Llanrhidian Primary School has 16 percent of the 127 children in the school on the Special Education Needs register with the vast majority of those children receiving help and support with a range of Speech and Language difficulties.
With a significant percentage of the school’s children experiencing difficulties, the school has tried to find innovative ways to enable the children to engage fully in every aspect of school life.
The school looked at using technology in simple ways to make features around the school such as displays more accessible for the children so that they could engage with what was being displayed around the school.
The school uses various ‘talking’ devices around the school to help the children engage with the displays or signage by explaining, giving clues or posing questions to the children to help them to understand or think about what is around them or what they are doing.
‘Talking tins’ have been placed near important signs giving information around the school which are updated when the poster is updated so that the information remains relevant.
The school has purchased ‘chatter boxes’ which it uses underneath display boards to explain what pictures show, in the case of the centenary display to record the voices of members of the community talking about Llanrhidian school, or to read out complicated sentences so that all can access the information. The numbers on the chatter box are linked to various photos, sentences or posters which are also numbered so that the children know when they press ‘1’ on the Chatterbox they are getting information related to the item labelled ‘1’ on the display.
Talking Pens are also used in classes to support children with either speaking and listening difficulties to relay short instructions or reminders to them or in the case of co-ordination difficulties to give reminders about how to form or recognise letters correctly for example ‘b’ and ‘d’.
The children within the school loved using the talking devices initially as a novelty factor but have now got used to them and appreciate how they help them to understand what displays show around the school and encourages them to think about the information shared.
The talking pens give short, sharp information clips which enable the children to be more independent in their learning rather than having to look for teacher or peer support. This has helped raise the children’s self esteem and reduced the need for repeated relaying of instructions to children.The range of situations within the school in which the talking devices are used is expanding as more opportunities arise.