Astek konferencija Beograd
Peta stručno-naučna konferencija o ASISTIVNIM TEHNOLOGIJAMA I KOMUNIKACIJI

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Studijska produkcija
  • 03. novembar 2023.
  • +381 (63) 204-063, info@astek.rs

Program rada konferencije




Summary

Never in history have we experienced such a rapid growth in the number of people using a new technological tool as we have with the ChatGPT . As a society, we were not prepared for such rapid development, which raises a number of questions as: how many jobs will we lose, will artificial intelligence destroy us, what will happen to education, and what will healthcare be like in the future? Technology is neutral, and we should not fear new technological solutions. It is people who use technology and decide whether to use it for good or evil. Unfortunately, as society, we have not adapted to rapid changes that have occurred in last fifty years, which has led to a global crisis. From experience gained working with people with disabilities, the solution lies in developing empathy - understanding the problems faced by others in everyday life. If we can understand others, we can find solutions to problems such as global warming, declining birth rates, job losses due to new technological solutions, support for the growing number of older people, and violence at all levels. The fear of artificial intelligence cannot be solved by teaching children about neural networks and deep learning in elementary school, but by teaching empathy from preschool onwards. We don't need artificially intelligent tools that are empathetic. They need to be rational without emotions because, if they had emotions, they could make harmful decisions in certain emotional states, just like humans. When Kasparov lost to a chess-playing program, he invented advanced chess, where players and programs played together against other players using different programs. The teams that knew how to best utilize the program's capabilities were victorious. The same applies to artificial intelligence. In the future, we will collaborate with artificial intelligence tools in all areas. I believe that soon we will have an icon on our smartphones that will summon our digital agent to assist us in professional work, monitoring our health, and finding solutions to the problems we face. Such an agent will provide tremendous assistance to people with disabilities, if we unleash our empathetic potentials.

Keywords: empathy, artificial intelligence, people with disabilities

Acknowledgment of the project: This work was partially supported by Erasmus+ programme of European Commission under Grant 622846-EPP-1-2020-1-HR-SPO-SCP and Grant S.N.A.T.C.H project number 101090652


Biography

Dr. Stanko Blatnik is a researcher at the IPAK Institute for Symbolic Analysis and Development of Information Technologies) in Velenje, Slovenia.

He graduated Physics from Faculty of Natural Science and Mathematics at University in Belgrade. He obtained her master's degree from Faculty of Natural Science and Mathematics at University in Sarajevo and doctoral degrees in field of theoretical particle physics from t Faculty of Natural Science and Mathematics at University in Zagreb. From 1967 till 1985 he was teaching several courses at University in Tuzla. He was dean of Chemical Engineering Faculty and prorector of University. From 1985 till 1992 was member of responsible for research and technology at Gorenje Process Equipment company in Velenje, from 1992 till 2000 he was head of R&D unit at Inova IR, In 2000 he established IPAK institute where he is active researcher. He was researching in theoretical physics, computer science and support of people with disabilities. He wrote articles covering topics from those fields. From 2000 till 2004 he was visiting lecturer at West Valley college in Silicon Valley, where he taught XML, SVG and Web Design and published books XML Content and Data and Design Concepts with Code. He prepared and participated in several projects in Eureka, PHARE, Lifelong Learning Programme, Interreg and Erasmus+. He is holder of 17 patents acquired from Office for Intellectual Property of Republic Slovenia. His main research now is efficient use of digital technology in education health care and support of elder and people with disabilities.

