Grange Primary School is situated in a catchment area of both private and council houses approximately four miles to the West of Swansea. It provides places for approximately 200 primary aged children including 8 planned places in a Specialist Teaching Facility for children who have hearing impairment and caters for a number of pupils in mainstream classes with a range of additional needs including Speech and Language difficulties, learning difficulties and pupils with ASD. The school also has developed additional teaching areas which are equipped with ICT equipment to support teaching and a room dedicated for speech therapy.
Several pupils within the Junior Department had been identified as having a range of difficulties including speech and language, ASD and difficulties with attention. The pupils had difficulty in recording their thoughts and ideas on paper and this was acting as a barrier to their learning, causing them sometimes to display distracting behaviours to deflect from their difficulties and also creating situations of ‘failure’ which gave them feelings of low self esteem. One pupil was extremely bright with a natural ability for ICT. The Class teacher identified the pupil’s strengths and interests and wanted to draw on these to impact positively on other areas of the curriculum, such as Language and Communication, where the pupil felt less comfortable in applying his skills.
As part of the class topic of ‘the local area’, the pupils visited and researched the history and geography of Mumbles. An aspect of this was to look at the locality and amenities from the perspective of a tourist visiting the area on holiday. The pupil was happy to be involved in the process and was inspired by the idea of producing an audio postcard by using a microphone and Textease. The aim was to record the views of a tourist visiting Mumbles. The pupil became engaged quickly in developing his thoughts on the topic and then recorded them as a ‘sound file’ in a logical sequence. This file was then attached to a post card template, created in Textease and the pupil’s words were transcribed by the child’s one-to-one Teaching Assistant. This meant that the process was achieved within a reasonable timescale, it was finished to a high standard and enabled the pupil to see what could be achieved. It built self esteem as it was clear to see that this articulate pupil could achieve high quality work in written form whereas previously it had only been achieved orally.
To complete the task, the pupil chose from the internet an image to complement the writing. This approach had given the child equal access to the curriculum and the use of ICT had allowed the pupil to utilise skills appropriate to the pupil’s learning style. Appropriate use was made of the one-to-one Teaching Assistant in terms of his time and skills, facilitating the use of the internet, choice of multimedia and engagement of the pupils for sustained periods of time in order to complete the task successfully.The pupil had completed a quality, interactive piece of work of which he was proud. This is an example of how ICT has been used in many ways as a tool for learning for this child who is unable to access the curriculum through the means that other pupils do. The pupil’s self esteem was raised and it is evident that such approaches to learning can have a positive impact on concentration and behaviour. This pupil’s learning and therefore the learning of other pupils in the class were enhanced by the use of I.C.T.. The teacher continued to provide the child with opportunities to develop his skills in ICT which he used to access areas to the curriculum that he previously had difficulty with and the pupil settled well and progress was seen throughout many areas of the school curriculum both academically and socially.