Last month Dr. Moya O’Brien and Erica Slama presented at the Porto International Conference on Research in Education on Adaptive and Inclusive Learning Environment (AILE). This project used Universal Design for Learning to develop a web based platform to teach literacy skill in inclusive primary classrooms.
AILE was funded through the European Erasmus+ Programme and involved professionals from Ireland, France and Belgium. The first meeting took place in December 2019. The project is underpinned by Universal Design for Learning and adaptations using the AILE Platform. Initially the project kicked off with a survey of teachers and parents in the partner countries on their use of technology. This informed the development of the platform.
The platform was then tested and refined based on the suggestions and observations of teachers and pupils. One of the unique aspects of this platform is that the pupils can modify the presentation of materials at the outset. The first selection focuses on preparatory skills and getting ready to learn. The next part allows them to modify the presentation for their own needs. Finally, they begin the activities which are based on literacy and numeracy curriculums. Harnessing UDL principles they can modify many aspects of the presentation of the materials and respond to the material using many formats.
There were many challenges along the way including the COVID-19, schools operating remotely, restrictions on travel however none of these challenges got it the way! The result is a very useful platform to support children learning literacy skills and their teachers in mainstream classrooms.
What was interesting was the fact that literacy and numeracy skills are taught in very similar ways across all countries and in both French and English. There were some challenges converting content from French to English but mostly there was a direct correspondence between skills taught in French and English.
The final version of the platform will be launched later in the summer and will be available free for all to use. For more information visit our research hub.
Related to this project, we were delighted to hear that our article “Teachers use of technology & the impact of Covid-19” is currently no.1 on the Irish Educational Studies Journal most read articles! Find out more here.