To add to previous answers and endorsing Judith's below , I would suggest any cassette recorder used had a variable sped option that allows rewind and fast forward at sped where the content is discernible without playing at normal speed and allows easy editing and review. A tape counter is also
useful to help bookmaking of content.
I would endorse Judith's comments on standard cassettes as this enables tapes to be played back on any machine at home or school for both pupil and staff and easy copies.
An additional piece of equipment used extensively in our LEA at all KS is the Language master which is an alternative and manageable way to record notes and information with the additional visual element. ( A language master enables cards to speak information recorded by either teacher or pupil and as the cards can vary in length or depth visual info can go with
them in tandem e.g. diagrams etc)
One of the key ways I encourage teachers in Worcestershire to support pupils in recording is to use DART( Directed Activities Related to Text) activities which lessen the reading and writing load but enable the pupils to interact with the text.
Activities such as labelling diagrams, completing tables, colour coding information or key points, flow charts, cloze texts with multiple choice words, cutting out written statements and sequencing them or matching them to definitions / pictures and timelines ( not just historical but to track processes, storylines, events etc), are but some suggestions.
As a support service we create many such activities for teachers to use with all their pupils and many publishers produce curricular materials in this format. ( e.g. Collins Science for KS3)
Photocopying key texts in an enlarged format so that highlight pens can be used and or icons and pictures can be annotated is another way forward.
As for recording information using ICT predictive lexicons ( e.g. Penfriend or TEXThelp) and wordbanks such as Wordbar ( Crick ) reduce the writing, spelling and typing load and all have full speech support and can be used with virtually and wordprocessor and work well with Word.
In support of classroom and subject teachers, many are overwhelmed by the demands that are made on them in terms of targets and standards and curriculum and despite their best efforts cannot find sufficient time to get everything right. However many fail to see that what is good practise for
Dyslexic pupils is equally beneficial for all.
I play many games in my lessons when I get to teach and introduce as many multisensory strategies and accelerated learning techniques wherever possible, but it involves risk taking and confidence and when teaching many classes with challenging pupils it often results in teachers not willing to
do anything different.
Some do and succeed brilliantly and then other staff follow their example.
But classes of 25 - 30 pupils with a range of needs
can be a real challenge to any skilled teacher and I often think those of us who are used to smaller groups or individual tuition forget what the real world can be like.
Most teachers, if asked, are more than willing to help in any way they can and are open to suggestion. Often they have very limited knowledge of specific difficulties and can read low self esteem as an attitude problem.
If they can be persuaded to only change some of their approaches they will have made a huge difference to many pupils , which is then rewarding for
both teacher and child.
Victoria Crivelli BDACC
SEN ICT Consultant
Reviews Editor BDA Computer Committee
Chair of NASEN ICT Standing Committee
NAACE SEN Reference Point