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Lydia's design narrative - PowerPoint panic!

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Lydia Spenceley
7 April 2015


I am (now) the Higher Education and Teacher Education (HETE) Manager for Grantham College having spent the last 15 years working in Teacher Education working with mature learner-educators with a vocational rather than an academic background (hairdressing or construction rather than history or sociology).  Prior to moving to a further education college I worked with young people in a Youth Training (now NEETs) context and have also worked in prison education.  In these contexts I specialised in working with learners with special educational needs or disabilities and eventually took an MA in Special Educational Needs.  Three years ago I was given the opportunity to develop a Foundation Degree Award in Special Educational Needs and Disability (FdA SEND) in partnership with a local university aimed at Learning Support Assistants (LSAs) working with SEND learners in a mainstream setting.  


The SEND FdA is open to anyone with an interest in, or who works with SEND learners. The only entry qualifications required are the ability to work at level 3 and to have English and maths at level 2 (although we can make exceptions to this for those without formal qualifications to ensure inclusivity, and the maths qualification can be studied contemporaneously), who have 50 hours contact with SEND learners over the academic year.  The learners on the course are mainly mature ladies working as LSAs who have varied experience and educational backgrounds and extremely varied and often limited IT skills.  

The course has 10 modules over a 3 year period (5 at level 4 and 5 at level 5) and all except two have two forms of assessment.  The level 4 modules all have two assessments attached to each module, one of which is normally a presentation and the other a written piece.  To up-skill the learners, and ensure that they are conversant with the technology that they may encounter in a mainstream classroom, each of the presentations has to include IT.  This year, for the first time, I had a learner whose IT experience exceptionally limited and had never used PowerPoint (PP).  The individual presentation for the second module (assignment brief below) requires the use of PP and must include ’text, graphics, photographs, images and video’.  This presented the learner with a significant problem; she attends college once a week (6 hours) and there is limited provision in this time for one to one teaching; her attendance entails a round trip of 85 miles; additional attendance at college is impossible due to her working arrangements.


To work with the learner to develop skills using PP to ensure that she was not disadvantaged in making a formally assessed presentation.


  1. Reassuring the learner that she would be supported to learn the programme and would gain the skills to make the presentation, and an assessment of her existing skills and any sources of support that she had available to her. 

  2. Agreeing a programme of experiential learning which would enable her to develop the necessary skills using a step by step approach.  We agreed on a combination of bespoke videos on DVD (youtube was out of the question at this point as she had not used it, but she had access to a DVD player) directed assignment work, one-to-one help from me and peer support from the group. 

  3. Creating a series of videos burned onto DVD and short assignments which guided new learning, enabling her to learn through repetition (stopping the video and copying the actions) and then practicing a short PP focused on the topic learned in the class.  This helped her to reflect on the subject matter and the presentation itself and encouraged her to try out different combinations of techniques (Kolb’s Learning Cycle).  The PP was then e-mailed to me for comment and return.

  4. The sequence of videos was:

  • Introduction to PP – getting started, setting up a presentation, choosing backgrounds, fonts etc and putting text on slides.

  • Introducing images and photo’s into PP from Internet sources, mobile phones and DVDs to support text

  • Sequencing and animating information (text and images)

  • Accessing videos from youtube and embedding them in PP

  • Adding audio from a mobile device


Well it worked – she passed.  It may not have been the most sophisticated presentation ever submitted but it did the job. 


  1. She has developed confidence in her ability to use technology, to research on the net and if all goes wrong, to walk away, have a cup of tea and start again 

  2. Practicing the new PP technique we had agreed at home, in her own time and without an audience of her peers reduced the feeling she had to learn quickly 

  3. The level of peer support was considerable, and there were numerous occasions when others were able to add to the information she had or were able and this added to group cohesion and sharing 

  4. The directed assignments worked well and made the learning of PP techniques relevant

  5. The introduction to a range of different devices and technologies was rather rapid at times and some further practice could have been included but tempus fugit and there was need for pragmatism in the choice of technologies introduced

Extra content

Assignment Brief 2


Foundation Degree in Special Education Needs and Disability






GFD 112

A Social Pedagogy for Learning





Poster Presentation





This task focuses upon the importance of collaborative work in the SEND setting to meet individual needs.  This component will explore ways in which the roles of different practitioners, parents/carers can provide a cohesive and enriched learning journey for SEND learners.

Title: Working together

General Guidance

Power Point presentations can contain all common media forms such as text, graphics, photographs, images and video and allows you to create engaging and visually stimulating presentations.

Appropriate equipment will be provided if necessary and detailed guidance will be delivered during the module. 

Your presentaion should use a range of images or videos with supporting text and audio files, which illustrate the importance of collaborative working. 

You will need to obtain permission from your placement for any information that you elect to use as part of the presentation. 

You will need to ensure that you have informed consent for all individuals appearing in photographs and videos in your presentation.  More guidance on this issue will be provided during the module.

The presentation:

This is an individual presentation

The presentation should last no more than 10 minutes

You should draw on relevant literature references, material from university/ college sessions and examples from your own setting practice, as appropriate

A summary of the information on the presentation should be prepared for the assessors and must contain a list of references.



By the end of the module students are expected to:

  • ·         Demonstrate understanding of the importance of collaborative working in a specific SEND context;
  • ·         Work within defined guidelines to collect and analyse data relating to the assessment task.



You will be assessed on the extent to which you can:

Knowledge and Understanding

Demonstrate how theories of learning and other factors can be used to understand how learning occurs

Analysis and Evaluation

Develop an argument/or stance which demonstrates your analysis of approaches to learning.  Reflect and evaluate how useful theories are in understanding learning

Transferable Skills

Show awareness of how this might influence your practice.  Make specific reference to appropriate sources and readings.  Pay attention to detail in presentation and referencing conventions.



Lydia Spenceley
11:53 on 7 April 2015

Embedded Content


Jo Walter
8:48pm 20 April 2015

I found your narrative design really interesting, Lydia, as it described working with one learner, which has its own challenges!  Clearly this was successful overall, but I notice that you also describe that she called quite heavily on her peers for support. Did you ever find any difficult in promoting her independent learning/working during this process, as I often find this is a fine line to tread when offering additional support to students on a one to one basis?

Thanks for sharing, lots to think about here for me, as I had an interaction with a student today which once more reinforced how fine a line that can be to tread and I'd love to know if you've ever felt the same.


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