I’ve spent the last two days up in Glasgow in order to take part in and present at the Scotland’s Colleges conference on ‘Accessible ICT on a budget and e-safety for learners with profound and complex needs’. Scotland’s Colleges is an agency who exist to ‘support, represent and promote the college sector in Scotland.
- seek to prepare and assist the sector deliver its vital contribution to the economic and social needs of Scotland
- serve the ambitions of Scotland’s learners and the demands of Scotland’s employers
- enhance the sector’s national and international reputation.
The event was organised by, Scotland’s Colleges, BRITE, RSC Scotland N & E and S&W and it was great to see Mags McKay, Joan Walker and Craig Mill from the Scottish RSCs. I was with Rohan Slaughter from Beaumont College delivering a short workshop on e-safety for complex learners. Rohan outlined the work on e-safety at Beaumont and I followed up with a short update on the current projects with JISC Techdis . We had a stand with some of our resources and publications and I did a short demonstration of In-Folio during the lunch break.
The event documentation was available in print as both text and in symbols. (Not the best image but it was from my phone)
The morning session included a demonstration of some free tools by Fil McIntyre from the Brite Centre in Edinburgh. He included the use of Prezi as a filtering system for youtube videos and Maavis (nobody could agree on how this should be pronounced) which provides a simple version of a website for ease of navigation. It did however seem a little complicated to administer which I fear will put many people off.
Craig from RSC NE Scotland did another of his wonderful presentations on the work he’s doing with free software. I took a usb stick of the latest content but unfortunately something on the stick alerted the anti virus on my laptop so couldn’t access it properly.
In the afternoon, we had a presentation from Marilyn Slavin from Common Knowledge. Common Knowledge or CKUK is a website and much more which “provides online learning, accessible information and social networking for people with learning difficulties.” They are a small independent charity which provides opportunities to make friends, tell their stories, learn about life, their rights and share with others their skills, talents and interests for people with learning difficulties.
The site has a number of mini sites within – these cover a range of subjects including – CK respect ( bullying), CK pose (developing positive images of adults with LDD), CK sex talk (clear unambiguous information about relationships, sex and sexual health) and CK grows (gardening). CK click is an online user generated news magazine with stories, videos and quizzes.
All content is accessible, appropriate, interactive and engaging.
The main thrust of the site is as a social networking tool – CK Friends. CK Friends has been going longer than Facebook and has a very strict vetting procedure. All prospective members are telephoned by a member of the team. There is a very clear message also that – “If you send a bad message on CK Friends you will be banned” . The site is getting up to 20 new members each month and in April 2011 they had over 46,000 hits. This is a small charity and they are very short of funding. There is an opportunity to donate to the charity on the site.
A great event and in keeping with my usual comment – the chocolate covered strawberries were truly delicious.