La introduco Io.
Ho accennato allinizio che Lena Gudèhn è
socia dellassociazione svedese di informatica, la Seedish Data Procesing Socity che,
incidentalmente è lassociazione che ha introdotto per prima, dopo la Finlandia
lECDL in Svezia, in Europa e che, fino ad adesso ha riscosso i maggiori successi
nella sua diffusione. Di quel milione di cittadini coinvolti nel programma che citavo a
livello europeo, la Svezia ne ha una quota significativa qualche centinaio di migliaia.
Attualmente, Lena Gudèh si occupa di un progetto
internazionale intitolato, International Working gGoup su lECDL for Special Needs e
quindi, mi pare il completamento, la conclusione di questo discorso che stiamo facendo
sullECDL rivolta a persone con disabilità.
Lena a te, grazie.
ECDL Special Needs Working Group Manager
L'ACCESSIBILITA' ALL'ECDL ANCHE PER LE PERSONE DISABILI"
ECDL Available for all?
Is the ECDL (European Computer Driving License) available for
I would like to answer YES to that
question, but I am afraid I can
not do that.
ECDL has not been available for all.
Blind and visually impaired people, people with
reading and writing difficulties (dyslexia), people with impaired hearing and deaf people,
people with impaired mobility have in many cases not been able to complete the ECDL.This
is not fair. The original intention of ECDL was that it should be available for all. What
can be done to make ECDL available for all?
The need of ECDL for people with disabilities
The Information Society has to be for everyone! To have a disability should be
regarded as a natural element of the life cycle. Everyone must expect, during some period
in life, to be affected by circumstances that makes the access to and use of ICT
(Information and Communication Technologies) products, services or systems
The ECDL has evolved into a generally and widely
accepted certificate. Lots of people with disabilities have achieved a substantial
knowledge in IT through courses, training or on their own. In spite of that they can in
many cases not gain access to the test that would give them a certificate to prove their
Even if the ECDL is not always mandatory when
applying for a job or even a means to get a job or gain access to schools and
educational programmes - it has a great symbolic value as a proof of achieved
people with disabilities to achieve their full productive potential, they require access
to all the information and communication systems and services on which the business
infrastructure of modern economy is based. The ability to use these systems and services
effectively is a key factor in employment in an increasing number of economic and
ECDL in Sweden
In Sweden all tests for ECDL are performed automatically. The test is presented and
assessed on a computer. The problems we have to deal with could therefore be a bit
different from the ones encountered in countries where tests are performed
In Sweden there are approximately 1000 test
of which 350 are schools. Approximately 200 000 people have taken one or more steps on the
road leading to the ECDL (92 000 has achieved the complete ECDL). In other words: a big
success. One of the reasons for this success is definitely the automated test process
which means faster assessment and less staff needed in the test centres. A key
factor is also that the Swedish people in general are very IT and technology- friendly -
over 70 % of the population have access to a computer, 80% have mobile phones.
More and more countries are starting to perform
automated test for ECDL.
ECDL Foundation decided to set up an international Special Needs Working Group with
the objective of planning ECDL development as an evolving standard certificate. The reason
for this being that approximately 10% of total population of 500 million people in Europe
has disabilities. A large number of those people would benefit from ECDL. People
from the Society point of view, are cost consuming, could with proper training start to
produce profit. ECDL could become a part in the integration of people with disabilities
into the working world. With the new possibilities of teleworking disabled could find a
way to work from home.
Working Group ECDL for Special Needs
1)The Working Group for Special Needs will work on a proposal for a new ECDL Standard
and Guideline for people with Special Needs undertaking the ECDL. This will be a guideline
for testing in general, in terms of suggestions for accessibility, exam
Problems in automated testing relates mostly to the test systems and how they could be
adapted and adjusted to better suit the needs of people with disabilities.
Problems in manual testing could be access to assistants, assistive technology, assessment
of tests etc.
2) The Working Group will also put together
requirements of automated test systems to make the ECDL accessible for all
3) The final task of this Working Group will be to
bring forward an alternate test to the ECDL module 6 Presentation, which is a
problem for blind people. The Royal London School for the Blind is involved in this work.
