ProLearn4ALL | Pedagogical Suitcases for ALL is a Scientific Research and Technological Development (SCI&TD) project working on inclusion and the notion of the other. Through playful and pedagogical resources the main areas of disability (auditory, intellectual, motor, and visual) are made known to primary school children raising awareness of the acceptance of difference. Through a collaborative work platform, the project interconnects several disciplinary areas (Education + Design + Inclusion), allowing the development of reflection dynamics on the teaching-learning processes. Problem-based research allows a constant exchange of knowledge and experiences between the different actors, in the educational context and with the local community.
In the initial phase of the Prolearn4ALL project, different classes from participating higher education institutions were introduced to the themes of accessibility and inclusion. This aimed to provide context and motivate students for the project’s implementation. The students engaged in research to understand the characteristics associated with auditory, intellectual, motor, and visual impairments. This exploration fostered reflection and awareness regarding the importance of including individuals with disabilities in all aspects of their personal, social, and educational lives. Furthermore, a comprehensive survey was conducted to identify the state of the art in accessible ludo pedagogical resources for children in the 1st cycle of basic education (1st CEB) available in the market and described in scientific literature.
The students involved in the project conducted research to gain insights into the four domains of disability: auditory, intellectual, motor, and visual. This enabled them to develop an understanding of the unique challenges and needs associated with each domain. Based on their findings, the students identified a range of diversified resources, including board games, multi-format books, videos with sign language interpretation, tactile materials, and more. Analysis of these resources highlighted that the majority were designed for specific disability groups rather than catering to the needs of all children.
Subsequently, the students were organized into working groups based on their chosen disability domain. Each team conceptualized and produced an accessible educational resource, focusing on the pedagogical aspect to enhance children’s knowledge and awareness in this area. The research team gathered to analyze and select the proposals developed by the students in alignment with the project’s objectives.
During this phase, the collaboration extended to the ESAD.CR (School of Arts and Design of the Polytechnic Institute of Leiria) where students specializing in illustration and graphic production played a vital role. The main goal was to sensitize these students to the concepts of inclusion and accessibility while showcasing the characteristics of the four disability domains. Furthermore, the students were tasked with identifying the best materials for reproducing the accessible resources in different formats. Design and illustration proposals were developed for the ten selected ludo pedagogical resources from the previous phase, as well as a specially designed case to accommodate them. The chosen designs and illustrations were carefully selected to ensure their suitability for the project’s objectives. Additionally, data collection instruments were applied to analyze the involvement of the Higher Education students in the project and their perspectives on its influence on inclusion.
In collaboration with students from ESAD.CR and ESEC (School of Education of Coimbra), as well as participants from CINFORM, and CERCILEI, the project moved forward to produce a prototype of the pedagogical case to be tested in 1st CEB schools. Various workshops and facilities were utilized, including the ESAD.CR’s Serigraphy and Engraving Workshop, Graphic Workshop, and Digital Prototyping Workshop, as well as the radio and television studios of ESECS and ESEC. Throughout meetings held by the project team, the proposals produced in the school context were analyzed, dissected, reviewed, and remixed, becoming tests, possibilities, and guidelines in favour of the materials that were then produced as graphics and objects by the team. The expertise of children from the 1st CEB, technical professionals, and students involved in the production of the case and accompanying resources contributed to the successful realization of the prototype. The prototype of the pedagogical case, along with its resources, was then subjected to testing in 1st CEB classrooms. Students from the School of Education of Coimbra were selected to test the pedagogical case in their internship contexts. Four classes from the Correia Mateus School Group in Leiria, representing each grade level, were chosen for this purpose. Data collection instruments were used to assess the usability, accessibility, and usefulness of the pedagogical case prototype. The results of this testing phase allowed for the identification of strengths and weaknesses, which informed subsequent revisions and improvements.
In addition to the testing carried out in the 1st Cycle of Basic Education (1st CEB), the pedagogical case was also analyzed by two external consultants who were experts in the field of inclusion. This analysis led to the identification of weaknesses and gathered suggestions for improvement, which allowed for the validation of the tested resources.
The research team developed data collection instruments with the aim of perceiving and comparing the inclusive attitudes of the 1st CEB children before and after the application of the pedagogical case, as perceived by the children themselves, the internship teachers, and the regular teachers. Long-term plans also included the application of an instrument to collect the most remarkable aspects of the pedagogical case’s use from the perspective of the regular teachers.
The data collection instruments were applied by the internship teachers during the implementation of the final pedagogical case in 1st CEB schools from two School Clusters in Leiria. Throughout the activity, fourteen pedagogical cases were reproduced at ESECS, ESAD.CR, and CERCILEI, with the aim of making them available to various entities in the region, such as Leiria School Clusters, the Municipal Library Afonso Lopes Vieira, CERCILEI, and Research Units.
During the project, technical and scientific data were collected, allowing for the construction of a project dossier and the submission of reports to the funding entities. In order to disseminate Prolearn4ALL, several oral presentations were delivered at national and international events, which resulted in the publication of scientific articles in conference proceedings, indexed journals, and peer-reviewed books. Considering that the project is closely connected to the central region of the country, particularly Leiria, it was also important to organize events that allowed for the showcasing of the pedagogical case construction process through material exhibitions and presentation sessions. By disseminating the project’s outcomes and sharing the knowledge and experiences gained, the Prolearn4ALL project aimed to inspire and encourage the adoption of inclusive practices and accessible resources in educational settings, not only within the local region but also on a national and international scale.
Catarina Frade Mangas – Project coordinator (ESECS, CICS.NOVA. IPLeiria-iACT, Cl&DEI, Polytechnic of Leiria)
Ana Cristina Matos Veiga Meireles (CERCILEI)
Carla Sofia Costa Freire (ESECS, Cl&DEI, CICS.NOVA.IPLeiria-iACT, Polytechnic of Leiria)
Célia Cristina Santos Rodrigues (Municipality of Leiria)
Célia Maria Adão de Oliveira Aguiar de Sousa (ESECS, CICS.NOVA.IPLeiria-iACT, CRIO, Polytechnic of Leiria)
Clarinda Luísa Ferreira Barata (ESECS, Cl&DEI, Polytechnic of Leiria)
Cristina Maria Alexandre Nobre (ESECS, Polytechnic of Leiria)
Isabel Sofia Calvário Correia (ESECS, Polytechnic of Coimbra)
Joana Rita da Silva Conde e Sousa (CICS.NOVA.IPLeiria-iACT, ESEC, Polytechnic of Coimbra)
Maria Alexandra dos Reis da Silva (ESAD.CR, Polytechnic of Leiria)
Maria Antónia Belchior Ferreira Barreto (ESECS, Cl&DEI, Politécnico de Leiria) Nuno Alexandre Fragata Marques (ESAD.CR, LIDA, Politécnico de Leiria)
Olga Maria Assunção Pinto dos Santos (ESECS, Cl&DEI, CICS.NOVA.IPLeiria-iACT, Polytechnic of Leiria)
Pedro Miguel Bastos Ferreira (ESECS, Polytechnic of Leiria)
Susana Alexandre dos Reis (ESECS, Cl&DEI, Polytechnic of Leiria)
Teresa Paula de Oliveira Coimbra do Amaral (ESAD.CR, LIDA, Polytechnic of Leiria)