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“I personally don’t have the time to have the provisions for her": How teachers’ exclusionary practices in the classroom manifest in disabled children’s digital technology uses

Research output: Contribution to conference - Without ISBN/ISSN Abstractpeer-review

Publication date1/12/2019
<mark>Original language</mark>English
EventEducation for a socially just world: Australian Association for Research in Education Association Conference 2019 - Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove, Brisbane, Australia
Duration: 1/12/20195/12/2019


ConferenceEducation for a socially just world
Abbreviated titleAARE2019
Internet address


Inclusion has long been a policy issue for governments globally. Within education, the Salamanca statement (1994) has been instrumental in strengthening the drive to deliver inclusion; recognised in policy in many different parts of the world. Even so, disabled young people often experience integration in schools rather than inclusion that does not support their sense of belonging to the community. An important aspect of this is how digital technologies are used in schools given that studies of disabled children’s uses of technology remain limited, particularly studies that engage with disabled children’s own views in context. In response, participatory research was carried out in England taking an interdisciplinary approach combining digital education with disability theory. It explored how disabled children use digital technologies for formal learning. Research was carried out with visually impaired children, their teachers, teaching assistants and qualified teachers of visual impairment as an illustrative case. Semi-structured interviews complemented observational data collected in classrooms. It was clear that disabled children benefited when schools had adopted 1:1 tablet computer schemes in class because often disabled children were able to use the same devices as their peers thereby reducing stigma. Moreover, analysis also showed that disabled children’s experiences of using digital technologies were qualitatively different depending on subject teacher approaches. Some teachers worked closely with teaching assistants in curriculum planning to ensure the seamless inclusion of disabled children. Others relied for the most part on teaching assistants in situ to provide just-in-time support or on children themselves to find workarounds to inaccessible provision. Teachers gave reasons for their different approaches in relation to the development of inclusive pedagogies using technology. This included time availability/constraints, provision/lack of guidance both in terms of using digital technologies for learning and in terms of implementing inclusive education policy; and technical issues when using technology. The paper will set out the main issues and offer short and longer term recommendations for improvement.