A Word in Your Ear 2009

A Word in Your Ear 2009 – Audio Feedback is a one day conference on the use of audio for providing assessment feedback to university students being held at Sheffield Hallam University on Friday 18 December.  There has been some interesting work in this area in recently such as the JISC-funded Sounds Good project (Bob Rotheram who led that project is the keynote speaker at this event) and this event looks like an excellent opportunity to learn more about initiatives in this area.

Legal challenge to MCQs

A report this morning discusses a dyslexic medical student’s proposed legal action against the use of multiple choice tests on the grounds of discrimination. 

Naomi Gadian, a student at the Peninsula Medical School in Devon, is taking action against the General Medical Council in a move which her solicitor suggests could force all providers and monitors of professional qualifications to adapt their examinations to remove MCQs.  Although dyslexic candidates face challenges with most examination formats, the report cites John Stein as stating that MCQs are problematic for dyslexic candidates because of specific difficulties caused by confusing letter order.

The outcome of this case will be very interesting, though it seems likely that MCQs won’t be going anywhere for a while yet.

Update: The BBC has posted a useful exploration of some of the issues around dyslexia and MCQs – well worth a look.

Mouse over

Now this is just cool.  CamSoft is a software product that allows you to control your computer with, well, anything.  It uses a basic webcam to identify and lock onto your chosen object – examples from the video include empty soft drink bottles, maracas, even fingertips – and relate them to controls and actions within your programme.  The precision and sensitivity of control suggested by the video even in its current pre-release state is seriously impressive, particularly in the first person shooter, and frankly, it’s impossible to stop imagining the potential of this.  This could have some really exciting applications in educational simulations, could offer some creative accessibility options, and just looks like being thoroughly good fun, and best of all, they’ve promised it will always be free.  You can sign up for the beta here.