Peer support for digital skills & inclusion in Education and Employment

Digital Champions

DigiPlace4all is promoted and sustained by Digital Inclusion Champions – people with disabilities, educators and employers who are creative and motivated to lead innovative projects in digital skills building and digital inclusion. Our Champions actively assist in the development of the DigiPlace4all community by sharing innovative ideas which have proven to be successful.

What is a Champion?

Definition, role, profile

A DigiPlace4All Champion is someone who voluntarily plays a role in supporting the DigiPlace4All community and helps promote inclusion and/or digital skills for its members. It can be person or an organisation operating in any arena with access to relevant audiences. Digital Champions are key to creating and sustaining a successful online community based on the DigiPlace4All platform.

A DigiPlace4all Champion could come from any of the following groups:

  • Technology users
  • Vocational Education and Training (VET) Centres
  • Digital skills trainers
  • Mainstream & Disability Educators
  • Employers
  • NGO’s, families, carers, PA’s, advocates
  • Policy advisors

Being a Champion – Roles and responsibilities

Champions play an active role inside the DigiPlace4all community, offering advice, information and support to other members who want to increase their digital skills or improve the accessibility of educational environments or workplaces.

Champions help to promote DigiPlace4all to relevant audiences, nationally and internationally, as a place where they can give and get peer support, share and discuss digital skills and digital inclusion. They promote Digiplace4all among their peers encouraging them to get involved by contributing to DigiPlace4all, creating content and taking part in forum discussions.

They inspire people to discover a new world online and to make education and employment inclusive for people with disabilities.

Champions also assist in managing and developing the DigiPlace4all community.

Champions keep a record of their activities and share this with the DigiPlace4all community to demonstrate what can be done to help people with disabilities develop the digital skills necessary to transition from VET centre training to mainstream education and employment.

Required Skills and Qualifications:

  1. Knowledge of digital technologies and the digital skills needed for education and/or employment
  2. Enthusiasm about the positive effects that technology can have on someone’s life
  3. Willingness to act as a highly visible advocate of the DigiPlace4all platform and community
  4. Ability to empathise with diverse groups
  5. Excellent communication skills, able to explain technology in a simple, clear way
  6. Sociable, personable, patient, approachable and presentable
  7. Reliable and well-organised
  8. Good sense of humour and willing to have fun
  9. Confidence in using social media, e.g. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn

Champions will be using the following channels:

  • Person to person contact
  • Peer group meetings
  • Social media
  • Online forums and discussion groups
  • Own blog or website
  • Training courses, classes, workshops, seminars and conferences
  • Distribution of posters, leaflets, etc. provided by DigiPlace4all.

Champions


Rachel Creevey



Championing Area: Other

Hi. My name is Rachel Creevey. I have a physical disability called Brittle Bones. I also have Kyphoscoliosis which affects my ability to breathe properly so I require the use of oxygen 24/7. I have Diplomas in Social Care Practice and Event Management and a degree in Social Science, which I completed in December 2013. Having being in the Higher Education system for many years, I would have good all round knowledge of how to navigate it whilst dealing with your disability.

I have been a computer user since I was little and whilst I was college I would have used different types of assistive technology. I'm still a techie now and have a computer, laptop and iPad. If I don't know my way around some piece of technology, I don't let that stop me. I go away and learn about until I become a master at it! I use most forms of social media.

I currently volunteer for a number of disability organisations. I am a journalist and a disability campaigner. I enjoy helping people. I co-facilitate disability awareness workshops in secondary schools around Dublin.

I am a member of Mediability Ireland. We are a group of young adults, from all corners of Ireland, who have physical disabilities. We came together due to our common interests in journalism and the media. We are connected through our memberships in the Irish Wheelchair Association. We now have our own blog which I am co-editing at the moment.


Contact Rachel1983 directly for more information on this Champion


National Learning Network



Championing Area: Inclusive teaching methods and tools

National Learning Network is expert in providing inclusive education, training and employment services. We believe that digital skills are a basic and essential life skill for everyone today. We therefore provide extensive digital training and supports to all our students across all our programmes, regardless of a person's disability or vocational training area.

