Inclusive software design reduces stigma and creates independence for students with dyslexia

Inclusive design in technology is giving students struggling with literacy the ability to tackle tasks independently at school, reducing the stigma they face in seeking support from a teacher or educational support staff and it’s readily available.

Microsoft’s Learning Delivery and Accessibility Specialist Troy Waller has seen the positive impact that can be achieved when computer software includes tools to support students with dyslexia.

“It used to be the job of the teacher or the aide to come and sit with the child and help them to apply the strategies: to decode for them; read to them; change the font size and spacing. Now the kids can do this by themselves. Technology gives students the ability to tackle these issues on their own. Independence is the number one impact,” Waller said.

“Number two is a reduction of stigma. This is achieved because children are using the same technology and the same software as everybody else in the classroom, as everybody out in the workplace, as everybody at home. It’s no embarrassment to be turning on the computer and using the tech to support them in the ways that they need.” Native to Microsoft Office 365, these tools are the same tools that students will take out into the real world and they are freely available to students and teachers. “A lot of people don't realise that these tools are even there and don't realise they have been made available by the Education Departments, by the various Catholic Diocese and even by individual schools. Schools don’t need to pay any money to get these into the hands of the students, into the hands of the teachers, into the hands of the aides. And because these are native to Office 365, this is the same software and same technology that everyone else in the classroom is using, so that's going to reduce stigma while at the same time increasing independence.”

Waller will demonstrate tools such as Immersive Reader and Learning Tools in a workshop at the National Education Summit to be held at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. On Friday 30 August he’ll present ‘The inclusive classroom: Helping students with dyslexia thrive with technology’ both within the Special Needs Symposium and the Free Seminar Program, while on Saturday 31 August, he’ll give an introduction to the education edition of the popular Minecraft game within the Digital Classroom Conference.

Waller believes there are so many tools and features available now to help students succeed and says educators are usually surprised to find that there are tools in their current devices that they didn’t even know are there.

“My suggestion is to come along and see what I present in my workshop because I know you'll be excited.”

The National Education Summit boasts a comprehensive professional development program for teachers, school leaders and principals on Friday 30 August and Saturday 31 August 2019.

Held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, the Summit offers a full two-day program of innovative, informative and inspiring PD opportunities for educators.

Academics and leading educators will present a range of concurrent sessions and workshop events across three conferences and one symposium at the Summit, alongside a free seminar series within the free trade expo featuring 100+ exhibitors.

To register for Troy Waller’s sessions at the National Education Summit, visit www.nationaleducationsummit.com.au

Early Bird registrations are available until June 30.

National Education Summit, MELBOURNE

When: Friday 30 August – Saturday 31 August 2019

Where: Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre More Info: www.nationaleducationsummit.com.au Facebook: www.facebook.com/NationalEducationSummit

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Media enquiries: Ellise McLoughlan, PR and Communications Manager, IEC Group. ellise@iecgroup.com.au or +61 3 9596 9205.

Ciara CrossMelbNews