How STEM Olympiade improved the inclusivity and accessibility of its assessments with Moodle LMS

February 20, 2024 By Barnana Sarkar

STEM Olympiade, which is an online platform for grades 1-12 students to compete in science, technology, engineering, and math, is driven by a commitment to inclusivity. It has taken significant strides in empowering students with disabilities, particularly those with dyslexia, to participate in the competition actively. 

Given the challenges faced by certain students in traditional assessment settings, the Olympiades strive to create a level playing field that provides equal opportunities for all students to showcase their capabilities. In the academic year 2023-2024, their efforts resulted in the engagement of 27,873 pupils in the Junior Group and 34,226 pupils in the Youth Group across 712 schools in Flanders.

Challenge: Coping with processing speed and fluency for students with dyslexia

Dyslexia often affects reading fluency and comprehension, making it challenging for students to quickly understand instructions or questions in STEM Olympiade assessments. They might also experience slower processing speed, particularly in interpreting visual information such as graphs or charts, and difficulties in interpreting and responding to questions. It is crucial that the test is easily accessible and understandable for all students.

Through strategic collaborations with Moodle Certified Integration Partner ReadSpeaker along with Moodle Certified Premium Partner Eummena, they have been able to create an inclusive learning environment, leveraging technology to facilitate a more accessible and effective educational experience.

Solution: Integrating text-to-speech technology with Moodle LMS

STEM Olympiade chose to integrate text-to-speech technology into their educational platform, to provide equal opportunities to all students. Opting for Moodle LMS and its accompanying quiz features offered a practical solution for seamlessly integrating text-to-speech functionality. 

They collaborated with ReadSpeaker for technical support, swiftly addressed challenges and fine-tuned the technology to meet their specific needs, including correcting pronunciations and adapting STEM terminology. Ensuring accurate pronunciation enhances accessibility by improving the clarity and comprehension of the content, particularly for learners who rely on auditory cues.

They also partnered with Eummena, a Moodle Certified Premium Partner in Belgium and the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) region, which facilitated the seamless integration of text-to-speech technology within Moodle LMS tailored to STEM Olimpiade context with Eummena Moodle UniPlay User Experience. 

The implementation process was efficient and required no additional training, with clear communication and guidance provided during the introduction of text-to-speech capabilities for a seamless transition to the new integration.

Result: Positive feedback and widespread adoption of text-to-speech integration in STEM Olympiade

The integration of text-to-speech technology into Moodle LMS for the STEM Olympiade resulted in positive feedback from learners and teachers. When they used multiple-choice assessments, learners responded overwhelmingly positively. Visual evidence, such as pictures of students wearing headphones, showed widespread adoption.

Over 96.7% of teachers expressed satisfaction with the technology. Anecdotal evidence, including uplifting emails from teachers, further demonstrated the positive influence of text-to-speech on student engagement and motivation. With minimal additional costs, the substantial benefits of offering speech technology were evident, reflecting the STEM Olympiade’s unwavering commitment to inclusivity and the overall enhancement of the educational experience.

Do you want to make your STEM courses inclusive, accessible, and engaging? Join ReadSpeaker’s free webinar, where Koen Malfait and Bert Deneine, professors from the Vives University of Applied Sciences and the STEM Olympiades and Brett Dalton, Head of Educational Services at Moodle. Register now.  

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