All NLN courses have access to a high quality e-learning system (www.enln.ie) containing the organisation's unique ‘Ready To Go’ course materials. These contain comprehensive lessons, videos, handouts, educational games, e-quizzes, discussion forums and many more resources to support blended and online learning. All of our e-learning resources are pedagogically designed and quality assured by NLN.

All NLN students also have automatic access to a dedicated online Student Support Hub that, amongst many other things, contains specific courses and resources to support the development of their personal digital skills and knowledge. These include practical skills and important knowledge about the importance of online safety and security.

We are the largest non-governmental education, training and employment services organisation in Ireland, with a network of over 35 training centres across the country. Every year we work with thousands of people with disabilities to give them the skills and experiences they need to progress into employment or further / higher education.


Contact National Learning Network directly for more information on this Champion


Sarah Harrington



Championing Area: Other

I am a student at University College Cork and technology plays a major role in my life. I have cerebral palsy and am visually impaired. I currently use Apple products such as iPod, iPad and iPhone 6. I use the text to speech function on my iPhone and iPad. I use an app called Voice Dream which reads all my college work for me. You can sync this app with all your apple devices. The voices are of amazing quality - almost human!

I have recently acquired an app called KNFB reader which allows me to take a picture of any document, leaflet or brochure - and it then reads it back to me. It is expensive but it saves a lot of time wasting trying to convert everything to PDF format.

I am enthusiastic and very sociable and I am very happy to help. I am a good communicator and will respond to any queries as quickly as possible.


I am a good communicator and will respond to any queries as quickly as possible.

Contact Sarah harrington directly for more information on this Champion


Grace Cussen



Championing Area: Inclusive teaching methods and tools

I have just completed a HDip in Disability Studies Facilitating Inclusion in UCC and designed an inclusive disability awareness programme for transition year students. I am actively promoting your website via my colleagues and course coordinator. I am a parent of 4 children , one of whom has dyspraxia and the other has a rare genetic syndrome, ASD and dyspraxia. through the knowledge gained on my course and dogged determination my son has embraced digital technology and is thriving because of this in his secondary school.

I have an understanding of disability from both a personal and professional viewpoint and am acutely aware of the difference digital technology can make to a person's life. I also know that embracing new technology can be overwhelming for some people. I can provide encouragement and personal testimony as to the benefit of assistive technology in my son's life and would be glad to help others.


Contact gracecussen@gmail.com directly for more information on this Champion


Lisa Marie Clinton, avail



Championing Area: Workplace accessibility

I have worked in the field of disabilities for over 10 years, having researched and witnessed the possible potential of using assisted technology in employment and other services, l developed an e-learning solution.

avail is an mobile enabled, e-learning platform that promotes learning and independence in employment and across other domains for individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities. This is completed through the use of individualised multimedia supports (e.g video/pictorial/textual/audio prompts). The supports are stored on a smart device application and web portal that collects data, provides evidence of learning and a monitoring system.

avail was developed with the desire to provide customised supports using digital technology for adults with disabilities in employment. I wanted to create a system that would promote life long learning and independence for individuals, a socially acceptable approach that aims at making employment more inclusive for people with disabilities.


I am very enthusiastic about technology and creative in exploring options on how to use it to enable people with disabilities to reach their full potential. Having worked with many families and organisations, l feel the skills and experience l have gained can be of benefit to the DigiPlace4all community. So please feel free to contact me.

Contact lisamarie87 directly for more information on this Champion


Donnacha McCarthy



Championing Area: Digital skills building

I am fully blind and have been using assistive technology for over ten years at this stage. I have gone through mainstream education including primary school, secondary school and University using assistive technology and feel my experiences during that journey would be hugely beneficial to other students here.

I’ve completed a Bachelors degree in Business Information Systems from UCC as well as a Masters degree in It Security and Forensic Computing in DCU and currently work in the telecommunications industry as a Network Engineer.

I have extensive knowledge in various programming languages including Java and Microsoft .NET as well as experience in Web Design. I also have experience in mobile application development and have a genuine interest in accessibility on mobile devices. I am a good problem solver, love to help other people and have a huge interest in technology in general so I do feel my skillset would be useful to some people here.

Technology is becoming more and more prevalent for so many people with disabilities, not only in Ireland but worldwide and is becoming a real enabler for both students and people in the work place. This is something I’ve experienced first-hand both as a student and now as an employee, if there is anything you think I can help with – don’t hesitate to contact me!


