Accessible Digital Textbooks: Creating Digital Tools to Enable Inclusive Education

Accessible Digital Textbooks: Creating Digital Tools to Enable Inclusive Education

AUTHOR(S)
Marta Carnelli; Sophia Torres; Rebecca Tortello

Published: 2023 Innocenti Research Report
In the Latin America and Caribbean region, more than 19 million children have a disability. In Jamaica, disability is a major factor of exclusion from the education system. The Accessible Digital Textbooks for All (ADT) initiative, implements accessible digital tools and content to make learning accessible to all students – with and without disabilities – in the same classroom.

This report presents the research results of the ADT prototypes testing for children with and without disabilities in Jamaica. The report provides results across three areas:
• It analyses teachers’ and students’ familiarity with technology, including their experience utilizing technology to support education and learning.
• It investigates the pedagogical practices used for inclusive education and to integrate the ADT prototypes as tools to support inclusion and learning. 
• It recommends ways to improve the prototypes and outlines elements needed for their further development, implementation and scale-up in the education system.

This study is part of longer-term research that examines the implementation of accessible digital textbooks in multiple countries. Future research aims to explore the impact of the use of ADTs on both student learning and inclusion on a larger scale.
Nuovi orizzonti per l’apprendimento: L’uso della tecnologia educativa per supportare l’apprendimento della lingua e l’inclusione sociale dei bambini svantaggiati in Italia

Nuovi orizzonti per l’apprendimento: L’uso della tecnologia educativa per supportare l’apprendimento della lingua e l’inclusione sociale dei bambini svantaggiati in Italia

AUTHOR(S)
Svetlana Poleschuk; Thomas Dreesen; Barbara D’Ippolito; Joaquín Cárceles

Published: 2023 Innocenti Research Report
Tra il 2014 e il 2020 più di 700.000 richiedenti asilo e migranti sono arrivati in Italia. Fornire competenze di lingua italiana a bambini con un background migratorio, come i bambini rifugiati e migranti, è riconosciuta come una priorità nazionale, in quanto è essenziale per garantire a questi bambini il diritto all’istruzione e per facilitare la loro inclusione e partecipazione nella società italiana.

Per rispondere a questa esigenza, la piattaforma per l’apprendimento digitale Akelius è stata introdotta a Bologna e Roma per l'apprendimento dell'italiano e dell'inglese nell'anno scolastico 2021/22. Questo rapporto presenta i risultati del primo anno di implementazione della piattaforma digitale Akelius in Italia. I risultati mostrano che l'uso della piattaforma digitale ha accelerato l'apprendimento autonomo, ha aumentato la motivazione degli studenti ed è stata particolarmente vantaggiosa per i bambini appena arrivati e per i bambini con disabilità. 

L’obiettivo del rapporto è costruire evidenze sull’efficacia della piattaforma digitale, oltre alle relative sfide e buone pratiche, in diversi contesti scolastici, in modo da informare i piani di scalabilità per l’apprendimento digitale in Italia e non solo.
Off to learn: Making offline digital learning work for vulnerable girls in Mauritania

Off to learn: Making offline digital learning work for vulnerable girls in Mauritania

AUTHOR(S)
Marco Valenza; Thomas Dreesen; Binta Alassane Gadio; Elisa Despréaux

Published: 2023 Innocenti Research Briefs
In Mauritania, many learners struggle with French, one of the official languages of instruction at school. This language barrier hinders student progress with the curriculum, increasing the chances of leaving school. This risk disproportionately affects adolescent girls due to discriminatory social norms undermining their continued education, even in urban areas of the capital, Nouakchott.
 
To address these challenges, UNICEF Mauritania, in collaboration with the Akelius Foundation and national partners, has initiated a blended course to improve French proficiency for girls in a disadvantaged neighbourhood of Nouakchott. The blended course, which takes place at a community-based facility during afternoons, integrates regular teaching with the offline use of the Akelius Digital Learning app. 

This research brief presents evidence on how the blended course supported vulnerable girls’ learning and other socio-emotional skills. It highlights lessons learnt for practitioners in implementing digital learning in resource-constrained environments, including the reliance on offline solutions and the co-design of digital content with the teachers. 
Du tableau à la tablette: l’apprentissage numérique hors ligne au service des jeunes filles vulnérables en Mauritanie

Du tableau à la tablette: l’apprentissage numérique hors ligne au service des jeunes filles vulnérables en Mauritanie

AUTHOR(S)
Thomas Dreesen; Marco Valenza; Binta Alassane Gadio; Elisa Despréaux

Published: 2023 Innocenti Research Briefs
En Mauritanie, de nombreux élèves rencontrent des difficultés dans la maitrise du français, l'une des langues officielles d'enseignement à l'école. Cette barrière linguistique entrave la progression des élèves dans le programme, augmentant ainsi les risques d'abandon scolaire. Ce risque touche en particulier les adolescentes en raison de normes sociales discriminatoires qui compromettent la poursuite de leurs études, même dans des zones urbaines de la capitale, Nouakchott.

Pour relever ces défis, l'UNICEF, en collaboration avec la Fondation Akelius et des partenaires nationaux, a lancé un cours hybride visant à améliorer la maîtrise du français pour les filles vivant dans un quartier défavorisé de Nouakchott. Ce cours hybride, qui se déroule dans un centre communautaire l'après-midi, intègre un enseignement traditionnel avec l'utilisation hors ligne de l'application d’apprentissage digital Akelius.

