H810: Week 15: Activity 31.4: Opportunities and Challenges
m-Learning and Accessibility (JISC TechDis, undated)
"Learning with mobile devices can bring many inclusion benefits, enabling learners to access content wherever and whenever they choose, and using a device they know they can operate."
"...it is neither ethical nor sensible to work on a "value subtracted" approach where resources are banned unless all can access them equally. More effective by far is a value added model where the tutor's repertoire of tools and techniques is used to add value to different learners in different ways."
My favourite quote:
"Good practice in accessible learning is not primarily about the technology, technical standards, or course design; nor even (necessarily) the learning resource. It is primarily about each learner's ability to engage with the learning experience. A good learning experience is the result of many factors ranging from the nature of the resources to the quality of the pedagogy and even the personality of the teacher or lecturer. The best predictor of accessible learning is a skilled teacher coupled with quality resources, providing the means to enthuse learners and adapt to their needs. Such skill typically includes a willingness to innovate and a readiness to reflect."
I think that it would be easy to underestimate the confidence engendered by the use of a student's own device. I work with many students with disabilities and a high percentage have visual impairments. Often they come to university and use their own laptops and screen reader software in lectures but when they are in the library and in some workshops/classes they have to use a strange computer with ports in different places and a different screen reader as well as getting used to the teaching material. This makes sessions very stressful and often it is impossible to tell whether the teaching material has accessibility problems or whether the student is just struggling with so many new experiences at once.
The use of their own mobile device, whether that be phone, laptop or ipad, allows the student to relax a little and just concentrate on the learning material as they are already familiar with the equipment and assistive software.