Resource material for the IT PGCE:
IT and Special Educational Needs

This page contains information and resources for the IT and Special Educational Needs session.


Introduction Learning Objectives
The Statement of Special Educational Needs ICT and SEN
Task 1: Planning for SEN in your classroom Task 2: Making the computer accessible
Task 3: Making web pages accessible Designing paper-based materials
Links for ICT and pupils with special needs References


As a classroom teacher you will come into contact with many students with a range of special needs. As an ICT teacher or co-ordinator you may have extra responsibilities for providing ICT based support for students. In the session we will concentrate on teaching IT to pupils with special needs, but the materials and links below should also provide you with help in advising colleagues in other curriculum areas on how ICT can help them.

In this session you will complete two tasks:

  1. you will consider what practical steps you can take in your classroom to address the needs of different groups of pupils;
  2. you will examine the pages you constructed earlier in the year to see how accessible they are to people with different special needs.

The material linked to this page contains advice on producing paper-based materials for your classrooms; definitions of the five stages of producing a 'Statement of Special Educational Needs'; some ideas on how ICT can be of use generally in helping children with special needs; and a number of useful links.

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Learning Objectives

The learning objectives for this session are that by the end of it you should:

  1. understand what is meant by 'Special Education Needs';
  2. know the procedure for producing a statement of special educational needs;
  3. know of some practical ways in which you can adapt your teaching and classroom materials for children with different special needs;
  4. know where you can find out more information and help.

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Task 3: Making web-pages accessible to people with special needs

In the 'Publicising Yourself' session, it was suggested that you might make your own web-pages 'Bobby Approved'. The page for that session (and for this one) meet the required criteria. The task below is designed to get you thinking about how web-based materials can be made accessible to pupils with special needs.

  1. Go to the Bobby site and submit the IT PGCE home page and read the report (Bobby cannot get behind the password protection for the 'Course Materials' folder so cannot read this page. To check this page I downloaded the Bobby programme and ran it on my machine.)
  2. Then submit your own home page and note the way(s) (if any) in which it fails to meet the Bobby criteria.
  3. Finally, if your PTE school has a website, submit its index page and examine the report.

As an extension, you could amend your page so that it passes all the 'Bobby' tests.

(A more detailed discussion on website accessibility and education can be found at the Aware website.)

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Links for ICT and pupils with special needs

A useful overview of how ICT can contribute to the education of pupils with special needs is Jennifer Taylor's presentation 'ICT and SEN whole school issues' given as part of the Becta on-line conference 'ICT in practice' (Nov 2001).

The major resource for IT teachers is the set of information sheets on ICT and special educational needs from Becta.

There is an overview of Special needs and ICT and specific information sheets on: Dyslexia and ICT; Emotional and behavioural difficulties and ICT; Gifted and talented children and ICT; Hearing impairment and ICT; Learning difficulties and ICT; Physical disabilities and ICT; Speech and Language difficulties and ICT; and Visual impairment and ICT. (All are in .pdf format.)

In addition you can search the NGfL for specific resources on this topic and/or look at the links listed below.

The DfEE 'Inclusion' site

The DfEE Special Educational Needs Centre

SERI - Special Education Resources on the Internet

Aiding Communication in Education (ACE) Trust

The National Association for Special Needs (NASEN)

An increasing number of schools are using Integrated Learning Systems to help pupils with special needs. The most commonly used is SuccessMaker, and Research Machines has a page advertising this product which also contains useful case studies.

There are also a number of speech-recognition programmes available which (in principle) can be used by pupils who find typing difficult. One disadvantage of many of these is that one 'trains' them to recognise one's voice by reading prepared texts to them. So... if one can read the texts fluently one does not need them and if one needs them one cannot read the texts. (I have ViaVoice installed on the machine in my room and you can test this out.) Becta has a very useful page devoted to a discussion of this type of software.

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See chapter 7 of 'Learning to Teach Using ICT in the Secondary School' edited by Marylin Leask and Norbert Pachler (Institute library reference Loyx Ref LEA).

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This page is maintained by Tim Brosnan. Please send any comments to:
Last updated on 6th December 2001 .
Bobby approved