Case Study - RNIB pilot DAISY
The RNIB introduce DAISY materials into schools.
In this case study we look at an extract taken with permission from the Dolphin Computer Access Website. The RNIB and Dolphin recently collaborated on a pilot scheme to introduce a new all-inclusive learning and revision resource into the classroom.
The pilot involved pupils with sight difficulties and dyslexia, within mainstream secondary schools. The trial involved pupils studying Key Stage 3 literacy (11 to 14 year olds) in three secondary schools over the course of 12 months.
The project involved using Dolphin Computer Access' unique software solutions to introduce Digital Talking Books to students with a visual impairment or print impairment, at three schools in the UK. The DAISY books allow visually impaired and print impaired readers to skim read and navigate a talking book in the same way that a fully sighted reader may read a printed book.
"Students are now in more control over how a book is used, how it looks, where it is used, and even why it is used"
Typically, a DAISY book is a combination of synchronised text, images and audio whereby, as the audio is played, the corresponding text is highlighted and accompanied by supporting images. It is a perfect format for reference materials and learning resources for the whole class, regardless of ability to read or access the printed word.
Dolphin provided authoring software called Publisher to convert existing course materials into DAISY books and playback software called EasyReader was to be used by the students to play the content. "Our choice of Dolphin as a partner for this pilot scheme was a very easy one to make. Dolphin is a world leader in the development of DAISY software solutions and an organisation we knew we could rely upon," said Will Pearson Pre-16 Technology Officer, RNIB and chief coordinator of the project.
Feedback from the students and teachers involved in the trial was very positive towards this exciting new resource. Prior to using EasyReader and the DAISY books, low vision students had to rely on cumbersome large print or Braille documents. EasyReader allowed the application of colour schemes and display styles specific to the individual's need. This made studying much more fulfilling and comfortable and as a result, the DAISY books played using EasyReader were less tiring to read and student concentration was enhanced. Will Pearson commented "Students are now in more control over how a book is used, how it looks, where it is used, and even why it is used".
In general, there was a significant improvement not only in the reading skills of the students involved but also their comprehension and memory recall. Many of the students involved in the trial reported that the rest of the class also enjoyed the DAISY books, despite having no visual or print impairment.
The combination of text, audio and images provided an enhanced learning experience. "If ever there was an active embodiment of inclusive practice, this could be it." said Will, who then continued, "DAISY is a positive rebuttal of the 'special' connotation given to adapted materials". Will then concludes, "The project succeeded on many levels, expertise was gained in DAISY production as well as the teacher and student benefits of this format. The students received an intrinsically more useful learning experience".