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Disabled children and young people’s uses and experiences of digital technologies for learning

Research output: Book/Report/ProceedingsCommissioned report

Publication date27/11/2017
Place of PublicationLancaster
PublisherLancaster University
Number of pages71
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This report presents findings from a participatory, in-depth qualitative study to explore disabled children and young people’s formal and informal learning practices. Interviews and observations in classrooms took place with seven disabled young people and nine teachers to gain their perspectives about disabled young people’s uses of digital technologies at school. Visually impaired children and young people were chosen as an illustrative case for the project and to overcome claims that treating disabled children as a homogenous group was unhelpful for understanding the differences between disabled children. The findings showed that children and young people use and are positive about digital technologies to support formal and informal learning. Digital literacy skills were well developed and enabled the young people to use digital technologies effectively and safely. Mobile devices such as tablets were found to be particularly useful both for learning generally and for accessibility in order to access the curriculum. Nevertheless, digital technologies could sometimes make young people feel self-conscious and stigmatised. Some subject teachers were more on-board than others in supporting disabled young people and this meant that there was sometimes a lack of inclusive pedagogical design which resulted in an extra workload for disabled children. Follow-up interviews carried out two-three years after initial data collection showed that changes were minimal despite the introduction of policy change such as the introduction of Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans.