Thursday, January 10, 2013

Evernote to support dyslexic learner

Cat Molyneaux of Guildford College supports a severely dyslexic learner on a botanical course. The learner requires audio resources and after our project launch on Nov 8, she thought about getting text converted to audio for the learner, using Dspeech, Balabolka or similar.
After further discussion, other requirements came up - the learner needed to be able to revise plant identification and to make notes when they were doing practical work. We needed a tool that was mobile-friendly and collaborative, so that the teacher could provide feedback using audio as well.
What tools do you use to record pictures and audio commentary? I can think of quite a few, but once you throw in the additional requirement of being able to edit or add to something you have created, you find yourself thinking about desktop-based solutions. We needed to stay mobile.
I've been a user of Evernote for many years now and have had limited opportunity to explore its use in a learning situation. This is one situation where Evernote really does shine through.

I showed Cat how easy it was to take a picture using Evernote (or to upload one) and to add audio to the note. You can organise the notes into notebooks so the learner can create different sets for trees or flowers. By tagging the notes with keywords, you can easily view subsets of the resources (although this won't help this particular dyslexic learner).
We were able to add multiple audio files and picture files on a note. The teacher can share a note with learners or even a notebook (a collection of  notes).
For true collaboration, you would need a premium account. I have a premium account as I use Evernote extensively and think it's worth paying for the extra upload allowance (£35 for the year). Just one person needs the premium account (the teacher for instance) - this allows you to give editing rights to the notes so learners can add their own pictures, text and audio.
We're really excited about how this could transform the learning for this particular student, but also open up a new way of working for everyone in the class.
To practice what we preach, Cat and I are also going to 'stay in touch' on the project using Evernote. You can view the notes we've made so far here:
Very much a work in progress but hope you can see the potential too!

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