Next week I will be presenting research on student experiences of Disability and Social Media to the Association for Learning Technology’s Inclusive Learning Special Interest Group (ILSIG). The ILSIG have a monthly one-hour seminar online (using Blackboard Collaborate 11), this month it falls on Friday 28th June, 1.30pm. This seminar is only available to Association for Learning Technology members, but if such events are of interest to you, it’s worth noting that individual memberships begin at £29. I initially joined ALT as a postgraduate student to receive a discount on the annual conference and access to the Journal of Research in Learning Technology. Research in Learning Technology is now open access online. However, the associations other activities, publications, email discussion lists and events, including its special interest groups are worth supporting and getting involved in, so if you’re working in this area, do consider membership.
To take advantage of Routledge’s free Education journal access over the course of April 2011, I’ve presented 19 papers to highlight research with powerful applications in the fields of technology, disability and education. Comments and suggestions are, as always, welcome. This is my final post in this series.
Last year I was invited by Neil Selwyn to submit a viewpoint article for the journal of Learning, Media and Technology, based on insights from my PhD research. Learning, Media and Technology is one of the journals listed as part of Routledge’s Education Free for all, so my article and others are available for download to everyone regardless of subscription status until the end of the month.
Readers may know that editor Neil Selwyn has published substantially in the area of digital inclusion, frequently supplying a critical analysis on the political forces that shape technology discourses. I particularly recommend his research on low and non-users of technology (unfortunately, not openly available online). As such, I was delighted to be given the opportunity to contribute to the journal. But that’s enough gushing. My article conducts a brief review of accessibility discourse, and should offer a welcome orientation for readers interested in e-learning and technology enhanced learning. The Journal of Learning, Media and Technology also rewards exploration – so if you’re part of the twitterati, facebook-elite or blogosphere and want to know more about your modus operandi, be sure to check out the journals’ contents.
Over the course of April I have been highlighting influential disability, technology and education research published by Routledge. All the papers cited are available for free this month to all.
SEALE, J., DRAFFAN, E. A. & WALD, M. (2010) Digital agility and digital decision-making: conceptualising digital inclusion in the context of disabled learners in higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 35, 4, 445-461.
My last post outlining a selection of papers on disability and the internet was focussed on research that has taken place prior to the advent of Web 2.0. If you’ve been following my blog – you’ll also know that the vast majority of papers listed have sprung from the pages of Disability and Society. Today’s offering is strikingly different. Digital Agility and Digital Decision-Making is a paper based on landmark research undertaken by the team behind the LexDis project: Mike Wald, EADraffan and JaneSeale. LexDis been concerned with the use of technology amongst disabled learners in higher education. The strength of LexDis is that it demonstrates the capabilities of disabled students, their strategies and tactics for technology use with regard to the media they actually use – with participants actively engaging in the development of the research.
Digital Agility and Digital Decision-Making recognises and theorises disabled users’ agency, how disabled students’ ”break and enter” otherwise closed systems, the cost/benefit analyses they conduct when applying assistive technologies and so on. In this way disabled students’ ‘digital agility’ is recognised (arguably, for the first time) and presented in a lucid and viable framework. This does not mean that barriers to accessibility can be left unresolved, or that digital skills should not be taught – but the authors identify the value of an empowerment model of development that recognises disabled people as collaborators and agents, rather than passive recipients of digital services. As such this paper is highly recommended for anyone interested in HCI, user experience, accessibility, e-learning or assistive technology.
If you are accessing this page outside of Routledge’s free for all – be sure to check the documents stemming from the Lexdis Project itself. These are freely available day in, day out. The reports, methodology documents and other papers published from the research all reward attention.
Finally, another essential aspect of JISC funded and JISC TechDis work springing from Southampton’s accessibility Gurus is the Web2Access website. A task-based resource which allows educators (and anyone else) to describe the task they want to achieve with students or other users, and then presents evaluative information about Web 2.0 technologies available. I’ve blogged about this before, but it’s worth saying twice: It’s a great tool.
