Using digital tools for inclusive education

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What happens when children in a remote area want to develop their talent in music, but the cost is too high for the school to cover? How do we offer education and equal opportunities to children who travel constantly because of the profession of their parents? How does a child keep up with school and social life when he or she is not able to go to school for a long period of time due to illness?

ICT and digital tools bring opportunities for an interactive distance education and for more personalised learning, one that is adapted to the needs of every student. The use of modern technology can help to make education accessible for young people who would otherwise not be able to attend the lessons.

Connect: Resound Project - “Music has the power to change lives”

This is the motto of the organisation that is behind this inspiring project: NYMAZ, a youth music development charity based in North Yorkshire, UK. Their vision is to create a musically inclusive England. Connect: Resound project is an action-based project investigating how digital technology can be used to deliver music education and enrichment activities to children living in isolated rural areas.

Transport times and costs can be factors preventing delivery of extracurricular activities like music to children living in isolated areas. People in NYMAZ came up with the idea that by using digital tools they can provide not only instrumental tuition, but also access to live music performances and training for teachers. The result, as you will see from the video below, is that the children who are benefiting from this online learning are flourishing and their lives have changed for the better. See also the resources available including guidebooks for online musical tuition and for schools.

School for circus children in North Rhine-Westphalia

Occupational travellers represent a significant constituency of people in Europe. Among them are those who travel with circuses, shows and fairgrounds. All these professionals who come to our neighbourhoods offering spectacles and sharing laughs often have their families with them. What happens to their children? How do they exercise their right to education?

Schule für Circuskinder” (a school for circus children) was created in the North Rhine-Westphalia region in Germany to make sure that every “circus child” has access to education. The school uses digital tools to implement online learning with the objective of offering continuous access to education. Circus children take part in lessons in virtual classes, and communicate with each other using online chats. Webpages functioning as whiteboards are shared interactively among the teachers and the pupils.

More and more people are encouraged to enrol in this school, increasing the number of participants and the winners of the right to education.

Find out more in the following video in German.

KlasseContact – Education is all about social inclusion

Children who are ill at home for a long period of time not only fall behind with their lessons, but can also experience loneliness, social exclusion and hopelessness. KlasseContact, a project in the Netherlands, now gives them the opportunity to win back their right to education and be part of the class again. All they need is an ICT-set (a camera, headphones, a microphone), a special laptop for children, and a special screen for the classroom, provided for free by KlasseContact.

The project started in 2008 and currently, on average 200 children a year are hooked up to a KlasseContact connection. Read more about the project here (in English) or watch the following videos (the second video is in Dutch only).

Another example of a project supporting children absent from school due to illness is the European Commission funded LeHo, an international network of schools, hospitals and companies aiming to explore, experiment with and improve such ICT solutions in the field of home and hospital education. Read more here.