Outstanding ICT Learning Initiative of the Year

18th June 2010 at 01:00

Winner: Corseford School, Renfrewshire

Children often have little to say when their parents ask them: "How was school today?" In the past it was even trickier for pupils at Corseford to answer that question, as the school caters for five- to 18-year-olds with complex mental and physical difficulties, including communication problems.

Yet that question was the title for the groundbreaking research project run at the school by researchers from Dundee University. It focused on empowering pupils, through the use of technology, to tell their parents or carers what they had done at school.

The technology tracks the pupils as they move around the school, gathering information. The pupils can then edit the data, deciding what they want their parents to hear - or not.

Pupils controlled their communication aids in a variety of ways, including switches operated by their hands or their heads. The scheme helped to improve pupils' communication skills, aided language acquisition and increased parental involvement.

Judges' verdict: The panel thought this was an impressive winner. "The technology they've developed means that severely handicapped children can now communicate with their parents just as well as any others," the judges said. "It's a really good use of technology and it's been life changing for the youngsters who have been involved."

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