GAMEYOU: DESIGNING ACTIVITIES USING SCRATCH AND A MICROCONTROLLER
Polytechnic Institute of Viseu - ESEV (PORTUGAL)
The inclusion of pupils with special educational needs (SEN) in classrooms is a reality for many teachers. These professionals have a favorable attitude towards the inclusion of pupils with SEN in the regular teaching classrooms.
An inclusive education system should be "structured and developed taking into account the diversity of characteristics of young children, different needs or problems" and for these reasons to differentiate measures.
Special education is aimed at educational and social inclusion, educational access and success, autonomy, emotional stability, as well as the promotion of equal opportunities, preparation for continuing education or adequate preparation for the professional life and for a transition from school to employment of children and young people with permanent special educational needs".
A particular case of SEN is that of people with autism, and they characterize autism as "a rare and serious psychiatric illness in childhood and characterized by imbalanced intellectual development that affects the ability to socialize." It is also reported in the literature that these people, with autism, have great difficulties in communicating verbal and nonverbal, while having a great difficulty in interpreting language.
The use of technologies with children with SEN can be an important resource for the possibility of allowing the manipulation of the environment and a better cognitive development.
Technology-based learning, in particular through the use of visual and multimedia environments, is a facilitating tool for people with autism spectrum disorders to learn best when information is presented visually. This view is also shared by several authors when indicating that to facilitate "inclusion and children / young people with SEN in today's society, Information and Communication Technologies play a fundamental role, as they facilitate a differentiated, active and collaborative intervention of all stakeholders in the life of each of these people".
The use of Information and Communication Technologies also allows a response "individualized and personalized to the specific learning needs of each student".
This document reports on an activity project that can be used by Educators of students with autism. Two tools are used, makey-makey hardware and Scratch software. The use of open-hardware microcontrollers, with no need for programming and free software, allows this project to be shared and reconverted to other topics. This work arose from a challenge of proposing an activity to be used by children with special educational needs using ICT. In a first step the bibliography related to the use of ICT in the classroom with these children and the legislation that served to obtain the first orientations was consulted. Then a specialist was consulted and then the prototype of the project was built, succinct enough that it could be replicated and perceived by these Educators.