Special Education (SPED) Learning Festival 2021

The Special Education (SPED) Learning Festival is a biennial event in Singapore organized by the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) Special Education branch. As well as engaging special educators in a day of professional development and knowledge-sharing, the event is open to the public – and particularly to industry professionals and parents of special needs children. For 2021, the online programme catered to educators on its first day and parents/public on the second. Pico was tasked to provide end-to-end execution and management of the event.

digital

Insight

The Festival this year was an online community engagement comprising a SPED Learning Festival for SPED educators and practitioners and a Parents’ Learning Festival for parents and invited guests.

With these different objectives in mind, Pico designed and developed two dedicated platforms. The platform for SPED educators and practitioners would offer resources and facilitate sharing sessions, and also recognized the educators' work in delivering quality education through well-designed and effective programmes and practices. Meanwhile, the Parents’ Learning Festival platform would connect and support users with a series of workshops and sharing sessions. Both platforms were to be designed to ensure access and usability for all users, including those with special needs.

Solution

Pico conceptualised a vibrant and distinctive design theme inspired by the event’s ‘origami’ logo. Signifying creativity and innovation in the SPED sector, the logo features a child to represent students and an aeroplane symbolising a leap into the future.

The logo was also adapted for WhatsApp stickers used to create awareness of the event, particularly among the SPED fraternity. Available via Telegram app as well as WhatsApp, the stickers’ were shared via EDM and among registered users. Their key messages were designed for relevance beyond the event itself.

Both event platforms were designed with an accessibility widget known as Universal Accessibility (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2 or WCAG 2 Level A/AA). It included captioning, text enlargement, alt text, dyslexia friendly functions, mobile-responsive and keyboard-friendly interface, ensuring that all users could navigate, engage and participate in the festival programme:

  • For attendees with mobility issues, the platform was fully navigable via keyboard. The mobile-friendly interface also allowed attendees to navigate using touchscreen tablet devices.
  • For visually impaired attendees, the platform text size was adjustable, and the content was accessible to screen reader software.
  • For attendees with hearing loss, pre-recorded videos were captioned, and livestreams had sign language interpretation wherever possible.

Upon accessing the website homepage, users were presented with a schedule of their personally selected sessions. Sign-up for sessions was available to users upon registration and until event day, subject to availability. Participants engaged in two-way exchanges during the sessions using the platforms’ live chat functions. Pico managed, coordinated and executed a total of 46 concurrent live and pre-recorded sessions across the two-day event.

The ‘exhibition’ tab provided a comprehensive guide and resources on SPED schools and organizations providing support for SPED students. Under the ‘showcase’ tab, users could find out more about students’ living skills and view their artworks.

Results

A total of 3,065 SPED educators and 1,194 parents attended the event virtually, concluding the event successfully for the SPED stakeholders.

Testimonial

“We are most thankful to the Pico team for their smooth execution of MOE’s Learning Festival for the special education (SPED) schools and parents. The planning was long and drawn-out, starting in 2019 and postponed repeatedly due to uncertainty caused by COVID-19. We are grateful that Pico journeyed with us with professionalism and patience. Their experience and expertise were especially reassuring. Most commendable were their positive work attitude and service-oriented mindset. It was a pleasure to work with them.”

– Wong Geok Mei, Senior Inspector, Special Education Branch, Ministry of Education

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