O1 – Research and state of art

Output 1 will consist on a working paper collecting best practices and excellences that will be re-elaborated for modelling/extract methodologies useful for Step 2/Output 2.

This working paper (wp) will guide partners to understand which is the real application across Europe of AAC methodologies, especially for different target of final beneficiary.

The wp wants to map the INNOVATIVE USE OF AAC methodologies in school contexts but also in educational communities dedicated not just to disabled children, but putting the lights on experimentations for educational support of migrants and refugees. It will put the basis for the development of a training module for teachers.

Activities for O1 are:

  • selection of best practices: each partner will have to select at national level at least 3 cases;
  • desk research concerning the use of AAC methodologies across Europe and beyond;
  • Analysis of these practices, focusing on different targets: Disabled children and migrants/refugees;
  • Modelling and extrapolation of contents for O2.

Finally the wp will contain the following headings:

  • Summary of best practices;
  • In depth of 3/4 excellence cases, divided considering the final beneficiaries;
  • Modelling: defining a common model for AAC application;
  • Strategic indications, for schools/educational communities/public authorities.

 

O2 – AAC training module for teachers

Several training models for AAC implementation in schools have been presented in the literature but there is not such a thing that could provide an updated insight on the topic, including ICT applications, with a genuine pan European approach. The partners will not create anyway the training module from the scratch, but will base their work on the existing resources both available internally but also looking at useful material produced by external actors, collected in O1. We really want to maximise the knowledge already available. Hence the partners will design, test and validate the training module throughout the STEP 2. Instructional goals will include creating awareness, imparting knowledge, and assisting teachers to develop and use AAC methodology within their classrooms accordingly to different age ranges and targeting disabled with communicational difficulties and also refugees and migrants.

This training activity will be divided into modules encompassing the topics that the partners will decide are essential to provide a comprehensive and exhaustive overview. It will include an introductory level, highly accessible to people without any previous specialised knowledge on communication disability, or on communication aids.

The modules will have variable length responding to many aspects on how to introduce and support AAC in educational settings.

The training activity will probably include:

  • awareness training: including general contents on communication and equal opportunities, status of AAC systems, hands-on experience of AAC systems, understanding terminology, talking with AAC users, etc.;
  • individuals training: observational skills, developing opportunities for communication, access to symbols and technology, vocabulary selection and use of language, interdisciplinary working, etc.;
  • These modules will be designed as general interest & professional development for people who work in schools with disadvantaged learners who need/ use any form of augmentative communication support.

The module will take in consideration the fact that DESIGNING QUALITY PROGRAMS for students who have AAC needs involves engineering communication environments, organizing and training team members, and developing appropriate lessons and materials. Strategies for achieving these goals will be included. A draft version of the training module will be tested during LTTA C1 thanks to the initial work conducted by the partner that coordinate the development of OUTPUT 2. After this first test the different modules will be allocated to all the partners accordingly to an agreed division of tasks (based on competences and experiences) that will continue the development.

Monitoring and exchange on the contents of the modules will take place on an on-line collaboration platform. At M3 there will be a control check on the development of the different modules and after this they will also directly test the module with the teachers of the school they collaborating with as described above. In order to strengthen the formative potential of the module during the tests the partners will shoot video tutorials that will integrate the modules. M4 will be the final evaluation time for OUTPUT2. OUTPUT 2 will be translated in all the different languages of the project partners and made available on line in a e-format.

 

O3 – Toolkit: AAC friendly school

Aim is create a toolkit that could support teachers, educators and other relevant stakeholders in creating inclusive environments, mainly schools, thanks to implementation of AAC methodologies in their everyday activities. The AAC toolkit is a tool for schools to help them  evaluating their own use of AAC(Augmentative and Alternative Communication) both for learning and for communication.

The organisation of the environment is the key to provide the necessary teaching and structures for developing language and communication skills. The barriers to successful implementation of AAC must be recognised and broken down in order to achieve an effective and functional environment.

This will be done initially by mapping all potential stakeholders, inside and outside schools, identifying then strategic actions to put into action and implement the use of the toolkit.

The partnership will take the example of the European Toolkit for Schools, which offers concrete ideas for improving collaboration within, between and beyond schools with a view to enabling all children and young people to succeed in school.

The decision to go beyond school contexts is to reinforce the value of educational community and the concept of open school, where the mutual exchange between school and local community is the key of real inclusion of disadvantaged learners.

Hence partners will design, test and validate a toolkit that will guide – through practical steps – all actors involved in educational path of final beneficiaries in the realisation of more inclusive environments with AAC methodologies (e.g. using symbols for instructions on how to get a loan of a book in library, or how to use public transports). Since stakeholders could not be aware of this methodology, the toolkit will foresee the use of ICT application/devices and the creation of video tutorials to support knowledge transfer.

The draft version of the toolkit will be tested during C2-LTTA, starting from the initial work of coordinating partner – Il Cerchio – responsible for Output3.

Through the collaborative platform all partners will be assigned tasks and responsibilities (on the base of competences and experiences), as well as monitoring and exchange of contents of the toolkit.

At M4, in Bulgaria, there will be a check on the development of the O3 and it will give the start for direct test in partner schools. During M5 – Austria – there will be the final evaluation time for Output 3.

The toolkit will be translated in all the different languages of the project partners (English, Italian, German, Spanish, Greek, Slovenian, Bulgarian, Turkish).

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