Summary

Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder and the most common form of inherited intellectual disability (ID) and monogenic cause of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It is caused by the full mutation as well as highly localized methylation of the Fragile X Messenger Ribonucleoprotein 1 (FMR1) gene on the long arm of the X chromosome. The normal range of CGG trinucleotide repeats in the FMR1 gene is 5–44, and it encodes Fragile X Messenger Ribonucleoprotein 1 protein (FMRP). FMRP has a variety of functions, many of which are critical for neurological development and function. However, full mutation and methylation of the FMR1 gene cause the absence of FMR in FXS. The prevalence rate of FXS is estimated at 1 in 4.000 males and 1 in 8.000 females. The clinical presentation of FXS differs by gender. Males are generally more affected, while females tend to present with a less severe phenotype due to compensatory activation of the unaffected X chromosome. In general, FXS manifests as a variety of neurobehavioral conditions. In addition to ASD and ID, children with FXS are commonly co-diagnosed with attention and learning problems, anxiety, aggressive behavior and sleep disorder, and early interventions have improved many behavior symptoms associated with FXS. During early childhood, physical and developmental features of FXS become more apparent. Delays in motor, speech and language development and autistic features are typical by 3- to 4-year-old, and should lead to diagnosis. Nevertheless, health professionals are often unfamiliar with these features and FXS. Genetic testing for FXS is available and genetic kits have created easy-to-use, accessible, and high performance methods for laboratories. There are still no currently approved curative therapies for FXS, and clinical management continues to focus on symptomatic treatment of comorbid behaviors and psychiatric problems. Early non-pharmacological interventions in combination with pharmacotherapy and targeted treatments aiming to reverse dysregulated brain pathways are the mainstream of treatment in FXS. Overall, early diagnosis and interventions are fundamental to achieve optimal clinical outcomes in FXS.

Keywords: fragile X syndrome, FMR1 gene mutations, inherited intellectual disability, Autism Spectrum Disorder

Acknowledgment of the project: This research is supported by the Science Fund of the Republic of Serbia, Program IDEA #GRANT № 7673781, “Polyphenols as potential targeted treatments in Drosophila melanogaster model of fragile X syndrome”, POLYFRAX_Drosophila.


Biography

Prof. Dr. Dragana Protic. MD, PhD is associated professor of pharmacology and clinical pharmacology at the University of Belgrade, Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Pharmacology, Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology. She is a clinical pharmacologist at Special Hospital for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Neurology. She completed her Ph.D. studies in Molecular Medicine and residency in Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Belgrade, Faculty of Medicine in 2013. Her research portfolio is mainly focused on translational investigation, from bench to bedside. Accordingly, she has gained valuable knowledge, skills, and attitudes in research, education, and medical practice. In the last few years, she spent valuable time as a visiting scientist and scholar at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and University of California at Davis. These educational visits enhanced her knowledge and skills in the area of Fragile X. Since 2016, thanks to her efforts, Belgrade’s Faculty of Medicine, established stronger collaborations with US institutions in the field of fragile X. Thanks to all efforts, the first Fragile X Clinic in South-Eastern Europe was established in Belgrade in 2018. She also established Fragile X Society-Balkans and organized children with FXS and their parents from a whole region. She was the main organizer of the international conference on Autism and Fragile X-associated disorders which was held in Belgrade in 2019. The conference brought world-renowned experts in the field to Serbia to share knowledge with professionals from Serbia and other European countries and to meet with patients with FXS and their families. Specifically, she is the PI of a few research grants that are related to fragile X. Most importantly, she is the PI of the preclinical research on the pharmacological effects of natural substances on the Drosophila fragile X model (more info at www.polyfrax.com and https://conductscience.com/dragana-protic/).

Summary

Smart, adaptable and inclusive solutions can help improve and support independent life throughout the course of life, regardless of age, gender, disabilities, cultural differences and personal choices. A holistic approach that optimizes social and physical environments, supported by digital tools and services, allows to provide better health and social care, promoting not only independent living, but also equity and active participation in society. This approach follows the United Nations' line-up, with the Sustainable Development Goals, stating that sustainable environments for all ages represent the basis for ensuring a better future for the entire population and addressing the growing issues of the ageing population. The challenges of different sectors, such as ICT, the building industry and urban planning, health and social care, as well as those of citizens and their communities are interlinked. Responding to these challenges will foster awareness and support for the creation and implementation of smart, healthy and inclusive environments for present and future generations that enable them to learn, grow, work, socialize and enjoy a healthy life, benefiting from the use of digital innovations, accessibility solutions and adaptable support models. The community is the physical, social and cultural ecosystem closest to people, built on relationships of trust, sharing, solidarity and intimacy, where people find social, cultural and identity references, socialize and live their daily lives. The objective conditions of the environment (pollution, accessibility, mobility, safety, comfort) affect the quality of life and wellbeing. Thus, NET4Age-Friendly aims to develop an international ecosystem based on a network of researchers and stakeholders that enables the practice and deployment of Smart Healthy Age-Friendly Environments (SHAFE) The primary purpose is to reach every single COST country for spreading awareness and developing the SHAFE concept. We foster actions that promote partnerships between technological and digital innovation, architecture, urban planning, social studies and health sciences to design and simulate communities of belonging that leverage on the potential of each sector to promote the existential dignity of all persons, regardless of their age, gender, health, social, educational, economic, cultural and identity conditions, as well as the levels of development of the region where they live.