Cette note de recherche présente les résultats que le cous hybride a contribué à atteindre en termes l'apprentissage et de compétences socio-émotionnelles. Elle met en lumière les enseignements tirés dans la mise en œuvre de l'apprentissage numérique dans des environnements aux ressources limitées, notamment en s'appuyant sur des solutions hors ligne et en concevant conjointement le contenu numérique avec les enseignants.
Navigating Digital Learning: Insights into the Pasaporte al Aprendizaje Programme in Mexico

Navigating Digital Learning: Insights into the Pasaporte al Aprendizaje Programme in Mexico

AUTHOR(S)
Marta Carnelli; Pragya Dewan; Sophia Kan; Janina Cuevas Zúñiga

Published: 2023 Innocenti Research Briefs
In 2021, Mexico introduced Pasaporte al Aprendizaje, a localized version of the Learning Passport digital learning platform, to mitigate learning loss after widespread school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Between October 2021 and February 2023, almost 100,000 students utilized it for upper-secondary courses.

The research explores the key design and implementation steps undertaken for the successful deployment and use of the Pasaporte al Aprendizaje. In addition, analysis of data from the digital learning platform shows that students assessment scores improved as they progressed through courses, in subjects such as mathematics, Spanish, chemistry and physics. The overall goal of this research is to inform improvements in the Pasaporte al Aprendizaje and provide key lessons learned for other countries implementing national digital learning programmes.
Transforming Education in Kosovo with the Learning Passport: The case of Shkollat.org

Transforming Education in Kosovo with the Learning Passport: The case of Shkollat.org

Published: 2023 Policy Brief
The Kosovo Education Strategy (2022–2026) recognizes the need to scale up digital learning solutions to support individualized learning for children. Shkollat.org, Kosovo’s version of the Learning Passport, combines the largest repository of curriculum-aligned video learning content in Kosovo with communication tools to engage students inside or outside the classroom. This research presents findings from the implementation of Shkollat.org in Kosovo, providing policy takeaways for the scale-up of digital learning solutions for education policymakers in the Western Balkans and beyond. Research findings are organized around six pillars of digital learning embedded within the Kosovo Education Strategy (2022–2026): digital learning platforms, content, teacher upskilling and support, connectivity, devices, and institutional support. 
Integrating Education Technology into Teaching and Learning: Lessons from EDUINO in North Macedonia

Integrating Education Technology into Teaching and Learning: Lessons from EDUINO in North Macedonia

Published: 2023 Innocenti Research Report

How can countries engage teachers, parents, and learners in the successful of scale-up digital learning solutions? 

EDUINO, North Macedonia's platform for digital learning, fostered a community of practice and successfully crowdsourced a large amount of educational content from teachers and educators around the country within weeks of the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. This research presents factors that enabled the rapid development and scale-up of EDUINO at a systems, school, and classroom level.

Research findings in the brief are organized around four key implementation strategies:

1. Developing and crowdsourcing curriculum-aligned learning content

2. Fostering user engagement through a community of practice

3. Furthering teacher capacity for digital learning, and

4. Reaching students with disabilities and other learning barriers.

Unlocking Learning: The use of education technology to support disadvantaged children’s language learning and social inclusion in Italy

Unlocking Learning: The use of education technology to support disadvantaged children’s language learning and social inclusion in Italy

AUTHOR(S)
Svetlana Poleschuk; Thomas Dreesen; Barbara D’Ippolito; Joaquín Cárceles

Published: 2023 Innocenti Research Report
In Italy, more than 700,000 asylum seekers and migrants arrived in the country between 2014-2020. Newly arrived children including refugees and migrants need to quickly acquire Italian skills to succeed in school and society. To help address this urgent need, the Akelius digital learning application was introduced in Bologna and Rome for Italian and English language learning in the 2021/22 school year. This research presents findings from the first year of implementation of the Akelius digital learning application in Italy. Results show the use of the application supported self-paced learning, boosted students’ motivation and confidence and the use of the tool was especially beneficial for newly arrived children and children with disabilities. The report also explores challenges and good practices to inform improvements in the use of digital learning in classrooms. 
Unlocking Learning: The use of digital learning to support the education and inclusion of refugees and migrant children in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Unlocking Learning: The use of digital learning to support the education and inclusion of refugees and migrant children in Bosnia and Herzegovina

AUTHOR(S)
Svetlana Poleschuk; Andrea Soldo; Thomas Dreesen

Published: 2023 Innocenti Research Report

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the number of refugees and migrants arriving in the country has increased from just a few dozen arrivals annually prior to 2017 to 95,000 between 2018 and 2022. This increase has put incredible strain on the country’s education systems.

This research presents critical findings on the implementation and effectiveness of the Akelius digital learning application in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was introduced as a tool to support refugee and migrant children’s English and German language learning.

The findings demonstrate that using the digital application in a blended learning approach in classrooms was especially useful for personalizing learning and supporting children with diverse learning levels and needs.

The report also explores the challenges faced, and good practices to tangibly improve the implementation of digital learning in classrooms. 

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