Authors: Achraf Othman
Research and Innovation Letters • Volume 1 • November 2022 • Published: November 24, 2022
What is Nafath newsletter?
Nafath aims to be a key information resource for disseminating the facts about latest trends and innovation in the field of ICT Accessibility. It is published in English and Arabic languages on a quarterly basis and intends to be a window of information to the world, highlighting the pioneering work done in our field to meet the growing demands of ICT Accessibility and Assistive Technology products and services in Qatar and the Arab region. The issue 21 of Nafath is focused on inclusive education. The present blog post will give you an overview about the seven articles published in Nafath 21.
ICT accessibility Research Capacity building in the State of Qatar
The potential of information and communication technology (ICT) to promote economic growth, eradicate poverty, and assist the integration of emerging countries into the global economy has garnered widespread agreement. Accessible ICTs has become an obligation that as is governed by policies and procedures all around the world. Therefore, training the next generation of experts has now strategic aim of governments and institutes working toward inclusion and sustainable future. there also is a growing consensus that strengthening research capacity requires a concerted effort across multiple institutes. The paper discusses an overview of the ICT accessibility Research Capacity Building in the State of Qatar, including a Case Study on Our Experience at HBKU University and Working Together with the Mada Center .
Capacity Building and Advocacy to Promote the Digital Accessibility Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Despite the progress that has taken place in the sector of technology, efforts of ensuring the inclusion of persons with disabilities remain limited. This is due to the limited opportunities of capacity building, weak awareness among engineers and industrialists, and the hindering of persons with disabilities’ voices in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) policy development and decision-making.
Inspired by the disposition of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities regarding accessibility, the Global Initiative for Information and Communication Technologies have been playing a pivotal role in promoting the persons with disabilities’ right to inclusive ICTs. Benefiting from the results of its Digital Accessibility Right Evaluation Index, G3ICT has realized the increasing commitment of CRPD States Parties to issues of ICT Accessibility. Nevertheless, The DARE index data show the remaining challenges encountered by governments’ procurement capacity for offering actual support to inclusive ICT programs, products, and services. ICT accessibility continues to be absent from higher education and vocational training programs. Furthermore, advocacy efforts of persons with disabilities and their organizations remain limited within the realm of digital accessibility.
The paper discusses G3ICT’s Digital Accessibility Right Education (DARE) Academy, and its role in tackling issues of digital divide through offering a platform of educational development and advocacy capacity enhancement for persons with disabilities around issues of ICT accessibility .
Inclusion of STEAM Innovation Spaces: A Critical Issue for Learners with Disabilities
The fourth industrial revolution has provided a wide range of flexible physical and digital technologies that continue to enhance the teaching and learning of STEAM. Incorporating STEAM and building makerspaces, Fablabs (Fabrication Labs), and STEAM labs as part of the educational curriculum can serve as the right environment to empower learners to transform their ideas into tangible digital or physical solutions. However, the standards way of development of spaces such as FabLabs does not always guarantee accessible learning opportunities for learners with disabilities as they may require additional accommodations to be able to access and use the technology tools. This article confirms that children with disabilities face multiple challenges with inclusivity and accessibility. Creating inclusive innovation spaces that support, promote, and accelerate learning is essential and requires an understanding of the application of user-centered design, universal design, and utilization of local and global networks to create solutions that increase accessibility and create an inclusive environment .
Mada ICT Accessibility and Inclusive Design ICT-AID Competency Framework
The Information and Communication Technologies ICT -evolving into an integral part of everyday life, shapes profound changes in our societies. Consequently, everyone should access ICT in the same way as everyone else, which means that ICT should be accessible to everyone, regardless of his/her abilities, needs, or disabilities. This calls, among other effective measures, for developing skills in ICT accessibility, which includes a shared understanding of ICT accessibility and Inclusive Design ICT-AID, as well as acquiring necessary digital accessibility competencies for everyday life and work. Nevertheless, selecting appropriate accessible training and education materials aligned with specific ICT-AID competencies, especially in the Arabic language, remains a barrier to all, inhibiting aspirations and willingness to build capability and proficiency in ICT accessibility. This paper presents Mada ICT Accessibility and Inclusive Design ICT-AID Competency Framework, encompassing all core competencies required to effectively integrate ICT accessibility principles into training and educational curricula toward closing the training and knowledge gap in this field .