Contact Donnacha_Mac directly for more information on this Champion


Trevor Boland



Championing Area: Digital skills building

I am the AT Officer in Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and as part of my role I impart and promote technologies that support the academic success of students. I am:

  • Resourceful
  • Patient
  • Committed
  • Passionate

Trevor has experience working in primary, secondary and third level education and is an advocate for technology in education.

Contact trevorboland directly for more information on this Champion


Mary Ahern



Championing Area: Other

I am the parent of a teenager going through the mainstream education system at the moment. Donal is blind and is using Jaws software on laptop at the moment. It is a fantastic time in relation to the technology available at the moment and I am passionate about having Donal and all other children coming through the system, be treated equally.


I am a parent who has had to acquire as much knowledge and expertise as possible in order to help Donal. I've attended this seminar in relation to the Digiplace4all website and I am enthusiastic in relation to communicating with other parents and also empowering students to use this website in order to communicate also. I am willing to share my knowledge and experience with other parents.

Contact maryahern directly for more information on this Champion


Shelly Gaynor



Championing Area: Other

As an experienced user of many technologies (Smart Home devices, smart phone, tracker ball, iPad, power wheelchair and much more), I am passionate about passing on the benefits of these technologies to others. There are too many myths surrounding assistive technology and I want to try to break down some of the barriers that may be preventing potential users from benefiting from their use.


Good all round knowledge of technologies; great communicator and listener; enthusiastic; willingness and desire to share experience with others.

Contact Shellyonwheels directly for more information on this Champion


David Nason



Championing Area: Digital skills building

I am partially sighted and have been using assistive technology for a number of years, and in particular the last five years or so as my sight loss has progressed. I am also a huge technology fan and try to keep up to date with what is going on both in mainstream and assistive technology news, and keep my own equipment as up to date as I can. I am very enthusiastic about technology and the opportunities it creates.

I went through mainstream education, including university, most recently completing the Professional Diploma in Education. I have worked in various sales roles and am currently working in a call centre support role at Sky. Along the way I have used an increasing amount of assistive technology, and accessibility features in mainstream technology, made mistakes and learned valuable lessons along the way.

I enjoy talking about technology and helping others. I have a particular interest and strength in Apple products, using a Mac, iPhone, iPad and Apple TV, as well as various other products and services. I have made a number of tutorial videos on these products which are on YouTube, and do plan to expand on this. I have also appeared on the NCBI Technology Podcast on several occasions and contribute to forums. I've learned some basic web design, and would love to develop that further some day.

At work I do also use a Windows PC with Jaws and NVDA screen readers, and the ZoomText magnifier. I use Microsoft Office and various other applications on a daily basis. Windows isn't my greatest strength, but I am learning all the time.

In my work at Sky, I do my best to advocate for accessibility internally, both in terms of internal systems and consumer facing products.


Contact dave82 directly for more information on this Champion


Blaithin Gallagher



Championing Area: Other

I have many years of experience working in the field of disability as both a researcher and a project manager. Inclusion in all areas of society is paramount in all aspects of my work. I have been involved in developing inclusive learning materials, and in many assistive technology projects.


My current research interest and practice has been exploring how to best engage with users in the design of technologies particularly those that help and promote independent living. This is taking the form of a critical review of which explores what problems of people with disabilities and older people are being addressed by researchers and developers; whether the research is motivated by user needs; the methodologies used, and outcomes achieved.

Contact Blaithin Gallagher directly for more information on this Champion


Enable Ireland Assistive Technology Training Service



Championing Area: Other

Enable Ireland's National AT Training Service offers advice, assessment support and training in a wide range of electronic assistive technologies including augmentative communication, computer access and smart home technologies. Our goal is to play a role in ensuring that more relevant and appropriate technologies find their way into the hands of individuals with disabilities who can benefit from them. Ultimately, our goal is to promote independence across all spheres of life: at home, in education, at work and in the wider community.


Wide ranging service; technical and clinical expertise; ability to problem solve; track record in collaboration

Contact Siobhan directly for more information on this Champion


Siobhan Long



Championing Area: Workplace accessibility

In Enable Ireland, we deliver a Workplace Assessment Service, to advise employers and employees on practical AT solutions to enable individuals fulfil the requirements of their job. We work to promote workplace accessibility through our AT Training Programmes also, and deliver employment events/seminars in partnership with our CSR partner, Microsoft, and on occasion, with other statutory agencies and service providers. AT and Employment is a key focus of our AT training service.

