Stunned delight was the reaction of Blomfield Special School and Resource Centre principal, Bev Topia at the surprise donation of ICT goodies from technology company and Project DISE partner, Hewlett Packard (HP).
“It’s just wonderful,” says Bev, I can’t remember when we were last given something.”
The extra equipment, which included IPAC pocket PCs, HP Notebooks, photo printers and digital cameras has meant double the number of staff and students can participate in the DigiOps DISE project, which is using digital video technologies to create videos to assist students’ socialisation and desensitisation processes, and digital diaries to track their progress as they develop skills and abilities during their time at the school.
“At the moment the limitation is what staff have we got, and how long have they got to take footage and edit it, but with the new cameras we’ll be able to double the number of staff producing videos,” says ICT teacher, Brian Baynham.
All videos and digital diaries are filmed and edited by staff, and the first desensitisation video is focused on the visiting ear-test caravan, which is being made to prepare a student for their hearing test, while another student, fearful of a car wash, is having a video made of the car wash which is on the school’s walking route. A socialisation video focusing on a café and showing the process of visiting a café and what behaviour is expected, is already in use.
Bev, Brian and the team have spent months planning and scoping the project and are in no doubt that special needs students respond well to video and still images.
“Visual imaging is the only way to go. We’ve used it on an ad hoc basis in the past with photos and artwork. But with project DISE, we’re directed, we’re focused and we’re measuring it - and that’s the big difference. I have high hopes for the project,” says Brian.
Also with high hopes for the project is technology partner, HP.
Melissa Fincham, HP’s Philanthropy and Education Manager says her company is committed to the education sector and is delighted to be involved with and provide ongoing support to Project DISE.
“Working with schools that want to make a difference is wonderful and I don’t see how this project can fail,” says Melissa.
Other Digital Opportunities projects also to receive surprise goodie bags including technology support from HP were the Kopu Project and the Forests of Life.