Keywords: Smart Environments, Healthy Environments, Age-Friendly Environments, Network of researchers and stakeholders.

Acknowledgment of the project: "This work was partially supported by the COST Action CA19136: International Interdisciplinary Network on Smart Healthy Age-friendly Environments. COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) is a funding agency for research and innovation networks. Funded by the European Union "


Biography

prof. Ivan Chorbev, PhD is a Full Professor and Head of the Software Engineering Department at the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, Faculty for Computer Science and Engineering He served 7 years for two terms as dean of the faculty as a legal entity with 4000 students and 100 employees. He serves as the member of the Board of Directors in the Business Accelerator UKIM representing the major shareholder - the Ss Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje (UKIM).He works as an IT consultant and ICT expert in both the public sector and in the industry.

His main interests and activities include Software engineering, Machine learning, ERP systems, Student information systems, Learning management systems, Assistive technologies, eHealth. He has published more than 100 research papers in the area of machine learning, medical data mining, telemedicine, assistive technologies, software engineering, heuristic optimization algorithms, combinatorial optimization, etc. He was involved or coordinated in 20 international and national application and research projects funded by TEMPUS, FP6, H2020, Erasmus, COST, Horizon Europe. He has developed and managed digital platforms and information systems for over two decades. He has been working in the assistive technology domain for over a decade, doing research and development in home monitoring, fall detection, speech recognition, smart home, 3D printing for healthcare, smart devices, health monitoring, serious games for learning, Data Science for Healthcare and related domains, Policy Creation etc. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE.

Summary

Brain–Computer Interface (BCI) technology provide a direct link between the human brain and a computer and can serve as a user interface for the control of assistive devices. This provides an opportunity for individuals with severe motor impairments to control assistive devices only with cognitive effort, even when a complete lack of residual motor functions is present. BCIs can assist severely disabled users in multiple domains, but predominantly in restoring and replacing the impaired functions such as: BCI assisted communication and control, assisted use of digital technologies, smart home control, assisted mobility, and restoring grasping and manipulation abilities. Examples of such applications are mind-controlled spellers and virtual menus, wheelchair control, mind-controlled external active orthoses or electrical stimulation for movement restoration, and control of assistive robotic devices. BCI technologies are also aimed to improve the impaired functions, especially in the context of post-stroke rehabilitation, where such systems combined with standard assistive technologies have achieved superior results. Rapid growth of machine learning and artificial intelligence methods and algorithms has enabled more accurate decoding of patterns of brain activity associated with different motor and cognitive processes. However, limitations of BCIs are still low information transfer rate, i.e. speed of operation and number of commands. For addressing those limitations, the hybrid BCIs emerged, combining neural signals and other types of control such as ocular movement and electromyography, in order to fully exploit the residual voluntary motor activity of the user for improving the ease of operation and performance. Novel trends in BCI introduce passive systems that track the user’s cognitive states and efforts such as workload or attention. Novel developments also go in the direction of invasive systems and brain implants for obtaining more accurate and stable recordings of brain signals.

Keywords: BCI, Assistive technologies, biomedical engineering, neuro-technology.

Acknowledgment of the project: This work was supported by project HYBIS of the Science Fund Republic of Serbia, under the program for excellent projects of young researchers (PROMIS), grant no. 6066223 and Ministry of education, science and technological development, Republic of Serbia (contract number:451-03-68/2022-14/200103).


