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Research to transform lives of disabled learners

22 July 2010 @TeessideUni


Researchers at Teesside have been awarded a £30,000 grant to help transform the lives of disabled learners and their teachers.

Widgets for Inclusive Distributed Environments (WIDE) aims to produce up to 50 high quality widgets, similar to iPhone applications, which will support disabled students through their learning journey.

The innovative project will be led by the Accessibility Research Centre within the University’s School of Computing.

Elaine Pearson, Principal Lecturer in the Digital Futures Institute, said: ‘We are really excited about this project because it means we can take a community approach to make a real difference to disabled students across higher and further education.’

Funding was secured through the JISC Distributed Learning Environments scheme and WIDE was one of only three projects that was successful in the funding application process.

The £30,000 grant will provide bursaries for two researchers who will spend six months defining, designing, developing and evaluating digital resources.

WIDE will bring together groups of staff who are involved in the teaching and support of disabled students in further and higher education. In a series of brainstorming sessions and workshops those teachers will put forward their own ideas for how the small WIDE applications can help and support disabled students.

Researchers will then go away to design and develop a series of high quality widgets which will be created for specific learning needs, with the aim of producing up to 50 digital applications which can be distributed to the education sector. Each widget will include descriptions of the user scenario on which it was based, together with a summary of its use in practice.

The six-month WIDE project will run from 1 July to 31 December.