DAY 44 - Being responsive and adaptive: It's in our DNA! Part 1 #CircuitBreaker #EmbraceDyslexia

EDUTECH - Main Literacy Programme

While love was stronger in the air than usual on the 14th of February 2020, the preparations for online learning was of utmost importance to DAS Educational Therapists as they began familiarising their students with Google Hangouts Meet and Gmail. Students of the Main Literacy Programme spent approximately 10-15 minutes of their lesson getting to know their DAS email address and passwords and accessed Gmail and Google Hangouts Meet to get to know the functions as well as the necessary information they'll need in order to continue their remediation should home-based learning be implemented.

That was just the beginning of the big wave of changes that turned things around for our students, parents, and our colleagues. The Main Literacy Programme has always stayed grounded on delivering quality remediation, by individualising instructional materials and accommodating learning differences within a very small group of learners.

MULTISENSORY LEARNING - MAIN LITERACY PROGRAMME

Multisensory teaching engages multiple learning approaches, which is instrumental for all readers, yet critical for struggling readers.

When a new skill is introduced using a multisensory approach, it is introduced in a way which simultaneously links visual, auditory, tactile and kinesthetic prompts and manipulatives. The more senses involved, the more likely students retain and recall the information after practice and repetition. In the DAS Main Literacy Programme, all our students receive phonics-based reading, writing and spelling instruction, where skills are taught explicitly, using multisensory approaches.

 With the introduction of home-based learning, our Educational Therapists had to convert the face to face multisensory instruction to online multisensory instruction. This makes it even more imperative that the Educational Therapists create and include even more engaging audio and visuals into their lesson design. Students' knowledge of the various tools (e.g. volume button, playback speed and closed caption options) would also be advantageous for the students as the teacher is not in control of their environment and device.

The sense of touch is one of the senses that is often left out of online learning experiences, primarily because it is unreasonable to expect educators to be able to create learning materials where learners handle objects and interact with the materials on a tactile level through a computer screen unless the educator is highly trained in the area of virtual realities, which is often not the case. DAS MLP Educational Therapists were up to the challenge, nevertheless. Online games and even mobile learning activities helped our students to integrate the sense of touch into the multisensory online learning materials that the Educational Therapists created.

Using apps to slice and dice syllables on their screens, dragging and dropping prefixes and suffixes to even colour coding and free-handedly annotating their documents are just some of the many ways our Educational Therapists have been incorporating a digital sense of touch in their instructional approaches. The act of clicking on the screen to make a choice or embark on a learning path can make the learning experience more interactive and immersive. It gets the online learner involved and prompts them to explore the virtual environment in a more profound way, instead of merely being a passive learner.

By Soofrina Mubarak
Senior Educational Therapist and EduTech Coordinator
DAS English Language & Literacy Division

Read the article here

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