A new computer program to assist school students with disabilities achieve better educational outcomes is being trialed in Perth.
Launching the new program at the start of Cerebral Palsy Week this morning, Disability Services Minister Paul Omodei said that while the initiative was still in the developmental stage, it could offer students with disabilities the opportunity to learn at their own pace from their home computers.
He said that like many good ideas, the program came about by accident through a chance meeting between Dr Geoff Meyer from the University of Western Australian and Joy Tranter, the Cerebral Palsy Association’s School-Age Intervention Program coordinator.
“Dr Meyer has developed an award-winning learning program, which allows university students to study on-line,”
Mr Omodei said.
In conversation with Ms Tranter, it became clear that this approach to learning could be adapted to assist secondary school students who might have difficulty keeping up with the curriculum because of their physical disabilities.
“The Cerebral Palsy Association, in partnership with Dr Meyer, is adapting the computer-based tutor to provide an alternative way for students to complete the practical work associated with many high school projects,” he said.
Mr Omodei said the trial program would allow four students with cerebral palsy to access the biology curriculum at their own pace from their home computers.
“This project has the potential to change the way students with disabilities learn,” he said.
“It could open up a wealth of possibilities and overcome difficulties many students face in keeping up with their peers because of their disabilities.”
Mr Omodei congratulated the Cerebral Palsy Association of Western Australia and Dr Meyer for their efforts in initiating the project.
“Technological advances have revolutionised the way we approach education and this partnership shows how new developments can be harnessed and adapted to meet the needs of people with disabilities,” he said.
Media contact: Hugh Ryan 9213 6700