AboutDecember 2, 2019 2023-04-15 17:27
Education of children with special needs has traditionally been concerned with teaching life skills along with social and academic skills as those skills have been accepted as an entry point to daily and professional life. Therefore, Teachers of SEN (Special Education Needs) might seem to be hesitant to adopt the use of ICT methodology and tools as part of their work, mostly due to being worried about the time that would be lost on learning and teaching these ICT skills to their pupils and with the pre-assumption that those skills are secondary to the skills mentioned above. However, in the 21st century post-COVID19 era, ICT has already been a significant part of educational practices all around the World, highly impacting SEN education as well. Formal and non-formal learning and teaching practices are now taking place, if not always, at a higher frequency than ever before via use of internet and other supplementary software, with the promise that education, for all the pupils, can never be interrupted against any obstacle, therefore making learning possible at any place and any time.
The European Commission aims to put forward a number of initiatives focusing on enhancing the quality of training and education on ICT use and digital skills to smoothen learners’ transition to professional life. These initiatives encompass utilizing digital technologies for teaching and learning, digital validation and recognition of skills and assessment and evaluation of skills needs for learners. In line with that, the European Parliament resolution of 25 March 2021 on shaping digital education policy suggests that the education and training of teachers for adapting themselves to the post-COVID19 era bears utmost importance, since 39% of all the teachers across Europe in pre-COVID19 era stated that they were unprepared for use of ICT in their practices.
ICT in SEN school teachers cover ICT tools, hardware, digital education tools and methods, and digital skills for SEN school teachers. The need to support SEN school teachers to improve their ICT competences and utilize open educational resources in their particular field became clearer during COVID19 crisis. Educators and trainers of all fields, but especially senior teachers face many difficulties dealing with the rapidly changing learning environments and equip themselves with the required competences in line with the evolving technologies. On the other hand, the unexpected increase in the use of ICT solutions in post-covid era also posed some challenges for learners with special needs. Therefore, the need to improve ICT skills of SEN teachers for their teaching-learning practices and improve the quality of ICT based or harmonized SEN education is eminent.
The “Digi-Skills SEN” Project offers an online educational platform and mobile tools to improve the digital skills and competences of SEN school teachers. The Project aims to increase digital integration in education and particularly in special education.