Inclutech by Nurture 2 at Beech Academy

Inclutech by Nurture 2 at Beech Academy

Inclutech is a noise-control device to dedicated to increase special needs learners inclusivity in the classroom

This is the last stretch of DigiEduHack 2020! We conducted a series of interviews to shine the light on the members of the 12 teams taking part in this final round of DigiEduHack and get to know their aspirations, motivations and hopes. Let's meet with the Nurture 2 at Beech Academy team!   

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How does it feel to be among the finalists of DigiEduHack 2020?

It is an absolute honor, and actually very inspiring, to have been selected as DigiEduHack 2020 finalist. Our pupils face significant disadvantage in our society, having special educational needs and coming from an area of high deprivation. The news of becoming finalists has sent waves throughout our school, and has shown other pupils what is possible when we work together to come up with solutions to existing problems.

Tell us more about the team: did you meet on the spot or did you know from before?

The team belong to one class group from our specialist provision at The Beech Academy. Pupils are aged between 12 and 14.

How did you organize your team: each team member had a precise role or were you all hands-on the project?

Once we knew what it was we wanted to do, we aligned roles with the inherent strengths of our pupils. For example, Sienna is a budding artist and she took on the role of design, for the product and the logo. Leland is very good at identifying errors and potential problems, and so we used this to our advantage by listening to his input and making amendments were needed.

What was the team's epiphany moment? When did you realise "yes, we've got it"?

We definitely had an epiphany moment! This was during an early discussion about the things that we find difficult. Ethan pointed out that some of us (including me) often struggle with background noise, and we have to spend a lot of time to ‘get ready’ for learning. We thought about products that already exist i.e. ear defenders and Leland rightly pointed out that this doesn’t help to focus on the noise we needed to hear i.e. teaching input to a lesson. I told Leland that was a very good point and it was a shame our ear defenders couldn’t block out other noises except for the person speaking, and that’s when Owen and Sienna gasped and we all quickly realized that we had come up with a solution!

Do you think your solution could work worldwide? Can it be adapted to very different contexts?

Absolutely. As a team, we have realized multiple scenarios where these headphones can be used. We thought about how they could be used when doing our outdoor lessons when we need to stop and listen to our Forest Schools teacher, but find it difficult because of all the many noises in the environment. They could also work in whole school assemblies, which are often referred to as an ‘autistic nightmare’; we think that having the lead person’s voice at a comfortable, and adjustable, volume in a headset might be preferred to listening to someone try and compete with all the rustling noises in a large room that echoes noise. Using the iPad app to manage the headsets would allow the lead to select one person to answer at a time, and better manage some pupils’ tendencies to shout out answers/comments.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of your solution?

We think that the main strength of the IncluTech is that it keeps the lead in control of the auditory environment, whilst allowing the learners to adjust the headset so that it is comfortable to them. It Is not intended to wear them for whole lessons, as that could potential increase sensitivities for people who already feel hypersensitive to sound.

If you're one of the three global winners, what are your next steps going to be?

Oh my goodness! What a wonderful achievement that would be! We would dedicate part of our week to the development of our headphones and app, and we would start actively using them as part of our everyday teaching and learning. Who better to test it out than our pupils who are experiencing the problem that they have tried to solve with IncluTech. Our next step would be to invite other schools to try IncluTech in the classroom and see what kind of response we get. This would help us to gather research and write case studies.

Do you already have an idea on how to make your solution become real?

Yes. We will identify a tech and app developer to create our products, and we will keep our team of pupils at the heart of the process from design to promotion.

What would you tell potential voters to make them cast their vote for your solution?

I think a vote for IncluTech is also a vote for a truly inclusive society. We do not want the public to vote for us because we come from a special school, we want the public to vote for us because they recognize that barriers exist in our education system for children with Neurodifferences and/or sensory sensitivities, and believe our solution is a good one to promote more inclusive classrooms.

Could you give us a quote or a quick take-away?

“IncluTech includes all types of learner in the classroom by using digital technology to promote kinder and quieter teaching environments.”

Anything you'd like to add?

On behalf of the whole team, we would like to say a huge thank you to DigiEduHack, including the steering group, supporters and all participants. It has been an enlightening experience and has already inspired our young people to imagine all sorts of new possibilities. We have enjoyed reading about other teams’ solutions, and realized how much can be achieved to create better education experiences for all.

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