International Computer Camp 1994



Résumé, summary

The basic essence of all reactions is: It was an intercultural festivity. Of course, it will take some time until the success of the training program can be estimated, since the goal was to give motivation to independent work with the computer. Astonishing were the advances of those who already participated in the national Computer Camp last year: Some of them developed from beginners to experts. Equal reactions came from the trainers of the participants also. The framework of learning in a group and of doing projects far away from everyday restraints freed energy and caused inhibitions to be overcome. The computer was viewed as an aid and as a chance, and in this way it was utilized. Every participant understood that the camp was an impulse and a chance to take advantage of by himself/herself in the future. The ever increasing use of the computer in social processes will open more and more doors to integration. The Camp could reveal this to the participants, and they could see that dealing with the computer is much more than dry labour. Exchange of experience made feel one to be a part of a great community. Astonishing was the great interest in international possibilities in the fields of education and of labour. By realistic information, the partially visible pessimistic views of the future could be changed into expectation, positive energy and, in some cases, even into euphoria. From this, the demand arises to increasingly foster mobility within Europe. All nations should make available international offers to their inhabitants, and they should create such offers themselves. All in all, it can be said that the Camp was a great success. However, this involves the future demand to not only carry out the Camp again, but also to coordinate the Camp Idea, i.e., support of the blind and of the vision impaired, on a European basis, to establish and to improve corresponding possibilities all over the continent. Already this year, the interest to participate by far exceeded the possibilities of realization, especially because financial shortage forced the additional camp in Graz to be cancelled. We are very glad that the EU has, although still informally, declared willing to support us in the next year. All this reveals, on the one hand, that offers in the indicated direction are lacking, on the other hand, however, that we, in Linz and in Europe, are on the right way.

Discipline, subject :

social studies activités spéciales special activity culture générale Kultur general culture cultura generale interdisciplinaire interdisciplinarity études sociales

Public :

enseignement spécialisé Sonderschulen specialized training insegnamento speziale primaire Primarschule primary school primario université Universität university universita` postobligatoire Weiterführende Schulen upper high school postobligatorio

Contacts :

Miesenberger, Klaus

Institut für Informatik Modellversuch, Altenbergerstraße, 69

Tel : 43/732/2468/9232
Mail :
Fax : 43/732/2468/9322

Pédagogie, pedagogy :

Apprentissage, learning :

The increasing complexity of the environment for the general population and, consequently, also for the vision impaired, in conjunction with the process of joining a united European society, require educational processes and initiatives on various levels. Of course, a project like the Computer Camp is not able to perform this educational tasks alone, but it can be seen that this initiative induces an impulse for exchange of experience, for responsible activities of the people concerned, and for new developments in the technical, social, pedagogical and intercultural fields.

Enseignement, teaching :

In order to get to know each other, on the first day the students worked within national groups. In the sequel, basic groups with, as far as possible, equal knowledge were formed, and material adapted to their background was presented to them. The great number of tutors facilitated the formation of small groups and the individualization of the training, such that everyone could be trained according to his/her special situation. In the second half of the week, workshops about special topics were held. In cases where it was necessary, basic training was continued instead. Basic Topics: Introduction to Data Processing, operating Braille Displays, Speech Output Devices and Large Print Systems, Hardware components of a computer (disassembling one), keyboard, typewriting, Computer Games, the operating system MSDOS, Microsoft Word 6.0 for DOS, special text reading programs, educational advise on a national basis. Workshops: Access to graphical user interfaces (Windows for the blind and for the vision impaired), worldwide communications and information resources (Internet), mobility in Europe, programming (Pascal), computer and music (composing, producing ink-print notes), sound and voice output of the computer, electronic newspaper, Studying in Europe, voice-mail on the telephone, presentation of latest developments on the special aids market.

Technique :

The computer, which is, when equipped with special devices, accessible to the vision impaired also, opens a door to integration. Using the computer as a tool, blind and visually handicapped people can more independently and more actively take part in social processes. Be it in school, in higher education and in practical training, in leisure activity, culture, or politics: Important and necessary information can be made accessible or even contributed to at once. The earlier one begins to utilize these possibilities, the greater are the chances for integration. To every participant who did not bring his/her own equipment with him/her, a workplace adapted to his/her needs was made available. Technical material at a price of about two million Austrian Schillings was collected and installed in two weeks of labour before the project. Apart from some minor breakdowns, error-free operation could be achieved.