Biography

Dr Andrej Savić, Senior Science Associate, received Dipl. Ing degree, master's degree and the PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from University of Belgrade - School of Electrical Engineering, Belgrade, Serbia in 2008, 2010 and 2014 at study modules for Physical Electronics, Biomedical and Eco Engineering and System Control and Signal Processing. From 2009 he works in the fields of neurotechnology. He holds a lecturer position at University of Belgrade – Multidisciplinary PhD studies. He has participated the multiple public funded research projects: FP7-ICT-2007-224051 TREMOR project (“An ambulatory BCI-driven tremor suppression system based on FES”), project of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia, grant 175016 (“The effects of assistive systems in neurorehabilitation”), COST Action TD1006 (“European Network on Robotics for NeuroRehabilitation”), "Effects of physical activity on brain ageing" (Juho Vainio Foundation, Helsinki Finland), "REMAP - Restore motor function in ALS through robotic arm exoskeleton and BCI" (Innovation Fund Denmark), multiple private funded research and development projects of the company Tecnalia R&I (San Sebastian, Spain): NEUROMOD: closed-loop stimulation during sleep for improvement of memory consolidation (ELKARTEK programme of the Basque Government), MIGRAINE: neuromodulation system for migraine suppression via closed-loop neurotechnology, NEUROCORE: invasive electrical stimulation and recording at the colon. He was a principal investigator of a PROMIS project of Fund for Science of Republic of Serbia for excellent ideas of young researchers. He has coauthored more than 80 scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals, books and conferences. He is a reviewer of multiple international scientific journals.

Summary

Developmental disorders are conditions associated with difficulties in functioning in one of the following developmental domains: physical/motor, intellectual/cognitive, emotional-behavioral, speech-language, communication and adaptive behavior domain. These conditions occur during the developmental period and can affect the daily functioning of both the child and his family, as well as other people from his environment. From a clinical point of view, children with developmental speech and language disorders form a very heterogeneous group. However, in the literature, as well as in practice, speech and language disorders that arise as a consequence of some primary disorder such as intellectual disability, cerebral pathology, autism spectrum disorders are mostly discussed, and on the other hand, there are speech and language disorders that cannot be explained, nor be attributed to the aforementioned disorders, the so-called specific speech-language disorders. The aim of this paper is to point out, based on practical experience, some of the difficulties that speech therapists deal with in their work, as well as the challenges that modern society imposes on them. Although speech therapy has changed and developed in the last two decades, the shortcomings in practice are still great, and one of them is the insufficient number, to the almost complete absence, of standardized diagnostic tests. On the other hand, in addition to common speech disorders such as dyslalia, disorders of speech fluency, i.e. stuttering, and language disorders such as developmental dysphasia, developmental dyslexia, an increasing number of children have difficulties in social language. Social communication disorder is at the crossroads between speech and language disorders and disorders that are non-linguistic in nature with the influence of other factors, most often social (family, kindergarten, school...). Therefore, in addition to working with the child, the speech therapist works more and more with the parents. In particular, the need for cooperation between the speech therapist and the school the child attends is shown. All this points to the need to strengthen existing and develop additional strategies and competencies in speech therapy work.

Keywords: speech-language disorders, speech therapy, practice

Biography: Asst. Dr. Gordana Čolić is employed at the University of Pristina with a temporary seat in Kosovska Mitrovica, the Faculty of Teachers in Prizren with a temporary seat in Leposavic, and at the College of Social Work in Belgrade. Her scientific research interest, as well as practical work, are in the field of speech, language, communication and specific learning disabilities.


Biography

Asst. Dr. Gordana Čolić is employed at the University of Pristina with a temporary seat in Kosovska Mitrovica, the Faculty of Teachers in Prizren with a temporary seat in Leposavic, and at the College of Social Work in Belgrade. Her scientific research interest, as well as practical work, are in the field of speech, language, communication and specific learning disabilities.

She graduated from the University of Belgrade, Faculty of Special Education in Belgrade, Department of Speech Therapy, in 2000. She received her master's degree and doctorate at the University of Belgrade, Faculty of Special Education and Rehabilitation, Department of Speech Therapy. She was employed from 2001 to 2016 at the University of Belgrade, Faculty of Special Education and Rehabilitation, at the Department of Speech Therapy as a trainee assistant and an assistant for the narrower scientific field of Language Disorders. She was elected to the position of assistant professor in 2022 at the University of Prishtina with temporary headquarters in Kosovska Mitrovica, Faculty of Teachers in Prizren - Leposavic, for the narrower scientific field of Special Pedagogy. So far, she has published works in the field of speech and language disorders. He is one of the authors of the Register of Children with Developmental Disabilities in the Serbian Population. She was engaged as a member of the organizational and program committees of scientific meetings. She was a participant in a scientific project COST Action IS1406: Enhancing children's oral language skills across Europe and beyond – A collaboration focusing on interventions for children with difficulties learning their first language. Supported by European Science Foundation COSTOffice from 2015 to 2018. She was a mentor in the preparation of several master's theses, as well as a member of the commission for the preparation of master's theses in the field of speech therapy. He is a member of the presidency of the Serbian speech therapy association.