How could people with Special Needs get access to
the ECDL tests?
By making test systems accessible and enable use of assistive
Adaptive technology by its very nature is always in
a "cath-up" situation and glitches will occur as mainstream technology
Providing access for people with disabilities is a
challenging and complex task. Assistive technology is needed, training can be time
consuming and the economic situation of people with disabilities may not always allow them
the opportunity to purchase equipment.
A blind person could be helped by a Screen reading program connected to a Braille
display and Speech Synthesis.
Braille display through a screen reading
program the text is converted to Braille and presented on a display
Screen readers are software packages that work
with speech synthesisers to give the computer speech output. The material on the screen is
read aloud by a synthesised voice.
Text scanners scan written text from a page and
read it aloud.
People who have visual impairment sometimes have difficulty seeing text or images on a
computer screen or performing tasks that require eye-hand coordination, such as moving a
computer mouse. Increased text size, screen contrast, and customisable colour combinations
can help people with low vision.
Screen enlargers increase the size of the
material on the screen for easy reading.
Deaf people have sign language (Body Sign Language) as their first language and the
national language as second. An interpreter is necessary when teaching deaf people, if the
teacher cannot sign. Written documentation could be useful.
Hard of hearing
People with impaired hearing have different needs depending on the degree of
disability and at what age the disability occured. A hearing aid and written documentation
could be useful.
Dyslexia (reading and writing difficulties)
Dyslectic people may suffer from difficulties in reading certain words and long or
complicated sentences. They may have difficulty with reading, spelling, understanding
language they hear, or expressing themselves clearly in speaking or in writing.
They may also be sensitive to the amount of
information presented on a screen, and to the training environment. They would benefit
from adapted tests, short sentences, speech synthesis, screen enlargers.
Persons with impaired mobility may have problems with their motor activity and ability
to move. Interacting with computers through the conventional mouse/keyboard set-up can be
a significant challenge to individuals who have limited use of their hands. The
appropriate aids could be Alternative keyboards operated by one hand or by a few
fingers, Alternative input devices for example track balls, mouse controlled by mouth or
Voice recognition systems allow the user to
operate the computer and input data with their voice.
All users would benefit from a linguistic review of test questions
Obstacles in automated testing
If a problem can be defined it is the beginning of a change for the
Automated Test Systems
Cannot use assistive technology
Today, disabled people dependent on assistive technology are unable to take the ECDL
mainly due to shortcomings in the test system interface. The technology used in the
existing test system does not allow, for instance, a screen reading program to "take
control". This means that a blind person would need a trainer or assistant to read
the questions to him or her.
The test system must be adapted to assistive
technology so that screen-reading systems could read descriptions of icons, menus and
Another major problem has been the time limit of 30
minutes. Could be very stressful,
especially to a person with a disability. To use, for instance, a screen enlargement
program is time consuming.
In Sweden we have , as a test, removed the time
limit for people with special needs. The response has been overwhelming. We will evaluate
this change and the effect it have had on number of tests performed at the end of the
year. We will then also make a decision as to whether it should be a permanent solution
for automated testing.
The language used in test questions has posed a difficulty for certain groups
dyslectics, people not having Swedish as their first language - which could be people from
other countries living in Sweden or deaf people having BSL (Body Sign Language) as their
first language. To solve this we have performed a linguistic review of all test questions
where we actually managed to remove hundreds of words and thus making the questions
clearer, shorter and easier to understand.
We are also in the middle of testing out a way to
have questions and answering alternatives interpreted to BSL (Body Sign Language) in a
small separate window on the screen. We will see the result of this in a few weeks time,
which will be very interesting indeed.
Cannot change font size, colour
People who have visual impairments sometimes have difficulty seeing text or images on
a computer screen, or performing tasks that require eye-hand coordination, such as moving
a computer mouse. Increased text size, screen contrast and customisable colour
combinations can help people with low vision. This is not a feature in our existing test
ECDL Module 6 - Presentation
This module is a major headache for blind people. In UK at The Royal London School for
the Blind there is work going on to produce an alternative to this module. I hope they
will have something to present in this matter in the beginning of next year.
