Politecnico di Milano (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Pages: 3883-3892
ISBN: 978-84-614-7423-3
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2011
Location: Valencia, Spain
At Politecnico di Milano, MultiChancePoliTeam is the group of specialists providing services to students with disabilities (psycho-educational counseling, university attendance support, teaching/technological aids, personalized fruition of classrooms/laboratory activities, distance learning, employment support and international mobility).
Innovative Information and Communication Technology (ICT) projects are encouraged and realized using public and private funds, actively involving students with disabilities.

Two concepts guided the successful strategy, adopted during the last eight years, that allowed us to obtain a 0% rate of unemployment among our graduated students: first of all, we met students, involving them in the definition, implementation, and validation of each solution; moreover, we invited them to describe themselves not from the clinical point of view, but following the approach endorsed by the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) model.
The ICF model, designed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2001, allows to describe each person through a list of qualitative values referring to body function and structures, to activity and to participation. In ICF disability and functioning are viewed as outcomes of interactions between health conditions and contextual factors, both external (e.g. social attitudes, architectural characteristics, legal and social structures, etc) and internal (e.g. gender, age, social background, education, profession, etc).

The paper a) presents the ICF* model, a subset of the original WHO specification, extended with new, technology-oriented attributes; b) introduces the selection and the extension of the attribute set; c) proposes how the ICF* model can be used to personalize innovative ICT applications; and d) specify the principles that will be taken into account for the validation of applications devoted to make accessible to different kind of disabilities all the innovative services that the Politecnico di Milano offers to gain high professional skills.

In order to stress the auto-narrative approach, instead of the usual clinical diagnostic methodology, we ask each student with disability to answer personally the ICF* checklist. After such auto-evaluation phase, students meet the expert on education and discuss with her their answers to the questionnaire. Note that the same approach could be used with other students, respecting the global principles we chose to adopt.

During the design process of the ICF* model we decided to retain a subset of the original properties, carefully selecting them in order to obtain a small yet informative set of attributes.
The ICF* model has been extended, adding technology-related attributes that specify human-machine interaction skills of students. Such attributes permit to personalize services in many ways: user interface customization (e.g. simplified, screen reader friendly interface for blind students), content adaptation (e.g. simplified texts for students with dyslexia), content transcoding (e.g. a text message can be translated to voice by means of an ASR tool), personalized campus navigation (e.g. for students with motor disability, the route to a given room, that does not contain architectural barriers, can be found).
The ICF* model is ready to be deeply tested using also a web survey. The collected descriptions will serve as user profiles for the Campus Tools (CATS), UbiCampus, and UbiDomus ongoing projects.
ICF, user profiling, educational service customization.