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Round table “Educational Software for Inclusive Education” held

The round table “Educational Software for Inclusive Education” took place on May 28, 2013, 11:00 at the hotel “Continental” in Skopje. The round table was organized by the “Open the windows” association within the framework of the project “Localization of educational software for people with disabilities in Macedonia” implemented by “Open the windows” in cooperation with the Austrian organization LIFEtool, and funded by Diakonie Austria.

The purpose of this event, which was also attended by a representative of Metamorphosis was to raise the awareness about the opportunities offered by the use of educational software for increasing the educational opportunities of children and youth with disabilities. During the event, attendees had the opportunity to exchange experiences and good practices regarding the use and development of educational software.

The round table began with a presentation by Mrs. Joanna Kinberger from Diakonie Austria, who spoke about the support of this organization for the localization of educational software in Macedonian and Albanian.

Ms. LeAnna Marr, USAID Macedonia’s program director emphasized USAID’s support for a modern and inclusive education in Macedonia, primarily through the localization of educational applications and teacher trainings on the use of computers during classes.

Mr. David Hofer, director of LIFEtool and Mrs. Irmgard Steininger discussed about the use of educational software when working with students with and without disabilities in Austria. They added that the purpose of this educational software is to improve students’ skills in reading, writing and calculating, and to train the teachers as well. Moreover, they presented the results from the survey conducted with the help of 33 teachers from special schools in Austria, and the general conclusion from this research was that children with disabilities benefit the most from the use of software for people with disabilities, but the benefits are noticeable among children without disabilities as well.

Ivan Corbev, an assistant professor at the Faculty of Engineering Sciences and Computer Engineering (FINKI) spoke about the development of educational software in Macedonia, what has been done so far, experiences and opportunities.

Mrs. Olga Samardzic Jankova from “Open the Windows” closed the first session, presenting the experiences with the localization and application of the educational software GCopris for work with students with special educational needs.

After the short break, Radmila Stojkovska Aleksova from “Open the windows” presented the localized applications of LIFEtool in Macedonian and Albanian language: Show Me and About Numbers. The games offer opportunities for application in tuition, particularly in the work with students with special educational needs, as they allow the development of mathematical skills by mastering the basic mathematical concepts and operations, and the enrichment of the vocabulary and improvement of literacy by connecting words with images. The games offer the opportunity for creating an individual profile for every student, and eventually the data is obtained in the form of a diploma about the level the student has reached and the time he/she needed to complete the game.

The “Localization of educational software for people with disabilities in Macedonia” project aims at strengthening the active participation of children and youth with disabilities in education by providing and promoting the use of appropriate educational software in the classrooms.

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