What are the objectives of the VICKIE project?

To facilitate the inclusion of visually impaired pupils and students. Vickie project encourage the early use of technological tools by handicapped children.

The social and cultural inclusion of handicapped persons in school and universities it is an essential step in this direction. In some countries in European Community, the orientation for education of visually impaired children is to privilege scholar inclusion. In  Italy and Sweden, the visually impaired children are all welcomed in ordinary schools. In France, more and more children are partially or fully attending an ordinary schools and the governmental orientation is intended to privilege scholar inculsion. This orientation should be the main in the European Community for the next years.

Vickie's main commitment is to provide a technological environment facilitating the inclusion of a visually impaired student in the mainstream education.

The computer allows a blind child to use Braille and a teacher to access to his work even if  he/she cannot read Braille. The partially sighted children may use computer with adjustable prints. Currently the ordinary screen readers are very too complex to allow a young child to use the computer in an autonomus way; these tools are designed for students and professionals and they necessite a hard training. This is a brake to use of computers to help school inclusion.

VICKIE proposes to develop a modular tool which includes all features helping for inclusion of a visually impaired child in an ordinary classroom. The softwere is intented to be adaptative and usable very quickly by a blind children in an autonomous way.

VICKIE plans to handle all the aspects necessary to facilitate the scholar inculsion:

1. To help visually impaired children into the digital age

VICKIE provides simple services allowing children to communicate by electronic mail with other children, family members, and teachers…whatever they are sighted or visually impaired.

VICKIE works out new concepts for the progressive learning of standard computer systems. This includes strategies making possible for children or beginners to smoothly approach the access technologies. This involves the identification of users’ profiles and the development of personalisation tools.

2. More accessible learning documents

VICKIE develops a set of tools and an environment making possible a better co-operation between various professional ranging from publishers to transcription / adaptation specialists.

3. To make transparent the written communication

Written communication central throughout education. An argument for the creation of special education was that the blind use a different system for reading / writing.
VICKIE proposes a unique format and a standard interface, it is very simple for visually impaired students to create documents that sighted teachers can read, and to read the corrections made by teachers. Also, students have facilities to communicate with their peers.

4. Co-operation between teachers

VICKIE explores this direction with the objective that teachers having a specific experience may assist colleagues and improve the common experience. The accessible interface of VICKIE make possible sighted to receive / bring assistance from /  to their visually impaired colleagues. For instance, a teacher would not have to be an expert in Braille, provided he/she could benefit from the experience of others.
VICKIE also provides a software architecture and a unique service interface in order to encourage exchanges in software teaching tools among the teaching community.

5. Multi-linguality and cross-culturality

VICKIE takes into account the multi-cultural aspect of the project. Particularly the different policies in the different countries create suitable condition for designing several models of teaching network.  The project puts an emphasis on the exchanges between schools among the three countries concerned.

The evaluation methodology will be discussed in full detailed among the partners concerned with education in the different countries and the results will be shared, as well.

6. Effective diffusion

The approach to effective diffusion is to produce a pre-industrial prototype that will be proposed to schools, training centres and companies employing visually impaired persons as soon as project is finished.

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