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17 December 2021
14:00 UK / 09:00 EST

Learning better: The Path to Inclusive Educational Technology

Disability LIVE on inclusive EdTech - 17.12.21
Disability LIVE on inclusive EdTech - 17.12.21

Catch-up on the event:

Background to the event:

Education is a resource which can transform lives, raise aspirations and build futures – its role is to open hearts and minds, with the best, most up-to-date knowledge, allowing for socialisation and fun.

However, across education, disabled students often face obstacles in harnessing and maximising their study experience. These challenges can take many forms, from discrimination and stigma to logistical challenges in the physical environment and, most importantly, little or no access to the right access technology.

In the 2020 Global Education Monitoring Report, it was found that a core challenge to inclusive education is the misperception that it isn’t possible, or sometimes isn’t even seen to be desirable, finding that 1 in 3 teachers in 43 mostly upper-middle and high-income countries indicated that they did not change their teaching style to accommodate for diversity in their student cohort.

The report also found that both learning materials and classrooms often ignore the benefits of embracing differences in students. Additionally, over 25% of teachers, across 48 educational systems reported a high need for professional development in teaching students with “special needs” and only 41 countries worldwide recognise sign language as an official language.

Ahead of the Global Disability Summit in February, GDI Hub is bringing together key stakeholders to discuss the continued need for inclusive education and appropriate and affordable EdTEch, in the UK, and the rest of the world.

A headshot of Professor Catherine Holloway in black and white filter
Professor Cathy Holloway
Cathy Holloway is Professor of Interaction Design and Innovation at UCL’s Interaction Centre and the Academic Director and co-founder of the Global Disability Innovation Hub (GDI Hub). GDI Hub exists to accelerate disability innovation for a fairer world and Cathy’s research revolves around supporting this aim. GDI Hub is part of a partnership which has grown out of the Paralympic Legacy and crosses traditional discipline boundaries to pool expertise to tackle the issues faced by society in realising the Sustainable Development Goals.

Charlotte Mcclain-Nhlapo

Charlotte is Global Disability Advisor of the World Bank Group. As Disability Advisor, she focuses on working with and supporting operational teams across the institution to ensure that Bank policies, programs and projects take people with disabilities into consideration. Before joining the World Bank, she served as USAID’s coordinator for disability and inclusive development, appointed by U.S. President Barack Obama in 2011 to lead the government’s efforts in disability inclusive development, from developing policies and country strategies to technical assistance for program implementation.

Lord Bethell of Romford

Lord Bethell of Romford has been a Member of the House of Lords from 2018 to present. He was previously a Government Whip (Lord-in-Waiting) from July 2019 to March 2020 and from March 2020 to September 2021 he was the Minister of Innovation, Department for Health and Social Care. Lord Bethell graduated from Edinburgh University with an MA(Hons). He worked as a journalist for national newspapers and then as a director of several media companies, including the Ministry of Sound. He sold his own communications firm in 2019.

Rick Bell

Chair, British Assistive Technology Association (BATA) and Head of Education at Texthelp Ltd, a world leading provider of literacy support assistive technology. Texthelp believes in digital inclusion and that absolutely everyone deserves the opportunity to reach their full potential – in education, in the workplace and in later life too.
Headshot of Robert McLaren, wearing white shirt and a black blazer

Robert McLaren

Robert is Head of Assistive and Accessible Technology (ATech) at the cross-party think tank Policy Connect. Robert has a background in the assistive and accessible technology sector, working as a consultant and support worker for five years before joining Policy Connect in 2017. Robert’s team manage the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Assistive Technology, in addition to direct government engagement work. Robert has authored two reports, Accessible Virtual Learning Environments (2018) and Disabled Students’ Allowances (2019); he chairs the Department for Education’s ATech Engagement Group, and recently worked with the Disability Unit in the Cabinet Office to co-deliver policy design workshops in inform the development and delivery of the National Disability Strategy (2021). Robert holds a BA (Hons) in Philosophy from King's College London and a PGC in Teaching Adults with Specific Learning Difficulties from London Metropolitan University. He is dyslexic and was first introduced to ATech when he received a Disabled Students’ Allowance as an undergraduate. Outside work, Robert volunteers as mentor to the policy team at the anti-poverty charity Zacchaeus 2000 Trust and chairs the arts and education charity SET Centre.

Asma Maladwala Education Specialist - Inclusive Education Education Section, UNICEF

Asma is an inclusive education specialist at UNICEF Head Quarters where she leads on the global inclusive education portfolio working to advance the right to inclusive education for children with disabilities. She began her career as a teacher, working with children with and without disabilities in the USA and the UAE and has also worked with the Government of Dubai on education reform as the lead on inclusive early childhood development (ECD), inclusive early childhood education (ECE) and inclusive K-12 education, and eventually founded Dubai’s first inclusive early childhood center. Asma joined UNICEF Head Quarters in 2016 as a consultant on child disabilty data, where she worked on the UNICEF-Washington Group data collection modules on child functioning and inclusive education. Prior to joining the Education section, from 2018-2021, she led on cross-sectoral collaborations on inclusive ECD, education, health and data as a Programme Specialist on the Children with Disabilities team. Asma holds a B.Sc. in Child Development from The University of Texas at Austin, an M.A. in Special Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and an Ed.M. in International Education Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is currently working towards an Ed.D. in International Educational Leadership and Policy at the University of Toronto, focusing her research on inclusive education.