Using Brain-Computer Interface to improve learning skills for students with disabilities: a rapid review
Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) enables direct communication between the brain and an external device. BCI systems have become a popular area of study in recent years. These technologies can be utilized in various ways to assist people with disabilities and healthy individuals. Regarding substantial BCI advancements, we can say that these systems are on the verge of commercialization. This review has considered current trends in BCI research on inclusive education to assist students with disabilities in achieving improved learning outcomes for all students in an inclusive environment .
Usability Assessment of Delivery Applications for Visually Impaired People: A Case from Saudi Arabia
Technology has become an essential part of our lives, and many of our daily tasks have become entirely dependent on it. For example, routine chores such as shopping for household necessities, booking travel tickets, going to places using all different kinds of transportations etc., are quickly done through mobile phones. And because of how it is easy to use mobile phones, we may forget that others, such as the visually impaired, may face many difficulties when using them. In this research two of the most widely used delivery applications in Saudi Arabia, namely, Hungerstation and Mrsool were studied and evaluated in order to assess their usability for people with visual impairments. Evaluation results show that both applications have usability problems. Nonetheless, the results of the standard ISO usability metrics (Effectiveness, Efficiency and satisfaction) showed that Hungerstation is more usable than Mrsool .
MadaFabLab: an inclusive STEM and fabrication environment for creativity and innovation and its impact on persons with disabilities
Fabrication laboratories (FabLabs) are utilized to materialize concepts. They can improve cognitive and creative abilities when used in a design-learning situation. Numerous studies have attempted to comprehend the relationship between makerspaces and creativity in a variety of disciplines, with the capacity to generate innovative consequences in makerspaces dependent on creativity. However, a comprehensive study that provides a holistic perspective on the contributions of labs as inclusive places that stimulate creativity for people with disabilities is absent. In order to address this study gap, the paper that follows provides an overview of FabLabs, makerspaces, and creativity and introduce the first of its kind MadaFabLab, as the first inclusive fablab in the world designed and tailored for innovators with disabilities “MadaFabLab”. The studies revealed that fablabs contribute to the development of creative person, product, physical, and social surroundings, as well as creative process. In addition, the MadaFabLab, a novel inclusive idea, fosters problem-solving, collaborative, and communication skills, and offers appealing locations and tools for the development of creative solutions to real-world challenges and needs identified by people with disabilities. We identified and analyzed five important themes pertaining to technical skills, technological and environmental factors, STEM learning, and skill development, and focused on their significance for fostering creativity in an inclusive FabLab .
- Al-Thani, D. (2022a). ICT accessibility Research Capacity building in the State of Qatar. Nafath, 7(21). https://doi.org/10.54455/mcn.21.01.
- Loutfy, M. A. (2022). Capacity Building and Advocacy to Promote the Digital Accessibility Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Nafath, 7(21). https://doi.org/10.54455/mcn.21.02.
- Fathelrahman Mohamed, E. (2022). Inclusion of STEAM Innovation Spaces: A Critical Issue for Learners with Disabilities. Nafath, 7(21). https://doi.org/10.54455/mcn.21.03.
- Khribi, M. K. (2022). Mada ICT Accessibility and Inclusive Design ICT-AID Competency Framework. Nafath, 7(21). https://doi.org/10.54455/mcn.21.04.
- Othman, A. (2022). Using Brain-Computer Interface to improve learning skills for students with disabilities: a rapid review. Nafath, 7(21). https://doi.org/10.54455/mcn.21.05.
- Al-Khalifa, H. S., & Albatati, B. (2022). Usability Assessment of Delivery Applications for Visually Impaired People: A Case from Saudi Arabia. Nafath, 7(21). https://doi.org/10.54455/mcn.21.06
- Othman, A., Ahmed, S., & Al-Mohannadi, A. D. (2022). MadFabLab: an inclusive STEM and fabrication environment for creativity and innovation and its impact on persons with disabilities. Nafath, 7(21). https://doi.org/10.54455/mcn.21.07