The EEA Margarita, the Special Vocational Training Center for People with Intellectual Disabilities in Greece, is one of the subcontracted partners for the external trials of the SlideWiki platform. In this interview, we feature Ms. Maria Mouka, Occupational Therapist and Assistive Technology Specialist and we exchange on her experience with the SlideWiki trials and platform, as well as the plans of her organisation in terms of using OER, OCW and SlideWiki beyond the duration of the trials.
- SlideWiki, an EU-funded project, enables the collaborative creation of free teaching and learning materials. These include, for instance, slide sets, lecture notes and course content. What is special about this platform?
What is very special for our population (persons with Intellectual Disability – I.D.) is that SlideWiki:
- Is a funded project, which allows research that can benefit persons with I.D. and this is encouraged by the U.N Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
- The collaborative creation of the material, allows the accumulation of knowledge from different professions, so that the final product can meet the various needs of persons with I.D. and be expressed in an Easy to Read format.
- It is free, an important element for people who are marginalized and most probably lack the financial resources to learn about things that interest them or that are very important for their participation in everyday life activities and integration in the society.
- To a great extent, the teaching and learning material is of high quality, given by Universities, but even when it cannot be of this high value beforehand, it can be filtered through the collaborative editing.
- According to your opinion, which are the target groups that can best benefit from using the SlideWiki platform?
- Persons with I.D. are highly benefitted from using the SlideWiki platform, since they can access information that can make their life easier and more meaningful.
- People with motor disabilities and intact mental and cognitive skills, can access Lifelong Learning from their home, only by having internet access and an adequate digital device.
- Also, the visually impaired are highly benefitted, thanks to the text-to-speech technology that is embedded.
- How do you evaluate the importance of Open Course Ware and Open Educational Resources for all educational levels?
- According to the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, all persons with disabilities have the right to access the digital technologies and have a right to receive education.
- Teachers and therapists of the I.D. persons can derive material from this platform, without the need to recreate material that already exists.
- The educational material that addresses more than one sensory channel (visual and also auditory) is very appropriate for the needs of the I.D. persons and very motivational.
- The educational material can be more easily revised.
- Also, the evaluation tools that can be included in the platform are of great importance.
- Especially the motor impaired persons can take part in Lifelong Learning without the need to access specific premises. They can use Open Course Ware in order to receive certificates, be oriented for the field of studies they can choose and lastly be supported during their study and work.
- All people will have the chance to access educational material imported in other languages, since there is a provision for the automatic translation in other languages.
- How does your organization plan to use the SlideWiki platform beyond the duration of the project?
SlideWiki is a versatile tool for special education and the vocational training of people with intellectual disability since any material provided must be easy to read with the use of images. Special Education and Vocational Training has various fields of practice. For example, MARGARITA will be able to address in the near future the students of MARGARITA’s and their trainers from other workshops and produce materials regarding the rights of people with disabilities, material for the training in various job positions, material for the development of communicational and daily skills.
Examples: The Catering workshop has produced several easy to read materials in regards to the field of Catering which can be turned into SlideWiki presentations. SlideWiki will be also introduced to the partners of the ERASMUS+ project Easy Cooking, from Spain, United Kingdom and Greece. The project aims in the development of an easy to read cookbook that can also be available in SlideWiki.
Another field that SlideWiki can be used is in I DECIDE project, ERASMUS+, which concerns the development of digital, literacy and numeracy skills for Supported Decision Making in health, financial management and consumer rights.