Chapter

Digital skills for people with disabilities - a concept for a practice-oriented, blended online and face-to-face training for professionals working on digital inclusion in disability work

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Abstract

"The Covid 19 pandemic has made the importance of digitalization particularly clear. It is therefore important that all people can use the possibilities of the new methods and techniques - even if they are mentally or physically limited." (Leibniz-Institut für Bildungsforschung und Bildungsinformation, 2020) However, this demand for digital participation for people with disabilities, formulated by the German Leibnitz Institute for Educational Research and Educational Information in light of the Covid 19 pandemic, also exists independently of the particular pandemic situation. The trend study "Digital Participation of People with Disabilities'' conducted by the German SINUS Institute (Borgstedt & Möller-Slawinski, 2020) already examined the digital participation of people with disabilities "on", "through" and "in" digital technologies and media in 2019 and identified a need for action. The study concludes that the opportunities presented by digitalization outweigh the risks for people with disabilities. The opportunities named are: (1) Compensation of impairments, (2) new access to areas of society, (3) autonomy and self-determined living, (4) expansion of skills and competences, and (5) networking. These opportunities are offset by the risks of (1) a lack of digital skills among users and professionals, (2) high costs, and (3) growing inequality. Regarding the need for further training of professionals in disability care, the SINUS study emphasizes that the currently still insufficient digital competence of people with disabilities is "particularly linked to the caring, teaching and accompanying staff, who themselves have to establish professionalized access to digital media in the first place". In addition, "competences must be acquired to provide these accesses for people with disabilities, to carry out appropriate training and to be able to monitor and accompany their use in a professional manner". In addition to basic skills in the use of programs, apps, or assistance technologies, this also involves more far-reaching aspects in dealing with data and consenting to the terms and conditions of applications. Furthermore, questions arise, for example, as to how informed decisions can be made at all in the case of quasi unreadable terms and conditions, how the special need for protection of users can be ensured due to their sometimes-low critical faculties and stress resistance, or how one moves between the dilemma of providing access and the duty of care. Added to these practical questions is the fear that "we are far from a digital code on the internet and that recklessness and harshness in social media are increasing rather than decreasing". To recognize not only the risks but also the opportunities of digitalization and to use them in a self-determined, critical, and creative way, it is therefore necessary to qualify the caring, teaching, and accompanying professionals. This is where the training we have conceptualized in this chapter comes in, with the aim of promoting a well-founded discussion of digitalization and mediatization and their methodical use by professionals. To introduce the training concept in the following, in this chapter we will present the project context of the training, the objectives of the training, the participants addressed, the didactic approaches, the structure and forms of the training, and a detailed description of the objectives and activities, the schedule, and the workload. After providing guidance on examination and certification, we conclude the chapter with a discussion of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and issues of the designed training.

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