Tag Archives: university

The Personal Touch – With Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology or ‘A.T.’ is specialist technology that helps support those with disabilities and learning needs. It can be either software or hardware and can be awarded through either Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) or Access To Work (ATW) schemes.

 

Designed to help students and employees overcome any difficulties they may have, for example with dyslexia, ADHD, or autism, Assistive Technology comes in a number of different forms depending on requirements.

 

However, since everyone is unique, Vocendi believe that any Assistive technology support should be matched to the needs of the individual, rather than seeking a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution, as is favoured by some other providers.

 

In fact, Vocendi offer one-to-one training sessions where an individual’s needs can be assessed so that the best solution can be found for each person. This holistic approach offers users a unique experience tailored for them rather than trying to cut corners to get as many people on board as possible without actually doing much to really help.

 

Vocendi make sure that our trainers have the rights skills and experience to offer this personal touch when it comes to Assistive Technology. With this in mind, we have implemented a competency framework to monitor and assess our team to ensure that service users have the best possible experience.

 

We believe that everyone has the right to reach their full potential and that far from being a burden, those who require Assistive Technology have a great deal to offer just as long as there is the help required to achieve this potential.

 

Of course, the Equality Act means that discriminating against someone in the workplace because of a condition like dyslexia is illegal and reasonable adjustments are expected to be made by an employer to prevent this.

 

The same can be said for those who are studying, with Disabled Students Allowance designed to help people be all they can rather than being side-lined due to disability or a learning difficulty.

 

You can find out more about our services and how they can help you right here on Vocendi.com – don’t settle for less, be all you can with Assistive Technology and support!

It’s Dyslexia Awareness Week!

This week is Dyslexia Awareness Week, which means there are a whole host of different activities and events taking place, while the focus this year is on the ‘identification of dyslexia.’ While this week is one of the biggest weeks of the calendar year for dyslexia awareness, the work goes on here at Vocendi all year to help those with the condition.

 

While things have certainly improved when it comes to spotting dyslexia in people (particularly school children) there is still much to do to help battle against the stigma associated with the condition.

 

Some still hold the belief that dyslexics are somehow ‘stupid’ rather than having a condition that impairs their ability to read or work with numbers. Of course, this is plain ignorance and cannot be condoned, just as the belittling of someone with any other type of disability would not be tolerated.

 

However, if dyslexia can be spotted then there is plenty that can be done to alleviate the effects of the symptoms – particularly through the use of Assistive Technology. Again, this is an area where there have been huge improvements over recent years, meaning that with the right help those with dyslexia can be supported fully whether studying or at work.

 

However, Assistive Technology is no good unless you receive the correct training in how to use it – which is something that we can provide at Vocendi.

 

With the right support, training and relevant technology to help there is no need to feel that your disability is holding you back and you can then use your skills to great effect either at work or in college or university.

 

Take a look at our site today to see how we can help you or someone you know to fulfil their potential. Dyslexia needn’t hold you back or be debilitating, as just like with any condition, once recognised you can go about making sure the problem is catered for.

 

So, here’s wishing you all a great Dyslexia Awareness Week and hope that you can use it as inspiration to push forward, find out how you can be supported, and make a difference in your daily life.

New Year, New Studies, New Goals

It’s a new academic year which, for many students means heading back to school, college, or even off to university. Whether you are returning somewhere for another year or starting something afresh, you will want to be prepared to get off to the best possible start.

 

Getting Equipped:

 

The first step in this is making sure you are ready with all the things you might need to see you through the week. Pens, paper, and a sturdy bag to carry your stuff around in is a good starting point, while buying a few new things can also help you to feel like you are making a new start for the academic year – even if you are returning to a course you began last year.

 

If you are returning to a course, it is also worth tidying up your notes from last year. Throwing away any unimportant or unnecessary papers, making sure your work is filed properly, and even going over some old notes to make sure they still make sense may seem like a bit of a waste of time, but it will help refresh your memory ready for the new year, while also giving you a head-start for when it is time to revise later in the year!

 

Of course, it is not just about what you might need for your studies either, you will want to make sure you have a few other items too – tissues (winter is coming!), lip balm, your iPod, money for the bus or lunch, and those other little things that you need each day.

 

Timetables?

