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Logo of ViPi project

Logo of ViPi project

PhoenixKM (Belgium) coordinates the ViPi project that aims to provide a “one-stop-shop” interactive portal & learning environment, targeted towards trainers and trainees, with particular attention towards people with disabilities. The project partnership brings together organizations and companies from Belgium, Cyprus, Greece, UK and Lithuania.
BELGIUM, BRUSSELS – 26 January 2011 – An estimated 45 million people in Europe have a long-standing health problem or disability (LSHPD), being 16% of men and women aged 16-64 in the EU as a whole (2002 EU Labour Force Survey (LFS) and the 2004 EU Statistics on Incomes and Living Conditions).
33% of the people with LSHPD are not restricted in the kind or amount of work they could do or their mobility to and from work. Figures vary largely across EU members (10-50%).
This difference is directly linked to the level of prosperity and the assistance available. Of those that are considerably restricted in their ability to work, 28% were in employment, while for those that are not restricted in their ability to work, this is estimated at 68%.
Today the fast development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) provides alternative and creative solutions for the employment of people with disabilities. Recent studies conducted by various projects such as ACCESSIBLE and AEGIS have highlighted that people with disabilities (PwD) can benefit enormously from digital competences which are core life and employability skills (see Lisbon Objectives). However, same and other studies revealed also that the main barrier is the lack of specific training support or material. In addition to that, a number of other skills such as literacy and numeracy skills equally form a potential barrier towards employment of PwD.
ViPi project envisages fulfilling the gap of accessible and flexible training, designed to meet the specific needs of people with disabilities, as well as the trainers themselves.
ViPi project will develop an interactive online platform where people with disabilities can access a wide variety of ICT training courses and serious games for acquiring ICT skills, while trainers will be able to upload and download specific learning objects, using a semantically enriched environment to improve the searchability, thus increasing the relevance of the results obtained.
ViPi platform will comprise a virtual collaborative learning environment for people with disabilities and their trainers to interact, providing a vast repository of learning objects (LOs) that focus on basic ICT literacy. This will allow people with disabilities to grasp these core skills and become able to enter or sustain their employment in the regular labour market. The platform will be enriched with intuitive and accessible mobile and Internet/PC based educational/serious games. Additionally, also a mobile Android based social application linked with ViPi platform will be deployed.
Furthermore, ViPi will also develop a customized and localized curriculum on ICT skills and training, with various additional training materials (different formats), and a trainer handbook. All project outcomes will initially be available in Dutch, English, Greek and Lithuanian languages.
The Project partnership consists of Steficon (Greece), Hypertech (Greece), Hiteco (Lithuania), Nottingham Trent University (the UK), and EuroCy Innovations Ltd. (Cyprus), while the Project Coordinator is PhoenixKM (Belgium). More information can be found on www.ViPi-project.eu and twitter.com/ViPi_project.
The ViPi KA3 LLL project has been partially funded under the Lifelong Learning program, subprogramme KA3 ICT.

The ASSETS conference, taking place in Dundee-Scotland on 24-26 October 2011, explores the use of computing and information technologies to help persons with disabilities and older adults. ASSETS is the premier forum for presenting innovative research on the design and use of both mainstream and specialized assistive technologies. This includes the use of technology by and in support of:

  • Individuals with hearing, sight and other sensory impairments
  • Individuals with motor impairments
  • Individuals with memory, learning and cognitive impairments
  • Individuals with multiple impairments
  • Older adults
  • Professionals who work with these populations

All contributions are peer-reviewed by an international Program Committee. Accepted papers, posters and demonstrations will be archived in the ACM digital library. Select authors will be invited to submit extended versions to a special issue of the ACM Transactions on Accessible Computing (TACCESS).
More information on the event website.

Cambridge University and the AEGIS project are pleased to announce the release of Dasher v2.2 for the Google Android platform. Dasher is a text entry method based on advanced language modelling techniques, suitable for users including those with motor impairments and/or limited dexterity. This release allows efficient text entry with pointing or finger gestures, requiring less accuracy than onscreen or reduced-size keyboards; via tilt or accelerometer control, requiring no screen contact; or using any number from 1 to 9 buttons (physical, onscreen, or external bluetooth), including information conveyed by the timing of button pushes for users capable of such.
Standard installations allow writing in Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Swedish; support for other languages is easily achieved by downloading language definition files from the Dasher website. Dasher for Android is immediately available and may be freely downloaded from the Android Market or from the Dasher website. There is also the mobile Dasher website (with further instructions pertaining to Android).

The Accessible Digital Office Document (ADOD) Project has released guidelines on the production of accessible documents for following office suites:

  • OpenOffice.org (also valid for LibreOffice)
  • Microsoft Office 2010
  • Corel WordPerfect X5
  • Google Docs
  • iWork Pages ’09

More information at http://adod.idrc.ocad.ca/.

Source: Christophe Strobbe, dfa-ict-nl: nederlandstalige Yahoo!Group en mailinglijst over toegankelijkheid in ICT.

Fundación ONCE (ONCE Foundation for cooperation and social inclusion of persons with disabilities) is organising the 4th International Congress on Design, Research Networks, and Technology for All on June, 27 – 29, 2011 at the ONCE facilities, Paseo de la Habana, 208 P.C. 28036 Madrid, Spain.

About DRT4ALL
General development in the Information Society makes Information and Communication Technologies more and more present in most aspects of citizens´ everyday lives. These technologies involve such a wide range of technology and scientific fields that misguided implementations are causing more than one digital divide, by being difficult to use, because of the lack of design criteria and because of incompatibility between devices, among other reasons.
People with functional limitations, caused either by disability or by ageing, are becoming an increasing segment of the population. Lack of awareness of these new technologies and difficulty in using them are also more and more important for these persons.
Another relevant matter is the progressive ageing of population in the technologically developed countries. Medical and scientific advances provide greater expectancy of life, but this is not joined an increase of life free of disability. Technology could provide the necessary supplement to obtain the greatest degree of autonomy for aged people, which is the wish of us all.
It may seem evident that these technologies can and must help everybody, especially those with functional limitations, both to carry out day-to-day tasks, and to be full members of our society, so that they can use their abilities to contribute to social development.
Congress goals
DRT4all International Congress is a window on the future opened today: its main goal is to know about latest advances in ICT supporting independent living of people with functional limitations, and to show how these can work together to give everybody an easier life and improve social integration for the elderly and people with disabilities.
DRT4all is above all a scientific conference where we hope to showcase different aspects of these technologies, with user experience as a key aspect, and a place where industry stakeholders are more than welcome. Public Administration bodies and its representative members, have a crucial role in the development of these technologies. Therefore they will also be part of this congress.

Technical Secretariat
Antonio J. Ingelmo Sierra
+34 91 506 89 37
http://www.drt4all.org/

Also mentioned in Access Technology Newsletter 10 31: LiterAACy approaches reading and writing skills in a new way that makes critical communication skills more accessible to the disabled. The vocabulary system categorizes words by their first letter so that users with knowledge of the initial sound of a word can quickly access it. On average a user can access up to 3,000 words by just two key presses.