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Keystone Speech master case studies

Broadclyst Community Primary School

Located near Exeter in Devon, Broadclyst Community Primary School is housed in a building dating back to 1810 and together with a modern extension has excellent resources and achieves high standards. The school is very popular and has an average entrance waiting list of five years.

Mr Peter Hicks, the head teacher, takes great pride in the schools achievements and enthuses drive, energy and vision. He leads the school with his deputy head, Jonathan Bishop. Their vision pervades the school and is enthusiastically embraced by staff and pupils. Both pupils' and staff work is largely electronically based and there is a clear drive to innovate.

In their drive to improve literacy and cognitive sub-skills they have adopted the voice recognition and read-back package known as KeyStone SpeechMaster. Jonathan Bishop explained that the children develop their own strategies for using speech recognition, "The flexibility of the SpeechMaster package is fantastic; every child's needs are different and by allowing the child to determine what's best for them ensures maximum gain."

Broadclyst Case Study Every child that uses Speech Master is required to undertake a short and simple training process. The process for 35 pupils, conducted by Words Worldwide, was completed in one hour. This compares with well over an hour per pupil, which has been the experience of many schools! This training was specially tailored and included class exercises where the children had to use the speech recognition software to edit a piece of text. They also used a customised script, written by their teacher and inserted into SpeechMaster by the Stories Organiser program that is included within the package. The script contained a vocabulary that would suit the children's everyday use and therefore was easily accepted.

Contrary to popular belief that there must be no background noise when using speech recognition software, 35 pupils all trained at once in the same room. Within one hour, the training was complete without any individual adult help. The children found it easy and simply followed the instructions given by the trainer and displayed on-screen.

Broadclyst is a national model for primary education and has a fully equipped IT suite. Most importantly the school offers all its pupils access to technology at all times. "It's not just a reward for the star pupils", explains Jonathan Bishop. This ensures every student has a level of control over how they approach, organise and present their work in a way never before possible.

Key to the success of SpeechMaster at the school is Words Worldwide's KeyStone Roamer facility, a separate software package allowing the networking of the children's voice files. This allows the children to maintain a permanent voice file while giving them the flexibility to change their workstation within the classroom. Jonathan Bishop states, "In a large classroom environment Roamer is essential for the successful adoption of this technology."

Broadclyst Case Study In addition, using the recommended microphone headsets makes a tremendous difference in the children's voice recognition rates. Jonathan Bishop explains, "We started using, against advice, our existing microphone headsets and were disappointed with the results. Words Worldwide came to help us and brought with them Plantronics USB Audio.45 headsets. They made all the difference, with the children's recognition rates vastly improved."

The school believes that employing the latest technology can even motivate previously disinterested pupils. "They can't wait to log on and get working in this interactive and engaging environment. Moreover, they were realistic enough to understand that they would need to invest time in using the software to get the best from it." explains Jonathan Bishop who views this technology as, "part of the children's life skills development, it encourages articulation, helps them to think creatively, build grammar and vocabulary and increases their confidence in vocalising themselves."

Finally, the school believes that wherever the pupil is and whatever their stage of development or physical ability, KeyStone SpeechMaster enables them to take part in all aspects of their classes and the school curriculum.

Broadclyst Community Primary School - (01392) 461288
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