Tuesday, 10 January 2017

A scrumdiddlyumptious session with Salisbury Sensory Service

Monday 9 January 2017

By Sarah Bennett, RNIB Bookshare Reading Services Assistant

After a fairly lengthy train journey, I arrived at the most stunning, multi award-winning offices! 

Bourne Hill Offices
They are home to both Wiltshire Council and the Police force and combine grade II* buildings with  contemporary 21st century glass workplaces.

The teachers and SENCOs I met with were just as amazing as their workplace! We were a small group of eight, with varying levels of experience of using the original Load2Learn website. A mixture of QTVIs, teachers and SENCOS.

Discussions of the day

Technical hiccoughs thwarted a smooth start, but we battled through and had some good discussions about how they could use RNIB Bookshare to its' potential to help the children they work with. 

We talked about the background to the service and how the current website has developed from an original American one - US Bookshare.  

We went through the pros and cons of growing their team account versus teaching the schools how to use RNIB Bookshare and handing over their members,  and also how each option would work best both for their learners and their own working practices.  

We went through some processes together:
We also had a look at file formats and the software Calibre specifically for conversion purposes. The Salisbury Sensory Service is upgrading its IT next month and staff will be now also be requesting to have Calibre installed.

We created reading lists, assigned books to them and shared them with other sponsors and members. Conversations started up about how best to use the reading list feature.  

We discussed audio options at length and had a play with the Capti  app, which someone immediately downloaded onto their iPad!  Other applications were briefly talked about, such as the KNFB which some of the staff were already familiar with, the Aipoly Vision and the extremely helpful www.applevis.com website.

Some feedback from the splendiferous Salisbury teams:

"RNIB Bookshare helps me to support learners I work with, it enables me to empower teachers and learners to access reading materials independently."

What did you most like about the training?
  • "The instructor - fun and easy to listen to.  Patient and helpful." 
  • "How Sarah explained things"
  • "Practical and hands on"
Thank you Salisbury crew for the smashing feedback!  Please do get in touch if we can be of any support or help: 0300 303 8313

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Come to us, London, 16 December 2016

A fantastic Come to us London Training Day

By Ian Green, RNIB Bookshare Reading Services Assistant

This was our second come to us training day which was held at RNIB Head Office in Judd Street.  The session was attended by 17 attendees from various schools, colleges, universities and sensory support services. They were all very keen to find out more about RNIB Bookhare and lots of questions were asked and hopefully answered. Thanks to everyone for attending and for sharing their ideas and knowledge. 

Outside the main entrance to RNIB 105 Judd Street, London WC1H 9NE
Outside RNIB 105 Judd Street London WC1H 9NE

Meeting room 5 and 6 at RNIB 105 Judd Street London WC1H 9NE
Meeting room 5 and 6 at RNIB 105 Judd Street London WC1H 9NE 

Christmas festive cheer with a rocking Santa playing his guitar outside Kings Cross Station in London
Guitar rocking Santa at Kings Cross Station

The Training

During the day we covered the following.

Who is eligible, terms and conditions and Copyright
How to create Staff accounts
How to download from a Staff Account
How to create Learner accounts
How to download from a Learner account
Searching for books and images
Requesting books
Creating a reading list
Converting DAISY to WORD documents
Information about the Capti narrator
How to send our books to the KINDLE app and
information about iPads for Education

Some of the feedback we received.

What you liked best about the training.

"Practical help while using the website"
"Converting files to WORD"
"Clear instructions on how to do things. Agreed to take back comments made by users"
"Mix of people from different organisations using Bookshare for different purposes"
"Clear and comprehensive"

How will RNIB Bookshare help you to support your learners.

"Allows staff to download texts for modification instead of scanning in and re-typing"
"I will be able to use the Tactile Images from Bookshare and add good quality adapted materials"
"Quick way to provide files for students"
"It allows my VI students to access texts in the most suitable way for them in a mainstream setting"
"Gives them independent access to resources and enables them to use electronic devices for work instead of paper." 

How will RNIB Bookshare help you do your job.

 "Helps in making items on Reading Lists accessible for students"
" It enables me to produce texts for multiple VI users across secondary schools that would be time prohibited otherwise"
"It enables me to source resources more easily for students and support them to become more independent learners"
"Helps meet Access to Learning"

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Merton Training Day 30 November 2016

30 November 2016

A lovely day with Merton Sensory Support Team

By Ian Green, Reading Services Assistant, RNIB Bookshare

It was a sunny but cold and frosty late autumn morning when I travelled to Morden in South London to meet with staff from Merton Sensory Support Team to provide training on RNIB Bookshare.  The venue was The Chaucer Centre which some 30 years ago had been a school.   The building reminded me of my first Primary school which sadly is no longer standing.

