Queen Alexandra College
49 Court Oak
Dear RECALL partners,
We at Queen Alexandra College (QAC) had the pleasure of being part of the trials for Route Mate. The timing of this project was good as the travel training team had already begun to discuss the incorporation of mobile technology within its remit. We had however found it difficult to find apps or software that adequately reflected the needs and abilities of our student group.
Even at the initial demonstration we could see the potential in Route Mate as a teaching aid and potentially as a route reminder. We already used physical prompts, such as photo books for routes and the Route Mate provides a more portable and interactive equivalent to that. Furthermore it hands control over to the student so that they can work with the trainer to decide on their landmarks and relevant information points along the route. This is very powerful.
As smartphones become more pervasive it makes sense to take advantage of the opportunities that they offer. The fact that the app is contained within an item of mainstream technology that their non-disabled peers would also carry makes it a more desirable solution. This in turn means that it is ultimately more likely to be used and is therefore more effective.
There are elements of the software that we would like to see developed further. Gamification of Route Mate for instance would be a great boon. Our students respond well to the fun aspects of learning and I am sure that if the ideas around this come to fruition it would be a great advantage in teaching some individuals. The whole experience of the trial was positive for both the staff and the students involved and the travel training department at QAC has every intention of adding Route Mate to its range of tools for teaching independent travel.
Travel Training and Access Technology Officer
If you would like to be familiar with the presentation during the ITAG 2012 please click on the following link:
Male – 29 years old
A young Deaf student with Autism has recently begun attending a Life Skills course at the Deaf Cultural Centre. He attends with a volunteer member of support staff who has worked with him for a number of years. He participated in travel training at college but doesn’t travel anywhere alone due to the nature of his disability and is always accompanied by family or staff. He is a good natured young man who enjoys meeting new people, he communicates using very limited British Sign Language.
This student was happy to participate in piloting sessions although didn’t initially understand the concept. He required a fair amount of support from staff but remained concentrating on the task throughout.
The student’s confidence with using Routemate improved throughout the sessions and he became more inquisitive, asking what words meant and was keen to understand what to do next. His confidence with being out and about in unfamiliar environments increased over time. Due to limited communication, it wasn’t always clear whether he understood exactly what to do but as he became more relaxed in the situation, he became more comfortable asking questions. This student was keen to use Routemate again.
Male – 28 years old.
A young, Deaf male with cerebral palsy attends college three days a week for courses in English, Maths and Art. He has previously been involved in European projects and was very keen to be involved in piloting Routemate. He has a support worker who currently accompanies him when travelling by public transport, and gets lifts from family and friends. His family are anxious about him travelling alone and the dangers he may come across with regards to safety and also communication barriers.
As he has been involved in previous projects and enjoyed the participation, he was very positive about being involved in RECALL. He required little support, other than technical assistance with using the mobile phone and was enthusiastic about using Routemate throughout the sessions.
This student grew in confidence over the sessions, each time wanting to walk a more complex route with the trainer. He became used to the application, requiring less support from the trainer over the course of the sessions. He was really impressed with the mobile phone and the piloting sessions initiated conversations with his parents about buying a new model of phone so he could access Routemate himself after the piloting sessions were over. His parents remarked on his attitude towards the project and how he looked forward to using Routemate again.
Female student – 17 years
A young lady currently undertaking Orientation and Mobility training at Queen Alexandra College where she is developing concentration/attention skills, social use of language and other skills, with a view to increase and develop her independent living skills. She has a moderate learning difficulty, attention deficit disorder and co-ordination difficulties and requires an individualised approach to her learning which involves differentiation of concepts. By taking part in the Recall project, tutors at QAC felt this would benefit the student by increasing her confidence and awareness for traveling independently.
The student has never participated in anything like this before. It was her first involvement in a European project.
She is a quiet but friendly young lady who responded well to the facilitators who she had never met before. She was very positive about Routemate from the start and was keen to use it. Once the features and functionality had been explained she needed no further support in accessing and using them. Even when we countered technical issues she was unfazed and knew how to recover the app from crashes.
The student was able to use all three modes of Routemate after the first introductory session. She was very comfortable using the mobile phone and the app and instinctively knew how to operate it.
She progressed from facilitator support to independent use very quickly.
The trainer who has worked with this student for a while commented on how surprised she was by the student’s confidence in using Routemate and in offering her opinions and suggestions to the facilitators.
The student was totally engaged with Routemate and concentrated 100% throughout each session. In view of her concentration and attention difficulties, this was felt to be a very positive outcome both for the student and for Recall.
The student expressed a willingness to use Routemate once it has been finalised as a tool for enabling her to learn routes thus increasing her ability for independent travel.