Retrospective of the Zero Project Conference 2016
With 516 participants from more than 70 countries and with 35 sessions, engaging 198 speakers, the Zero Project Conference 2016 on “Inclusive Education and ICT” was a great success and the climax of 5 years of collective efforts.
Moreover, the event was hosted once again by the United Nations Office in Vienna from 10 till 12 February 2016 – our special thanks therefore go to UNOV and the Austrian Ministry of European and International Affairs for their great support. Visit the conference page for detailed information on programme, speakers biographies, etc.
Celebrating 98 innovations from around the world…
One of the highlights was as usual the Zero Project Award Ceremony, which celebrated all 98 Innovative Practices and Innovative Policies with an official award certificate from Martin Essl, Founder and Chairman of the Essl Foundation, and Jakob von Uexkull, Founder and Chairman of the World Future Council.
For the occasion we produced a video clip telling about the success story of some of our past pratices and policies, and how things changed for them since they received the Zero Project Award.
Have a look at our YouTube channel for more!
Photos from the ceremony, and the conference in general, can be found in our website’s Download section.
Everyone could participate: Live web stream, smartphone app, accessibility…
Around the world, people could follow the conference via our captioned live web stream, provided by Verbavoice, a Zero Project Innovative Practice 2014.
We also created a special networking smartphone app for all participants:
Everyone could send personal messages, post comments and pictures in a common activity feed, take notes, browse the programme, the presentations and the speakers, and much more! With 240 active users, more than 5,000 visits in 3 days, close to 70 pictures and comments posted, and 3 times more messages sent, it was a great success and add-on!
In terms of accessibility, we provided for instance for International Sign Interpretation, as well as Captioning in English – to name a few of the excellent access features of this year’s conference.
With the social media hashtag #ZeroCon16, participants could share their news and highlights of the conference with all others on Facebook and Twitter, like this one from Charlotte McClain Nhlapo from the World Bank, for example:
Also our immense gratitude goes to Judith Heumann, whose keynote speech inspired everyone and moved many of us.
Have a look at the interview of her visit just below !
35 events, workshops and panels …
The numerous sessions covered a broad range of topics concerning inclusive education and ICT, from access to early childhood intervention, inclusive primary, secondary and tertiary education, inclusive education in emergencies, inclusive vocational training to anti-bullying and antiviolence strategies, changing attitudes with the help of advocacy campaigns, making learning materials accessible, non-formal education, e-learning tools, innovative communication devices, train the trainer, and the role of e-accessibility standards, amongst others.
Presentations can be found in our website’s Download section.
Reports & key messages from selected sessions
Students with disabilities in higher education remain under-represented (often they leave education earlier than those not having a disability), although their numbers are rising. Isabelle Turmaine from the International Association of Universities reported the following 5 key points made during this session dedicated to strategies to make universities inclusive and accessible:
- The session showcased great practices & policies, yet, there is still a long way to go before all persons with disabilities attend higher education, in the field of study and location of their choice.
- Both administrative and academic staff should be trained to address and respond to questions put by every student. This could be done with the help from trainers with a disability (including intellectual disabilities).
- There is a need for the inclusion of universal design and other tools that promote accessibility of scientific content, courses, and online platforms in all curricula.
- The cost of, and who is paying for, the support to students with disabilities vary by disability and country. But everywhere this cost is high. At a time of reduced funding for universities, ways to minimize this cost through collaboration, networking should be sought.
- Definition of a inclusive university and organizational developments leading towards it were the non-answered questions that ended the session.
The 6 Innovative Practices and Policies presented:
Providing a university experience for persons with intellectual disabilities by Centre for Disability Studies (CDS), Australia
How to teach students with and without disabilities equally by Universidad Tecnológica Santa Catarina, Mexico
Moving step-by-step towards an inclusive university by zhb DoBuS Dortmund Centre for disability and Technische Universität Dortmund, Germany
Breaking down barriers to scientific knowledge by Ciencia Sin Barreras, Spain
Adding Universal Design in ICT student curricula by Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Norway
Access to higher education in Estonia, Ministry of Education and Research, Archimedes Foundation and partner, Estonia
Technology Show – Learn and Play!
A special Technology Show was organized on the eve of the second conference evening, in cooperation with Innovative Practices 2016 representatives who presented their innovative devices, apps, web and communication tools in an entertaining 60-minutes Technology Show.
The participants were: 4D-Joystick, ADJ, Barclay`s Bank, Irisbond, Lifetool, MED-EL, PIKSL, Wayfindr and SignTime.
A drone steered by mouth and flying through the Plenary Room was quite a sight!
Have a look at our gallery for more pictures.
Final Plenary: Zero Project 2016 & 2017 – The Way Forward
To conclude the Zero Project Conference 2016, the final plenary brought together recommendations from the different sessions and provided an outlook on the way forward.
After an inspiring keynote speech from Gopal Mitra (UNICEF), participants received a glimpse on what the Zero Project team will be working on in the coming months (for instance, a wonderful side event at the Humna Rights Council, …).
In particular, the theme of our next report and conference in 2017 which will be employment – a new four-year cycle begins!
The Essl Foundation and the World Future Council – celebrating 5 years of cooperation
During the official opening ceremony Jakob von Uexkull praised Martin and Gerda Essl for their commitment for and support in enhancing the rights of person with disabilities – without their support the Zero Project would not have been set up!
And it has been 5 years since the Essl Foundation and the World Future Council have been cooperating on this project.
Recognition of the Zero Project – Award from Saudi Arabia
Throughout the Conference: Technology Exhibition and Accessibility for All Trail
Moreover, an interactive Accessibility for All trail was set up at the entrance of the conference area and created awareness among participants on the barriers of the built environment that persons with different types with disabilities encounter.
In addition, our Innovative Practices 2016 related to technology presented their hardware and software in a wonderful exhibition. Check out our programme if you wish to know who participated!
Get your copy of the Zero Project Report 2016
The Zero Project Report 2016 can be downloaded here and our website allows for browsing its different sections: Innovative Practices, Innovative Policies as well as Social Indicators. In addition, our report was printed for the occasion of our conference. A few hard copies can still be ordered at the head office in Vienna: firstname.lastname@example.org