A final year student of the Huston School of Film & Digital Media at NUI Galway has been named on the shortlist of the Best-in-Show 2011* competition organised by The Digital Hub. SpellingRules.ie is the work of student Claire McNeilis and is shortlisted under the Multimedia category.
Claire McNelis, originally from Buncrana, Co. Donegal, developed and designed the website, SpellingRules.ie, to explore the use of digital interactive media and computer games in literacy teaching, with regard specifically to children with dyslexia. The website demonstrates that interactive media can be used to help children with dyslexia to learn spelling rules in a way that is primarily self-directed and enjoyable. The use of games to reinforce the content suggests that exploiting the inherently motivational nature of computer games to help children to learn is a viable possibility not only for literacy instruction, but any subject.
Dr Rod Stoneman, Director of the Huston School of Film & Digital Media congratulated Claire and commented: “We are thrilled for Claire and highly commend her work. In this shortlisted project, Claire highlights the way that, at present, spelling rules tend to be taught in a classroom setting in a way that is not necessarily accessible for the dyslexic student. Her computer application explains spelling rules, presents them in a way specifically designed for dyslexic users, and allows them to practise the rules in a simple computer game may help dyslexic students to learn and retain existing grammatical rules.”
Ms McNeilis explained her motivation for the project: “While computers can be used to teach material as effectively as teachers, there is not currently an effective, age-appropriate, affordable computer-based application which helps students with dyslexia to learn spelling rules. Thus, it was undertaken to design such an application with the intention of hosting it online and making it freely available. The product teaches spelling rules in a way that is accessible specifically to people with dyslexia. It combines audio with written words (many of the problems that dyslexic people have with reading and spelling stem from a phonological processing deficit).”
The final product demonstrates that interactive media can be used to help children with dyslexia to learn spelling rules in a way that is primarily enjoyable and self-directed. The use of games to reinforce the content suggests that exploiting the inherently motivational nature of computer games to help children to learn is a viable possibility not only for literacy instruction, but any subject.
McNeilis added: “The games have different levels for different abilities. The experience is more like games than lessons. The games include an inbuilt reward system. The product includes multiple examples of the rules in action and is aimed at learners aged between 8 and 14 years.”
The shortlist is currently under evaluation and the overall winner will be announced on 14 September 2011.
Details of the shortlist is available at Best-in-Show 2011
Click here to visit SpellingRules.ie