The UNIKATE prize aims to support pupils and students with a technical background who deal with new technologies for people with disabilities within their projects or scientific work. It is annually awarded by the Austrian Council for Disability and the Vienna University of Technology.
Following the call for proposals, Ms. Marlene Schadl, a student in the bachelor degree program for general secondary school education at the University College of Teacher Education Styria, submitted her innovative idea under the mentorship of Prof. Silvia Kopp-Sixt. Her study focus comprises the subject of information and communication technology as well as the specialization in inclusive education.
Her idea with the title “Virtual, haptic and visual collection box for accessible teaching”, focuses on the essential role of digital education and the usage of assistive technologies for accessibility and participation in all areas of life. Furthermore, her aim is to transfer the international standards and norms, focusing a “design for all” into a variant suitable for everyday use in schools. In this way, schools can receive information and recommendations of how to organize education, teaching and individual lessons to be accessible and inclusive.
Following the motto “as much technology as necessary and as little complexity as possible”, her work is focusing on the reflection and discussion of the fundamental attitude, that accessibility and support through technologies as well as digital education should be an indispensable part of everyday activities. Accessibility and a “design for all” represent more than technical solutions i.e. they should be understood as constitutive attitudes and an unlimited commitment towards an inclusive society.
In the development of her idea, Ms. Schadl was supported by her colleague Ms. Diana Klemen, who is also a student in the bachelor degree program - general secondary school education - at the University College of Teacher Education Styria with the study focus on philosophy and psychology as well as the specialization in inclusive education.
The team presented the project idea within an online incubator workshop, which took place on December 1, 2020 and received feedback that the idea is “ingenious”.
Receiving an award for 1000€ for material costs, Ms. Schadl and Ms. Klemen have now the possibility to evolve their idea into a concrete concept. For this purpose, they are participating in virtual meetings with people and experts with disabilities from Vienna University of Technology, where they receive recommendations and advice.
Each UNIKATE idea fully implemented by July, 2021, will receive an additional prize award set with 2000€. In this context, we wish our students every success in their work!
Detailed information (in German language) can be found under the following link: https://www.behindertenrat.at/projekte/unikate-ideenwettbewerb
Author: Prof. Silvia Kopp-Sixt (PHSt and RCIE).