#InspireInclusion within ADAPT: Meet DigiAcademy

08 March 2024

This International Women’s Day, we commemorate and emphasise the significance of fostering inclusivity within our communities. One such innovative initiative that inspires inclusivity is DigiAcademy, a Trinity College Dublin start-up company with a vision to transform the landscape for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

DigiAcademy is an accessible digital skills elearning video platform co-created with and for people with accessibility needs to address the challenge of digital literacy and access to ensure better health, well-being and inclusion outcomes. Commended by the European Commission as a best practice model, DigiAcademy redefines how individuals with intellectual disabilities/autism, along with their families, caregivers, and support organisations, engage with technology.

The programme was designed to push the co-creation process to an optimum level, through support and coaching to enable their Citizen Advisory Panel (CAP) members with intellectual disability to become DigiAcademy teachers. This demonstrates the power and potential of people with intellectual disability to be the ‘face’ and ‘voice’ of the accessible education programme. DigiAcademy accessible digital skills education programme consists of short video tutorials on priority topics identified during the focus groups, delivered by our CAP members. 

Dr Esther Murphy, DigiAcademy Founder, was a recent recipient of the Societal Impact Award from the Trinity College Dublin Innovation Awards awarded by Provost Prof. Linda Doyle in recognition of her work’s impact for Trinity, society and industry. DigiAcademy is pushing the boundaries of knowledge and harnessing technology to better serve individuals and society.  

At the heart of Dr. Murphy’s research is a commitment to ensure the full inclusion of the people with accessibility needs into all phases of the research innovation process. This is through the development of inclusive research methodologies and the development of paid experts by experienced citizen advisory panels.

On her DigiAcademy work, Dr Murphy said:

“To address the societal challenge of digital inclusion, collaboration with and across disciplines is vital. DigiAcademy’s vision is not just training our learners to teach digital skills; it’s opening doors to a world of possibilities, challenging norms, and redefining the landscape of digital literacy and inclusion. Working alongside our team members with intellectual disabilities, every day we are inspired to think and create more inclusively and dream big together.”

Also involved in the team is:

  • Amy Fulcher (DigiAcademy teacher)
  • Swapnil Chauhan (Technology Developer)
  • Damian O’Rourke (Technology Developer)
  • Athi Ralarala (Research Assistant)

Photo: All 14 team members from DigiAcademy’s Citizen Advisory Panels a celebration photo following their European Year of Digital Skills Award (Inclusion Category) June 2023.

Top Photo: (L- R) Amy Fulcher (DigiAcademy teacher), Swapnil Chauhan (Technology Developer), Damian O’Rourke (Technology Developer), Dr. Esther Murphy (DigiAcademy Founder and CEO), and Athi Ralarala (Research Assistant)