A student came to see me yesterday to discuss how to use an iPad effectively to help with a 4th year dissertation. It was an interesting conversation which ended up spending quite some time talking about TodaysMeet. Part of the conversation centred around how TodaysMeet could be used effectively for those who have dyslexia.
We identified two main issues:
- It may be a challenge to read the messages coming in.
The scrolling nature means text isn’t where it was a minute ago. Connected messages may be separated by others’ comments/messages which makes it a challenge to keep up with what is being said. The need for more processing time is put under pressure by the constant-update nature.
- It may be a challenge to send messages.
It may take more type to type the message by which time the conversation has moved on. This links to the issue above. Concentrating on typing the message could result in missing other information, either from the scrolling feed or from the person leading the activity (i.e., the tutor).
Now these are pretty honest and reasonable concerns—and I don’t have the answers. However, as I continue to use this with the students I’m sure these issues will be discussed (and hopefully resolutions found) which I’ll share here.
I have been thinking about this conversation and I believe there may be some ways TodaysMeet (or other similar software) could be used to alleviate these concerns (or at least minimise them).
In the class on Monday, I didn’t ask every student to go online and send messages. Without any input from me, the students tended to form groups, with one scribe sending the messages based on what others in the group were suggesting. In some groups, another person was reading the responses which linked to their particular conversation, ignoring those which did not pertain to their particular focus. In this scenario, students who find it challenging to read the text have someone filtering the text for them and reading the relevant texts out loud to the group, allowing the focus to be on thinking and responding verbally. The scribe can then type the response.
Another option which could be possible is an idea from a blog entry on the TodaysMeet website. It involves having two groups—one group focuses on the conversation; the other focuses on typing the main points as they hear it from the people they are listening to.
As I experiment with using TodaysMeet and other social media in my classes, I’ll be asking students to comment on their effectiveness for learning (and teaching).
Do you have any other suggestions how it could be used to help those with dyslexia? I’d be happy to hear from you and to give it a try.