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ERIC Number: EJ1097720
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0973-8827
Enabling the Differently-Abled
Pal, Sonali
Journal on Educational Psychology, v3 n2 p13-26 Aug-Oct 2009
It is perhaps unfortunate that enabling technologies do not come with an "ability warning", as they generally require the user to already have acquired a certain level of IT skills, in a similar way that online courses require users to have a certain level of prior IT knowledge. Accessing a computer and making the most of e-learning materials requires support at both the curriculum and technological levels, and some students find it easier to work with computers than others. Dyslexic students are no different, and often have the added cognitive load of having to use enabling technologies to access these materials, examples being text to speech facilities, magnification, changes in desktop settings and various methods to help with the input of text. These added technologies can be liberating, but only if they have been chosen with the specific requirements of that particular student in mind, and the student has gained adequate skills to make the most of the technologies' attributes. Disabled learners must not be disadvantaged in education and it is important to ensure that learners are not unfairly treated in assessment situations. Colleges have an obligation to anticipate the needs of learners and to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that disabled learners can demonstrate their skills and abilities equally with their nondisabled peers. This obligation extends to online, distance and blended learning. Disabled learners can encounter barriers when undertaking online learning and when using Information Learning Technology. The focus of this paper is how to make learning materials and electronic learning environments easy and made accessible. In many cases, assessments can be undertaken using technology to assist learners. However, the needs of disabled learners also should be considered when the assessment is technology based, for example, multiple choice quizzes in a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). This paper covers the four main areas of accessibility: presentation, content, structure and navigation. Importance should be stressed on anticipating the needs of disabled learners in any given learning situation. This means that colleges and curriculum managers should not wait until a disabled learner has enrolled on the course before thinking about which adjustments may be necessary in the classroom or the delivery method. An anticipatory duty means that colleges should include consideration of the needs of disabled learners during the period of curriculum design, planning and review. It is important to remember that access to the curriculum cannot be Provided solely by means of technology; what is needed is a pedagogical solution, where the learner is included through an equivalent accessible learning experience.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A