For two years, six partners from Germany, Portugal, Finland, Greece and Sweden worked together in a Strategic Partnership within the ERASMUS+ programme of the European Union to develop tools to make vocational education and training (VET) institutions more inclusive by using information and communication technologies (ICT). The results of this successful cooperation are now available for free use.
Inclusion, i.e. the equal and equal participation of people with disabilities or with other, specific requirements, has been the goal of a wide range of efforts throughout the entire education system for years. In most European countries, however, the vocational education and training system performs rather poorly in comparison with, for example, primary and secondary education. The reasons for this can be assumed to be a high degree of practical relevance, implementation at a wide variety of learning locations beyond the classroom or the great importance of manual skills and abilities with specific implicit knowledge in each case.
At the same time, however, other requirements are also placed on vocational training institutions. Particular importance is attached to the digital transformation . Here the institutions are called upon to train future specialists for digitally enriched or completely new occupational fields on the rapidly developing state of the art and to "take their teaching staff along".
EICON has chosen an approach to link these two themes, as it has long been recognised that appropriate information and communication technologies (ICT) have the potential to promote inclusion. Therefore, the project focused on linking the two themes and answered the central question of how a VET institution can improve its capacity for inclusion through the use of ICT.
As a result, tools are now available to provide this support. These tools were designed for three different target groups. On the one hand, teachers in VET institutions,who often already use ICT but are not in a position to apply this experience and knowledge outside their teaching field. Therefore, the management of the institutions as the second target group of the tools plays an essential role in order to turn selective approaches into a holistic strategy. The third target group is organisational developers or change agentswho, as internal or external experts, offer methodological support in the further development of the organisation.
The project website (www.eicon-project.eu) contains lists of inclusive uses of ICTs for each of these three target groups. Thematically, these lists are divided into the areas of pedagogy or teaching and learning approaches, technology and infrastructure, links to the labour market and other stakeholders,and leadership..