Summary

Ever since the invention of the first computer people have been wondering how to use their power to process language more efficiently. The field of Natural Language Processing (NLP) was born out of one such question: Can a computer help us translate text from one language to another? What seemed like an almost impossible mission mid-last century has now become our reality. Not only can we translate text from a foreign language automatically, but we can also listen to it being read by an automatic reader, chat with AI conversational agents using voice or text, get automatic summaries of lengthy and complex articles, and obtain insights from thousands of documents we never even have to open. The first NLP applications grew out of enormous human effort ‒ creating rules, dictionaries, and knowledge bases, and teaching machine learning algorithms what to look at in text. With the advent of artificial neural networks and advanced deep learning algorithms, computers can largely learn from text on their own, while our job has become to ensure that what they learn is correct and unbiased. Besides accelerating the way we access information, these applications have had a tremendous impact on people with difficulties in accessing text. Even though beating research scores drives progress in the field, it is when faced with real-life challenges like this one that these applications are truly put to the test. A multidisciplinary field by design, NLP can make even greater advancements toward text accessibility for everyone through collaboration of researchers and practitioners from the fields of linguistics, computer science, medicine, and special education. In this presentation, I will go over some of the most productive sub-fields of NLP and their real-world applications, with a reference to accessibility features.

Keywords: natural language processing, text accessibility, automatic text processing

Acknowledgment of the project: /


Biography

Dr. Bojana Bašaragin works as a senior researcher at the Institute for Artificial Intelligence of Serbia Research and Development in the human-computer interface group. She received her doctorate from the Faculty of Philology of the University of Belgrade in the field of natural language processing. Her most significant contributions in this area are creation and maintenance of resources and tools for the Serbian language, ranging from the Serbian WordNet, dictionaries of synonyms, monolingual and parallel corpora, to shallow parsers and formal grammars for automatic processing of the Serbian language. Within the Institute, her projects are in the field of application of language technologies in healthcare and industry, with a focus on language models. She is interested in the topic of digital language equality for less resourced languages.

She participated in the international projects of creating a parallelized Serbian-French corpus (Constitution de corpus oraux et écrits and Constitution du corpus parallèle français-serbe) and the Horizon2020 INCISIVE project, which deals with the improvement of lung cancer diagnostics based on artificial intelligence and X-ray scans. She was part of the IC1207 COST action of PARSEME, within which she worked on parsing of Serbian, and is currently part of the CA21167 COST action of UNIDIVE, as a member of a group dealing with quantifying and promoting diversity of language tools and resources.

Dr. Bašaragin is a founding member of the Society for Language Resources and Technologies (JeRTeh) and co-founder of the MOMO center ‒ a multidisciplinary center for the improvement of education.

Summary

This workshop explores the educational potential of augmented reality (AR) as a transformative tool for fostering inclusive learning environments. Participants will engage in a hands-on experience using the Blippar software to design and develop diverse AR tools. The workshop will guide participants through the creation process while focusing on five distinct themes: independence for adults with learning disabilities, sensory support for the classroom environment, promoting engagement and enjoyment of reading in innovative library settings, everyday crisis support for individuals with learning disabilities, communication difficulties, or autism, and the exploration of AR for various educational needs. Through practical demonstrations and step-by-step guidance, participants will develop a deeper understanding of how AR can enhance inclusive learning practices. This interactive session will facilitate the exchange of ideas and encourage collaboration among educators, technologists, and researchers. Participants will test and activate their AR experiences using mobile devices or tablets, followed by reflective discussions on the effectiveness and potential improvements of the developed AR tools. By the end of the workshop, attendees will gain valuable insights into the application of AR in promoting accessibility, engagement, and personalized learning experiences and support. This workshop aims to inspire participants to harness the power of AR in their educational practices, fostering inclusive and empowering learning environments. Join us to embark on a journey towards the future of inclusive learning through the lens of augmented reality.

