The competence of spatial thinking, usage and interpretation of maps or other spatial tools is not self-evident for all; it is a dexterity which must be cultivated. For students experiencing disabilities, such as visual impairment (VI), spatial thinking proves to be an imperative skill for perceiving the world far beyond their immediate experience. Learning functional ways to utilize spatial experiences as an entirety and realize the relationships between objects in space and themselves is vital.
Maps and other spatial representations are a splendid source of information for portraying space and environment. By using tactile maps and innovative ICT technologies, children may deploy their spatial notion more effectively compared to proximate orientation experiences in accordance with verbal directions. Providing thus a concrete set of such tools would empower specific spatial thinking skills not only of those with VI but of all students.
VISTE aims at empowering the spatial thinking skills of students with VI. This will be accomplished by providing an innovative methodological framework and a semantic and technical infrastructure for developing appropriate inclusive educational modules to foster spatial thinking. The project’s main target groups are primary/secondary education students, as well as teachers, teachers’ trainers, and staff involved in their education.