Digital champions pave the way for young people with a disability

Two of Endeavour Foundation’s top technical minds will take to the stage today to showcase virtual reality technologies designed to improve the lives of young Queenslanders.

Chris Beaumont and Stewart Koplick’s innovative work using digital platforms to assist young people with intellectual disability gain greater independence has been recognised with the pair appointed as Advance Queensland Community Digital Champions last month.

Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch said the duo were a great example of inspirational Queenslanders who are helping to pave the way for others in the community to improve their digital literacy and overall lifestyle.

“Outside of the amazing work they are already doing, Stewart and Chris will work with their local community and share their inspirational stories and expertise to help others,” Ms Enoch said.

“They are outstanding individuals who are positive role models and will encourage others to become digitally savvy too.”

Chris and Stewart run two educational learning software platforms to work with young people with intellectual disability who want to increase their skills for independent living.

The programs create an immersive virtual reality environment, one designed to assist with travel training and the other exploring how to interact in a café scenario.

“It is really exciting for us to be named digital champions because we’ve been working with emerging technologies for several years and are passionate about the opportunity they offer for young people with an intellectual disability to participate more actively in our communities,” Chris said.

“We want all of our services to become “smarter services” with technologies that people can use to increase their independence.”

He said people with an intellectual disability had been keen participants during the development phase and were also early adopters of the new technologies available at Endeavour Foundation.

Meanwhile, his colleague Stewart said technology shouldn’t discriminate.

“Our aim is to deliver lessons and support people from many walks of life in their chosen activity,” Stewart said.

“The work we are doing with travel training and café interaction training will enhance these capabilities.”

He said they could deliver training from Endeavour Foundation in Brisbane to people who were using mobile devices or tablets, as far afield as Roma or Far North Queensland.

Almost 40 digitally-savvy Queenslanders with an eye for technology and a thirst for inspiring their communities have been recognised as digital champions.

Ms Enoch said she wanted Queenslanders to be among the most connected and digitally savvy citizens in the world.

“Our Advance Queensland Community Digital Champions will help improve Queensland’s digital literacy and digital adoption,” she said.

Stewart and Chris are presenting their virtual reality platforms at the National Disability Services Queensland Conference on 12 April 2016 at Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

To find out more and nominate a digital champion go to qld.gov.au/digitalchampions

Media contact:
Minister Enoch - Daniel Lato, 0438 830 201
Endeavour Foundation - Kirrily Boulton, 0429 077 886