chapter  9
14 Pages

Listening With a Dierent Ear: Understanding Disabled Students’ Relationships With Technologies

ByJane Seale, Nick Bishop

In this chapter, we will review what is currently known about disabled students’ experiences of technology in post-compulsory education, and the theories and concepts used to try and explain these experiences. We will then present the ndings from a JISC funded study of disabled students’ experiences of e-learning (LEXDIS) and Nick’s experiences as a disabled student at university. We will use these ndings and experiences to present new insights into the technology experiences of disabled students. In particular we will argue that disabled learners, like many other learners, are agile users of technologies, capable of embracing technologies on their own terms. Where disabled

learners may dier from other learners is that they o¡en have to make diÊcult decisions about their technology use; decisions that are in¸uenced by a vast array of factors such as time, resources, access, support and most importantly their desires and needs. e identication of the two phenomena of ‘digital agility’ and ‘digital decision making’ highlights the strengths of disabled students and conrms the belief of many disabled students that thinking solely in terms of what disabled students cannot do is not necessarily that helpful or informative. Instead, we need to try and understand in more detail the complex relationship that disabled learners have with their technologies.