During the pandemic, almost all of the education institutions switched to distance learning. Papazoglou (2020/par.3) states that “distance learning in all education grades is no panacea, as it gives rise to a number of pedagogical and social issues”. For instance, many deaf and hard of hearing children may face many difficulties during distance learning courses. During real-time lessons using video conferencing many technical issues may arise and most importantly, there has been no provision for real-time transcription and subtitling of what the teacher says on camera. This is an important obstacle for deaf and hard of hearing individuals and individuals with severe hearing impairment who have to rely on lip reading. What is more, there is no targeted feedback when they need it. The material provided is mostly standardised....” It is because the education programs in our country or in the world are primarily prepared for the majority with no handicaps or challenges. The challenged are usually included into those programs later on . This is basically a wrong practice and it has a negative reflection upon the education of the challenged. It has been no different during the pandemic as well. Although some measures have been taken to facilitate students without disabilities or challenges reach online/distance education, a vast majority of the students with disabilities or challenges, especially the hearing impaired have been neglected and paid little or no attention during the pandemic.
Within the scope of our project, a Distance Learning Platform (DLP) will be prepared and developed for the use of the hearing impaired. After the DLP is completed, a Distance Education Curriculum will be developed for the use of the hearing impaired who want to become a cook/chef in future or who want to improve their professional knowledge and skills while they still work as a cook/chef. While creating the curriculum, professional sign language will be built up with the general sign language teaching techniques and use of it will be encouraged and thus reinforced in course of time. These two studies will be the first examples of its kind in Europe in distance learning of the hearing impaired and we believe that it will set a good example for similar studies further on. We will also prepare and develop the Educational contents and a Dictionary of Sign Language for Culinary/Cooking Terminology.
We are going to develop and provide the distance education system and educational materials which are completely free of charge and open access. For that matter, our target group and those with fewer opportunities will be able to access online vocational training whenever they want or wherever they are. With our project, we aim to overcome or at least do our contribution and best to lift the educational, economic, social and geographical barriers in front of the hearing impaired. This exactly coincides and fully matches with the Inclusion and Diversity Priority of the Erasmus + Program. Our project and the results of it have the capacity of not only contributing to innovation in vocational education and training but also increasing the flexibility of opportunities in vocational education. We consider that our project and its results will increase the chances of employability of the young hearing-impaired and also contribute to the skills development of individuals of all age groups from 7 to 70, and thus will contribute to practices that will improve accessibility elsewhere as well.
Our project is based and developed upon the European Commission's 2021-2027 Digital Education Action Plan and has the qualities referring to the strategic priorities of it as follow:
Fostering the development of a high-performing digital education ecosystem,
Enhancing digital skills and competences for the digital transformation.
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