Technology and education
Introduction: Affliction and Technology
According to the U. S. Department of Commerce, added than bisected of all Americans use the Internet in some way, but "persons with a affliction are alone bisected as acceptable to accept admission to the Internet as those after a disability... [a]nd while aloof beneath 25% of those after a affliction accept never acclimated a claimed computer, abutting to 60% of those with a affliction abatement into that category." In accession "[a]mong those with a disability, bodies who accept broken vision... accept alike lower ante of Internet admission and are beneath acceptable to use a computer consistently than bodies with audition and advancement problems" (National Telecommunications and Advice Administration, 2000, p. xv).
Cyndi Rowland, administrator of the Web Accessibility in Mind (WebAIM) activity at Utah Accompaniment University's Center for Persons with Disabilities, calls for a "national solution" to the botheration of inaccessibility, abnormally "if we are to accept by civilian rights legislation, federal rulings, and accustomed ethics" (Rowland, 2000, p. 10). Understanding the specific needs and apropos of acceptance with disabilities may aid educators, advice technology designers, and educational institutions to ensure that acceptance with disabilities, decidedly those who are dark or visually impaired, are not larboard abaft in this abstruse "revolution."
The Internet and the web accept become an basic allotment of academy education, transforming the educational adventures of all students. In 1997, the Apple Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the all-embracing anatomy that oversees the protocols and operations of the Internet, created the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). WAI is amenable for announcement web functionality for bodies with disabilities and establishing accessibility guidelines. In this age of computer technology, abounding of the accoutrement bare to accredit acceptance with disabilities to admission disinterestedness in apprenticeship and above already exist. For those complex in educational institutions, these accoutrement can accommodate opportunities and independence, eliminating the obstacles and barriers that abounding of the accustomed systems still enable.
A analysis of the abstract accompanying to attitudes and alternative barriers that bodies with disabilities charge argue with every day at academy and at work, the affiliation of computer technology in postsecondary education, and the needs and apropos of acceptance with disabilities, in accurate those who are dark or visually impaired, may accommodate some insights for approaching behavior and guidelines apropos admission and use of computer technologies for acceptance who are dark or visually impaired.
Technology: Enhancing Modern Education
Experiences of bodies with beheld impairments in the abode and their use of computer technology and the Internet was the focus of a qualitative abstraction conducted in Australia by Williamson, Albrecht, Schauder, and Bow (2001). Primarily through focus accumulation research, the advisers presented the perceived allowances and apropos of the study's participants. Best agreed that the Internet enabled them to participate in an advice and advice architecture that is acceptable a primary antecedent for abounding people. Abounding additionally saw the Internet as enabling them to be beneath codicillary on others and, therefore, facilitating an admission in their own privacy.
However, some were anxious about a abridgement in amusing acquaintance and an admission in isolationism. An added affair was that there would be a abatement in the affection of casework from such entities as the government and banks because added is actuality done online. Training was beheld as analytical to auspiciously application the Internet and computer technology. This, it was believed by many, was the key to accomplishing adequation in the workplace, yet abounding acquainted it was a low antecedence by agencies and workplaces. Cost was additionally beheld as a barrier to accessing computers and the Internet.
With assorted Internet advances, added individuals in all sectors of the association are alive from home. For visually broken associates of association the Internet has the abeyant to chargeless them from the restrictions they accept accomplished in the accomplished while gluttonous to admission employment. "Once the challenges of admission accept been surmounted, [visually impaired] users can booty their places in the digitalized workforce" (Williamson et al., 2001, pp. 693-4).
With computer technology acceptable a allotment of all academy students' educational experiences, how are postsecondary schools advancing acceptance for a computer-integrated future? To actuate how the use of assorted technologies affect apprentice learning, Shuell and Farber (2001) conducted a abstraction of 728 sighted undergraduate and alum acceptance at a ample northeastern university, breadth they activate that, in general, acceptance perceived the use of computer technology in their courses to be absolute beneficial. Acceptance additionally believed that the use of advice technology brought an admission in their adroitness of captivation in a course.
Eighty-eight percent of the sample adumbrated that their use of computer technology helped them apprentice abstracts and skills, and 75 percent adumbrated that application computer technology bigger the affection of alternation with their instructor. Acceptance additionally beheld the use of activating computer presentations and the Internet in lectures absolute favorably; it kept their interest, and the acceptance believed that it bigger their learning. Acceptance additionally advantaged cyberbanking forums as a way to collaborate with their aeon (e.g., email, listservs, and newsgroups) and believed that the use of these forms of computer technology added the affection of these interactions.
Another absorbing award in this abstraction was that acceptance who advised themselves to be added absolute tended to acknowledge added agreeably to these technologies and the acquirements allowances associated with them. One affair of this abstraction was the acknowledgment that acceptance had of the adeptness for computer technologies to accredit absolute learning. Back confined the needs of acceptance with disabilities, adeptness is a key agency to consider.
Lewis, Coursol, and Khan (2001) advised the use and aftereffect of computer technology on apprentice development and education. They surveyed 124 sighted undergraduate acceptance who abounding a bounded attainable academy in the Midwest. Technology choices, which included use of email, the Internet, and multimedia, were based on technology trends in academy education.
Results adumbrated that the majority of acceptance were adequate with computer technology, application such accoutrement as email and the Internet for both bookish and amusing purposes. Both men and women spent about the aforementioned bulk of time on email, chic assignments on the computer, arena computer games, and arcade on the Internet. However, women spent decidedly beneath hours surfing the Internet than men did.
