Students build visions for inclusive education

In the summer semester 2020, everything went differently than planned. Victoria Batz, research assistant in the IKKE project, prepared a bachelor’s main project for students from the Industrial Design department on the topic “Learning scenarios for inclusive vocational training” in cooperation with Prof. Dominik Schumacher. Visions for digital, interactive learning methods are to be developed and prototypically implemented. The federal project “Inclusive Kitchen 4.0” assists as a practical partner. The students should be given the opportunity to visit the inclusive classes initiated as part of the project, to get to know the target groups and to experience everyday vocational training.

In April 2020, Prof. Schumacher and Ms. Batz started teaching via the Zoom video conferencing tool – vocational classes are cancelled, schools are closed, students are sitting at home in front of their laptops.

Nevertheless, the project takes place. Six hours each week are spent analyzing the problems of inclusive education, previous measures, didactic strategies and the current state of the art in the field. The project collaborator Inga Lipowski can support with professional input on the topics of special education and user studies. Prof. Michael Herzog broadens the students’ horizons by providing insight into learning theory. Prof. Schumacher and Victoria Batz guide the design process according to the model of Design Science Research Methodology.

Based on the teaching content for the ‘Egg dishes’ and ‘A la carte’ teaching modules, concepts for the differentiated teaching of theoretical content were developed for the three target groups of trainees as cooks, specialist kitchen trainees and employees at Lebenshilfe with intellectual disabilities. Although all on-site appointments at the educational institutions had to be canceled, the IKKE team was able to support by providing content-related feedback on the concept drafts during the digital interim and final presentations.

Most of the compromises had to be made in the realization of the prototypes. Three project teams implemented four concepts, all of which were created remotely – a 3D model of a pig for cutting meat, a tablet application used to learn the food pyramid, a sequence trainer in virtual reality used to recreate recipes for egg dishes and the application Tommy, who has to be supported by the game players in his healthy diet. While the two on-screen applications could be implemented very easily from home, the teams faced a challenge with VR goggles and 3D printing. The university’s workshops are closed, and collaborative work can be far more laborious when you’re not in the same room. Still, they made it work.

On July 23, 2020, the time had finally come. After a delay of four weeks, the prototypes were tested at Lebenshilfe Prignitz. Eight employees of the Lebenshilfe volunteered as test persons. The in-house kitchen at Lebenshilfe provided nine students with lunch, coffee and cake. Each team had its own room where they could try out and evaluate their prototypes with the participants. The initial fear of contact was quickly overcome and curiosity and enthusiasm about the innovative learning methods spread. Everyone wanted to test the VR googles and guiding Tommy through the nutrition game as best they could. The IKKE teams as well as the students were positively surprised by the open-mindedness towards the new media. The testing suggests that the modern technologies are used much more intuitively than expected. The learning concepts also meet with approval. Two of the four learning scenarios will be further developed by the IKKE team and used in inclusive lessons. In November 2020, it will hopefully be possible again for all three target groups and the teaching staff to be in one classroom. At this point, the VR goggles and 3D printing of the pig will be used again.