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International Assisted Communication for Education
Start date: Nov 1, 2016, End date: Oct 31, 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

CONTEXTInter-personal communication and international cooperation play a key role in education and, in a broader sense, in active citizenship. These opportunities should be equally available to all, promoting social inclusion. This is a concern of modern society and a key issue in European Education.However, the access to these opportunities by disabled people is constrained, in particular for deaf people due to the barriers they face in daily communication. These are facts that severely compromise the development of creative, emotional and social skills in deaf students. Barriers to education limit future opportunities. Any contribution to tear these barriers down promotes equity.The I-ACE project will establish an innovative infrastructure to promote fluid communication with, and between, deaf students from different European countries. This infrastructure includes an automatic European Sign Language Translator allowing the automatic bi-directional translation between sign language and written speech in six European sign languages thus reducing the communicational gap and contributing to promote the access to education and a better quality of life of deaf students.The I-ACE project transfers innovative research results and puts them to the service of the European community.OBJECTIVESThe I-ACE project aims to promote the access of deaf students to education and citizenship. The specific objectives are:(a) shorten the barriers to the inclusion of deaf students in education(b) promote active citizenship of the European deaf communityPARTICIPANTSThe partnership of 7 full partners and 6 associated partners includes 5 higher education institutions, the European Association of Career Guidance and the “Provedoria Municipal do Cidadão com Deficiência” from Câmara Municipal do Porto, 2 schools, one Education School, an Association of Sign Language Interpreters and 2 Deaf Associations.Every partner institutions expect to actively participate in the process of social inclusion and European citizenship.ASSOCIATED PARTNERS are end-users and the main stakeholders benefiting from the I-ACE outputs. They have key roles in the project and are our gateway to sustainability. The consortium will implement pilot installations at the Associated Partners to test the project outputs in real scenarios (list of Associated Partners available at ANNEX VII). METHODOLOGY AND PROJECT ACTIVITIESThe project work plan covers an initial preparation phase aimed at implementing the required management framework and performing a comprehensive study of the challenges faced by deaf students.At the implementation phase we will transfer the results from the VirtualSign research project. VirtualSign is a bi-directional translator between written Portuguese and Portuguese Sign Language, a research product developed at IPP, the applicant institution. In concrete we will extend it to support several European sign languages, a product we will call the European Sign Language Translator, and to develop applications to assist deaf students in educational settings and in daily life. We will organize certified staff training sessions in each country to train staff in the fundamental of sign languages and on the operation of the I-ACE applications.At the closure of the project we will evaluate the European Sign Language Translator through several pilot installations in schools and public attendance services. The results from the pilot installations and the outcomes of the project will be presented to the media and public at an open session.RESULTS AND IMPACTSIn order to disseminate project activities and results, we will provide information to the stakeholders through press-releases, the I-ACE Community of Practice, the project website, Facebook, LinkedIn, email messages sent to the project stakeholders, participation in conferences and other events and meetings.Given the relevance of the matters addressed by I-ACE to the civil society and to governmental institutions we expect that the products delivered by I-ACE will have a very significant impact on media. We aim to have the I-ACE project announced in the national media (TV, radio and printed press) in all partner countries.LONG TERM BENEFITSThe I-ACE project promotes inclusive school by transferring to the civil society innovative assistive technology research products that facilitate the communication between/with deaf people. I-ACE provides unique conditions to promote social inclusion, active citizenship and an improved educational experience to the European deaf community.Given our former experience with the VirtualSign impact in the Portuguese institutions related to the deaf community it is expected that the I-ACE outputs will be requested by public services, schools, museums, tourism offices, airports, police stations and many other places where fluent international communication is important.
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