There continues to be a marked seperation between Engineering/Computer Science and Disability Studies in academia. Despite the advance of accessibility discourse and significant developments in Science and Technology Studies, where Computer Science and Disability Studies do meet, the knowledge exchange is often limited, failing to fully utilise the strengths of either discipline. Dewsbury et al’s paper may go some way to explaining one aspect of this disciplinary bifurcation. They consider the Social Model of Disability (the ‘big idea’ of the disability movement [Shakespeare & Watson, 2002]) from a design perspective and attack this representation of disability, and it’s wider sociological framing, claiming it ‘ironicises ordinary experience, treating it as somehow partial and flawed in its ignorance of what is really going on’. In this way the authors identify the social model as profoundly ‘anti-social’.
As a sociologist, I fundamentally disagree with many of the authors vehement assertions about sociology (in particular, I feel they fail to engage with the fundamental practical ethics that Disability Studies is built upon – a determination to elevate practice over theory, despite referring to their own practical politics). Nonetheless, Dewsbury et al. offer a powerful reminder that there are alternative and grounded routes into disability praxis that can deliver real positive benefits for disabled people. Importantly, they also critique the dangers of sociological hyperbole and the rabbit hole of theory – such dangers have also been forcefully identified by many disability academics and activists, and here the useful confluence of disciplinary exchange begins for an engaged reader. Dewsbury et al., manifest an engineering perspective, seeking routes into design, and testing disability theory at the same time, proffering significant food for thought for all in the process. Reader responses are very welcome. If you can recommend further reading on this disciplinary intersection, please signpost below!
- This article is available both via Disability and Society (linked above), but also via Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration in Dependability [PDF]
So far this month, I’ve introduced three influential research papers from Disability and Society to highlight academic research that is free to all readers this month as part of Routledge’s Education Free For All event. Today, we divert to a new journal – Research in Learning Technology. [update: 5th Jan 2011] Research in Learning Technology is now Open Access and all back issues are available. Research in Learning Technology is the journal of the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) previously entitled ALT-J, and more specifically, I’d like to highlight a special issue of the journal devoted to accessibility and edited by Jane Seale (Vol 14, Issue 1).
Nine papers and articles are included. As this issue is now five years old, many of the authors have substantially developed their positions as contexts and discourses in the field have developed. Nonetheless, many of these papers remain relevant to the field with implications for wider uses of technology, and I recommend this issue as a Who’s Who of significant authors in Accessibility in e-Learning. In the UK and elsewhere, Universities frequently represent key sites of cutting edge accessibility research. As such, this offers an excellent spring board into more recent accessibility literature across the education journals freely available this month – so flex your search operators!
- Disability, technology and e-learning: challenging conceptions, by Jane Seale.
- An exploration of the potential of Automatic Speech Recognition to assist and enable receptive communication in higher education, by Mike Wald.
- Creative solutions to making the technology work: three case studies of dyslexic writer in higher education, by Geraldine Price.
- Using multimedia to enhance the accessibility of the learning environment for disabled students: reflections from the Skills for Access Project, by David Sloan, John Stratford and Peter Gregor.
- A model for the identification of challenges to blended learning, by EA Draffan and Peter Rainger.
- Holistic approaches to e-learning accessibility, by Lawrie Phipps and Brian Kelly.
- The development of accessibility indivators for distance learning programs, by Sheryl Burgstahler
- Making online learning accessible to disabled students: an institutional case study, by Martyn Cooper.
- Accessibility and adaptability of learning objects: responding to metadata, learning patterns and profiles of needs and preferences, by Steve Green, Ray Jones, Elaine Pearson and Stavroula Gkatzidou.
Note: Many of these authors are on Twitter (for example, @briankelly @sloandr @lawrie @EADraffan @janeseale and others). Be sure to seek them out.
