About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 2730-2736
Publication year: 2015
ISBN: 978-84-606-5763-7
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2015
Location: Madrid, Spain

A CLOUD COMPUTING BASED INSTRUCTIONAL SCAFFOLD TO HELP PEOPLE WITH THE DOWN SYNDROME LEARN THEIR WAY IN TOWN

F. Costa1, L. Freina2, M. Ott2

1SoftJam S.p.A. (ITALY)
2CNR National Research Council (ITALY)
Intellectual disabilities are one of the main causes due to which people can never reach a completely independent living. Down syndrome is the world’s most common chromosomal disorder and cause of intellectual disability. Cognitive development is usually delayed and learning difficulties persist throughout life. Typically, individuals with Down syndrome tend to have difficulty in abstraction, generalization and, in particular, with short-term memory. They seem to forget learned skills from one day to the next, as previous learning is often not transferred to future experiences. This is a problem in every learning context, including mobility. Nevertheless, a large number of people with the Down syndrome can reach a good level of independence; many have a job and can move by themselves along known paths in town. These skills are traditionally learnt through a long training performed by expert educators in a face-to-face situation.

Within the Smart Angel project, a system based on cloud computing technologies and geolocation systems (both satellite and terrestrial) has been developed. The target users find in their Smart Phones a guardian angel that quietly supports them in their everyday life and is always ready to help in case of need. They can move freely around town knowing that, if needed, help can be asked at any time. Furthermore, the system supports specific activities where the users typically have difficulty as, for example, time management.

The Smart Angel system offers the users the possibility to learn the new paths in town by actually moving along them, avoiding the use of maps, which require a certain amount of abstraction. Furthermore, it offers the possibility to implement an instructional scaffolding approach: constant support is offered during the learning process, which is tailored to the needs of the user, with the intention of helping him/her achieve his/her learning goals. Researches have demonstrated that scaffolding helps learners with Down syndrome in their learning process by easing the burden of the short-term memory.

Educators and families are often overprotective and underestimate the acquired abilities. Smart Angel, by tracking the users’ movements and showing them in real time to the educators in charge, allows more freedom and discoveries without leaving the individuals completely alone. They can therefore experiment the newly learnt skills and further develop them by moving autonomously and discovering new areas in town. Should unforeseen situations arise, they will be managed by the users with the immediate assistance of his educator.

The Cloud Based system stores all the users’ data allowing the educators both real time monitoring on the maps and an offline historical analysis of the users’ data to have information about their movements, the areas covered, and their behaviours: how much did they actually use the system, how often did they ask for help, etc. This gives the educators a better and more complete understanding of the real level of ability reached by the users allowing them to decide how much support is needed by the single learner. As the users’ abilities grow, the educators gradually step back as the user gets more and more independent.
@InProceedings{COSTA2015ACL,
author = {Costa, F. and Freina, L. and Ott, M.},
title = {A CLOUD COMPUTING BASED INSTRUCTIONAL SCAFFOLD TO HELP PEOPLE WITH THE DOWN SYNDROME LEARN THEIR WAY IN TOWN},
series = {9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2015 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-606-5763-7},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Madrid, Spain},
month = {2-4 March, 2015},
year = {2015},
pages = {2730-2736}}
TY - CONF
AU - F. Costa AU - L. Freina AU - M. Ott
TI - A CLOUD COMPUTING BASED INSTRUCTIONAL SCAFFOLD TO HELP PEOPLE WITH THE DOWN SYNDROME LEARN THEIR WAY IN TOWN
SN - 978-84-606-5763-7/2340-1079
PY - 2015
Y1 - 2-4 March, 2015
CI - Madrid, Spain
JO - 9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2015 Proceedings
SP - 2730
EP - 2736
ER -
F. Costa, L. Freina, M. Ott (2015) A CLOUD COMPUTING BASED INSTRUCTIONAL SCAFFOLD TO HELP PEOPLE WITH THE DOWN SYNDROME LEARN THEIR WAY IN TOWN, INTED2015 Proceedings, pp. 2730-2736.
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