Sunday, 11 September 2011

Can't attend... so HELP!

My youngest son has hardly attended secondary school in the last two years. He would love to be there but is afflicted with ME/CFS, a debilitating illness that not only robs him of physical energy but also, at times, much of his mental capacity. I know that others suffer far worse from this and other illnesses, but I think there is a need to grapple with the challenge of how we can help those 'prevented from attending' feel part of their schools & lessons and support them in their achievement. My son gets 5hrs at-home tuition a week funded by the LA which he can normally just about cope with. He's bright but wants to feel part of school. Many of the teachers at his school make good - some, excellent - use of the VLE to share work but I think there must be more we can do...


Use a Flipcam, Digital video camera or Digital Camera to record simple messages to an absent member of the tutor group.
Save and send to student.

Utilise SKYPE to establish a two-way real-time conversation.
(Remember that both parties will need a webcam)

Sharing Lessons

Record whole lessons or important elements of lessons using a small video camera. This could be placed focusing on the teacher or at the back of the class to take in the whole lesson. It will be difficult to combine all key elements: teacher input/board and other students this way, so a decision will need to be made what to focus upon. Save and send to student

Use the Recording feature within the SMARTBoard Notebook to record, with narration as well, the progress of the lesson if it is Interactive Whiteboard-based. Large file size means this will work best in short bursts of recording. Save to VLE as file too large to send. (Possible to do with Promethean as well, I believe).

Use SMART Bridgit software to allow access to a taught session. I've discussed with members of the Steljes Education team  and hope that it’s a simple, affordable way to share voice, video and data over the Internet. Although there's a licensing cost after a trial period, if my son's school was using SMART software (they are) then the facility of sharing anything you have open on your desktop or SMART Board interactive whiteboard so all session participants see it on their screens would be a good one.


I've blogged about IRIS before and it would be possible to use the same technology which allows for a product such as IRIS Connect to video (and record) lessons for teaching observation to be used to allow a remote watcher (either at the time or later) to hear all that takes place. The web-based comment and commentary facility could even give the watching student the chance to interact with what was said and done in the lesson.  (IRIS Discovery kit is based on small video camera rather than the ‘all-seeing’, real-time controllable full IRIS set-up.)

The highest potential level of participation would come from a full Video Conferencing solution – even more expensive than IRIS, and one that requires considerable ‘set-up’.

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Blogger IRIS Connect said...

Hi Steve

That's a great suggestion! As you mentioned the student may participate live or even watch the video back at a later stage. The teacher may upload any teaching resources they used or a presentation and the student can download them and use them at a time convenient to themselves.

Another IRIS School Tideway have also allowed their students to use IRIS for presentation skills which have impacted their speaking and listening in a positive way.

Thanks for your comments Steve - always appreciated :)

21 September 2011 at 09:18  

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