The fourth transnational meeting of the ISEC-ADE project held on the 29th and 30th May 2023

By Ivana Vasilevska Petrovska

The 4th transnational project meeting of the ISEC-ADE project was held with great enthusiasm and dedication, in the diverse and vibrant backdrop of the city of Sofia, bringing together all partners involved in this pioneering initiative. The meeting was held on May 29th and 30th 2023, with the primary objective to review the progress made thus far, discuss key project elements, and outline the next steps to ensure the successful implementation of the project.

The meeting kicked off with a warm welcome from the Coordinator of the Centre for Special Educational Support (CSOP) “D-r Peter Beron”, setting the stage for two productive days of collaboration and progress.

Following the review of the project progress, the meeting delved into the first working session of the day. The session focused on the development status of the methodological guidelines. The final manuscript of the ‘Accessible and Quality Digital Education for Learners with Autism and Intellectual Disabilities - Methodological Handbook’ was presented. Partners reviewed the final manuscript and discussed authorship and publishing formats. Feedback was shared on the exiting cover design for the Handbook. The session concluded with a sense of accomplishment and excitement in light of the upcoming release of the Handbook, being made available to educators, parents, and professionals across Europe.

In the second working session, the focus was on the development status of ‘TeachSpace’- the accessible digital learning web app. Autism Institute presented their work, showcasing the substantial advancements in the app development.

The third working session allowed for constructive feedback and suggestions emerged from the practical work in TeachSpace. Partners tested the application, then delved into the implementation of gamification elements and other design elements. Testing and piloting protocols for educators and learners were also discussed, ensuring a seamless user journey. The session concluded with celebrating the milestones achieved and identifying areas for improvement.

The meeting proceeded with the fourth working session, dedicated to the TeachHub - an e-hub for education and sharing open educational resources. Partners discussed the participatory design and building process of the app and the potential of TeachHub to revolutionise the accessibility and availability of educational materials.

In the fifth working session, the focus shifted to the dissemination plan and Facebook marketing. All partners shared their current progress, discussed upcoming activities, and highlighted the milestones in the organisation of the Conference scheduled for September 2024. The power of effective communication and outreach was emphasised, as it plays a pivotal role in maximising the project's impact.

Lastly, the sixth working session served as an opportunity to review the updated project results plan, harmonise deadlines and outcomes, and establish a common plan for the next steps.

The second day of the meeting commenced with a warm welcome from CSOP, reflecting on the achievements of the previous day and setting the tone for the day's activities.

The meeting continued with the seventh working session, focusing on the development status of the Training of Trainers (ToT) course (R4). The partners received a brief overview and reviewed the structure and methodology of the training modules. Defining expected results and discussing quality aspects, as well as pre- and post-training assessments, sparked engaging discussions that shed light on the importance of effective training in teacher education.

After a short coffee break, the meeting resumed with the eighth working session, dedicated to the development of training materials for the ToT course. ShipCon led the discussion, reviewing and harmonising deliverables and deadlines. A common plan for the next steps was established, reinforcing the commitment to timely and high-quality deliverables. The enthusiasm was palpable as we prepare to share this extraordinary opportunity with teachers in respected countries, recognising the immense impact this endeavour can have on learners, their families, and the broader educational community.

The ninth working session shifted the focus to communication activities and stakeholder involvement. All partners shared their strategies for engaging stakeholders effectively, emphasising the importance of inclusivity and broadening the project's reach. Collaborative brainstorming provided a platform for fresh ideas and innovative approaches.

In the tenth working session, the partners engaged in a practical session for assessing the project's progress, ensuring adherence to quality standards. As the meeting approached its conclusion, the twelfth working session finalised the plan of activities for the second semester of the second year. Each partner contributed to shaping a comprehensive and dynamic plan, ensuring the project's continued momentum and success.

The meeting drew to a close with final comments and conclusions. All partners expressed their gratitude for the fruitful discussions and collaborative spirit that prevailed throughout the two-day event. The commitment to the project's vision and the enthusiasm to bring about meaningful change in education was evident.

This transnational project meeting marked a significant milestone in the project's journey for two reasons.

First, it was the first meeting where all partners were present in person, rather than connecting online, or in a blended format. This shift from virtual to physical presence brought a renewed sense of excitement and anticipation among the participants. Beyond the formal meeting sessions, the in-person gathering provided invaluable opportunities for informal networking and relationship-building. Partners had the chance to connect on a more personal level, sharing stories, experiences, and cultural insights. This exchange of perspectives enriched the project's collaborative spirit and promoted a deeper understanding of each organisation's unique contributions.

Additionally, the meeting's physical location in Sofia added an extra layer of exploration. Participants had the opportunity to immerse themselves in the city's vibrant atmosphere, experiencing its rich history, diverse culture, and warm hospitality first-hand. These shared experiences further solidified the bonds between partners, fostering a sense of unity and shared purpose.

Second, the accomplishments achieved and the bonds forged during the meeting served as a foundation for future collaboration and success. We extend our heartfelt thanks to all the participants for their active engagement, valuable contributions, and unwavering dedication.

Let us carry forward the energy and momentum from this meeting, as we eagerly anticipate the next chapter in this remarkable journey and look forward to the positive impact the ISEC-ADE project will have on learners across Europe.

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.