 


Enthusiastic communicator, good listener, interested in demystifying technology

Contact Siobhan directly for more information on this Champion


Philip Penny



Championing Area: Higher education access

I worked as researcher on www.Gateway2at.org a European Commission funded project. The Gateway Project was designed to facilitate and encourage the use of Assistive Technologies for people with disabilities entering both 3rd. level Education and the workplace.

The Irish Government in response to the OECD's Review of Higher Education in Ireland launched the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) in 2006. One of the aims of SIF was to improve equity of access into, and progression through, higher education. I conducted an Assistive Audit of four (4) Institutes of Technology, Carlow IT, Tallaght IT, Blanchardstown IT and IADT. The result of this audit was the deployment of a site licence of TextHelp Read & Write Gold (Literacy software that helps all readers and writers but is particularly useful to students who are Dyslexic) across the four participating Institutes.


I am promoting myself

Contact Philip Penny directly for more information on this Champion


Stuart Lawler



Championing Area: Digital skills building

I’m manager of NCBI’s Rehabilitative Training centre, producer of NCBI’s monthly Technology Podcast and have been a tech geek for over 20 years!

I have a passion to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to explore the potential of digital technology and am particularly enthusiastic about Braille and how it can play a crucial role in this technological age.

I am NCBI’s lead person on support into and researching new innovations in accessible mobile telephony and believe strongly that the internet has probably been the one greatest asset for people with disabilities in the last century.


I’m manager of NCBI’s Rehabilitative Training centre, producer of NCBI’s monthly Technology Podcast and have been a tech geek for over 20 years! I have a passion to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to explore the potential of digital technology and am particularly enthusiastic about Braille and how it can play a crucial role in this technological age. I am NCBI’s lead person on support into and researching new innovations in accessible mobile telephony and believe strongly that the internet has probably been the one greatest asset for people with disabilities in the last century.

Contact Stuart directly for more information on this Champion


Thomas O'Shaughnessy



Championing Area: Digital skills building

I have been the Assistive Technology Officer at the University of Limerick for the last 8 years. I have been supporting assistive technology and ICT needs of students with a range of disabilities in third level including on work placement. Prior to joining the University of Limerick I was employed as a trainer in ICT and volunteered help in ICT and other supports for a local charity for people with ABI called Headway. My educational background is computer science and software engineering and I am accredited training in a range of assistive technologies including Dragon Naturally Speaking, Read and Write Gold. I am also currently doing a PhD exploring the role of assistive technology and teacher education.


I have a particular interest in education based technology supports for students with disabilities. I also support students with hearing and visual impairments in our university and have an interest in supports for students with ASD. I have a lot of experience dealing with students with disabilities and I feel I could bring a unique perspective to some of the challenges faced by users on DigiPlace4all.

Contact tjoshaughnessy directly for more information on this Champion


Saleem Rahman



Championing Area: Digital skills building

I have just completed a Bachelor of Science (hons) in Computing in Information Technology. There are challenges throughout the course but they were overcome by the support in college and other resources.

I have been using assistive and mainstream technologies for the last 11 years. These include JAWS, refreshable braille displays, iPhone, iPad, mac OSX and Android devices. I will try my best to help people by using my experiences.


Contact saleem4rahman directly for more information on this Champion


DeafHear



Championing Area: Higher education access

DeafHear provide advice and support to Deaf and Hard of Hearing students who wish to access education or are seeking employment. Areas covered include advice on technology, relevant services and personal support.


DeafHear have experience and expertise in the areas of assistive technology and personal support for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students in education.

Contact DeafHear directly for more information on this Champion


Grainne Berrill



Championing Area: Employment skills

I am Coordinator of WALK PEER (Providing Equal Employment Routes) in County Louth. This programme is one of the employment supports offered by WALK, an innovative, forward thinking organisation that is renowned for leading change within the community & voluntary sector. WALK PEER supports young people aged 16-24 to access mainstream, training, education and employment opportunities. We utilise PEER mentors to empower the young people we support to take their first steps towards employment, and independence. As a result I am a passionate advocate of the benefits of peer support. For many people with disabilities technology is key to ensuring they have equality of access to education and employment. In WALK PEER we support people to identify any gaps they may have in terms of learning or employment and ensure that appropriate accommodations, such as digital technologies, are in place.


