WEB 2.0: A NEW OPPORTUNITY TO CREATE SHARED KNOWLEDGE TO SUPPORT VISUALLY-IMPAIRED CHILDREN IN EDUCATION AND REHABILITATION
1 ITD-CNR (ITALY)
2 Istituto David Chiossone (ITALY)
About this paper:
Conference name: 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2017
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:The rapid spread of the Internet has brought about a cultural revolution by providing access to a huge amount of information and by changing the ways we communicate.
In education, this has generated the need for tools to help find and select information that meets personal needs.
In response, researchers have developed online catalogues to help teachers find and select educational resources; these services are generally based on an informative, objective and neutral approach.
In the era of Web 2.0 and social networking, users don’t just access data and descriptions, they also play the role of information providers, curators and sharers, seeking out others’ experiences and opinions about a service or a product.
Education too has been affected by this trend; teachers and parents continue to consult catalogues and documentation services but now they also expect to see the opinions of other users. For example, a teacher may decide to try out a new educational resource or technology on the strength of comments posted on a social network by other teachers who have already used it.
This phenomenon is very common in Special Education, where, beyond standard selection criteria like age, subject or educational objective, people seek information on the usability and accessibility of inclusive ICT. Frequently this type of information is lacking from product catalogues and sometimes it can only be garnered from experience in the field.
Social networking is distinguished by the informal and uncontrolled flow of spontaneous, heterogeneous information and by more direct relationships with and among end-users. This opens up a new scenario in which researchers in the education field can play a mediating role, creating new projects focused on the development of shared knowledge through the exchange and combination of authoritative, expert information and users' experiences and opinions.
CNR’s Institute for Educational Technology (ITD) and the David Chiossone Institute have created a project called "Sharehab" (“Share rehabilitation resources” http://www.sharehab.it), which focuses on the field of low vision. This builds on the decade-long experience gained with Essediquadro, an online service that provides comprehensive, up-to-date information on educational software and other digital resources (https://sd2.itd.cnr.it).
The main aim of this project is to identify accessible and usable apps that can be used for learning and rehab by and with low vision children.
To achieve this aim, five steps have been outlined:
1. defining the criteria that make apps suitable for low vision children, like neutral-colored backgrounds and plain, simple pictures with thick outlines
2. validating these criteria in the field with end-users
3. selecting and analyzing the apps responding to these criteria
4. creating an online catalogue that showcases the selected and analyzed apps
5. designing and implementing a platform (in Italian) permitting parents, teachers and rehab specialists to share information and experiences.
So Sharehab combines authoritative information and user experiences and opinions in an effort to foster shared knowledge about the use of digital resources by and with visually-impaired children, both for education and rehabilitation purposes.
The belief is that this approach can be extended to other disabilities in future research.
Keywords: Shared Knowledge, low vision, education, rehabilitation.