This project has enabled the creation of the CLASSROOM WITHOUT BARRIERS OF THE FUTURE, the culmination of an innovating and comprehensive process of digitalization of the classroom aimed at the inclusion of students with visual impairment. This was achieved mainly through two high-quality results:
TO TRANSFORM YOUR CLASSROOM INTO THE CLASSROOM WITHOUT BARRIERS OF THE FUTURE
Intended to train teachers to implement pedagogical strategies that favor the inclusion in equity of students with albinism.
This complete methodological guide is divided in two parts: the first one offers teachers the knowledge in matters of albinism, low vision, and digitalization (with resources, comparative analyses of the educational regulations in Europe and member countries, pedagogical guidelines, etc.), and the second one is aimed at generating the methodology to build and inclusive classroom.
The two parts of the guide are detailed into:
1.- CONTENT GUIDE, whose purpose is to expand the knowledge of teachers about albinism, the consequences of this rare disease, and the advantages and risks that digitalization entails for students suffering from it. It also includes the contents and theoretical resources necessary to adapt the guide to the curricula of each of the participating countries. More specifically, it has:
-MODULE 1: INTRODUCTION, which establishes the reasoning behind the guide and its relationship with the Erasmus+ Programme. It also includes tools promoted by the EU to analyze the levels of digitization of the school (SELFIE).
-MODULE 2: BRIEF NOTES ON ALBINISM, which establishes the medical framework of people with albinism, essential for the teacher to know the lesser-known consequences of this rare disease and how to deal with them.
2.2.- Basic concepts of anatomy and functioning of the visual system.
2.3.- Visual impairment in albinism: from blindness to low vision.
2.4.- Visual functionality in students with albinism and/or visual impairment.
2.5.- Risks and benefits of digitalization in the classroom.
-MODULE 3: TECHNOLOGY AND EDUCATION. It includes an exhaustive analysis of the curricula of the participating countries (facilitating teaching actions in these countries in a manner consistent with their specific regulations) and an analysis of the current context of the technification of the classrooms from an inclusive perspective:
3.1.- European legal framework.
3.2.- Education and technologies: allies in inclusive education.
-MODULE 4: TECHNOLOGICAL RESOURCES FOR AN INCLUSIVE CLASSROOM. This is a guide of resources, applications, and digital platforms that facilitates the creation of the CLASSROOM WITHOUT BARRIERS OF THE FUTURE.
2.- PEDAGOGICAL GUIDE, whose purpose is to establish the methodology that the teacher must implement to benefit from and use digital tools to enhance the inclusion of students with low vision derived from a rare disease.
-MODULE 5: METHODOLOGY FOR INCLUSION THROUGH TECHNOLOGY: THE CLASSROOM WITHOUT BARRIERS OF THE FUTURE.
5.1.- General guidelines for the use of new technologies in the classroom.
5.2.- Pedagogical bases of the use of technology in the classroom.
5.3.- Guidelines for teachers for the development of key competences through technology.
5.4.- Resources needed to implement inclusive education methodologies through technology.
5.5.- Proposals for technological resources for the ideal classroom.
5.6.- Methods to incorporate devices directly into ability development: connecting with inclusion.
5.7.- Recommendations to create a CLASSROOM WITHOUT BARRIERS OF THE FUTURE.
-MODULE 6: PROPOSALS FROM ALBA FOR THE DIGITALIZATION OF THE CLASSROOM.
6.1.- Current situation.
-MODULE 7: CONCLUSIONS.
-MODULE 8: LINKS OF INTEREST AND RESOURCES.
-MODULE 9: BIBLIOGRAPHY.
-MODULE 10: ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.
-MODULE 11: AUTHORS.
CONNECT TO INCLUSION
An application to be used on the students’ tablets, that favors their connection with the adapted devices of the classroom, especially with Bemyvega (created by one of ALBA’s managers), but which can also be used autonomously, offering the students materials for inclusion, adapted tools, the possibility of communicating with other students to share experiences, and evaluate the degree of implementation of the CLASSROOM OF THE FUTURE.
The “CONNECT TO INCLUSION” software is a smartphone app compatible with the tablet devices used by students with low vision derived from rare diseases (like albinism). You can download it here, or through Google Play and Play Store, where it is free of access for the more than 2000 million monthly users of the platform.
“CONNECT TO INCLUSION” includes:
THE PROJECT: A description of the application and the project itself.
CONNECTION SYSTEM: This software facilitates and guides the student’s connection with the gadgets and digital devices used in the classroom. It establishes two main connection systems:
— An automatic, unique and innovative connection system with BemyVega: an innovative device (currently in the process of commercialization) generated by a member of ALBA’s board of directors, that is being implemented in many schools with students with low vision. This is a system to record, broadcast, and visualize lessons in real time, displaying in the screen of users with low vision multiple points of view simultaneously (the digital screen, the teacher’s face, his/her gestures…).
The software generated allows detecting a BemyVega device in the classroom and making an automatic connection with it, and automatically interacting with the control platform of this device.
— An interactive system that shows the user how to connect with the various digital devices that are not BemyVega (electronic whiteboards, mobile networks…).
EXCHANGE OF EXPERIENCES: The app generates a system of synchronous communication between the students and teachers, respectful of opinions, in accordance with data protection policies and the digital security of users.
All of this is achieved through an innovative communication process with any user of the application who is connected at the same time, allowing you to establish a useful and effective real-time communication, which is deleted once the users disengages, so the conversation is open, sincere, and confidential.
CONNECT TO INCLUSION establishes strict rules of use (to avoid disrespect, to use it for things that facilitate inclusion in the classroom…), but also a very active session schedule: every month or fortnight, discussion sessions were generated and led by experts from the partner entities.
Thanks to the “CONNECT TO INCLUSION” software, students with albinism and/or visual impairment are no longer alone in their classroom, but have shared spaces with other students with obstacles to share their experiences through this virtual environment.
EDUCATIONAL TOOLBOX: 7 audiovisual educational resources that support the development of users’ skills for their digitization and overcoming the barriers of their disease:
1. WHAT IS ALBINISM?
2. TYPES OF ALBINISM.
3. PERCEPTION OF DISABILITY.
4. GENETICS OF ALBINISM.
5. VISUAL FUNCTIONALITY.
6. DIGITAL CLASSROOM.
7. VISUAL DISORDERS.
SETTINGS: to modify appearance to facilitate the use by students with a wide variety of visual impairments (from zooming in to applying filters that alleviate visual obstacles).
This result is endorsed by external professionals from the computer and pedagogical fields, who deem it adequate for its application to low vision and the proposed inclusive digitization methods. Scientists such as Lluis Montoliu, experts from the Polytechnic University of Murcia, and psychologists and experts in inclusive methodology such as Luis Gómez highlight its quality and of the pilot tests carried out during the first two meetings.
OTHER RESULTS OF THE PROJECT
Along with these Intellectual Outputs, other important tangible results have been developed during the project: this website, adaptatios of the Bemyvega device, along with learning results and structural results for the collaborating entities and schools.
One of the most important results of the project is of course the learning achieved among the young students with albinism themselves, school teachers, teachers from the collaborating entities, experts, families, etc.
The TEACHER ADVICE SERVICE and this website were developed, in addition to the spreading and enhancement of the BemyVega system characteristics, which allows to record, broadcast, and view lessons in real-time.
As a result of carrying out this project, the network of entities of people with albinism and low vision across Europe has spread and strengthened, and international networking has improved in all the partners entities.