Webpages can be very messy places to read from: broken or wandering text – often split at odd paces to accommodate a picture or advert, font sizes that are too small and shapes not really considerate to those with reading difficulties.
The Safari browser for Mac/iPad/iPhone has had Reader View built in for quite some time allowing users to strip the extraneous stuff out of the page leaving clean, plain text which can also be sized and have its font and background settings changed.
The extension looks like this when your browser is on most front/home pages that are links rather than text-based articles.
The extension icon changes when Reader View is available (text-based articles).
When the icon is clicked the page will change from a standard page to a clear, stripped down Reader View with font size, shape, and background colour/themes available down the right-hand side of the page.
This is the type of extension that should be made available for all pupils who have dyslexia, visual impairments, or any difficulty with reading that might be helped by seeing cleaner, clearer, more appropriately sized text. Using text-to-speech support software is also often easier to utilise with text that is spaced out in this way.
As more and more of our pupils are supplied with devices on a 1:1 footing it starts to make use of the tools in everyday learning more possible. I think it would be fair to say that most digital mathematical experiences for pupils in primary schools have tended towards games and content-filled puzzle websites rather than tools to help them visualise and manipulate during their actual maths lessons.
With more resources at hand, pupils can now be given the chance to use digital numberlines, number frames, manipulatives to help with numbers, fractions, and patterns, and use geoboards – without elastic bands!
This set of tools (available for both Chrome & iPad) from Clarity Innovations would be a great place to start connecting maths teaching & learning with digital resources more directly.
Is school fair and the same for everyone? What kind of decisions at school would you like to have more of a say in? Do you feel you would be listened to?
These are just some of the questions that over a thousand pupils looked at for a government research project called Excite.Ed.
Young people thought about how pupils could be more involved in decision-making at school. The most popular idea was a school voting system where all pupils can have a say. Other ideas that pupils liked included suggestion boxes in schools; getting the chance to be involved in decisions about any school improvements being planned; and a Young People’s Board to advise the government on how any new changes might affect pupils.
Talking about what pupils wanted a say in, one young person said “how money is spent in schools, how we work best, an influence on our lessons, homework, learning outside the classroom, school hours, what we learn”. Another pupil commented that “we are best placed to be involved as we are the ones learning/impacted but the consultation process needs to be made more engaging”.
Young people also got the chance to make a pitch to the Deputy First Minister John Swinney with some of their top ideas for making schools better, like….
being able to choose your guidance teacher so you’re sure it’s someone you will be comfortable talking to.
having a feedback board so that you know what’s happening as a result of you sharing your views.
taking the pressure off exam time by making 40% of coursework count towards the final grade.
having more e-learning so that the same subject choices could be offered whether you’re in a big city school or a little rural one.
a pupil government being elected and given the chance to share the pupils’ voices with teachers, parents, other schools and decision makers.
The Excite.Ed project was run by Young Scot, Children in Scotland and the Scottish Youth Parliament. To find our more about young people’s views on how schools can You can read the full report here.