ERIC Number: ED407811
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
Difference Blindness/Blindness Difference: Student Explorations of "Disability" over the Internet.
Murphy, Kelly; And Others
This case study describes the Internet correspondence using MOO, a multiuser, object-oriented site, that was developed between six third-grade girls and TCC, an adult with blindness. The changes from the students' original attitudes toward blindness, that blindness posed a barrier to communication and relationship-building, into their acceptance that blindness is a different way of living in the world, is described. Three stages of the students' growing understanding of blindness and ability/disability are described: (1) their first encounters with blindness in the context of having to develop new types of reading and writing skills for the electronic mail exchange; (2) their growing awareness of social and practical differences between the lives of the blind and the sighted as they developed their technical Internet skills; and (3) their focused explorations of the experience of blindness off-line and their creative transfer of that learning to other social contexts and understanding of disability. Results indicate that: (1) the Internet can provide valuable contexts for skill and knowledge development at the elementary school level and (2) the Internet is conducive to building interpersonal relationships because it masks social differences, while at the same time it can facilitate greater understanding of social differences. (CR)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, March 24-28, 1997).