Nottingham College is a large FE college with more than 10 sites across the UK. The college offers various courses suited to a wide range of occupations and career journeys. They offer a fantastic range of support services for students, with dedicated Career and Destination Coaches, Achievement Coaches, and a large Learning Support department for students with additional needs.
The Learning Support department is made up of various specialists, to ensure students are given the comprehensive support they need. They use educational technologies including Read&Write from Texthelp to coincide as a supportive tool for their students. Their long term plan is to use the software with whole classes of students, so that all students can be made aware of the benefits for reading, proofreading and writing.
Supporting independent study
The college supports students to study independently through college, so that they will be prepared for the world of work. Technology is an important aspect of the student journey, giving them the tools they need to develop their reading and writing skills. Read&Write provides various features to suit the needs of many types of users - from visual/auditory dictionaries and a text to speech function, to text prediction, and a grammar, spelling and homophone error checker.
The software also supports information processing with features which benefit students who find it difficult to focus on large pieces of text - a focal reading window creates a point of focus, and text highlighters allow information to be organised and collected in a separate document.
“I have never been good at reading or writing. Since I came here [Nottingham college] it’s got me more independent using things like Read&Write just to check all my writing and punctuation, and make sure that everything is correct.” - Sam, Applied Science Student
Read&Write not only assists students with independent study, the college also uses the software as an exam access arrangement, enabling students to interpret information and demonstrate their knowledge independently, with a boost of confidence;
“Read&Write helps me to express myself in exams too, which is what they are looking for when you are doing an exam. That’s priceless...It’s changed my life because I can read and write now.“ - Nikkie, Hair & Beauty Student
Beneficial for every learner
The college uses Read&Write with various students, including those with additional needs, students who are re-sitting their English language exam and international students who have never studied English before. With many different features, the college recognises Read&Write as a beneficial tool for every learner.
“What we are thinking of doing is using Read&Write with whole classes now...so that students are aware that they can all benefit from using the software - that it isn’t just for the few, that it’s for everybody.” - Gilly Miller, Team Leader, Learning & Support (English & Maths)
And that includes teachers too!
Nottingham college not only use Read&Write with their students, but they promote its use as a teaching and learning tool in the classroom too. Digitised assignments using Read&Write, enable students to proofread work using available features - the text-to-speech function actually allows students to hear their work being read aloud, and discover punctuation errors as a result.
“When you’ve got a thousand words with no puncuation in it, they soon realise that when they start listening back to it, they can then learn where they need to put the pauses in and it helps them to progress a lot further.” - Mark Rushby, Automotive Tutor
This reduces the time tutors have to spend marking spelling, grammar and punctuation errors, freeing up their time so that they can focus on providing more meaningful feedback.