Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Digital agility and digital decision-making: Conceptualising digital inclusion in the context of disabled learners in higher education

As part of a final dissemination phase of the LEXDIS project which explored the e-learning experiences of disabled students at unviersity, I have just submitted a paper to the journal, Studies in Higher Education. Here is the abstract:

Digital inclusion in higher education has tended to be understood solely in terms of access and accessibility. This view of digital inclusion is over-simplified and does little to further our understanding of the role that technology plays in the learning experiences of disabled students in higher education. In this paper, we propose a conceptual framework for exploring digital inclusion in higher education that attempts to broaden the way in which digital inclusion in higher education is understood. The conceptual framework draws on work in the non higher education sector and encompasses two strands: one that focuses on technology, personal and contextual factors, and one that focuses on resources and choices. This framework will be used to present and discuss the results of a study which aimed to explore the e-learning experiences of disabled students at one higher education institution. The discussion will focus particularly on concepts of digital agility and digital decision-making and will consider the potential implications for the empowerment of disabled students.

For more information about the LEXDIS research project see: http://www.lexdis.org/project/ The results of the project have been used to design and implement a database driven website that is populated with student provided information about how they use technologies to support their learning, and can be searched for information about how to support students and successful strategies for using technology. See: http://www.lexdis.org/

The ideas presented in this paper support the arguments that Len Barton made (see http://janekseale.blogspot.com/2009/04/beware-of-inclusion-advocates-bearing.html) about inclusion being complex.

This paper also has relevance to the new TLRP digital inclusion forum that I am convening in which I am hoping to stimulating debate about how we define or conceptualise digital inclusion, see http://www.tlrp.org/tel/digital_inclusion/

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