spelling screen .Child A listens to what word is said and then types out what he heard. Child A completes the spellings and asks if he can save and print it out I said yes and please can I see the results.
Evaluation: Child A accesses the computer and the software very easily, the only time he wanted assistance was when the headphones were not working. Child A seems very confident and knowledgeable with how to use a computer.
Title: Units of sound in the ICT suite
Duration: 30 minutes
Observer Jacqueline Wildman
Aims: To observe Child H access the software Units of sound.
Observation: Child H switches on the computer she logs in her name and password and says miss I can't log on because my password won't let me in. The teacher tells her to try again she tries the teacher comes over and tells her the password she logs on. Child H put her hand up and says miss I can't remember were to go the teacher shows her the icon, Child H waits for the programme to come up on the screen she turns to Child A and asks him if she should go on the reading Child A says yes. The teacher comes over to see if she has accessed the programme Child H says, "look miss I got on myself." The teacher says, "that is excellent." Child H smiles Child A shouts out! "Miss I showed her". She moves the mouse around the desktop and says it's not making noise the teacher ask her "where is your headphones?" Child H replies "I don't know miss it is not in my draw". The teacher asks Child H "where is it?" she shrugs her shoulders; the teacher gives her another headphone. She plugs the headphone in the socket and listens to the audio and repeats what she hears in the microphone. Child H calls the teacher and says, "I don't know what the person is saying," the teacher takes the headphone and listen and tells her he said dab the children are asked to log off and shut down the computer Child H asks if she should save her work because she did not finish her reading
Evaluation: Child H switches the computer on ok but logs in her password incorrectly she could not remember what icon she should click on. The teacher praises her when she access the reading screen Units of sound Child H did not successfully complete a reading page, but with this programme children can work at their own pace independently not feeling that this has to be rushed.
In my professional role I use Information Communication Technology (ICT) nearly every day with the children with limited experience. ICT is linked with part of the curriculum used effectively in the classroom with different types of needs. ICT also enhances children learning which enriches the learning potential for children who are special educational needs (SEN) with visual impairments, speech and language impairments, medical needs, physical disabilities, emotional and behavioural difficulties and dyslexia. Katz(1995:109) cited Nutbrown and Clough (2006,p 13) states "about what should be learned and how it would best be learned depend on what we know of the learner's developmental status and our understanding of relationships be early experience and subsequent development". Children are taught the simple and basic instructions which is differentiated to their abilities, such as how to switch on the computers, logging into their account with their username and own password. Children are not afraid to make mistakes they are confident and knowledgeable learners who jump to a challenge. Nutbrown and Clough (2006 p, 13) state that "Development advances when children have opportunities to practice newly acquired skills as well as when the experience a challenge just beyond the level of their present mastery". Monitoring and recordings of the children progress would be on going process printing out children's individual data sharing the information with the class teacher and the special needs co coordinator (SENCO). Benefits of a Special Educational Needs they are able to access all facilities at their own pace. Wall (2003 p164) states that "inclusion exists where all children have a right to be able to access all facilities offered and are therefore a part of that community".
Every Child Matters suggest that 'The Government believes that every young person should experience the world beyond the classroom as an essential part of learning and personal development, whatever their age, ability of circumstances'.
Evaluation: In my everyday role I support my SEN children in using Units of sound from every year group for 20-30 minutes a day. Working and planning with the SENCO how the children are movitative and have benefited from this programme achieving good result at their own level.