Young entrepreneur Chris Hughes is launching an App to increase support for students with learning differences in higher education
With a new academic year underway, young entrepreneur Chris Hughes is launching an App to increase support for students with learning differences in higher education.
Research has found that graded presentations are a requirement for 93% of students, but with 77% of the general population fearful about public speaking, it is clear that presentation anxiety is a cause for concern.
Presentations are especially daunting for those with learning differences, and the panic of trying to read scrawled notes made the night before coupled with the anxiety of public speaking is a real phobia for 86% of dyslexic students.
Present Pal is a presentation support software that helps presenters to deliver a more confident and prepared presentation. It guides users through their presentation with interactive flashcards on their smartphone/tablet, integrating fully with Microsoft PowerPoint.
Founder and CEO of Present Pal, Chris Hughes, said: “The idea for Present Pal came about through my own experiences as a dyslexic student, during which I realised that there is no real presentation support available for struggling students. The soft launch of Present Pal has given us an excellent opportunity to refine and revamp the App in time for uni starting.”
Dyslexic student Emily had Present Pal recommended to her through the DSA grant, she said: “Present Pal has been such a god send for my presentations at uni! And it’s been fun to use. Also during my presentation I felt more confident than I ever had before.”
The software has various expert-advised features such as pop up bubbles which act like a safety net to store key information and images, helping students to present confidently to their peers. Users can also personalise Present Pal to suit their individual needs by choosing from colour overlays and fonts to reduce their visual stress whilst presenting.
DSA needs assessor Adam Tweed said: “Present Pal addresses so many of the anxieties I hear from students when it comes to presenting. It combines recommended techniques such as the use of cue cards, with visual adjustments such as screen tinting and font choice together with easy-to-use presentation control. Its roots may lie with DSA but this is a universally useful solution for anyone who needs to present.”
Present Pal, which will be available on the App Store, Google Play and free for students through the Disabled Students Allowance, is launching on 6 September.
Chris Hughes said: “The team and I are really delighted with the final App and can’t wait to help as many students as possible. It’s great to see all of our hard work finally coming together!”
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