Use de facto standard for Windows programming.
The screens used in tests should be as simple and
"clean" as possible. Unnecessary information and pictures should be
Flexible adaptable interfaces that the user could
change them selves font, size, colour, contrast. All functions and objects should
be reachable through keyboard commands
For assistive technology to work optimally it will
need information on the position of the cursor active cursor, it needs to monitor
the objects/windows appearing on the screen and it needs descriptive window
identification. This is very important for a blind person using a screen reading program.
Performance testing meaning that answers to
questions are carried out through performing a certain result e g. "Change the font
of the high lighted text to Arial" instead of "Wich button would give you the
possibility to change the font of the highlighted text?".
In the world of ECDL today, no specific requirements
apply to training providers.
The providers knowledge and teaching method are of great importance to disabled
students. If the provider does not adapt the course appropriately, there is a great risk
that the disabled person will have difficulties throughout the training. There is also a
risk that the focus is on the disabled persons inability to do certain tasks rather
than generating knowledge in the subject. Most disabled persons seem to have had a
negative experience of this, leading to reduced confidence and interest as a
would be justified to require that the provider have knowledge of the students
potential to get through the course successfully.
For those paying for the training, good quality may
mean getting the training cheaply, but far too often this means poor quality for the
student. Those in charge of purchasing training have a great responsibility to ensure that
the students needs are satisfied and adequate training is purchased.
Knowledge of disability
The training provider should have knowledge of the specific disability in order to
adapt the teaching method to the student needs. He/she needs knowledge of alternative
skills for instance keyboard commands instead of using the mouse.
Adapted Training Environment
The Training provider must be able to offer an appropriate training environment with
technical aids such as plugs for hearing aids
Knowledge of Assistive Technology
The training provider should be able to offer the required technical aids and skills
in for example Speech synthesis.
Training courses with groups consisting exclusively of people with impaired
visually handicapped etc. is preferable to training courses with mixed groups, where
adaptations to special needs may only be made at the expense of other
The training provider must be aware of the need for more teachers per
student, i e
smaller groups. There should be focus on the disabled persons possibilities and
One of the main difficulties in getting the training providers to accept this is that
it is hard t to quantify the financial benefits.
It will create a substantial goodwill for the
training providers conforming to these requirements.
Content adapted to ECDL syllabus
If the content of the Training material is adapted to the ECDL
syllabus, it could be
certified by the national ECDL operator. The ECDL tests are based on the ECDL
the material is found to satisfy the basic requirements it is approved and thereby
permitted to carry the ECDL logotype.
Language easy to understand
The language must be easily understandable. The training material must be adapted to
the tests regarding the vocabulary and technical terms.
Possible to use as reference material
When the training is over, the student should be able to use the material as reference
material. The students must be able to use the training material on their own.
Available in digital form
The training material must be available in digital form, preferably
indexed. It should
be possible to search texts and read with a speech synthesis.
Pictures must be adapted so that all non-relevant information is
Teaching methods developed mainly towards training materials for self-study. Video
illustrations could demonstrate how to do a task together with sign
files could give an additional dimension to the text. The person using the material could
choose a way of presenting the information, or various presentation techniques may be
combined to achieve better illustrations.
ECDL and the EU
There will be a proposal submitted in January next year "ECDL for people
Idea: To set up the framework to use ECDL for
promotion of the enhancement of basic IT knowledge for people with disabilities.
Focus will be on on training
markets support and dissemination.
The Information Society is for everyone
The Information Society has to be for everyone! Keep making yourselves
Allora penso di ringraziare tutti i presenti, vi
ringrazio veramente, siete stati attenti alla presentazione ed io ero veramente curioso di
vedere come viene traslato dallInglese allItaliano allo scritto, mi pare che
abbia funzionato in modo ottimale direi.
Quindi dobbiamo anche ringraziare i nostri
traduttori simultanei e scrittori simultanei, grazie.