LYFTA FOR STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS & DISABILITY (SEND)
WHAT IS LYFTA?
Lyfta is a computer and tablet-based platform where teachers and pupils can explore immersive, human-focused documentary stories from around the world, which provides a powerful tool for delivering the curriculum.
Lyfta is adaptable for different age ranges, abilities and topic areas. It is great for teaching Literacy, PSHE, Citizenship, SMSC, Geography, R.E. and Art, and is equally powerful when used to help children understand issues and concepts which can be more abstract or harder to convey.
The school package includes 25 immersive, interactive stories designed to broaden pupils' horizons, over 90 lesson plans and 25 assembly plans - covering many of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Teach Global Awareness through interactive exploration of real 360-degree environments from around the world.
Nurture Empathy and Understanding for people from all walks of life, through powerful short documentaries.
Provide Hope and Aspiration through inspiring human stories, featuring a diverse array of people who have worked hard to overcome obstacles and succeed against the odds.
Share the Power of Community and Togetherness through real stories about teams and communities, as well as collaborative exercises and projects for pupils to work on.
“Lyfta could be useful in any classroom, with any year group, regardless of learning needs and pupil abilities. Because in essence it is a means through which children and young people can explore ‘humanity,’ what it is to be human.”
John Galloway & Carol Allen, SEND Advisors for ICT & Inclusion in schools (read the full blog here)
LYFTA IN SPECIAL SCHOOL SETTINGS
Lyfta is used by teachers in around 300 schools in the UK, many of whom are special school and leading SEND practitioners, working hard to ensure that children with special educational needs are reaching their full potential as learners and are active members of society.
“Lyfta is a powerful platform that reduces the marginalisation that children and young people with additional needs too often experience. The platform removes boundaries and has the unique quality of removing those labels of SEN or disability.
Suddenly the world is there to access, explore, and engage with as a global citizen. It is a platform that reduces tokenistic surface-level experiences by ensuring deep learning opportunities for social connections.”
Vijita Patel, Principal, Swiss Cottage Special School, London
CASE STUDY: Lyfta with children on the autistic spectrum
Helena Morrissey is assistant headteacher at Elms Bank Specialist Arts College, a secondary special school in Bury, NW England. If you had asked Helena a year ago, whether she thought her pupils - all of whom are on the autistic spectrum - would be watching foreign documentaries and reading subtitles, she admits that she would have laughed at the idea. But thanks to several factors inherent in the Lyfta experience, this is indeed what is happening at Elms Bank School
According to Helena Morrissey, there are three reasons for the impact using Lyfta can have on children on the autistic spectrum:
- The child is the driver, and being able to return to something that they missed or didn’t understand, can work better than linear learning experiences
- Being in the driver’s seat means children are independent learners, making choices and building on their understanding and interests at a pace that works for them
- The structure is easy for children of all ages and abilities to grasp even if some of the concepts actually may not be straightforward at first
Helena believes that the traditional teaching methods for subjects like history or geography can be too abstract and even irrelevant for some of her students. However, the Lyfta immersive experience has enabled students to begin to understand people more and it has helped them to start to notice, compare and discuss what they think, as never before.
Watch the short video above to learn more about how Helena uses Lyfta with her class.
CASE STUDY: dyslexia and using virtual reality (VR) headsets
While working with secondary school students in London, co-founder and CEO of Lyfta, Serdar Ferit, asked the group to take turns with the VR headset and read out any text they could see, to the rest of the group. Serdar was not aware at the time that one student in particular had severe dyslexia and found reading extremely challenging. Whereas previously, this student would have been unable to read aloud and would usually experience immense panic from having to do so, he was able to read the short passage perfectly! When he took the headset off, he told Serdar that this was the first time he’d been able to read out loud without making a mistake. This incident inspired Lyfta's first study to explore the effects of virtual reality learning environments on children with reading disabilities.
Lyfta worked with two Finnish universities and a group of schools in England and Wales to further test how children with reading disabilities respond to reading exercises when immersed in Lyfta's VR application.
The preliminary study, which was filmed, was carried out with 21 children who read comparable texts from paper and in VR environments before completing a short survey about their feelings. The accuracy and fluency of the students' reading was analysed and the results showed promising signs. Over 25% of the children showed a significant improvement in either fluency, accuracy or confidence, or a combination of all three, when reading in the VR environment, as compared with reading from a page.
At present, there is a larger-scale research project taking place to explore this further. In April 2019, Lyfta started piloting an updated version of the VR app, based on the initial findings of the study.
OUR OFFER TO SPECIAL SCHOOLS & TEACHERS OF SEND STUDENTS
We are delighted to be an official partner on the British Council’s Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning programme, which makes Lyfta accessible to schools in England for a fraction of the cost.
For a limited time, schools can subscribe to Lyfta for three years for the price of one year. For the cost of £100 per teacher you get:
Access to the Lyfta learning platform for you and your class of up to 30 students
Free, high-quality, British Council approved CPD either via online webinar or face to face
Access to over 100 lesson and assembly plans
Regular engagement emails with tips, suggestions and reminders to support your effective use of Lyfta
Ongoing support from the education team at Lyfta
To find out more and to sign up, please contact us here