Digital technology has enabled enormous changes in our society – it has changed our daily lives, it has changed interpersonal relationships, it has changed the economy, politics, medicine, and most of all – it has changed our education. Digital technology has brought education closer to marginalized groups and equated them with the rest of society. Nowadays, people with special needs have the same opportunities in education as the rest of society, and all that thanks to digital technology.
We in the Center of technical culture Rijeka have been implementing digital education and literacy programs in our local community for almost thirty years. In order to bring digital literacy closer to all members of our community, we use digital technology in our teaching. We conduct workshops for children with Down syndrome, for the deaf and hard of hearing and for the blind and visually impaired.
We conduct 3D modeling workshops with people with Down syndrome where participants work in the Tinkercad tool and through practical work create various objects using a 3D printer. In this way we enable them to actively participate in the work of our center and to learn how to use all of the benefits that digital technology offers to them.
In the Center of technical culture Rijeka we also conduct education of visually impaired people by using JAWS screen reader for Windows, which is the most popular and most used screen reader in the world. The JAWS screen reader allows blind and partially sighted people to use most applications on a computer on an equal level with sighted people, by monitoring user activities on a computer and transmitting the contents of a pressed key and commands to a blind person. The software converts user activities and screen content into text and sends them to a Braille display or speech synthesizer.
We also educate deaf and hard of hearing people with sign language interpreters, which are used to more clearly transfer new knowledge and skills to the participants. We teach them the basics of computers, word processing, the Internet, how to use email and communication technologies, and how to work with tools for easy access and online public service. Also, in the Center we conduct robotic training in micro:bit management for the deaf and hard of hearing.
We are very proud that everyone can feel comfortable in the Center of technical culture Rijeka, and that all people can move freely in it regardless of their physical limitations. Although our center is located on two levels, the ground floor and the first floor of the building, people with disabilities can also use the space on the first floor because we own a vehicle for the movement of people with disabilities, the so-called caterpillar.
By participating in the DREAM project, we in the Center of technical culture Rijeka will gain the knowledge needed to improve our education for people with special needs, and by using the DREAM methodology, we will bring our business closer to all people. DREAM methodology will provide us another interesting and fun method of engaging and developing marginalized groups.
Through working with people with learning disabilities, we have learned that patience is a key factor for success. We advise all those who want to be successful in this kind of education to give themselves time and understand that patience is key to transferring knowledge to their users. Digital technology allows us to work with people with learning disabilities, but it is the human factor that guarantees the success of this process.