The front view of The Chaucer Centre, Morden
The Chaucer Centre, Morden.

The attendees made me very welcome and kindly bought me lunch.  They were keen to learn more about RNIB Bookshare and how it could help them to support their students.

The Training

During the day we covered the following.

How to create Staff accounts
How to download from a Staff Account
How to create Learner accounts
How to download from a Learner account
Searching for books and images
Requesting books
Creating a reading list
Converting DAISY to WORD documents
How to send our books to the KINDLE app and 
information about iPads for Education

Some of the feedback from the day:

What did you most like about the training

“Very useful feel confident about using Bookshare”
“Being able to try things out and ask Ian questions”
“Clear and well paced”
“Good opportunity for hands on work”
“Hands on experience”

How does RNIB Bookshare affect the learners you work with?

“It will help them with revision and homework particularly”
“The option to zoom and hightlight with visuals will aid with their reading”
“Encourage children to read with more interest”
“Provides fuller and instant access to the curriculum”

How does RNIB Bookshare affect how you work?

“It enables me to support my students better”
“Saves time adapting/modifying resources”
“Improve/add to skills in classroom reading”

Somerset Training Day 6 December 2016

6 December 2016

A very pleasant day with Somerset Vision Support Team in Taunton, Somerset

By Ian Green, Reading Services Assistant, RNIB Bookshare

Having arrived in Taunton from Peterborough the previous evening I travelled the short distance from my overnight accommodation to The Holway Centre, a former primary school now used to house various alternative support services for Somerset schools. The attendees made me very welcome and were very keen to learn more about using RNIB Bookshare.

Taunton town centre at night with brightly lit Christmas tree.
Christmas in Taunton Town Centre

Somerset County Hall nicely lit at night
Somerset County Hall Taunton at night

Entrance to The Holway Centre Taunton
Entrance to The Holway Centre Taunton 
Front of The Holway Centre Taunton
The front of The Holway Centre Taunton

The Training

During the day we covered the following.

Who is eligible, terms and conditions and Copyright  
How to create Staff accounts
How to download from a Staff Account
How to create Learner accounts
How to download from a Learner account
Searching for books and images
Requesting books
Creating a reading list
Converting DAISY to WORD documents
How to send our books to the KINDLE app and
information about iPads for Education

Some of the feedback from the day:

What did you most like about the training

“Gave me confidence to use the system and clarified copyright issues”
“The flexibility of the trainer – went over things twice, open to questions etc.”
“Explained clearly how to use Bookshare and what was available to download”
“I really enjoyed the site tour, this was informative and very well presented”

How does RNIB Bookshare affect the learners you work with?

“Makes books accessible”
“Enables individual access to and a wider variety of printed document”
“Improves their access to the whole curriculum”
“Bookshare provides learners to access electronic  resources alongside their peers, this is so important for an inclusive education”

How does RNIB Bookshare affect how you work?

“Promotes inclusion”
“Team use it on a very regular basis to enable all our pupils to access the curriculum and reading for leisure”
“As a school, we will be able to get students to access the resources on this site and modify resources for them to use”

“Means we can advise schools to sign up and enable them to support students”

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

A Brilliant RNIB Bookshare day in Bristol!

By Caroline Walker, Reading Services Assistant RNIB Bookshare

Sarah and Caroline lead the first of our ‘Come to us’ training events at RNIB Bristol on Tuesday 13 December.  We met with 10 customers who wanted to find out how to get the most out of RNIB Bookshare.

Entrance to RNIB South West in Bristol

We had a good start to the day … with biscuits and mince pies – well it is nearly Christmas!

mmm ... a lovely pile of mince pies!

Who was there?

There was a really nice mix of attendees, QTVI’s and Sensory Support services, a Primary School Teaching Assistant, School Librarian, University staff, a Local authority Teaching Assistant who prepares resources for learners and a private tutor specialising in Dyslexia.

We had some really good discussions and thank you to all who came and shared their skills, knowledge and experience!

What we learnt?

Everyone shared what they wanted to get out of the day.  Here is some of what they said:

·        How to use the site with learners (we looked at member accounts)
·        Copyright issues
·        How to best to create memberships for Sensory support teams and schools
·        Increased confidence in using the site
·        Some found the site difficult to use and wanted to become more familiar with how to get resources from the site search and download

We had an interactive day, everyone had laptops or iPads and we all took part in activities to set up accounts, sponsors and members, search and download books and set up reading lists.

We discussed copyright, requesting titles from publishers, our accessible image resource. We learnt how to create Word files from DAISY files, and why structuring Word files is important.