Société, society :

The main aspect of the camp was to support the integration of visually handicapped students into school, work and everyday life. Therefore it is also necessary to teach them how to interact, communicate and co-operate with handicapped and also not handicapped. They have to be learn something like and "European mobility" to be able not to stay at local level with a lack of possibilities to emancipate themselves, but to learn to use the possibilities all over Europe. Only in this way the can reach a fully social integration.

Culture :

Austria, at the entrance to Europe, like most other countries in the EU, can offer only a very restricted amount of educational and vocational possibilities to the minority of the vision impaired. The European Integration, including the countries of the former East Block, is able to supplement the necessarily narrow national set of possibilities by a much broader and richer spectrum. The minority of the vision impaired, especially the younger population, gets the chance to integrate into a much bigger group of people with equal interest and equal needs, a group large enough to be considered in the European Community. This most desirable process of integration requires efforts that foster mobility within Europe, intercultural communication and international exchange; for Austria, it also demands to face this process of integration as an active contributor, not as a passive consumer. The idea of a Computer Camp facilitates both a project towards Europe and an offer for Europe. Leisure activities aimed at fostering intercultural exchange and communication across the borders and the barriers of language. One benefitted from the broad cultural and leisure potential of the city of Linz and of the federal country Upper Austria.

Institution :

The First International Computer Camp is a follow-up project of the First Integrative Computer Camp, held with great success in 1993 in Austria on a national basis. It builds upon the experiences and the know-how attained at the afore-mentioned event. The idea itself originates from the Educational Endeavour "Computer Science for the Blind" of the Institute for Computer Science at the University of Linz. It was presented and discussed at a workshop within the Tempus Project of the EU JEP-2423-92/2 "New Study and Vocational Possibilities for Visually Handicapped Students". This Tempus Project, under the leadership of the University of Karlsruhe in cooperation with the Royal National Institute for the Blind, aims at establishing suitable support programs for the blind and for the visually handicapped in Czechia and Slovakia. The hereby resulting international contacts, especially with the Study Centre for vision impaired in Karlsruhe, facilitated the internationalization of the Camp Idea. The starting point of the camp idea was the experiences of the Educational Endeavour "Computer Science for the Blind" in Linz, a project supporting blind and vision impaired students: It is indispensable that computer skills are trained before, and not during the integration into school, university, or vocational life. The computer can be called a prerequisite for the successful integration of the vision impaired. Personnel: Representatives from 7 countries of the EU and of the former East Block were invited to come to Linz together with a group of 7 blind or visually impaired students and 2 or 3 tutors. Due to organizational problems and because of a lack of mobility two nations cancelled their participation. Therefore, more Austrian students could participate in the Camp. All in all, 45 students and 36 tutors were present.

Logistique :

The Institute for Hearing and Vision Impaired proved to be a house ideally suited for projects of this kind: A boarding school, computer equipment, places for leisure activities, and highly qualified local personnel were available. Not the building alone, but the house with its people who did committed work within the project created an atmosphere where success was almost guaranteed. Funding: Thanks to very generous public and private support, the costs for every participant could be reduced to an amount as small as ATS 3.000,-- - The participants from the countries of the former East Block did not even have to pay this amount, and the costs for travel could be refunded to them - we owe this to support from the Government of Upper Austria. Nevertheless, it has to be pointed out that the project could only be carried out because the involved organizations did their work gratuitously - more than one third of the expense could thus be saved. According to the prospective settlement, the cost estimate on which the applications for support were based agrees with the actual expenses. Sponsors: Program "Jugend für Europa" of the EU, managed by "Interkulturelles Zentrum" Vienna in commission of - "Bundesministerium für Jugend und Familie" - "Bundesministerium für Wissenschaft und Forschung" - "Bundesminiserium für Untericht, Kunst und Sport" - EU, Task Force "Humanressourcen, Allgemeine und Berufliche Bildung, Jugend; Budget Informatik" - "Amt der OÖ. Landesregierung: Abteilung Bildung, Jugend und Sport; Präsidium; Sozialreferat" - Verein Elternselbsthilfe Sehgeschädigter Kinder Österreichs - Österreichische Nationalbank - Communications Laboratories - EDV - Ges.m.b.H. - AudioData Austria - Minolta Austria Ges.m.b.H. - Reinecker Reha-Technik - Transdanubia Nicolai Ges.m.b.H. - Alfred Wegerer Elektronische Hilfmittel für Blinde - IBM - Mader Reisen Ges.m.b.H.

Remarques, remarks :