According to the University’s Disability Champion, Natalie Brett, ‘there is a link between creativity and dyslexia which points to higher levels of dyslexia amongst creative people’. With 19% of UAL’s home students having declared a specific learning difficulty, enabling digital inclusion, or e-inclusion, is a core element of the University’s provision to support students with learning difficulties; helping to advance their digital literacy and subject knowledge.
Within Central Saint Martins’ context, e-inclusion can be understood as the use of digital technologies to support learning practices by those with learning difficulties. In an earlier post Digital Present highlighted some of the assistive technologies available at the UAL, and Natalie’s recent communication as part of Dyslexia Awareness Week details further support.
The University is investing in support for disabled and dyslexic students to ensure that they have a consistent, high quality experience. The University is also working to make sure that disability equality is properly embedded throughout the student experience. It is investing in staff development, to help ensure that all staff know how best to meet disabled students’ access needs.
It’s worth noting that CSM employs a social model of inclusion, recognising that learning can only happen if the educational environment allows. As digital technologies play a significant part in our daily learning lives, it is important that we frame e-inclusion around a wider set of societal debates involving digital literacy, social inclusion, justice, ethics and values. If we fail to do so, then we face wandering into a reductionist trap. E-inclusion is an entitlement that enables students to advance their subject knowledge and to play an active role in the University’s cultural and intellectual life, and in wider society. It is also vital that a broad university community involves themselves in all aspects of e-inclusion. Indeed, much of the discussion around e-inclusion will be relevant to the ways we all consider and use digital technologies to enable, or enhance, learning practices.
Do open learning spaces help or hinder e-inclusion? A question for all 21c learners and educators.
When building physical learning spaces afresh, or reconfiguring them, how does e-inclusion affect the plans? A question for all 21c educators and architects.
To what extent are educators and learners shaping the development of future digital technologies?
If these types of questions are of interest, and you wish to explore them further, then contact the UAL’s DIAL project team. They are always keen to support communities of practice that wish to engage with ideas around all aspects of digital literacy. In addition, the UAL Executive Board has set up the ‘Improving Support for Disabled Students’ (ISDS) Project Board to steer and lead improvements over the next two years; if you have any suggestions for the ISDS regarding aspects of e-inclusion contact – firstname.lastname@example.org Finally, the student Disability Service is a one-stop-shop for anyone requiring advice about all forms of access.
The UAL Disability Service http://www.arts.ac.uk/study-at-ual/student-support/disability/
UAL Dyslexia Awareness Week http://newsevents.arts.ac.uk/38694/dyslexia-awareness-week/
DIAL Project http://dial.myblog.arts.ac.uk/dial-groups/
Digital Present post http://digitalpresent.myblog.arts.ac.uk/2013/06/12/uals-new-assistive-technologies/
Mary Warnock and Brahm Norwich (2010) Special Educational Needs: A New Look (Key Debates in Educational Policy).
Abbott, C., Brown, D., Evett, L. & Standen, P. (2013) Learning difference and digital technologies: a literature review of research involving children and young people using assistive technologies 2007-2010. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology.
Borg, J., Larsson, S. & Östergren, P. (2011) The right to assistive technology: for whom, for what and by whom? Disability & Society. 26(2), 151-167. Retrieved October 17, 2013 from http://www.editlib.org/p/51399.