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Title: Enhancing student learning journeys with semantically annotated content
Author: Dawod, Zainb
ISNI:       0000 0004 7658 3660
Awarding Body: Brunel University London
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2017
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There is an increasing interest in developing existing Special Educational Needs (SEN) teaching methods due to recent concerns regarding the number of SEN pupils in schools. Communication is difficult for students when they have little or no clear speech. Consequently, a range of communication systems are used as an alternative to speech, including symbols, pictures or gestures. Importantly, helping students to better communicate also improves their education, friendships and independence. However, it is acknowledged that creating these educational resources is time consuming and expensive, and the learning results are not recognised as being as effective as required. Semantic Web technology has had an impact in the educational field and offers the required linkages for more engagement with Web content. There is, however, a considerable gap in Semantic Web research between the contributions in the mainstream educational field and research undertaken into special educational needs (SEN) students. This thesis presents an augmented World Wide Web (WWW) vision utilising annotation to more effectively support diverse special educational needs students. Students are supported in part by a SEN Teaching Platform (SENTP), one artefact from this design science research. Poetry is used as a website teaching material because of its significant impact on special needs students as it is a difficult topic to understand. The first stage of the research is to select the appropriate tools for testing annotation techniques in a real SEN environment. Later, a design of the proposed SEN teaching platform is built based on a Semantic Web annotation tool (Amaya) coordinated with a web application. Design is evaluated by conducting a pilot study in schools caring for special needs students (SEN). Evaluations were carried out at two schools, interviewing nine participants (Teachers, Teaching Assistant) in the UK. SENTP is tested for using Semantic Web technology to benefit the education of SEN students by utilizing Semantic Web annotation tools. This research further improves the SENTP with additional support for cognitive load using specific annotation formats within the Amaya annotation tool. Field testing is carried out at six UK schools with twenty-two participants being interviewed. Cognitive load principles are shown to improve both learning and class behaviour, also supporting teachers in the production of educational content. The pilot study and field testing results reveal that the proposed approach is effective. Following this, designed artefacts are synthesised within a wider design blueprint that articulates how this new world of annotated digital media is designed, deployed and consumed. Finally, SENTP ontology is created using OWL language and Protégé 5. The main goal of this ontology is to produce a wider design SENTP ontology that can be adapted to wider teaching purposes.
Supervisor: Bell, D. ; de Cesare, S. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Special Educational Needs