European project to develop learning aids
A three-year,€400,000 project which aims to make a difference to the educational experiences of young people across Europe with complex learning needs and disabilities has been launched in Brussels.
The Erasmus Plus-funded Inclusion Training in Intellectual Disability for Educators in Europe (ITIDE) project will see the development and roll out of a suite of open access online training materials to educators, parents and other stakeholders at all levels across Europe.
It is led by Leeds Beckett University alongside partners in Spain, Turkey, Bulgaria, Austria and the Republic of Ireland.
Speaking about the project, project director Nick Mitchell from Leeds Beckett University said: “Throughout the EU, learners with special educational needs and intellectual disabilities are still not achieving or being included in education at all levels according to their potential. Such learners often find themselves intellectually and socially isolated: properly trained professionals can make a big difference to their education and future life chances.
“As part of the project we will be conducting a review of policy in countries across Europe and will aim to empower and enable partners across Europe to develop online training resources to promote social justice and inclusion.
"Identifying and addressing the learning needs of individuals can help to mitigate a whole range of social issues later in life The EU has a target to reduce the number early school leavers by 2020 and it is clear that improved training of professionals is imperative if we are to make progress towards this goal..”
The ITIDE project will make available outstanding open access, practice-leading training materials on Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) to spread accessible, accredited, vocational learning to these groups within EU states and beyond.
The project team will also develop a suite of SEND training materials by adapting and disseminating an existing set of materials (www.complexneeds.org.uk) as well as producing six parallel versions of the training materials in the different languages of the involved partners: German, Bulgarian, English, Irish (English), Spanish and Turkish.
The team will then aim to provide accreditation for each version of the Training Materials through school/higher education institution training partnerships as well as providing guidance for educators and end users on the use of the training materials as learning resources. Finally the team will ensure that awareness of the new adapted training materials is raised in the countries of the involved partners and in the wider EU.
Nick Mitchell is a Principal Consultant at Leeds Beckett’s School of Education and Childhood and has extensive expertise in developing online learning resources for UK and international students.
The ITIDE project iinvlves partner organisations from:
- Leeds Beckett University
- National Association for Special Educational Needs (NASEN), a non-profit organisation based in England
- ICEP Europe – a SME, based in the Republic of Ireland
- University of Limerick, Republic of Ireland
- Universidad Complutense de Madrid
- Anadolu University, based in Eskisehir, Turkey
- The Marie Curie Association, a non-profit, non-governmental organisation based in Plovdiv, Bulgaria
- Dr Pretis SINN, a SME based in Graz, Austria