 

You will also want to make sure you know where you are going, which means getting your timetable organised. Knowing where you have to be and when takes a lot of the stress out of the day, but your timetable shouldn’t just be a list of where and when your classes are. It is also a good idea to keep track of your deadlines for essays and other work. Keeping a study diary is a good way to do this and make sure you don’t accidentally leave something until the last minute – or forget it entirely!

 

A study timetable can also help out your social life as it will mean you are more organised with your work and therefore able to sort out meeting up with friends and other activities too.

 

Extra Support?

 

You may also want to look for some extra support with your studies by speaking to your college and finding out about what they can offer you if you have a condition such as dyslexia. There is no need for this to hold you back from being all you can be and achieving your goals. You may be eligible for DSA or assistive technology which will help support your studies.

 

At Vocendi we can help with these type of things – from study support to assistive technology training – which means that you can step confidently into the new academic year.

Uncovering The Learning Myths Of Neuroscience

There are a lot of common beliefs around how our brains work – especially when it comes to learning. Some common myths are being peddled like facts, and it seems that if you couple one of these pseudo-scientific ‘facts’ with a picture of the brain people are more likely to believe them!

 

Unfortunately, some of these learning myths are believed by teachers and parents and therefore make their way into the beliefs of students too. Of course, understanding how our memories work and how we learn is useful when it comes to teaching and more effective study, but it seems that a few of the more commonly held beliefs are actually wrong, and have no real basis in fact.

 

Here are a few common neuroscience myths – and why they simply aren’t true:

 

  • You have A Favoured ‘Learning Style.’

 

This incredibly common neuroscience myth says that each of us has a preferred way of learning – whether visual, auditory or kinaesthetic – that is using your eyes, listening or a hands-on approach. The theory says that you will learn better if you use your ‘favoured’ learning style.
Despite there being no evidence to support this, it is apparently believed by 93% of teachers. While some students will have a preference for a particular style of learning this doesn’t actually translate over to getting better grades.  In fact, findings indicate that it is best to use a variety of different senses and learning styles to cement new information in the brain – creating neural pathways related to sight, sound and touch is more effective than just using one of these.

 

  • You Only Use 10% Of Your Brain

 

There is a myth going around that Albert Einstein declared that we only use 10% of our brain, leading some to believe that there is a great untapped potential within all of us. However, the theory is untrue – and Einstein never said anything of the sort!

 

Unfortunately, a lot of people still believe this myth, despite there being no evidence to support it. In fact, with advances in our understanding of how the brain works we know that this 10% myth is incorrect.

 

  • Right Or Left Sided Brain

 

An amazing 91% of teachers believe that the difference between the right or left sides of the brain create differences in individual learners who are described as using one side or the other. There is a belief that those who are left-brained are rational and objective while those who are right-brained are more creative. This was based on a study of epilepsy in the 1960s, but since then research has found that neither side of the brain is solely responsible for personality types. Students may decide that they don’t have the right sort of brain for a particular subject, which is, of course, nonsense!

 

  • Brain Training Games Make You Smarter

 

You have probably seen adverts for brain training games and how they claim to be able to help improve your memory, concentration or intelligence. Of course, playing these games frequently means that you will get better at them over time, but there is no evidence to suggest that this transfers over to making you better at other activities, such as learning in class.

 

There are some benefits to be had from these type of games, for example for those suffering from Alzheimer’s and of course, keeping you brain active can certainly help in these type of circumstances. However, a leading researcher into these type of games concluded that there is  “no evidence for any generalised improvements in cognitive function following brain training in a large sample of healthy adults.”

 

These neurological myths are surprisingly widespread but perhaps it is time to look at them with a more critical eye. For example, it is clear to see that makers of brain-training games will be keen to get you to buy them, so may make a few leaps of judgment in promoting them to the public. Here’s hoping that these out-dated myths fade away to be replaced by more solid, research-based facts!

Advice On Cloud Storage For Students

Let’s face it, after weeks or months of work, the last thing you want is for something to go wrong with your computer and you lose that large essay or dissertation that you were working on. Backing up your files should be something that is automatic to students these days, but could cloud storage offer an effective solution to storing your work, as well as some flexibility with your studies?

 

Cloud storage is a system whereby your data is remotely managed, maintained and backed-up – allowing you to access your files online from anywhere via the Internet. This is ideal if you want to check something out from your files while you are on a café Wi-Fi system or over a friend’s house. It could also mean that you can do some study wherever there is an Internet connection – even on holiday!

