Digital landscapes: ‘inclusive potential versus exclusive practice’

Watling, Sue (2011) Digital landscapes: ‘inclusive potential versus exclusive practice’. In: 11th International Conference on Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, 20-22 June 2011, University of the Western Cape, South Africa.

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Over the past decade there has been a significant increase in the use of digital education. Today, multiple channels exist for the delivery of teaching and learning content. This proliferation of digital data often disguises its unseen power; namely the flexibility to adapt to individual user requirements. Challenging the single fixed format of the printed page, digital data can be customised to suit individual preference and need. This enabling potential offers opportunities to reach a diverse range of students such as users of assistive technologies, non-native speakers and distance learners as well as those with specific learning difficulties or alternative learning styles. Enabling this diversity requires inclusive digital practices which support alternative choices. If digital content is not designed in ways which take alternative access choices into account, the technology which has the potential for inclusive learning experiences can in itself become divisive. The implications of digital exclusion extend beyond the education sector. During the 21st century, working practices and lifestyles are set to become progressively digital as governments increase the online provision of information and services and the Internet supports ever more user-generated content. Those already disadvantaged are at risk of further marginalisation. Educational institutions must be seen to take the lead in the promotion of inclusive practices with digital data in order to enable access rather than deny it.

Keywords:Digital Inclusion, Digital Exclusion, Higher Education
Subjects:X Education > X342 Academic studies in Higher Education
Divisions:Professional services > Lincoln Higher Education Research Institute
ID Code:4915
Deposited On:21 Feb 2012 22:17

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