If you are accessing this blog post after Routledge’s Open Access period finishes. In addition, many of the authors above have also published freely available research elsewhere. For example, Brian Kelly’s stellar back catalogue can be found at UK Web Focus. Enjoy!
Over the course of April, Routledge are giving free open access to all Education journals, with no academic subscription or institutional affiliation necessary and no strings attached. The Routledge stable includes some mighty journals for those involved in Technology, Disability and Education, including Disability and Society, the
Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research and Studies in Higher Education. Together, these journals and their peers offer access to hundreds of pieces of groundbreaking research.
To celebrate, from Friday April 1st onwards, I will introduce and link a selection of papers that have been hugely influential in developing and challenging my thinking on disability, technology and education. This curated compilation represents a guided tour of some of Routledge’s ‘Greatest Hits’, to inform readers outside universities (in particular, techies, geeks, accessibility professionals, and others) and, I hope, help open up and apply disability theory and digital inclusion research for debate amongst new audiences. The list will also have relevance for scholars and academics in the field, and those whose universities do not currently subscribe to these journals (for example, my own institution, the University of Nottingham, does not supply access to the Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research, I have my associate lectureship at Sheffield Hallam to thank for this particular literature hack!).
So, over the course of April I invite you to join me as I introduce each paper. You can subscribe to the blog to receive an alert via RSS feed or email when each post goes live, or simply drop by in over the course of the month and see what my suggested bibliography has to offer. If you are considering compiling a similar list in conjunction with Routledge’s Education free-for-all, be sure to signpost below. Comments and suggestions are welcome!
I’m pleased to say that my first book contribution, Technologies for Formal and Informal Learning (Chapter 12, pp. 435-464) co-authored with Dr Charles Crook, has been published in the International Handbook of Psychology in Education, edited by Karen Littleton, Clare Wood and Judith Kleine Staarman. The volume is published by Emerald, and is available now via Amazon.
“This fine collection of key contemporary work by renowned authors represents the state of the art in the psychology of education. The book is ground-breaking, timely and comprehensive, and indispensable reading for scholars and practitioners interested in understanding and promoting teaching and learning in diverse educational contexts.”
“This book brings together an all-star cast of international experts, and should be required reading for the large community of education researchers who are studying how to improve classroom instruction by using psychological research.”
“A welcome and much needed book.”
‘Learning in the Synergy of Multiple Disciplines’, the proceedings of the 4th European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning are now available via Google Books (free, but with some pages omitted) and in hardcopy and PDF Chapter by Chapter with publisher Springer. The collected papers were edited by volume editors, Ulrike Cress, Vania Dimitrova and Marcus Specht. Additional reviewers include myself, Liz Brown, Stamatina Anastopolou and Zoe Hadley from the Learning Sciences Research Institute at the University of Nottingham (amongst others).
Springer describe the book as constituting the refereed proceedings of the 4th European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning, EC-TEL 2009, held in Nice, France in September/October 2009. The 35 revised full papers, 17 short papers, and 35 posters presented were carefully reviewed and selected from 136 paper submissions and 22 poster submissions. The papers are organized in topical sections on adaptation and personalization, interoperability, semantic Web, Web 2.0., data mining and social networks, collaboration and social knowledge construction, learning communities and communities of practice, learning contexts, problem and project-based learning, inquiry, learning, learning design, motivation, engagement, learning games, and human factors and evaluation.
- augmented reality
- collaborative learning
- interdisciplinary science
- learning environments
- museum guide
- personalized learning
- social networks
- virtual classroom
- virtual learning environments
NEWS FLASH: I’ve just received word that today JISC have published the final report for the JELS project (full title: ‘A study of effective evaluation models and practices for technology supported physical learning spaces’). This is great news for me and the team. You can read the final report on the JISC project pages, or visit the Learning Sciences Research Institute project pages.