Keywords: augmented reality, inclusive learning, educational technology, accessibility.

Acknowledgment of the project: This work has been made possible through the ongoing support of my current institution and various professional networks, to whom I extend my gratitude. I appreciate their belief in my research and commitment to fostering innovative educational practices.


Biography

Dr. Sara Muršić is a respected leader in the field of education, holding the position of Head of Autism Research and Development at Abbot’s Lea School (Liverpool,UK). She earned a Bachelor's Degree in Educational Rehabilitation from the University of Zagreb, followed by a Master's Degree in Educational Treatment of Diversity from the University of Latvia. She completed her academic journey with a PhD from Edge Hill University, specialising in the impact of Augmented Reality (AR) on learning experiences for students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Her key research interests revolve around the application of innovative technology within education, specifically within special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) contexts.

Dr. Sara Muršić is a respected leader in the field of education. She is currently an institution-wide Specialist Study Skills Tutor for students with disabilities at Liverpool John Moores University, supporting the Inclusion Team. Previously, she was the Head of Autism Research and Development at Abbot's Lea School in Liverpool. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Educational Rehabilitation from the University of Zagreb, a Master's Degree in Educational Treatment of Diversity from the University of Latvia, and a PhD from Edge Hill University. Her research interests focus on the application of innovative technology within education, specifically within special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) contexts.

Dr. Muršić's career is defined by significant contributions to the education sector. As an Assistant Lecturer at Edge Hill University, she developed and taught modules focusing on educational technology, SEND, inclusion, and diversity. She has successfully led numerous projects, notably the SEND Remote Education project during the COVID-19 pandemic, which gained national recognition. Dr. Muršić has presented her pioneering work on AR in education at North West University in South Africa and has published multiple papers on this subject in conference proceedings.

Dr. Muršić's professionalism and commitment to her field are further evidenced by her memberships in multiple professional bodies, including the Association for Learning Technology (ALT), the British Institute for Learning Disability (BILD), and the British Education Research Association (BERA). Her exceptional contributions continue to shape the future of inclusive and technologically enhanced learning environments.
Authors:

Lorenzo Desideri 1 , Snežana Vuković 2 , Stevan Nestorov 3 , Sanela Slavkovic 4 , Nenad Glumbic 5 , Mirjana Djordjevic 5 , Vladimir Bojkovic 6 , Goran Radosavljevic 7 , Aleksandra Lazevski 7 , Jelena Arsovic 8 , Mirjana Lazor 9 , Nevena Peric 10 , Natasa Kovacevic Zivkovic 11 , Aleksandra Mutavdzic 12 , Sharon Borg Schembri 13 , May Agius 14 , Riccardo Magni 15 , Silvio Pagliara 15 , Francesco Zanfardino 15 , Katerina Mavrou 16 , Eleni Theodorou 16 , Natasa Jovic 17 , Valentina Fiordelmondo 1 , Elena Salvador 1 , Evert-Jan Hoogerwerf 1

1 AIAS Bologna, Italy, 2 Head of Department for human and minority rights in education, Ministry of Education, Serbia; 3 Associate for Inclusive Education, Ministry of Education, Serbia; 4 University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation, Novi Sad, Serbia; 5 University of Belgrade, Faculty of Special Education and Rehabilitation, Belgrade, Serbia; 6 Legal consultant, Serbia; 7 FEFA faculty, Metropolitan University, Belgrade, Serbia; 8 Primary school “Dr Dragan Hercog”, Belgrade, Serbia; 9 ESBS “Milan Petrović” Novi Sad; 10 Primary school "Radivoj Popović", Zemun, Serbia; 11 School for Primary and Secondary Education “Carica Jelena”, Nis, Serbia; 12 Primary school for students with disabilities "Miodrag V. Matić" Užice; 13 Department for Inclusion and Access to Learning, University of Malta; 14 Department of Communication Therapy, University of Malta, Malta; 15 Italian Network of Assistive Technology Centers (GLIC), Italy; 16 Department of Education Sciences, European University Cyprus; 17 Consultant for Inclusive Education, Antidiscrimination and Prevention of Violence, UNICEF, Serbia.

