SCHOOLS and parents have been encouraged to embrace the use of information communication technologies (ICTs), as tools to help children with learning difficulties.
BY SINDISO DUBE
Educationist and business consultant, Themba Nyoni, who runs Baobab Educational Assessment Centre, told a seminar hosted by the Computer Society of Zimbabwe (CSZ) in Bulawayo last week that ICTs can be used in converting speech to text, to help such children.
“Many children affected by difficulties such as dyslexia, which involves challenges in learning to read or interpret words, letters and other symbols, but that does not affect general intelligence.
“For such children, technologies such as c-pen readers and dragon dictators should be employed – these are scanning pen that displays a word definition and reads text aloud to support dyslexic children and adults with reading difficulties, while dragon dictation is a tool that converts speech to texts and is compatible with windows and word suites,” he said.
Learning difficulties are neurologically based problems that can interfere with learning basic skills such as reading writing or math. They can also interfere with higher level skills such as organisation, time planning, abstract reasoning, long or short term memory and attention.
Nyoni said that children who face problems with mathematics can benefit from “talking calculators”.
“Students who have a dyscalculia can benefit greatly from talking calculators, the gadget makes it easier to check assignments, read numbers and perform calculations.
“If your child is suffering from such conditions it doesn’t mean they are dull. I believe no child is dull, but they grasp concepts differently and we should group them differently according to how they want and need to learn,” he said.
Nyoni challenged the CSZ to move in-line with the new education curriculum, which is set to employ more technological advances in learning facilities.
“As CSZ, let’s move in line with the new curriculum and enhance our children’s learning frontiers through technology. To teachers, technology is not going to take away our jobs, but will enhance your practice.
“ICT is developing each day and we should move with the times for the betterment of our children and their future.
If a child cannot learn in a way we teach, then why not teach in a way the child wants to learn,” he said.