Westminster University played host last month to Sticky Campus, a touring roadshow of technology that persuades students to stay on campus even though they have no teaching to attend.
Features of the Sticky Campus include six height adjustable tables for students to sit round and plug their personal devices into, enabling them to access a larger screen on which they can work on documents together.
Inclusive learning is a key feature of the roadshow. Students using assistive technology can take part on equal terms with non-disabled students, using their specialist applications to collaborate.
Hannah, a final year photography student, showed those who attended the demonstration how she can organise her notes as a mind map and use the map to present her ideas to a group on a big screen.
Similarly, a student with a visual impairment uses Zoom magnification technology to work on a document and show this to others without the Zoom enlargement showing up on the others’ screens.
Short training videos, developed by Wyvern Business Systems for those with specialist hardware and software needs, are part of what’s available on the Sticky Campus.
So far two universities have demonstrated the £70,000 system, but Duncan Peberdy, an expert on interactive learning who developed the Sticky Campus roadshow aims to have a network of ten universities eventually.
Seema Malhotra MP, co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for AT was concerned that technology should keep disabled people in education and in work. “Higher education institutions have a duty to create an inclusive learning environment,” she said. “There is concern about completion rates and the grades obtained (by students).”
Lib Dem peer Lord Addington, President of the British Dyslexia Association, was more forthright. “One message is you’ve got the kit but you’ve got the problem of making the two work together, that is the challenge,” he said.
“It is a great series of tools. If you use them you will get a cheer, if you don’t you’ll get your backside kicked.”