Catering for Personal Autonomy with E-Mentoring Supported by Recommendations

Catering for Personal Autonomy with E-Mentoring Supported by Recommendations

Olga Santos (UNED, Spain), Carmen Barrera (UNED, Spain), Emanuela Mazzone (UNED, Spain) and Jesus Boticario (UNED, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-206-0.ch012
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This chapter presents a technology solution based on a recommender system supporting people with intellectual disabilities in their work integration and independent life, in the scope of the CISVI and AMI4Inclusicion research projects. Information and Communication Technologies are essential for supporting personal autonomy and improving the quality of life of disabled people. The technology can contribute in a twofold way: (1) facilitating the work of the human mentor when training people with intellectual disabilities and (2) automatically offering them advice and recommendations in response to certain cues/actions detected in the environment.
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According to article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “everyone has the right to education” (UN, 1948). More recently, the “Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”, approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN, 2006a), in its article 4 takes account of all major legal and political instruments for the safeguarding of the rights of disabled people including those relevant for their participation in education. In Europe, the Ministerial Conference “ICT for an inclusive society” in Riga resulted in a common Ministerial Declaration in 2006 (EU, 2006a), where the prominent role of ICT in education is mentioned in the preamble, as well as the need for accessibility to services available through a range of devices. Many barriers to access education are mentioned along with service design and personal capacity. The needs of older workers and elderly people and the need to enhance e-accessibility and usability are also addressed here.

These initiatives have great relevance and impact in contemporary society since about six hundred million people in the world live with a functional diversity, or so called disability. They are supposed to have the same rights and obligations as any other member of the society, but unfortunately, due to the lack of support to specific needs, they usually face obstacles that prevent them from enjoying their rights. In Europe, the estimated percentage of the population with intellectual disabilities is about 3% (Inclusion@eu, 2004).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Accessible Lifelong Learning (ALL): focuses on access to education and lifelong learning which are both more and more mediated through ICT.

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT): use of electronic computers and computer software to convert, store, protect, process, transmit, and securely retrieve information.

Recommender systems: systems that guide people to interesting materials or services based on information from other people, providing recommendations based on opinions/behaviours of others.

Independent Living: ability to perform the activities of daily life with no or little help from others.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID): an portable storage system that uses an object (tag) applied to a product for the purpose of identification and tracking using radio waves.

Mentor: someone who oversees the career and development of another person through teaching, advising and providing psychological support.

E-Inclusion: Approach to preventing digital exclusion, i.e prevent that disadvantaged people and disadvantaged groups could be left behind in the development of the information society.

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