WALK PEER programme provides individualised supports to young people. Therefore we do not have a 'one size fits all' approach and recognise that the lived experience of the individual is key to identifying what might work for them. We also believe that peer to peer support is much more powerful than formal 'professional' support and as a result support the Digplace4All project wholeheartedly.

Contact GrainneBerrill directly for more information on this Champion


Shauna Humphries



Championing Area: Other

I have been a client with NCBI since early childhood and I have been a client with Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind since the age of about 14 when I first began my second level education. I attended my first residential class at the Irish Guide Dogs training centre in Cork when I completed Transition Year. This course was a pre college course designed to prepare students early for the difficult transition to University. It taught me a lot with regards to discovering new technology which would be helpful for somebody with a vision impairment like myself such as iPads, iPhones, and Bluetooth keyboards. We also visited UCC Campus and got to know the area a little bit and also met some of the staff. Having done this course I was able to discuss what I had learnt about various technology and aids with other friends of mine with a vision impairment who would have been unaware of the aids that were available.

With regards to Independant Living Skills I have been able to demonstrate to other vision impaired friends of mine how to use various pieces of equipment that would be used for cooking a meal or simply just making a quick cup of tea. For example I have told a friend of mine in Dublin how useful the one cup machine is for making tea or coffee and he is looking forward to using my one for the first time very soon. I have also been helping new students in College with their mobility around the campus and it is a great feeling to help others feel as Independant as I am.


Helpful, Kind, Reliable and a big people person. I love mixing and communicating with others.

Contact Shauna.humphries directly for more information on this Champion


Markus Boettner



Championing Area: Digital skills building

Nearly two years ago, I was asked to introduce two visually impaired visiting students at NUI Galway to MacOS X and VoiceOver. That particular department had decided to provide the students with laptops for the duration of their stay, had researched screenreader solutions and had eventually come to the conclusion that a Macintosh environment with VoiceOver as a built-in screenreader was a cost-efficient and feasible option.

From my point of view, the story of success does not begin with my arrival and my instructions which made it possible for the students to successfully conduct their research. Moreover, the story of success begins with the department staff's motivation to research solutions on their own, their awareness that accessibility can be found in mainstream products already and hence that it is really not a big deal to accommodate and include all people regardless of their talents.


Having lost his sight at the age of 20, Markus' adventurous spirit and positive attitude saw him register at the University of Bamberg (Germany), where he was the only blind student. He functioned as a technical advisor during the installation of accessible computer and scanning equipment and during the later restructuring of the special needs area. The excellent and friendly team work between Markus and the university's disability officer helped to promote Bamberg as an accessible university and to attract further visually impaired students over the years. In 2004, Markus set foot on Irish soil for the first time to study at NUI Galway as a visiting student. During that year, he developed close links with the Galway office of the NCBI. After completing his Master's degree back in Germany, Markus returned to Ireland nearly eight years ago; he is currently in the final stage of his PhD in Linguistics & Second Language Acquisition at Maynooth University. Markus has volunteered as an AssistiveTech & IT instructor, promotor and troubleshooter with the NCBI for seven years now. His activities included one-to-one and small group tuition in Windows, MacOS X and iOS, product demonstrations at the NCBI Technology road show, an instruction & training manual for iOS, contributions to the NCBI Technology podcast and, of course, troubleshooting via email, Skype & telephone. Markus likes to transmit his positive attitude on to others who have lost their sight and help them to regain and retain courage, confidence and independence. He also appreciates the challenges to explain technology and content to clients whose perception has never involved any visual input.

Contact MaBo directly for more information on this Champion


Bernadette Meagher



Championing Area: Higher education access

Worked on the Digital Inclusion Champions of Europe (DICE) project for over 18 months.
Working in the Higher Education Sector for 10+ years.

Previously involved in administration of a Community Digital Media Centre (CDMC) and primary and post primary projects that encourage the use of technology in education.

Passionate about participation, equal access and lifelong learning.


