Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Developing a retirement plan for the magic fairy of digital inclusion: identifying the challenges for digital inclusion practice

On February 9th 2010, I gave an opening Plenary presentation at the one day conference organised by ALT and TechDis called "Rewiring Inclusion". I didn't have long, just 15 minutes, to set the scene for the day and to offer some challenges for delegates to think about. I drew on my accessibility work, and experience working on the LEXDIS project to identify three main challenges or imperatives for digital inclusion work. The need to:

1. Examine our conceptualisation of digital inclusion and in particular who is dominating these conceptualisations and therefore determining for learners, what meaningful use of technology is.

2. Examine digital inclusion practice and in particualr involve all stakeholders in determining what "best" practice is and upon what evidence judgements about "best practice" are made.

3. Examine notions of success and failure in relation to digital inclusion projects to address the extent to which learners are empowered to decide what constitutes success or failure andalso to allow for "organisational slack" so that projects have the freedom to stray from project objectives where appropriate, take some risks or engage in some possibility thinking in order to potentially increase or enhance digital inclusion opportunities.

By addressing these challenges it is my argument that we can move beyond the wishful thinking of digital inclusion and therefore seek to retire the magic fairy of digital inclusion.

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