ERASMUS +Specific programme:
KA2 - Cooperation and Innovation for Good PracticesCall:
24 Months (1/9/2014 - 31/8/2016)Project Manager:
Jose Antonio PorfirioUNINETTUNO Scientific Leader:
Maria Amata GaritoUNINETTUNO Project Manager:
Alessandro CaforioWebsite: http://www.isolearn.net/
The ISOLearn project aims to support the accessibility to the HEI innovative learning offer addressed to hearing-impaired and visually-impaired individuals in the participating countries. It will define and pilot the ISOLearn Handbook describing how ICT based learning instruments and tools should be designed and delivered for these target groups. Moreover it will develop and test the ISOLearn Quality Label for measuring the compliance with the ISOLearn quality standards.
Therefore, the project will address several needs of the specific target groups:
a. Higher opportunity for tertiary education, therefore for more specialized skills and competencies. This will contribute to increasing their employability and quality of life.
b. Socially inclusive ICT based learning offer - the aim is to design and deliver education and training programmes that can be accessed by a wide range of beneficiaries, including hearing - impaired and visually - impaired individuals.
c. Raise awareness on the need to enhance and value individual capacities especially from hearing - impaired and visually - impaired individuals
Inclusive education of persons with disabilities is often framed in terms of human rights or justice. Notwithstanding, the economic argument for educating persons with disabilities is also very strong. Lack of adequate education remains the key risk factor for poverty and exclusion of any person, whether they are disabled or nondisabled.
One of the key Europe 2020 targets is to have 'at least 20 million fewer people in or at risk of poverty and social exclusion'. This shows the great importance social inclusion has at European level and thus for the Members States and at the same time, it demonstrates the strong need for trans-national cooperation and integrated approach and measures for promoting and supporting social inclusion Europe wide. The number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU amounts to nearly one-fourth of the total population. Current levels of poverty and social exclusion jeopardise the achievement of the EU 2020 headline target (Social policy reforms for growth and cohesion: Review of recent structural reforms 2013, EC).
Moreover, another Europe 2020 target is: 'at least 40% of 30-34–year-olds completing third level education'. It indicates the need for highly skilled labor force at European level and at the same time, it is based on a limited level of tertiary education among 30-34–year-olds European citizens (in 2013 the European average was 36,8% with only 29,2% in Portugal and 22,4% in Italy).
These practical very specific targets are in line with UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which states that 'States Parties recognize the right of persons with disabilities to education. With a view to realizing this right without discrimination and on the basis of equal opportunity, States Parties shall ensure an inclusive education system at all levels and lifelong learning'.
Moreover, the concept of “digital Divide” denotes that there is a disparity in terms of access to the information highway and subsequent use of ICT. Most measures related to digital divide relate to equipment and access to the internet. But, digital divide is a multidimensional phenomenon which includes many different drawbacks. Several of them –and very important ones- are mental in essence, so education and training are best strategies to fight these problems back. Some of them, like lack of trust or lack of motivation belong to the user side, but there are also barriers included in the production of the ICT based learning systems, like formal approaches, non-adaptive technologies, lack of meaningful context and generalist methodologies which do not pay proper attention to the social and cultural contexts.
Reaching out to disadvantaged people represents a smart, inclusive and sustainable investment for Europe. Expanding access to higher education can open up new possibilities for active inclusion and enhanced social participation, especially for the low skilled, the unemployed, people with special needs, the elderly and migrants. In order to reach these people and to improve their conditions effectively, it is important to combine both quality of education, at all level, and universal accessibility to knowledge.
As higher education has made deliberate strides in recent decades to become more inclusive and accessible, the number of students from non-traditional backgrounds has increased dramatically. There has been much study of the effects of higher education on previously underserved populations, showing that it can lead to higher lifetime income and higher status. But there has been little research on what happens to those students once they are in a university. The main finding is that, taken as a whole, the EU-27 shows wide divergences in the level of equity of HE systems, a fact confirmed consistently by several studies in the field (Evolving Diversity, MENON Network, 2010).
The main quantitative and qualitative indicators of achievement are:
a. 5000 visits on the project website during the 36 months of project implementation & 300 downloads of the key project results
b. 60 relevant stakeholders (banks, financial institutions, trade unions, HEI, VET providers, Research Centres, Public Authorities, etc.) involved in the survey, interviews and the European consultation seminar organized during the Needs and Gaps Analysis phase
c. The ISOLearn Handbook in line with the needs and challenges that visual and hearing impaired individuals are facing in accessing HEI education programmes.
d. The ISOLearn Quality Label for assessing the compliance of the HEI education programmes with the ISOLearn requirements.
e. 30 hearing and visual impaired individuals directly involved in the piloting activities implemented in the 3 Partner countries (PT, IT, SE)
f. 50% of the individuals involved in the piloting activities declare that the project results are relevant for their professional development and employability
g. 10 HEI declare their interest to apply the ISOLearn Handbook recommendations in their education programmes
h. The ISOLearn Final Publication will be made available also on the project website to all stakeholders in the Partner countries and Europe wide interested in the project results.
i. 40 participants at the final dissemination conference and 70% express a positive opinion on the project results (contents, relevance and positive impact)
UNINETTUNO has the co-responsaibility (shared with Effebi Association) of Intellectual Output O2 - Website and Forum
Specific activities envisaged in the O2 are:
1. Design Graphics and Structure
2. Integration of contents and main information into the website and social media to be used for project's information and dissemination of results.
3. Promote the website at national and European level
Furthermore, UNINETTUNO is involved as partner in the following Intellectual Outputs:
O3 - Needs and Gaps Analysis
O4 - ICT BAsed Social Learning (ISOLearn) Handbook
O5 - Interim Evaluation Report
O6 - ISOLearn Quality Label
O7 - Report of piloting the ISOLearn Handbook and Quality Label
O8 - Final Publication
O9 - Exploitation and Sustainability Strategy
O10 - Final Evaluation Report