Abigail Ball

Abigail Ball

I am an Assistant Professor and Head of Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) in the Centre for Teacher Education at Warwick University.

Location Coventry

Activity

  • My institution owns anything I create but in a previous institution we made a lot of use of Creative Commons as we had a public repository which could hold research materials and teaching materials. Many of these resources were attributed as Creative Commons adaptable, copyable and redistributable but only for non-commercial purposes.

  • I'd like to learn more about Instagram as I am well behind the curve on this one.

  • Our students are encouraged to blog about their experiences in the classroom to get them used to publishing and receiving feedback. They are also encouraged to use video reflections in their portfolios.

  • I reduced the number of students and also had to reduce the time - this meant that the students had less activities to complete.

  • H5P is easy to use to create different interactive content e.g. quizzes, videos with questions, hotspots on videos and images to give you more information. You don't need coding skills to use it and it works within Moodle and as a standalone. I also use Mentimeter to gather feedback and Symbaloo to organise weblinks.

  • There are many similarities at the basic level - the skills are the same it just might be that the software being used is different.

  • I often see students who are really not confident with their portfolios producing some lovely work full of evidence and reflections. It is amazing how they all start out with the same template but develop it in very different ways.

  • This is a very useful tool but you do have to have planned your lessons quite carefully - it is not suitable for the ad hoc sessions that I run for staff - they just want quick and easy answers to specific questions so that they can get back on with their work. It is much more useful for students.

  • Our trainees need to be able to validate the authenticity of online resources and to be aware of what they can and can't use in the classroom (e.g. copyright restrictions). They get a lot of support about searching for resources from our library which hopefully they will transfer into their own practice when they go out to teach.

  • Relevant examples and case studies really help - if staff and students can't see how they would use the technology in their practice they will not use it. Also benefits to them and being honest about any problems or things they need to be aware of.

  • I've used this type of proforma (the learning Designer one) before and it can sometimes be quite hard to make it fit your needs. I do like the colour coding as I think that gives a very quick visual guide to the type of content you are covering in your lesson.

  • Learning - Wikipedia
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learning
    Almost identical to others - I used Google again like many other users.

  • There is very little reference to any sort of digital skills in most of the job descriptions that I looked at - therefore students will probably not see the relevance when applying for jobs but they will be expected to use technology when they get out into the classroom.

  • We use Mahara for our trainees' portfolio of evidence for their teaching standards - they do get initial support but once they get used to using it we generally have very few problems. We are increasingly finding that the students like to use their portfolios in job interviews to showcase their skills.

  • Teaching is already digital although there are significant differences between schools. Electronic whiteboards, learning management systems, databases of student information are just a few of the digital technologies in common use. Our students are expected to produce e-portfolios of evidence whilst they are studying with us and I know of several students...

  • Looking at training roles in other areas e.g. health and social care, there is still a focus on using PowerPoint which points to the standard lecture-based teaching practice. I'm surprised there is no mention of flipped learning or blended learning that make much better use of learning technologies and digital skills.

  • From my perspective the definitions in the DSF are clear but I think it is important that they can and do develop over time. What is appropriate for our learners now may not be appropriate for our learners in 5 or 10 years time. Just as we are saying that our workforce needs to develop; I think that the definitions need to develop too.

    Whilst the location...

  • I think the key word is 'appropriate' when it comes to digital technologies. Many of our students (but not all!) are very comfortable using technology in their personal lives but are far less confident when it comes to using it to teach with. It is important that students recognise what technologies are appropriate to use and when they are appropriate to...

  • Abigail Ball made a comment

    Hello everyone

    I'm a Senior Academic Technologist in the Centre for Teacher Education at the University of Warwick and I'm interested in keeping up to date with the latest trends in technology.

  • Abigail Ball made a comment

    This course has been interesting and has given me a lot to think about. I've also got some work to do to make my work accessible (even just from a formatting perspective).

  • Making the device more fashionable and less like a monitor is a good step but it doesn't overcome the stigma of feeling old, frail and feeling that you are being watched like a child rather than living your life as a grown up (as other people have commented) and I'm not sure how this can be rectified if at all.

    Most people who wear fitness monitors do so...

  • Monika may not be happy with the lack of face to face customer support that she receives as it is getting less and less but she will probably be happy to answer these questions as she clearly enjoys interacting with people (assuming that the question was asked by a person rather than as an online survey). As her eyesight is fading she would probably benefit...

