The proposed project provides an opportunity to contribute to the development of innovative and good practices in the area of non-formal education as an element of a multi disciplinary support structure. Further insight and international co-operation will contribute to the exploration of new educational environments embedding online opportunities (web based TV platform) that can be based in a range of settings and incorporate a range of social and emotional supports to learning and progression plans for vulnerable and at-risk groups of young people.
To date we know that digital inclusion and effective educational programmes require more than access to computer equipment and online platforms alone. Also, addressing learner variance and supporting individual needs is seen as a key factor for success when working with marginalized or at-risk learners in alternative educational settings.
In concrete terms the project will have the following impact on the participants and participating organizations:
1. It offers the opportunity to identify inclusive learning materials through an interactive platform in order to establish a "Community of Practise" with the HUB (website) where ideas and innovations can be shared by the people who are currently working with inclusive practices;
1. It provides access to collect and process information about the programs already at use and to report about different inclusive online practices in the EU;
2. It gathers the information needed to identify innovative and inclusive methodologies for successfully train and integrate the target group in the society, especially in the labour market. This opens the unique possibility to improve the learning (formal and/or non-formal) methodologies in various organizations both nationally and internationally;
3. It gives the possibility to design, test, implement and evaluate various thematic workshops with our focus groups and to test the framework in action. These workshops can be used as a part of curriculum in the participant organizations after testing.
4. It offers an opportunity to give a more active role to the Down Syndrome citizens both in terms of their learning and in terms of their presence in society (e.g. employment).
Other relevant stakeholders such as special educators and partners, are offered the opportunity to be part of the network and to share experiences, ideas and innovations. This project will allow them to use the educational contents produced and the eBooks as part of their developmental strategy in terms of learning solutions. They will gain open access to use all materials with their focus groups. Through the use of these tools their opportunities to develop and improve practices designed for marginalized students both nationally and internationally will be enhanced. Finally and most importantly, the target group of this project, the vulnerable and at-risk groups of Down Syndrome young people will have a better opportunity to study in new and innovative learning environments which are designed to help them overcome their educational challenges. They are also called to be active participants in the society.
The scientific, societal, technological, policy and economic impacts expected at the local, regional and national scope would consist in the fulfilment of the various workshops and actions that will promote equity and inclusion. The integration of Down Syndrome citizens in society and in the labour market as valued members will have a noticeable impact at all levels. The project will be thus collaborating in the solution of one of the major problems and challenges of social inclusion that Europe is facing.
To enhance, after the several activities execution, we will present to our national and foreign Governments the outcomes and whenever needed, we will contribute to a shift/reform in policies regarding each country involved.
The project addresses the priorities identified in Eurozone (e.g. European Parliament; European Commission) like the European Disability Strategy and the necessity to a more inclusive society. Therefore, this project aims at making a positive difference in the area of Down Syndrome children's support.
The exchange of information and good practices will not be restricted to the project partners. Namely in Portugal, the results reached will be used and implemented locally, regionally, and nationally by the coordinator (ESE/IPS) and APPACDM partners, therefore positive impacts are expected in local, regional and national economy both during the project and after its completion with employability of some of these citizens in the labour market (hopefully others will be employed in other regions and countries of the partners involved).
The action of this network will have a long lasting impact because the educational contents will remain available and the partners (mainly the non-profit organizations) will remain working on the social inclusion of these citizens.