Beaumont College Ways of using mainstream computer hardware

Beaumont College Ways of using mainstream computer hardware

Beaumont College Ways of using mainstream computer hardware in place of specialist assistive technology: The Wheeltop Project Rohan Slaughter (slaughterr[email protected]) 8th February 2011 Beaumont College e-maturity journey We will begin by telling you a little about Beaumont: We are a specialist college operating in the FE sector

We are part of Scope, the national disability charity We cater for students with cerebral palsy and other disabilities and learning difficulties Students are funded by the YPLA for places at Beaumont when their needs cannot easily be met at a general Further Education College Beaumont currently has 91 learners, this is not small for a specialist college The college has 430 staff at this time, although the FTE is around 100 lower than this Beaumont has a curriculum focussed on basic skills, personal development and creative arts Beaumont College e-maturity journey Early on the management team at Beaumont college made some decisions / actions around IT:

Firstly IT had to be resourced properly to be a success This also means that we needed to properly staff the service Starting from almost nothing was in some ways a good thing as it allowed us to design the system almost from scratch A clear vision was established and a plan of action was implemented in the form of a robust ILT Strategy, in IT if you do not plan carefully you will not get a good end result. Priority areas were identified and these were focussed on by concentrating both management effort and money on them Beaumont College e-maturity journey Priority area 1: Basic Infrastructure You cant do any of the cool stuff if the primary systems are not up to it

The first priority was the core infrastructure: Cabling Servers Computers Internet Connection The number of computers available for the use of learners has increased from 8 total in 2000 total to a ratio of 1:1 today The number of computers available for staff has increased so that all managers and teachers now have a laptop, plus desktop computers in all curriculum rooms Beaumont College e-maturity journey Priority Area 2: Staffing

Installing lots of hardware and having nobody to keep it running or show people how to troubleshoot and use it is utterly pointless The first appointment was a technologist who was in effect the colleges IT Manager, responsible to the colleges admin manager and principal This role was aimed to sit at the interface between people and technology The second appointment was a technician with special responsibility for the network and core infrastructure The next few appointments were IT Technicians to provide a first line helpdesk style support service Beaumont College e-maturity journey Priority Area 2: Staffing We now have the following structure:

Head of Technology (this is me Rohan) Two network technicians who run the Servers and other core infrastructure One technical LSW this is a hybrid role crossing over between web development, video support and general support Two Technologists who work on special access IT for students, in particular the wheeltop project (more later) One IT Technician who primarily works on the helpdesk this function is assisted by all other IT staff One Media Technician who works on theatre, music, video tech A senior teacher with a project management focus, also responsible to the vice- Beaumont College e-maturity journey Priority Area 3: Assistive Technology

IT is more than a teaching and learning technology for our learners It is a genuinely liberating assistive technology This includes but is not limited to: Communication technology or Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) Alternate input devices such as specialist keyboards, mice and similar Specialist educational software such as The Grid 2, Boardmaker, Read and Write Gold etc Other assistive technology such as environmental control systems Beaumont College e-maturity journey Priority Area 3: Assistive Technology

The Wheeltop Project: Is a joint project between Scope and BTs Better World Campaign The main thrust of the project is not about the technology, but the teaming model The way we work together between Teachers, Speech and Language Therapists, Occupational Therapists etc is key We are using adapted tablet PCs in place of a traditional dedicated device We aim to integrate solutions that are as low cost as possible, whilst at the same time improving on existing systems in partnership with specialist firms Beaumont College e-maturity journey

Priority Area 4: Sustainability We had to concentrate initially on getting as much equipment and training in as possible Training is important, and with the teaching staff this is now easier than ever we have a positive pressure from the teachers not resistance We had to ensure that we did not go backwards due to uneven investment Once you place more technology into an environment removing it is extremely difficult Continuing the funding of this effort has been difficult as we have moved beyond the basics This takes us into our next section - Beaumont College e-maturity journey

Priority Area 5: Foresight and development Firstly IT is far from standing still The key is to pick areas that really make a difference from the noise of new developments For example most Web 2.0 technologies are not new, they are just more accessible than before We are constantly looking at new ways of working, and staff training for the IT dept is a large part of this All IT staff are currently involved in some kind of development activity We are currently working on what we would describe as next generation teaching and learning systems Beaumont College e-maturity journey

Priority Area 5: Foresight and development Next Generation Systems in Place at BC: Walled garden blogging Genuine e-portfolios A responsive MIS (Management Information System) A prospectus live element of our web presence A VLE for staff to access training materials An Apple based video storage and retrieval network A fully virtualised server infrastructure underway Extensive use of ECS to create a smart building A full redevelopment of the college estate with as much IT designed in