The last session of the day looked at using RNIB Bookshare resources on an iPad. We looked at various applications that are really helpful and everyone shared the resources that they use too.

We were able to share some new resources that our resident RNIB iPad expert, Stacy provided for us for learners using an iPad. It was great to add this to our day.

Attendee's comments 

Here’s what our attendees thought of the day … 
‘A clear starting point for explanation’
‘Interactive opportunities’ ‘hands on’
‘Chance to share apps etc with others’
‘Friendly and approachable’
'I have not used it regularly but will be from now on!’
‘I will cascade this learning to staff so that the word will spread!’ 
‘Thank you – super course and very useful in my work. Really informative and I enjoyed hearing about different ways to use the resources’

‘Thank  you – Brilliant!’

Thanks to everyone who attended for a great day. Also many thanks to RNIB Bristol for providing space for us to meet.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

A fantastical day in York

by Sarah Bennett, Reading Services Assistant, RNIB Bookshare

Caroline and I travelled up to Yorkshire for a second time this month to continue with the RNIB Bookshare tour.  

We met up with staff from University of HuddersfieldYork St John UniversityLeeds Beckett UniversityNorth Yorks Council and York College.  York St John University kindly hosted the training session in one of their brand new IT Teaching suites which was kitted out with the most splendiferous equipment. 
Reception, Holgate Building

Information Learning Services, Fountains Building

The training

The morning was spent getting familiar with the website and going through: 
We then looked at the different file types and discussed the benefits of DAISY files and went through the third activity - how to convert a DAISY file into Word.

We demonstrated the new tool we've recently developed.  This tool makes converting our DAISY files to a structured Word document with style mark-up quick and easy.  If you'd like us to send you the tool please contact us.  Download the guidance on how to use the automatic word document generator.

Finally, before we had a break for lunch we discussed the website's Reading List functionality, how it can be best used in different scenarios and the benefits of the ability to share the lists between sponsors.

We had two copyright specialists in the training session and they were keen to discuss their current procedures and how they ensure that the copyright guidelines are adhered to.  It was raised that an improvement to RNIB Bookshare would be an option to restrict downloading by members, instead members would be either assigned books or reading lists. We shall be adding this to the RNIB Bookshare Wishlist.

Caroline and I then spent a lovely half hour sitting in one of the university's quadrangles eating our lunch and watching students in their graduation outfits making memories with their families.

After lunch we continued with the activities and went through the Book Request process and discussed how we work with publishers.  We demonstrated some applications that could be useful tools for members, such as Capti and Kindle.


What was most liked about the training?
"The balance of interactive learning"
"The hands-on aspect"
"Step by step guides and practical activities"

What do you plan to change as a result of the training?
"Make more use of free apps like Capti and share files to Bookshare"
"Look at current procedures and re-wrtie to include Bookshare, develop a strategy for use"

Thank you to everyone at the York St John session.  Remember you can call us anytime for help and guidance: 0300 303 8313.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Conversations at Coventry sensory support service

Ian and I spent a lovely sunny autumnal afternoon meeting the staff from Coventry sensory support service on Wednesday 2 November to chat to them about how they can get the best from RNIB Bookshare and its new features for their service and learners.

orange and brown autumn oak leaves

The training

We talked about how to search and download titles, discovering the accessible images, creating and using member (learner) accounts, using reading lists, creating structured Word documents and using files on devices, in particular the iPad (and  various tools such as the Kindle and Capti apps) and the iPad for Education project.

The team were really welcoming and enjoyed our ‘hands on' approach. They told us what they liked most about our training:
“Your step by step approach”
“Lots of help when we were stuck, training was simply given and easy to understand”
“Step by step instructions in going through the website – how to convert DAISY to Word DOC”
“Easy to follow and was delivered in a very accessible way”
“Relevant to the work we are doing” 

Their comments…

What will I change as a result of this training?

“Using accessible formats – DAISY to Word”
“Sign posting students and schools”
“Hoping to download files much more quickly. Feel confident about doing it!”
“more VI pupils as members”
“encourage students to use the site independently as they get older” 

How does RNIB Bookshare affect the learners you work with?

“ They would be struggling without this service”
“enables a much faster service”
“the great availability of resource’s that are out there is a real bonus for our learners”

How does RNIB Bookshare affect how you work?

“Speeds up adaptations”
“save time on preparing resources from scratch” 

 A good day ...

We had a really productive afternoon with the team, and its great that they feel ready to have more of a go now, and are particularly keen to engage with learners accessing RNIB Bookshare. 
“Great! Thank you, just what’s needed!”
The team felt a little concerned about how to resolve any difficulties once we had gone, and were reassured that we are always happy to do a webinar or take a call from them if they have any questions. Thank you Coventry SSS and good luck!