 

Of course, the main plus point of using the cloud is that your files are instantly accessible from anywhere, and it is easy to just move files between your local and your cloud storage, offering an instant back-up to anything you have stored on your computer.

 

You can of course access your files from different devices, so long as they have the service downloaded to them to allow you access. Systems like Dropbox are widely used and could provide a quick and simple solution to accessing your files remotely.

 

However, be careful when moving items from your local and cloud storage – you will need to copy and paste rather than drag and drop the files – since moving them will delete them from your original location.

 

While there are some real advantages to using cloud storage as a student there are also a few potential problems that you will need to be aware of too.

 

You may have some concerns about data safety and how easy it might be for other people to access your files. While hackers may be a concern for some cloud storage users – particularly businesses – chances are there won’t be too many hackers interested in locating your files on Popular Culture In The 17th Century, or whatever else it is you are studying!

 

The main downside to what is otherwise a great storage solution for students is also its greatest strength – the Internet.

 

Being able to access your files from wherever you are using the Internet is a great thing – unless the Internet goes down. Not being able to get a connection or facing a fault with your Internet service on the day when that assignment needs to be in could prove to be a real headache!

 

That said, as an extra tool to help in your studies, cloud storage could offer you some extra flexibility to keep your life in synch with your studies!

 

All Change For The Department Of Education

There has been a lot of change in UK politics recently. Following the resignation of David Cameron and the appointment of Theresa May as Prime Minister there has also been a reshuffling of the Cabinet, with a number of MPs either being replaced or moving to new roles.

 

One such move saw Nicky Morgan replaced by Justine Greening as the Secretary of State for Education, although this also saw a change to how the department works.

 

The Department of Education has now taken over responsibility for higher education and skills, which was previously under the remit of the Department of Business, Innovation, and Skills. This means that the Department of Education has taken charge of university education as well as vocational training such as apprenticeships.

 

While there is little information on how this will work in practice, there is a real hope that this move will help to align education from school right through to university and beyond into employment. The alignment of higher education and skills with the department of education could also be good news for business and the economy.

 

It is hoped that this move will see a joining up of education and skills at all levels, creating a smoother transition between education and work, while also meeting the needs of business and the economy.

 

When higher education, apprenticeships and skills were under the watch of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, it was easy for young people to feel that their journey through education and training was fragmented, and that there was too little emphasis on how education could transition into employment.

 

Now it is hoped that there will be links between everything from childcare and primary education through to secondary school, further education, university, and apprenticeships and adult skills.

 

These are the hopes for the new unified Department of Education, but of course, only time will tell how it all works out.

 

Maintenance Loans Replacing Grants – But What Does This Mean For D.S.A.?

George Osbourne has announced that Maintenance grants are to be replaced by Maintenance Loans for university students. Those full-time students who start their course after 1st of August 2016 (including those who deferred entry from 2015/16) will no longer be eligible for a Maintenance Grant.

Instead, students will be able to apply for a Maintenance Loan to help with living costs in a move that is intended to simplify student finance. Jo Johnson, Minister for Universities and Science explained that the new loans meant that students on low incomes would be eligible for more money with a maximum loan that is 10.3% higher than the combined support offered by grants and loans for those attending university from the 2015/ 16 academic year.

The new loans will replace Special Support Grants, with the amount of the new loans to be determined by where students live or study. The first part of the loan isn’t tied to household income, but students can apply for more that is. The repayment terms have not changed either, with students not having to repay anything until they are earning over £21,000 per year.

Students who have already begun their courses will still be able to claim their Maintenance Grant or Special Support Grant. Tuition fees will remain unaffected by these changes, with universities still able to charge up to £9,000 per year, while students will also still be able to get a loan to cover this cost. Again, the tuition fee loans do not need to be repaid until a graduate is earning more than £21,000 per year.

The move away from Maintenance Grants will not affect the help available for students with children or a disability. Students will still be able to claim Disabled Students’ Allowance and these are not to be paid back unless the student drops out of their course early.

The same goes for those who apply for a Childcare Grant to help them pay for childcare while studying, which only needs to be repaid if a student leaves their course early. Additionally, Parents’ Learning Allowances and Adult Dependants’ Grants are still available for those eligible to receive them.

Finally, those students who are hard up can apply for financial assistance from their university or college via a scholarship or bursary, where available.

So, while Maintenance Grants look to be a thing of the past, D.S.A. is unaffected (for now at least!).