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Closing the Attainment Gap Using Digital Technologies to Support Learners with Additional Support Needs

The Pupil Equity Fund is intended to close the attainment gap. The money can be spent on procuring digital technologies (including hardware and software) if they are being used to particularly (but not exclusively) support children and young people affected by poverty to reach their full potential. As with all implementation of technology, obtaining the equipment is only the first step. It is important to know how to use it and how learners can be supported to overcome their barriers to learning.

In this morning seminar, we will give you the basic knowledge of many valuable features of a range of hardware, software and apps to support learners with literacy or numeracy difficulties as well as ideas, links to resources and activities that will engage everyone.

The benefits of using inclusive digital technologies - or assistive technologies - are clear and considerable. They can increase self-esteem and motivation, allowing learners to work independently and improve their level of work which leads to raised attainment.



7th September 2017
University of Edinburgh

Morning Seminar £40
(9:30am - 12:30pm)

with Workshop £80
(1:30pm - 3:30pm)

What you will learn

Morning seminar

  • How to raise attainment and best support learners with ASN
    using a range of devices (computers / tablets), software and apps
  • Exploration of the range of accessible digital resources
    suitable for pupils with print disability due to physical, visual, reading, dyslexic or communication difficulties
  • Advice on apps for developing literacy skills
    such as handwriting, phonological awareness, phonics, language learning and sentence building
  • How to use photos, video and audio
    to personalise and support literacy activities
  • How to support learners with numeracy difficulties
  • How to engage and motivate learners
    through creative implementation of inclusive digital technologies

Who is the seminar and workshop aimed at?

  • Class teachers, Support for Learning Teachers
  • Classroom assistants, Additional Support Needs assistants
  • Anyone working with a student with an Additional Support Need
  • Parent/ Carers

Afternoon workshop (optional)

The afternoon session will be capped at a maximum of 16 participants. No prior knowledge or expertise is required. You will get the chance to have hands on practice with Windows laptops and iPads using the software, apps and resources that have been talked about in the morning session.

You will have time to explore, ask questions, share ideas and take home ideas that can be immediately embedded into your practice and support of a learner with Additional Support Needs.

Meet your presenter(s)

Craig Mill
Assistive Technology Advisor

Probably better known for developing the AccessApps, a suite of portable open source and free learning support tools that can be run from a USB drive.

Craig is also the developer of the awards winning MyStudyBar - a handy tool to support learners with literacy difficulties. Craig is keeping abreast of new developments in technology, particularly technology to help overcome barriers to learning.

Paul Nisbet
Engineer and Educational Technologist

Paul is a Senior Research Fellow and has an engineering background. He's involved in CALL's assessment and support service for pupils, with a particular responsibility for access technology for pupils with physical disabilities; and for technology to enable students with dyslexia or literacy difficulties access the curriculum.

What the research says


Assistive technologies, the results of this study show, can increase participation, enhance inclusion, develop positive identity and self-confidence and raise achievement in the community of students with special educational needs.

Professor Andy Hargreaves, member of the International Council of Education Advisers
and currently advising the Scottish Government on the National Improvement Framework



Reference: Hargreaves, A. & Braun, H. (2012). Leading for all page 53

Teaching Strategies and Approaches for Pupils with Special Educational Needs: A Scoping Study


About the day

Morning Seminar

  • Duration: 9:30am - 12:30pm
  • Class size: No more than 50
  • Refreshments: Tea, coffee and water will be available throughout.

Afternoon Workshop (optional)

  • Duration: 1:30pm - 3:30pm
  • Class size: No more than 16
  • Refreshments: Tea, coffee and water will be available throughout.


  • Room: Room 1.18, Patersons Land, University of Edinburgh, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh EH8 8AQ