Beaumont College e-maturity journey Current / Recently Completed Projects: Molenet3 MOVE Mobile Video Evidence (supports the e-portfolio initiative) Innovation 3 Supports the Staff VLE development Karten 2: The Beaumont Digital Arts Centre LSIS ISC e-leadership program e-safety and e-maturity Next Generation wheeltop project. Hoping to do a larger project with Scope, but are also looking at scaled options, funding dependent. Technology Exemplar Network TSB: Mobility Bridge LSIS Flexibility and Innovation fund replicate the Technologist role, our technology service profile and disseminate case studies of our assistive tech. JISC InfoNET: Strategy Work

The Wheeltop Project BT have funded the project for 3 years 2007-2010. 4 strands to the project: provide customised systems for 3 4 students per year at Beaumont College work with schools to support development of similar services elsewhere (outreach)

influencing new technology development (specialist and mainstream) Scopes No Voice No Choice campaign. Funding for equipment and Technologist role over 3 years. Work with individuals in college. Outreach work with local schools. Outreach with Ingfield Manor. The Wheeltop Project The Wheeltop Project (As funded by BT)

Origins of the project (pre 2004) Problems with existing communication aids are: high cost expensive repairs poor computer functionality

inadequate support from some companies. Natalies experience The Wheeltop Project The Wheeltop Project Initially planned to develop bespoke systems. Began to test different prototypes 1.Mini box PC and separate screen 2.Itronix tablet PC

3.Motion and Electrovaya tablet PCs - below The Wheeltop Project Used some devices from SmartboxAT. Advantages of collaboration: external technical support and upgrade path good relationship benefits both parties potential for future development work. We have also continued to innovate our own solutions, but continue to use the award winning Grid 2 Software. The Wheeltop Project The Wheeltop Project

In summer 2008 we were approached by the director of GlobiGames, an InfoLab21 spin off / knowledge transfer company. We made a joint application between Beaumont College, Lancaster Universitys Infolab21 and GlobiGames to the Technology Strategy Board (TSB). We have obtained a 15k grant from the TSB to develop a feasibility study, and subsequently a 50k grant to carry out phase 1 of the project. The studyAims ran during and we hope to look for opportunities to continue the project. of the2009 project: Develop interface software with visual and auditory feedback on smart phones. Develop a prototype of the contactless

sensor an alternative to a single switch now called the neeron. Get feedback from our student group to improve the interface and sensor design. Identify avenues for continuing the project if deemed appropriate Moving on . . . We are seeking funding for a successor project(s). We made an approach to LSIS (Learning and Skills Improvement Service) to fund our Technologist positions for two years in order to develop case studies for the entire education sector this has been successful. LSIS DART Disseminating Assistive Roles and Technology begins now:

We hope that TechDIS and the RSCs will be instrumental in its success We hope to support the replication of our Technologist role, or elements of it in other GFE / ISC contexts More information to follow . . . Moving on . . . Digital Visions, Technological Futures: A BT/Scope Project Proposal Further opportunities for joint working Explores the use of environmental control systems Further exploration of outreach scenarios and move on services logical continuation of the work begun in the Wheeltop project Essentially doing to ECS what was begun with dedicated

communication devices and tablet PCs. Powered by an Intel Atom N450 processor with 2GB of RAM, the performance of the Zoostorm SL8 is likely to be closer to a netbook than a laptop, although the included 32GB of solid-state storage should provide plenty of room for software installation. The included mini-HDMI port allows the device to be connected to an external display, while several USB ports mean that external gadgets such as keyboards, printers, and cameras can be connected. From : 280392/zoostorm-unveils-sl8-windows-slate

So Im in a mainstream college, I have described is highly specialised, we however feel that: soWhat whats in it for me? In meeting the needs of the most complex learners we generate solutions that have wider applications. Grid 2 Based solutions with a mainstream application include: Kiosk style touch screen interfaces Literacy and Numeracy Grid sets

Simplified Computer Control Grids So Im in a mainstream college, dont have go for to specialist soYou whats into it me?suppliers for everything: Companies like CPC and Maplin are outstanding sources of cheap equipment and accessories: CPC: - good for cables, connectors etc Maplin: - can be good for computer

accessories BT Business (formally - good for laptops, netbooks etc Specialist Suppliers such as Inclusive Technology can really make it easy, and they are very teacher focussed: So Im in a mainstream college, Its going to be hard to not about Apple . . . so whats in it

fortalkme? Apple have always been good at defining new product categories: The all in one computer: PDA / Tablet PC Music Player So Im in a mainstream college, Its going to be hard talkme? about Apple . . . so

whats in toitnot for Some good stuff on the iPad/iPod: Proloquo to go: An opportunity to have a go: I have four devices with me: Powerbox 7: FizzBook Spin: Apple iPad with Proloquo2go: Zoostorm SL8 windows 7 tablet: More on the Software: The Grid 2:

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