Consistent with Shuell and Farber (2001), Lewis et al. (2001) additionally accustomed that acceptance accept the use of email increases their abundance of advice with faculty, which, in turn, enhances the faculty-student accord and enables adroitness to be added accessible. The affair of accessibility was discussed in this abode and how there is a charge for academy educational institutions to abode this issue, which the authors announce to be a amusing botheration that has cogent bread-and-butter and amusing implications. They point to the charge to admit that there are some students, including those with disabilities, who may be at a disadvantage back a advance requires the retrieval of abstracts from the web.
The use of computer technology has become an accustomed and accepted basic of every student's postsecondary educational experience. To bigger accept the use and capability of these technologies, all of the studies acclimated in this cardboard that focused on computer technology in academy apprenticeship advised one or added aspects of the affiliation of these technologies into the educational system. The Arant (1996) abstraction focused on the use of the Internet and the Apple Wide Web in academy education.
Employing both qualitative and quantitative methods (phone interviews and a survey), it assured that, while application online apparatus to acceptable courses did not abutment the credible acceptance that online apprenticeship adored time and money, it did change the way in which courses were taught, with added online portions actuality congenital into courses. For acceptance who are visually broken or blind, this could aftereffect in added barriers.
Computer Technology and Visually Broken Students
In an all-encompassing two-year abstraction in Canada, Fichten, Barile, and Asuncion (1999) advised the computer, information, learning, and adaptive technology needs and apropos of Canadian postsecondary acceptance with disabilities. Of the allegation from this study, computers were activate to be analytical to the success of acceptance with disabilities, and the all-inclusive majority of students, behindhand of gender, age, affairs of study, or blazon of disability, could and did use computer technologies to advice them succeed. An important development that emerged from this abstraction was that acceptance generally "cross-used" technologies. For example, while acceptance with beheld impairments are accepted to use awning clairvoyant software, acceptance with acquirements disabilities additionally acclimated this software.
The acceptance in this abstraction advised computers as "electronic barrier cuts," enabling technologies that acquiesce acceptance with disabilities to bigger adapt for and participate in the information-based abridgement of tomorrow. Fichten, et al. (1999) apprenticed postsecondary apprenticeship institutions to architecture for accessibility and to accede the needs of acceptance with disabilities afore authoritative purchases. What the authors call as "troubling" is "the absence, in abounding cases, of planning for access" for acceptance with disabilities by postsecondary institutions (Fichten et al., p. 179).
As some abstruse barriers fall, others are boring erected as new technologies abide to become allotment of a student's educational experiences. One advancement the authors had for government allotment bodies to advice accession acquaintance of these issues was to booty accessibility issues into application back reviewing admission applications and to actualize incentives for businesses to advance and bazaar technologies that are attainable to all students. The authors wrote: The astronomic abeyant of computers to abolish barriers to acceptance with disabilities and apropos over barriers airish by limitations in admission were axial issues acclaimed by respondents in all categories in all phases of the analysis (p. 180).
Shaw and Giacquinta (2000) acclimated a check that was absolute anxiously developed, acreage tested, and revised several times afore actuality acclimated for this study. The sample consisted of 412 sighted alum students. This abstraction was absolute able-bodied anticipation out and documented. The authors appropriate that adroitness accommodate added computer technology into their curricula (e.g., with the use of such accoutrement as Blackboard, WebCT, and advance web pages). They did not, however, booty into application the ramifications of that advancement as it applies to acceptance who are dark or visually impaired. Unfortunately, unless accepting been asked to accede it, best adroitness do not anticipate about acceptance who are dark or visually broken (or who accept any alternative disability) back they activate to accommodate technology into their curriculum.
Shuell and Farber (2001) piloted a check and discussed it aural two focus groups afore application it for the study. Their sample was composed of 728 sighted undergraduate and alum students. Both qualitative and quantitative abstracts showed a articulation amid active, participatory acquirements and the absolute acumen of acceptance apropos technology as a acquirements tool; they additionally accustomed that the use of technology fabricated the classes assume added claimed to the students.
However, the authors attention that the credible accord activate in their abstraction amid a absolute acumen of computer technology by acceptance and students' absolute acquirements is still unclear. Lewis et al. (2001) acclimated an author-constructed survey, which they declared as "a self-report, forced-choice survey." One of the problems with this abstraction is that a self-report is accountable to acknowledgment bias, although the after-effects of this abstraction were constant with the others apropos a absolute acumen and use of computer technology by acceptance in postsecondary institutions. Both Shuell et al. and Lewis et al. recommended that approaching analysis focus on the appulse of technology on apprentice learning. Lewis et al. additionally recommended the charge to appraise the use of technology amid specific groups, such as acceptance who are Hipic, African American, and commuters.
Given the accompaniment of absolute abstract in the breadth of postsecondary acceptance who are dark or visually impaired, accumulated with the cutting affiliation of computer technology into the bookish environment, there is still a charge for a added absolute analysis into how postsecondary institutions are acknowledging and confined the best interests of these students. Affliction advisers Susan R. Jones and Julie Smart point out the accord amid individuals who accept a affliction and how association angle bodies with disabilities. They advance that affliction is a accepted issue, and yet there is no distinct affliction experience.
With a focus on the prejudices, bigotry and stigma accomplished by bodies with disabilities and their responses to their disabilities, Jones (1996) and Smart (2001) ascertain affliction as a socially complete abnormality that combines the adventures of those active with a affliction calm with their environments. Goggin and Newell (2003) added accompaniment that "in the name of inclusion" association builds affliction into agenda technologies, arguing that affliction has been complete in the abstruse apple of accretion and computer networks and that there is a charge to alarmingly assay the means in which it is complete aural abreast society.
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