SAID - School Assistance - Inclusive & Digital further information...

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Digital Coaches support primary school students and teachers in dealing with digital media.

Inclusive schools are a fundamental educational policy goal of the United Nations (Römer & Malina, 2014). However, it is limited to the level of students. The Erasmus+ project SAID - School Assistance Inclusive & Digital, under the leadership of the Graz-based organization atempo, addresses inclusive education from the perspective of the teachers: young people with learning disabilities support children and teachers as Digital Coaches in the digital world.


In 2001, the OECD introduced the term "digital divide," referring to the disparities between individuals, households, businesses, and geographic areas with different socioeconomic backgrounds. These differences encompass both access to information and communication technologies (ICT) and the utilization of the internet for various activities. People with disabilities are among those most affected by the digital divide and are often left behind without knowledge of digital accessibility and the possibilities that digital media can offer (Negreiro, 2015).

Since several years, young people with learning disabilities have had the opportunity to receive training as school assistants for digital education in a pilot project of the Graz-based organization atempo. Subsequently, they have the option to work and share their acquired digital expertise as so-called "Digital Coaches" at primary schools in Graz. This initiative provides solutions for two significant challenges: firstly, meeting the need to enable and support digital accessibility and inclusion for students and the entire school community, and secondly, offering innovative educational and training opportunities in response to the lack of employment options for people with disabilities. The Digital Coaches perceive themselves as experts, thus strengthening their competence-oriented self-image. Throughout the entire process, prejudices against people with disabilities are diminished.

The Project:

The project SAID - School Assistance Inclusive & Digital is funded by Erasmus+ as a cooperation partnership in the field of vocational education and training and has a duration of 30 months (June 1st, 2022, to November 30th, 2024). Four partners from three European countries (Austria, Ireland, Finland) are working together on the project

The research team from the University of Graz collects and evaluates the experiences of the Digital Coaches who are already working in primary schools in Graz. This involves conducting various surveys using participatory research methods and analyzing the perspectives of the (1) Digital Coaches, (2) students, (3) teachers and school leaders, and the (4) key workers at atempo. At the same time, the framework conditions for the best possible future deployment of Digital Coaches in Austria, Finland, and Ireland are explored.

The centerpiece of the project is the creation of a curriculum for the training to become a Digital Coach, which will be implemented in the partner countries. The development and evaluation of the curriculum also take place in a participatory process involving the Digital Coaches themselves, their trainers and instructors at atempo, as well as the students, teachers, and school leaders who work with them.

In addition to the curriculum, the SAID project partners also develop training materials for the further training of Digital Coaches as well as manuals for schools where the Digital Coaches will be working in the future. All materials will be published Open Access and in three languages (English, German, Finnish). The aim is to create a framework that enables all stakeholders to establish a good working relationship with the Digital Coaches, building on best practices and experience already gained.

SAID wants to show how all members of a community can learn from each other and on an equal footing. Professional inclusion is lived directly through the cooperation with people with learning difficulties who work as experts and key personnel and support digital accessibility in education. In doing so, SAID provides a significant contribution in the field of professional digital transformation.


Ass.-Prof. Dipl.-Sprachwiss. Susanne Seifert, PhD

Valerie Fredericks, BA MSc

Yvonne Fasching, BA

Caroline Breyer, Bakk. MSc PhD (temporarily)

Olena Sereda, PhD  (temporarily)

Partner Organisations:

Verein atempo, Graz, Österreich (Projektkoordination)

SJOG (Saint John of God Hospitaller Services Group), Dublin, Irland

TRYcamps, Porvoo, Finnland


Negreiro, M. (2015). Bridging the digital divide in the EU.

Römer, K., & Malina, B. (Eds.). (2014). Inklusion: Leitlinien für die Bildungspolitik (C. Busch, Trans.) (3. erweiterte Auflage). Deutsche UNESCO-Kommission.      


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Cooperating partners

 Private Pädagogische Hochschule Augustinum  Pädagogische Hochschule Steiermark  Universität Graz 

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