Published: 14th April 2020
MDA makes online course on handling special children for teachers free on IIT-M's NPTEL platform. Details inside
The courses are hosted on IIT-M's NPTEL web portal, which has enabled MDA to offer it for free to anybody who is interested in equipping themselves with strategies to cope with difficulties
The Madras Dyslexia Association and National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL) at IIT Madras have made their online teaching courses that provide remedial support to children with Specific Learning Difficulties, free of cost, during this lockdown. The courses launched a year ago, are targeted towards teachers of primary school children (Classes I-V) and professionals such as occupational therapists, counsellors, speech pathologist and also parents of children with special needs.
It contains simple methods of identifying and remediating young children with dyslexia. Called e-shikshanam, the online courses use the multiple-intelligences approach, which not only makes learning more effective but also hones innate talents of children with dyslexia. Within a classroom, these methods enhance the learning of the entire class and hence they do not have to be administered selectively. The infrastructure required (at the trainee’s end) for this programme is minimal - a computer with speakers and an average Internet connection.
Speaking about the current course, D Chandrasekhar, President, Madras Dyslexia Association (MDA), said, “The learning process of a child with dyslexia is supported by an ecosystem made of school, teachers, parents, and other supportive therapists like counsellors, occupational therapists and speech therapists. Each one of them needs to understand the difficulties faced by a child with dyslexia, the strengths and needs of this child. Through e-shikshanam, MDA is working towards disseminating information on what dyslexia is and basic remedial methods that a child with dyslexia can use to cope with difficulties in reading, spelling, writing and/or mathematics.”
He explains that dyslexia affects one in six school-going children and sadly there are no great facilities available to help them. And that their nearest help is their teachers so, he adds, "We are on a mission to empower the teachers and also the parents. We have put together remedial content that also has a checklist with which you can identify the difficulty of the child. There is at least 29 hours of content on the platform that we have put up with the help of NPTEL and it's extremely useful for teacher training," adds Chandrashekhar.
Lectures by experts
The key features of this course include:
-Available through a user-friendly interface.
-It is modular and split into short segments delivered using videos and transcripts.
-Every week a new module is made available and can be completed at a convenient time and place.
-End-of-segment quiz enables self-evaluation.
-On completion of the course, to earn certification a trainee might opt for an examination
-View Case studies, analyse them and answer related questions. The trainees gain from this experiential learning of a real-time situation so that they could practice applying the appropriate strategies
Highlighting the impact of this course, Professor Andrew Thangaraj, NPTEL Coordinator, IIT Madras, said, “NPTEL IIT Madras is happy to be a part of this initiative. We are glad that this technological leverage is making such a positive impact in the lives of the children with dyslexia and their caregivers. We hope to continue partnering with Madras Dyslexia Association, to help provide support to even larger number of children through newer programmes.”
The courses are hosted on NPTEL web portal, which has enabled MDA to offer it free of cost to anybody who is interested in equipping themselves with strategies to cope with difficulties in reading, spelling, writing and mathematics. These courses were first launched a year ago in April 2019 and the most recent ongoing course was launched on Monday, April 13. Already at least 400 people have registered on the platform for the ongoing course.
The current course consists of the following modules:
-Introduction to dyslexia
-Multiple Intelligence (MI)
Production of a similar course for teachers teaching in Tamil is in progress. This would help to reach out to children across Tamil Nadu. "We could easily come up with the English and Tamil versions of the course, however, the Tamil one will be available sometime in the next few months as its content is still in the recording stage. It will cater to teachers who are comfortable in learning these in the Tamil language," concludes Chandrashekhar.