Contact Bernadette Meagher directly for more information on this Champion


Claire Shorten



Championing Area: Other

Hey I'm Claire Shorten. I have a disability myself as a blindy and think I would be great help to guide other blind or vision impaired people with techy info - iPhone, iPad, laptops, and AT devices, e.g. braille display, Jaws the software for screen reader etc. I am also in Maynooth University so could help with any questions an accessibility in colleges for really all types of disabilities. I am a positive person who has gained great advice and I just want to make sure that everyone else gets a chance to receive the same!


Other people's opinion of me (without being biased!) - I'm positive. I talk to much but I still make time to listen. I have personal experience in being 'disabled' and understand how other people feel around the world of technology, education and general everyday encounters that are sometimes awkward, inaccessible and believed to be a no can do. Whereas I am a "yes you can do".

Contact claireshorten directly for more information on this Champion


Conor Hartigan



Championing Area: Digital skills building

Facilitated the establishment of the assistive technology assessment centre in the University of Limerick in 2007. Conor has been subsequently working as the regional assistive technology coordinator, based in the University of Limerick. Prior to that has worked as the assistive technology officer in the University of Limerick, supporting students with disabilities within the University from 2003 to 2007. Conor now provides professional outreach assistive technology services to students, family members, educational professionals and organisations in the mid-west region.
Conor has specific interests and expertise in the areas of Visual Impairment supports, Specific Learning Difficulties, Voice Recognition and ICT accessibility. Conor has a wealth of experience delivering technology training in the educational setting, training students, teachers, educational professionals and specialist teachers in group or one to one situations. Conor has accredited training on numerous assistive technology applications.


I have years of experience supporting and training students with disabilities using their technologies in their education. We always try to focus on the student, their needs, the specific tasks they need to accomplish and lastly try to match those needs to a technology. We also try to assist a student and their support network/family/school with as much assistive technology training and support as possible.

Contact conorhartigan directly for more information on this Champion


AHEAD



Championing Area: Higher education access

AHEAD, Association for Higher Education Access & Disability, is an independent non-profit organisation working to promote full access to and participation in further and higher education for students with disabilities and to enhance their employment prospects on graduation.

AHEAD provides information to students and graduates with disabilities, teachers, guidance counsellors and parents on disability issues in education. AHEAD works with graduates and employers through the GET AHEAD Graduate Forum and the WAM Mentored Work Placement Programme.

AHEAD coordinates LINK an Erasmus funded network of organisations promoting the inclusion of students & graduates with disabilities within the EU. AHEAD strives to influence and shape national policy to positively impact on the inclusion of students with disabilities in education and employment.

We value:

  • A Rights based approach to the inclusion of people with disabilities in education and employment.
  • The ability to deliver an independent and Impartial voice to the community we serve.
  • Collaboration, partnerships and engagement with key external stakeholders.
  • The incorporation of the principles of Universal Design for Learning into the Irish education system.

Contact AHEAD directly for more information on this Champion


Patricia Mary McCarthy



Championing Area: Inclusive teaching methods and tools

Patricia has many qualities that make her a good champion in this area. She is always ready to support and encourage people either to learn new skills or to find ways to overcome difficulties encountered when undertaking particular tasks. She is a good teacher finding creative ways to explain ideas and is mindful of people's different abilities when doing so. She is also a good listener with an ability to grasp the issue and to find ways of resolving challenges where necessary.


Outside of the project Patricia introduced a hearing and vision impaired student to both Zoomtext and basic computer literacy. At the time this student knew very little about computers and was anxious about learning how to use them. Patricia realised that one of the key problems was that this student was unable to see the screen properly so she showed her how zoomtext worked, demonstrating its different features and taught her how to access these features. Working with Zoomtext enabled this student to feel comfortable with computers and enabled her to learn and use such programmes as Microsoft Office (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) as well as accessing the Internet, Facebook and Twitter. I have been informed that this assistance was very useful for study/work purposes. Patricia has continued to be available to encourage and instruct this student in any aspect of Assistive Technology or basic computing when needed.

Contact mccartpm directly for more information on this Champion


Niall Gallagher



Championing Area: Higher education access

I am 24 years old, I live in Sligo, and I am registered as blind and have reduced mobility. Due to the fact I am registered as blind, I have several years’ experience with assistive technology. This experience is particularly focused on screen reading software (PC, Mac, and iPhone/iPad), and other technologies which have an audible element (Talking calculators, OCR software, etc.).