  • I really liked this idea - support dogs are great. I also like the simplicity of the design of the washing machine - perhaps they could extend this design so that other people could tell the machine to start washing rather than the dog. Surely machines this simple could be of benefit to many users with physical and cognitive impairments.

  • I would say 2a - provide choice in the method of use, 2d - provide adaptability to the users pace and 3a eliminate unnecessary complexity could be added to the SST checklist.

  • No I haven't heard of this before - it will be interesting to see the extent to which countries sign up to it and the impact this may or may not have on individual lives.

  • As other people have been saying I think it is important to have the legislation in place but we shouldn't need to use it to force people to change how they work (particularly). Encouraging people to think about what they are designing or producing and how anybody irrespective of their physical or mental abilities can use their product or service is much more...

  • Whilst I don't feel 'designed out' I do feel that there is an increased expectation on individuals to use technology at all times. This is particularly difficult for older people who have often not grown up with technology and learned to live their day to day lives without smart phones or computers. It seems to me that there is very little allowance for...

  • The vending machines at work are fairly old and give you no instructions on how to use them - the cost of each item is physically taped onto the shelf below each item along with its identity number. These labels are small and quite difficult to read. If you were in a wheelchair you would not be able to read the top row (and possibly the second row) as it is...

  • Fingerprint identification could be an option but this doesn't really help those people who have manual dexterity problems - placing a thumb on a scanner is easier than typing in four digits but it still requires dexterity - what happens if you suffer with arthritis for example and can't present your thumb at the right angle on the scanner? Voice controls are...

  • I particularly dislike SST's in supermarkets - not because of the scanning but because of the weight reader in the bagging area. If you use your own bags they often struggle to recognise the weight of the items and woe betide anyone who removes a full bag from the bagging area and adds in an empty bag to continue loading their shopping. I am able to return...

  • For me one of the frustrations with appliances is that the controls seem to be the last thing that the manufacturers think of. I've got a lovely sleek looking black microwave that sits very nicely on my worktop but the controls (two dials) are really tiny and pretty inaccurate. Trying to set the timer for under a minute is a real challenge and I don't have...

  • My appliances are very basic - my washing machine doesn't have a digital display it just has a dial and a number of buttons. Likewise my microwave only has a dial - it does ping when it is finished but there is nothing to indicate how long you are setting it for without looking at the dial (and the same goes for the temperature controls). I have no idea how...

  • Neither the radio buttons nor the captcha are accessible using tabs - they are just skipped over. The red mandatory text is also not accessible.

  • Abigail Ball made a comment

    I've learnt about automatic and manual testing of websites and how these two methods both need to be employed to make websites as accessible as possible. However, manual testing of websites is very time consuming and automatic testing does not pick up all of the issues so we still have a long way to go. I am also realising the daunting task that is ahead of...

  • Abigail Ball made a comment

    As I've previously commented many people who are undertaking web design are not web designers - my staff are an example of this - they are teachers who have to use Moodle and Mahara alongside their main teaching responsibilities. Therefore they do not automatically have the skills to make content accessible (they should but other things take priority like...

  • User testing is good for making sure that websites meet minimum accessibility requirements but given the wide range of disabilities it is impossible to test for every eventuality. Inevitably these kind of tests are going to fix the problems for the majority of users but there will still be a proportion of users for whom the sites are inaccessible.

  • Both of the checkers were easy to use but AChecker didn't give you any details about what it had found. WAVE was more effective as it made comments about each component so you learnt more about what you had done correctly rather than just that everything was OK.

  • Perceivable - the red text is not visible to screen readers and neither is the captcha box.
    Operable - the captcha box is invisible so anyone who can't see it won't be able to complete the form.
    Understandable - I'm not sure what the New button is for - presumably to create a new captcha string but again that only works if you can see the captcha...

  • Filling in the Captcha code with lower case and capital letters can be a challenge - also there was no guidance as to the form the date of birth should be in so this needs to be specified. The font is small and the text boxes are not very big and this could also cause problems for users with limited dexterity as making sure they are in the text box before...

  • Web pages with lots of graphics and moving components can present challenges to users if they have not been designed with accessibility in mind. I often find that websites have poor contrast and I don't have any visual impairments. As one of the other participants mentioned I find that staff who are adding content to their Moodle spaces have not had any...

