Welcome to HEA Fellowship 2020!

The Creative Education team would like to give a very warm welcome to all applicants and mentors involved in this year’s HEA Fellowship Programme!

It was great to meet many of you at last week’s Introduction to Creative Education workshops in Epsom. But if you couldn’t attend, don’t worry – I’ve put together two short videos to ensure you have all the information you need.

Introduction to HEA Fellowship 2020: this video explains the key things that you need to know about your application.

 

Introduction to mentoring: you will all have been assigned a mentor to help you prepare your application for Fellowship. This short video provides advice for both mentors and mentees about the responsibilities of each person, and how to get the most out of the experience.

 

Our first webinar takes place this coming Wednesday 19th February at 1.00pm – please use the link in the Fellowship area of myUCA to join!

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Using apps to help with anxiety

This post was created by PGCert participants as part of their assessment for Unit 1 of the course. The brief was to choose two specific learning needs and evaluate technologies that could help students with these needs to learn more effectively.

Spielberger (1983) defines anxiety as a subjective feeling of tension, apprehension, nervousness, and worry associated with arousal of the nervous system. The right kind and level of anxiety encourages us toward change and growth. On the other hand, social anxiety is a disorder characterized by overwhelming anxiety and excessive self-consciousness in everyday social situations (Ruffins, 2007), where normal anxiety morphs into distress, making day-to-day functioning difficult (Schmidt et al. 2009).

Social anxiety is one of the major predictors of academic performance among university students (McCraty, 2007). It may cause a lack of interest in learning, and poor performance in exams and assignments (Ozturk and Mutlu, 2010). High levels of social anxiety can decrease working memory and increase distraction in students (Aronen et al. 2005).  Grant (2010) states that while all university students face anxiety, art students face a particularly intense kind. This may be due to the sheer amount of work and less free time they have, or the expectation to produce something that is original from day one which triggers the amount of anxiety (Chronicle.com, 2019). Continue reading

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Using apps to help with language difficulties

This post was created by PGCert participants as part of their assessment for Unit 1 of the course. The brief was to choose two specific learning needs and evaluate technologies that could help students with these needs to learn more effectively.

Research in content-based instruction (CBI) explores linguistic development in university courses attended by large numbers of international students (Rodgers, 2006). While the results are generally positive, both content and linguistic knowledge at the completion of the modules building up to the fulfilment of the requirements to obtain the degree indicate that further attention is required. Students do not develop their language skills as expected, and they often find it hard to follow lectures and seminars. In past decades, instruction and development in a foreign language for international students in higher education has centred around practical language learning and the ability to support the development of meaningful listening skills. However, this has often resulted in a certain level of disregard for students’ level of understanding.

Currently, greater emphasis is given to

  • the exploration of the environment in which international students acquire knowledge (Church, 2000: 651)
  • how students overcome language barrier constructively and fluidly (Dörnyei, 2006; Rjosk, Richter, Hochweber, Lüdtke, and Stanat, 2015), and
  • how students’ success is linked to the higher institution’s ability to facilitate progression on an individual level (Mahmood and Beach, 2018, p. 295).

However, the problem of ensuring a satisfactory level of understandable “comprehensible input” (Krashen, 1983) when offered to students with little knowledge of English continues to constitute a problem in the classroom today. Continue reading

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Using Powerpoint to help with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

This post was created by PGCert participants as part of their assessment for Unit 1 of the course. The brief was to choose two specific learning needs and evaluate technologies that could help students with these needs to learn more effectively.

This post is relevant to inclusivity in Higher Education for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as a term referring to autism, High Function Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. We set out to identify a digital technology or application that could somehow help to mitigate the negative impact of ASD on student learning. Considering the prevalence of slide presentations in Higher Education teaching materials, we decided to focus on ways to maximise the existing accessibility of PowerPoint (Microsoft Office 365) in the context of ASD.

Key difficulties for ASD students include social communication, social interaction and social imagination.  In terms of teaching via slide presentations, this may have an impact in various ways, such as: Continue reading

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Using GoodReader to help students with reading

This post was created by PGCert participants as part of their assessment for Unit 1 of the course. The brief was to choose two specific learning needs and evaluate technologies that could help students with these needs to learn more effectively.

“The impact on learning is very individual but most people with dyslexia typically experience difficulties with reading or decoding text.” Taylor, J. (2015)

Good Reader has many functions centred around the organisation and distribution of files, but the ability to read a PDF document aloud is very helpful for students with Dyslexia. This App has a simplicity of use and functionality that makes it a perfect choice for students with Dyslexia.

Several apps are available that will read text to you, however they may not allow you control over the speed of reading or the ability to pause or navigate around the document easily. GoodReader allows you to do both with a simple interface.

To use GoodReader for reading documents, the text must be saved as, or converted to, a PDF file. This can be done in many different ways according to the original format. Continue reading

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Using Evernote to help with dyslexia

This post was created by PGCert participants as part of their assessment for Unit 1 of the course. The brief was to choose two specific learning needs and evaluate technologies that could help students with these needs to learn more effectively.

Evernote is a note-taking, task management and organisational app which can be accessed via a mobile device and/or desktop computer.  It can be used to create, store and organise text, photos, videos, audio files including dictation and links to websites.  The cloud-based software enables the user to store and sync uploaded information across devices ensuring a certain degree of flexibility in its use.  But why is that useful for those with Dyslexia?

According to the British Dyslexia Association, Dyslexia is actually related to the processing of information. ‘Dyslexic people may have difficulty processing and remembering information they see and hear, which can affect learning and the acquisition of literacy skills’, furthermore, ‘Dyslexia can also impact on other areas such as organisational skills’.

In an article titled ‘Creative solutions to making technology work’, Price (2006) considers the data derived from several case studies which focus on the methodology employed by students with Dyslexia when using assisted technologies.  The research study is foregrounded within a conceptual framework of Vygotskian scaffolding. Price contends that, within a constructivist paradigm, assisted technology as a means of assisting could be considered a ‘technological scaffold’. However, the author also acknowledges that, as with all scaffolding techniques, the same evaluative measures need to be considered to enable its implementation to be both appropriate and effective. Continue reading

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Using LiveTranscrbe to help students with low hearing

This post was created by PGCert participants as part of their assessment for Unit 1 of the course. The brief was to choose two specific learning needs and evaluate technologies that could help students with these needs to learn more effectively.

Over 5% of the world’s population – or 466 million people – has disabling hearing loss. (who.int, 2019).

Live Transcribe is a free app made with deaf and hard-of-hearing users in mind. The app utilises Google’s Automatic Speech Recognition technology. It provides near-live transcribing from speech to text in over 70 languages and also includes descriptions of sounds such as coughing and laughing. The app saves the transcriptions for three days and offers a tool for deaf and hard-of-hearing students to better engage with learning activities.

‘Rochester Institute of Technology has found that many first-year deaf and hard of hearing students only read captions; they do not sign. And those who watch the interpreter signing have trouble taking notes and following the lecture.’ (Microsoft, 2018). Continue reading

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