Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

New technology could help revolutionise way dyslexic people learn

Dyslexia ActionA project is being launched to assess whether using a digital highlighter can help dyslexic people to learn.

The project, which will include up to 200 dyslexic students, is designed to evaluate the benefits of using technology in special education needs (SEN) teaching through the use of the C-Pen TS1 digital highlighter.

Technology manufacturer C Technologies is donating its C-Pen to Dyslexia Action classrooms and will provide training to the charity’s specialist SEN teachers as part of a three-month pilot.

The students, who will range in age from Key Stage 4 through to university level, all with varying degrees of dyslexia, will take the highlighters home to use as part of their studies, reporting back to the Dyslexia Action centres for continued guidance and assessment.

Experts believe it is possible that the combination of copying text from any book to a word processor with audio feedback could revolutionise how students at the secondary and post-secondary levels take notes. By gathering data on student engagement and development during the trial the project partners will be able to evaluate how students and teachers use the hardware in their daily practice.

Kathy Clark, Dyslexia Action project lead, said: “Taking the C-Pens home is important as it will encourage a far more natural and flexible approach to learning and ensure students can exploit the full potential of this assistive technology and the associated benefits in SEN teaching through a sustained period of use.”

Dyslexia Action’s head of research, development and policy, Dr John Rack, added: “This will enable us to make better recommendations to students and parents looking for ways of overcoming reading difficulties.”

Biological in origin, people with dyslexia suffer with neurological processing difficulties which can affect literacy acquisition, short-term memory, organisation skills, hand control, visual processing, timekeeping and sense of direction.

“There are a number of ways to deliver highly effective education for learners who struggle with the various aspects of dyslexia and associated problems with learning to read and write,” added Dr Rack. “Use of assistive technology devices designed to help overcome these difficulties can certainly be valuable, especially when used as part of an integrated program that includes teaching skills and strategies along with tutorial support to show how best to use such technology. These C-Pens will be well received by our centres and students alike. It will be interesting to see what the data shows at the end of this pilot.”

Dyslexia Action’s CEO, Kevin Geeson, said: “The C-Pen is a fantastic piece of hardware for dyslexic students. We see real value in such collaborative working with manufacturers that share our ethos as a charity. The dedicated dyslexia application of the C-Pen and the overwhelming positive feedback from our specialist staff encouraged us to partner with C Technologies.

“We all need to work together to put an end to the suffering and sense of failure that is still felt by too many children with dyslexia and literacy difficulties in our schools today.”

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