  • I wouldn't have a job for a start as my role is completely web reliant. I also wouldn't be able to bank as conveniently, shop as conveniently and communicate with colleagues in different places as easily.

  • Abigail Ball made a comment

    It has made me think about how using technology is such a personal things and how everyone irrespective of their disabilities experiences things differently. There isn't a one size fits all approach - accessible technology needs to be adaptable and flexible to individual users needs. And more importantly easily adaptable and flexible.

  • Meeting with people from all walks of life who use use these technologies rather than designing things in isolation. I appreciate that this happens less now and designers are more aware of their customers/clients/audience but talking to people is key.

  • I appreciate that lots of people live in towns or cities and that the focus of these apps tends to be urban areas but what about rural areas? How well does the app handle navigation for a blind person where there are far less obvious points of reference? I’m probably talking about a small group of users here but what about following footpaths and navigating...

  • As other participants have commented, changes to a route could cause problems - roadworks or a diversion simply by closing a path on one side of the road and asking pedestrians to move to the other side of the road completely changes the landscape for the visually impaired.

  • No I've never used an app that has this level of impact on my life.

  • I’ve not really considered colour matching before but I sometimes struggle to tell the difference between navy blue and black particularly with clothes (I tend to revert to label checking). Shopping online can be an issue as different devices render colours differently so what looks blue or black on one screen may not actually be that colour. Manufacturers...

  • I’m not an iPad user and in a previous role I used Turnitin (a piece of software that helps detect plagiarism) mostly on my PC. I then had to produce instructions for using it on an iPad and I really struggled with tapping, swiping and holding – it simply wasn’t natural to me as a PC and keyboard user. I learnt how to do it but it did not come naturally to...

  • Abigail Ball made a comment

    I've just tried Voice Typing in Google - this is not automatically available in Firefox but it is in Chrome (well at least on my laptop anyway). You also have to remember to switch to the appropriate language as it defaults to American English rather than UK English so it is expecting 'period' rather than 'full stop' in your instructions. I think it is...

  • I struggled to set up the switch so ended up using the mouse like some of the other participants. Unless you have someone sitting with you who already knows how to do this then setting things up for the first time can be slow and unclear. I did like the audio option for the game though and the graphics were really clear and simple.

  • Apps that allow users to scan text and read it back to them. Also simple things like QR code readers that help users to find more information about an object or a place.

  • Using track changes in Word documents relies on green and red colour coding – I suspect this can be changed although I’ve never tried it but that could also be an issue for Alexander. Also anything that uses a single LED to display either a green or a red light could be a problem – I was thinking of my digital camera charger – it displays red when it is...

  • I would imagine that fine dexterity could be a problem for Mary so smaller smartphones could be difficult for her to use. Anything with small buttons like a TV remote control that you have to grip and press at the same time could prove difficult to use.

  • I have to admit I don’t have a smartphone therefore I don’t use mobile apps. If I did I would say that having a translating app if I was travelling in a non-English speaking country would be very useful and also an app for converting currency so I knew how much I was spending/things cost.

  • Abigail Ball made a comment

    I will make sure that I try to make any documents that I create accessible by following the guidelines you have given. I am also going to make sure that I load the accessibility checker into PowerPoint and Excel and make use of them. A lot of my work is carried out in Moodle and Mahara; whilst I can make accessibility changes to my spaces and any documents...

  • The title of the document is poorly defined.
    There are no proper headings.
    The image doesn’t have an alt tag.
    There are grammar errors within the body of the text.
    The acronyms are not explained.
    The context of the report is not clear.
    The link does not work.
    The table is poorly designed and probably won’t be easy for screen readers to interpret.
    There...

  • I've just added the accessibility checker in Word and run it on a report I am writing. Lots of missing alt tags (which I knew about and am dealing with) and a problem with a hyperlink which I didn't. Also some of my section titles are too long which is a slightly different sort of problem as some of the phrases I am using I really do need to use. These...

  • I’ve actually just had a go at formatting a report I am working on using these guidelines. It is quite straightforward although rather time consuming to go back and have to redo all of the alt tags on the images (it is much easier to format as you go). I will definitely try to remember to do this for any future documents.

    I am fortunate in my current...

  • I tried NVDA on a Mahara portfolio. I found it really hard to understand where I was on the page. There are buttons at the top of our Mahara homepage with quite a lot of text in them but NVDA only reads out the bit of text in the line that you are hovering over – this means that the buttons don’t make sense. Also when NVDA was reading the list of portfolios...