Summary:

The aim of the present contribution is to provide an overview of the objectives, activities, and first results of a research and intervention project aimed at promoting access to assistive technology to promote inclusive education in Serbia. Within the project “Learning Together”, implemented by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Serbia and UNICEF Serbia, with the support of the European Union Delegation in Serbia, a Consortium of national and international experts in the field of inclusive education and assistive technology has been formed to support the development of ten Resource Centers across Serbia. Between December 2022 and May 2024, the Consortium will be coordinating the delivery of three main project outputs. The first output involves the provision of capacity building opportunities to employees of ten Resource Centers with a view to increase their skills in the field of inclusive education and assistive technology (AT) service delivery. The capacity building activities have been developed based on the results of a Situational Analysis of Resource Centers prepared by the Consortium for the specific scopes of the project. The second output involves the design and development of a web platform promoting the functions of the ten Resource Centers involved in the project. The platform will include training materials for teachers, relevant resources to inform stakeholders about the opportunities offered by AT to foster inclusive education, as well as an online AT catalogue. Finally, the third output involves the design and implementation of a feasibility study to explore the possibility and the conditions (legislative, economic) to establish a National Center for Assistive Technology. In conclusion, by the end of the project’s activities, standard protocols and instruments will be developed involving all stakeholders to ensure consistency and effectiveness of support delivery across Resource Centers.

Keywords: Assistive Technology; Inclusive Education; Students in need of support, Resource Center.

Acknowledgment of the project: This work is developed within the project “Enhanced Equal Access to and Completion of Pre-University Education for Children in Need of Additional Support in Education – We Learn Together" implemented by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Serbia and UNICEF, with the support of the EU Delegation in Serbia.

Summary:

Abbot's Lea School, a publicly funded special school for autism in Liverpool, United Kingdom, has embraced the potential of assistive technology (AT) to foster inclusive learning environments for their students. This presentation offers a comprehensive insight into the school's three-tiered model, which revolves around the effective deployment of AT tools and strategies. Abbot's Lea School allocates a dedicated technology budget, which serves to procure, maintain, and provide training for digital infrastructure, devices and software. Collaborative efforts with educators and parents ensure that students have access to the necessary technology and support for independence, further promoting accessibility and personalised learning experiences. The presentation delves into the strategic and financial framework for digital infrastructure, and examines recent UK-based research on the efficacy of technology in education. Attendees will not only gain valuable insights into Abbot's Lea School's successful AT support model but also discover a replicable blueprint for other educational institutions seeking to embrace similar initiatives.

Keywords: digital infrastructure, inclusive learning, educational technology, accessibility.

Acknowledgment of the project: This work has been made possible through the ongoing support of my current institution and various professional networks, to whom I extend my gratitude. I appreciate their belief in my research and commitment to fostering innovative educational practices.


Biography:

Dr. Sara Muršić is a respected leader in the field of education. She is currently an institution-wide Specialist Study Skills Tutor for students with disabilities at Liverpool John Moores University, supporting the Inclusion Team. Previously, she was the Head of Autism Research and Development at Abbot's Lea School in Liverpool. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Educational Rehabilitation from the University of Zagreb, a Master's Degree in Educational Treatment of Diversity from the University of Latvia, and a PhD from Edge Hill University. Her research interests focus on the application of innovative technology within education, specifically within special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) contexts. Dr. Muršić's career is defined by significant contributions to the education sector. As an Assistant Lecturer at Edge Hill University, she developed and taught modules focusing on educational technology, SEND, inclusion, and diversity. She has successfully led numerous projects, notably the SEND Remote Education project during the COVID-19 pandemic, which gained national recognition. Dr. Muršić has presented her pioneering work on AR in education at North West University in South Africa and has published multiple papers on this subject in conference proceedings. Dr. Muršić's professionalism and commitment to her field are further evidenced by her memberships in multiple professional bodies, including the Association for Learning Technology (ALT), the British Institute for Learning Disability (BILD), and the British Education Research Association (BERA). Her exceptional contributions continue to shape the future of inclusive and technologically enhanced learning environments.
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ASTEK | ASISTIVNE TEHNOLOGIJE I KOMUNIKACIJA

  • 03. novembar 2023. | Beograd, Hotel Palas
  • +381 (63) 204-063, info@astek.rs