Paul Nisbet is a Senior Research Fellow and Director of CALL Scotland, a service, development and research unit within the Moray House School of Education and Sport at the University of Edinburgh. Paul works directly with learners with special education needs, particularly students with physical disabilities or dyslexia, which helps him to see at first hand what works and what doesn’t in terms of inclusive digital technology.
Paul has led national research projects such the development and evaluation of Digital Examinations with the Scottish Qualifications Authority for learners with disabilities. Digital Question Papers were first introduced by SQA in 2008, and subsequently by most other UK examination boards in 2014. Paul’s most recent research in this field examines the limitations of digital question papers for learners who use screen reader or braille display technologies.
Related research concerns the Books for All project into provision of accessible learning resources which resulted in the creation of the Books for All Database of digital textbooks, and contributed to research leading to the establishment of RNIB Bookshare.
Another strand of research and development has been the development with CereProc, and licencing of high quality Scottish computer voices for the Scottish public sector. These voices enable learners to access learning materials using text-to-speech software and are also used by students who use voice output communication aids.
In 2010 Paul was awarded the University of Edinburgh Principal’s Medal in recognition of his work in the field of assistive technology.
CALL Scotland is funded by Scottish Government to lead the application of inclusive digital technologies for learners with additional support needs in Scotland. CALL Scotland has a multi-disciplinary team with backgrounds in teaching, speech and language therapy, engineering and technology. CALL provides information and advice, a comprehensive set of web sites, professional learning, a loan service of assistive technology for evaluation, assessment and support for individual learners, and undertakes research and development. CALL’s latest Annual Report can be found here.