  • Mobile devices with small screens and poor contrast would be an issue for Maria as would images or menus on websites that change when you move the cursor over them. From a non-technological perspective anything with small print e.g. labels on food would be a problem – a) they are very small and b) they are often poorly contrasted even for people without a...

  • I used Dragon Naturally Speaking years ago and found it very frustrating as the voice recognition was not particularly good. I know that speech recognition software has improved tremendously over the last few years so I must go back and try it again. I also attended a disability awareness session where we were introduced to different types of technology that...

  • The vast majority of my job takes place online – I answer queries online, I run online webinars, I contact my colleagues online, I create online courses and the list goes on. If I wasn’t able to use a computer I wouldn’t be able to do my job and that would make the rest of my life very difficult.

  • For many older people irrespective of whether their eyesight/hearing/mobility is failing, ageing is associated with falling levels of confidence. If you then combine decreasing confidence with an impairment of some description then you have a much bigger problem. Given how quickly technology is changing this means that older people can very quickly become...

  • Completing online forms, ordering goods and services online and using ATMs could all be a problem for Carole. If the online forms and websites have been designed to be accessible then they should make her life easier but often they have not. ATMs are often poorly located for users with disabilities and if you are visually impaired how do you know where the...

  • Abigail Ball made a comment

    Very comprehensive glossary.

  • Abigail Ball made a comment

    I found the topic very interesting but also rather overwhelming. There is so much that can/should/could be done that it is difficult to know where to start. You just think you get one type of disability sorted in your head and then someone else comes along with another one (or even a similar one with completely different needs) that takes you right back to...

  • I'm not familiar with captioning in YouTube so I kept having to switch back to the original video to follow the instructions (which were very clear) - this slowed things down a lot but I'm sure I will get faster. Here is my first attempt: https://youtu.be/H_MS_GcEay4

  • It is really quite difficult to find resources that would help those with communication difficulties in different countries. I don’t personally use them and any search just brings things up in English. One thing I did find (which relates to my previous post about being unwell overseas) is this translation of common phrases in relation to prescriptions and...

  • Trying to explain that you don’t feel well in another language is really hard and frankly scary. This is definitely something that would benefit from a set of universal symbols that people can point to such as my ‘head hurts’ or ‘my ankle hurts’ – whether that already exists I don’t know but it is something that is universal to all and doesn’t depend on...

  • Tom appears to face challenges in almost all aspects of his life that he cannot control; when he is reliant on someone else or an environment that he has not had specifically designed for his needs (i.e. anywhere that isn’t his home) he is likely to have issues. Anywhere that needs swipe card access – as an able bodied person I am sometimes frustrated with...

  • If someone has dyslexia for example I could imagine that the text captions could be useful or make things worse depending on their specific needs. For those people with visual impairment the audio option with the background description could be useful as they are more descriptive but they don’t work well for programmes that are constantly updated like news or...

  • I have no idea what the regulations for text or sign language captioning are in the UK as I don’t produce TV programmes or recordings and don’t work in that kind of industry. I’ve only ever used subtitles on foreign language programmes which have generally been very good. They don’t tend to get in the way of the content but I can see and hear body language...

  • Using the telephone, automated services such as banking – both of these could cause problems for Susan. It also sounds like she is reluctant to try new things as she is concerned about how her hearing impairments will be received and what support is available so she would rather not try than be disappointed.

  • Emergency situations that rely on audio sounds to alert us to a problem would be an issue for Lars. Also rural public transport (certainly in the UK) does not always have screens that notify you when the next bus is due – they are often just a request stop in the middle of nowhere – how would Lars cope if he has to move out of the city after he graduates to...

  • I find Ariel or Calibri 11 – 12 quite comfortable to read. I read a lot of paper books rather than online books and find reading A5 (roughly) lengths of text much easier than longer A4 lengths – I tend to use a bookmark to keep on the lines for the longer pieces of text.

  • If Anna is struggling with alphanumerical passwords that remain constant she will also struggle with those that ask users to add in say the third, fourth and sixth character of their password – online banking does this a lot as they are more secure but they may make it more difficult for some users.

    Google is quite forgiving when it comes to spelling...

  • I’m aware that there is guidance in the UK such as the W3C Web Standards and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and then there is legislation such as the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) and the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act (SENDA). Their focus does seem to be on accessibility rather than usability which doesn’t seem to be legislated...