I have completed a BBS (Hons) Business in the Institute of Technology Sligo, and I graduated from the University of Limerick with a Masters in Human Resource Management. While completing both qualifications, I interacted with the disability services in both institutions. I am aware of the types of supports which are available, and the benefit that having said supports has.

I strongly believe that having a clear line of communication between students and teaching/disability staff is the most effective manner in which needs are highlighted and accommodated. Despite such communication, issues can still arise, and such situations have thought me to think strategically and prepare solutions to potential problems.

I have very recently started a blog via Wordpress, and I am hoping to share my knowledge of, and experience with, assistive technology within an educational setting. I think DigiPlace4All is a fantastic initiative which will be of great benefit to many, and I would love to assist the growth and development of DigiPlace4All in any way I can.

I feel:

  1. I meet the qualifying criteria for a Digital Inclusion Champion.
  2. I have a network in county Sligo which could be of benefit to DigiPlace4All.
  3. I have several years’ experience accessing additional supports within educational settings.
  4. I have knowledge of experience of using Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.).
  5. I have knowledge and experience of using assistive technology (JAWS, VoiceOver, and NVDA).
  6. I am genuinely interested in all forms of technology, and the benefit it can have in day to day life.

Contact NiallJG91 directly for more information on this Champion


Harriet Doig



Championing Area: Other

As Information Officer at Dyslexia Association of Ireland I am responsible for providing advice on a range of assistive technology options to people with dyslexia in both education and employment. I run Tablet Technology and Dyslexia workshops, which demonstrate a range of tablet features and apps that can be used for the benefit of people with dyslexia.


I believe in advising people of all options when it comes to technology, from mainstream to specialist, as there is no 'one size fits all' approach when it comes to technology and dyslexia - people have different needs, preferences and budgets.

Contact Dyslexia Association of Ireland directly for more information on this Champion


Dyslexia Association of Ireland



Championing Area: Digital skills building

We can provide advice and guidance on how people with dyslexia can utilize computers and technology in order to improve their skills in day-to-day life, the workplace or education. We aim to inform service users about a range of options, from cheap, free and mainstream up to specialist software programs.


A key message in our assistive technology advice service is that we aim to empower people with dyslexia to experiment with different technology options and find out what best suits their own particular situations and needs, as opposed to a 'one size fits all' approach.

Contact Dyslexia Association of Ireland directly for more information on this Champion


Dane Chan



Championing Area: Digital skills building

I've participated in talks in Trinity College and the AHEAD conference on assistive technology and education.


I was a formal trainee in NCBI for independent living skills and later enrolled to study in Computer Application (Soft. Eng) in DCU. I have experienced how to cope with the University studying material and accessing library, course and e-book sources. I've set up an online trouble shooting help desk where queries can be anything from Windows Office, Anti-Virus repair, programming languages such as Java, C++, html, web browser applications, Skype video conferencing and various screen reader tutorials.

Contact footstepk directly for more information on this Champion


Mark Magennis



Championing Area: Digital inclusion policy

I've been working in digital inclusion for 15 years. I founded the Centre for Inclusive Technology in NCBI in 2005 and have been busy promoting accessibility of websites, online applications, TV and telephone equipment and services and many other technologies to developers, manufacturers, and government ever since. I'm also involved in consultancy, research and standardisation activities, both here in Ireland and also on a European level.


I'm committed to working to make the digital world more inclusive for people with disabilities. I believe that inclusion is essential for a healthy society and healthy individuals and that digital inclusion is now one of the main requirements for social, political and economic inclusion.

Contact Mark Magennis directly for more information on this Champion


John O'Regan



Championing Area: Digital skills building

I've been making contributions to the VIP Students mailing list since 2009. I've submitted a couple of pieces to the Cork Centre for Independent Living newsletter. And I've recently started The A11y Files, a blog about assistive technology and web accessibility from an end-user's perspective.


I know a little about HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. I'm familiar with Windows, and I have an intimate knowledge of the JAWS and NVDA screen readers. When answering a question, I try not to make assumptions and I break up my solutions into easy-to-follow steps. Well, that's the idea, at any rate... ;)

Contact John O'Regan directly for more information on this Champion


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