Cboard will be conducting a pilot in Timor Leste, with the support of the UNICEF local office.This endeavor is made possible through the generous support of the Microsoft AI for Accessibility grant, which aligns with Cboard’s commitment to enhancing accessibility and inclusivity. The aim of the pilot is to reach between 50 and 70 students, at three different schools in the cities of Dili and Bacau, to evaluate the use of the Cboard app. The primary objective of this pilot is to assess the practical utilization of the Cboard app within these educational settings. The pilot is scheduled to unfold over a span of four months, from September to December 2023.

Timor Leste Image from one of the schools in Timor Leste using Cboard

One of these institutions is equipped with tablets provided by UNICEF, which will facilitate the direct utilization of the Cboard app. However, the other two schools face infrastructural challenges, including limited access to computers and tablets as well as connectivity issues. To address these obstacles, PicSeePal, a collaborative partner, has generously donated 60 of their low-tech AAC housing devices. These devices will enable participants to seamlessly translate their digital creations from the Cboard app into physical, printed boards. The integration of PicSeePal’s devices not only serves the immediate needs of the pilot but also leaves a lasting impact, equipping the local schools with tools to support students beyond the pilot’s duration.

Picseepal and Cboard Picseepal device with a Cboard printed board

The assessment of the pilot’s impact will be undertaken using the rigorous Psychosocial Impact of Assistive Devices Scale (PIADS) methodology. Participants will be invited to complete the PIADS form twice—once before commencing the pilot and then again after 2-3 months of active engagement with the Cboard app. Furthermore, a mid-pilot evaluation is scheduled for late October, involving in-person observations within the participating schools. This multifaceted approach ensures a comprehensive understanding of the app’s influence on the students’ communication and psychosocial well-being.

Timor Leste

The Cboard team eagerly anticipating this pilot in Timor Leste, marking a significant stride in their mission to democratize communication access. The insights garnered from this initiative will not only refine the Cboard app but will also contribute to the continuous development of features that better cater to the needs of users worldwide. Through such innovative ventures, Cboard continues to reshape the landscape of augmentative and alternative communication, fostering greater inclusivity and empowerment for individuals with diverse communication needs.

Katrina Cohen Cosentino