Jueves, 18 Noviembre 2021 08:21

The V:InD:O:W PROJECT| A New Digital Resource Facilitates Social Inclusion in University Teaching

Research staff of the project V: InD: O: W Research staff of the project V: InD: O: W

A European project focuses on the development and creation of digital tools for university professors of second languages, with a view to the inclusion of students with different abilities

The dropout rate for students with various learning disabilities increases in college. In light of this, the European V:InD:O:W (Virtual - Inclusive - Diversity focused - Open educational – Work modules) project arose, coordinated at the University of Córdoba by the Professor María Elena Gómez Parra, with participation by professors Antonio J. Cubero Atienza, David Bullejos Martín and Jorge M. Llamas Aragonés. The project is based on the creation of digital resources for multilingual university teaching staff. These tools will be introduced to help the professors more effectively integrate and bolster the academic performance of those students with different abilities.

V:InD:O:W is coordinated by the University of Bremen (Germany), and has seven partner universities, and a technology firm, in addition to the UCO: the University of Parma (Italy), Aristotle University, Thessaloniki (Greece ), the Eichstätt-Ingolstadt Catholic University (Germany), Wroclaw University (Poland), and the company Sharkbite. Its main objective is comprehensive accessibility; that is, the development of different comprehensive, versatile, digital modules (resources) so that the principles of inclusion govern the designs of modules aimed at learning second languages.

Several stages can be distinguished over the course of the project. The first coincides with the development of an experimental design based on digital modules related to dyslexia, reading and writing difficulties, social and sociolinguistic challenges, multilingual and multicultural challenges, plus the autism spectrum and neurodiversity.

During this phase, each member of VINDOW will be responsible for the design of a tool. Subsequently, once the designs of these modules are approved by the consortium in August 2021, they will be implemented at the universities on a pilot basis to see whether they work, and the context in which they do.

The coordinator of the project at the UCO, María Elena Gómez Parra, underscored that the main target is university second language faculty, as they face numerous inclusion and accessibility challenges. In addition, the V:InD:O:W research team indicates that the mechanism to deal with a situation of this nature is usually in the mother tongue, and not in the second language, the L2 context constituting a challenge for these teachers, who must be provided with tools facilitating their work.

The first pilot phase is expected to have concluded positively in August 2022, at which time the interim report is to be sent to the German National Agency, in charge of project supervision. In September 2022 the second design stage begins, based on a set of tools that have already been tested. In the following academic year the project will conclude, and open and free access to its resources will be given to international university faculty.

The V:InD:O:W project's aim for the future is to ensure that its inclusion lines are accessible at the international level, and not only in Europe, reaching all groups and producing much-desired feedback; that is, to ensure that this innovation and research process has a direct impact on society through the universities of all member countries, and that the resources designed and tested are implemented by international second language teachers, regardless of whether they were involved in this project or not. Professors Bullejos, Cubero and Llamas stated that participation in a European project is a gratifying challenge for them and a way to share their knowledge with other institutions and, in turn, learn from them, generating new experiences and contacts with professionals.

The V:InD:O:W– “Virtual – Inclusive – Diversity focused – Open educational – Work modules "Digital Tools for Inclusive Foreign Language Education” (2020-1-DE01-KA203-005670) project was cofinanced by the European Union through the ERASMUS+ call. The content of this report is the exclusive responsibility of the University of Córdoba, and neither the European Commission nor the Spanish Service for the Internationalization of Education (SEPIE) are responsible for the use to which the information published here may be put.

"This report is part of the project “CONSOLIDA-UCO ECT2020-000810", funded by MCIN/AEI/10.13039/501100011033 and by European Union “Next Generation EU”/PRTR”.

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