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Ed-ICT International Network: Disabled students, ICT, post-compulsory education & employment: in search of new solutions

Funded for three years by The Leverhulme Trust, this International Network is co-organised by Jane Seale (The Open University, UK); Tali Heiman (Open University, Israel); Sheryl Burgstahler (University of Washington, US); Catherine Fichten (Dawson College, Canada) and Björn Fisseler (FernUniversität, Germany).

The focus of the Ed-ICT International network is to explore the role that ICTs—including computers, assistive technologies, online learning, social networking sites— play or could play in causing the disadvantage or removing the disadvantage that students with disabilities in post-compulsory education experience generally and specifically in relation to social, emotional and educational outcomes.

The network will also examine the practices required of educators and other stakeholders can play to mediate successful and supportive relationships between learners with disabilities and ICT.

The Network will:

  • Synthesise and compare the research evidence that is available across the five countries regarding the relationship between students with disabilities, ICTs and post-compulsory education;
  • Construct theoretical explanations for why ICTs have not yet brought about the reductions in discrimination, disadvantage and exclusion that were predicted when equality and discrimination related laws were published across the five countries;
  • Provide new perspectives about potential future solutions regarding how post-compulsory education institutions can better use ICTs to remove the ongoing problems of disadvantage and exclusion of students with disabilities.

In order to meet these objectives we will hold five international symposia over the next three years with five broad themes:

  1. Effective models, frameworks
  2. Stakeholer perspectives
  3. New designs
  4. Effective practices
  5. New solutions

For each symposium, we will invite 20 local stakeholders from any or all of the following groups:

  • students with disabilities
  • faculty (lecturers, professors);
  • professionals responsible for support services for students with disabilities (e.g. access technologists) in post-compulsory education;
  • professionals responsible for faculty/staff development;
  • campus information technology staff;
  • digital textbook and resource publishers;
  • Other individuals who work to support the academic success of students with disabilities and
  • senior institutional managers.