Introducing technology into practice is often argued to be disruptive: where established practices are discarded, innovative forms of learning are fostered and so new opportunities are created for the previously disempowered to participate and empower themselves. That disruption of established practice might be seen to arise, for example, by enabling new ways of communication between people; by making more accessible a range of resources; and through the provision of enriched forms of information representation—video, image, sound and text, or ‘multimodal’ combinations. We wish to investigate the reality of those claims—understanding how practices actually change where technology is introduced, which properties of technology provide the bases for the disruption of particular practices, how power relations are transformed or persist, what opportunities can be created to empower the marginalised, and the range of outcomes that might be typical and possible.
Our work on inclusivity, pedagogy and learning investigates issues like:
- How do disabled children and young people use digital technologies for learning?
- How can the development of digital, multi- and visual literacies empower the disadvantaged?
- How can digital technologies assist teachers to support marginalised learners?
- How can the use of simulation and gamification mechanisms foster learner motivation?
- How can multimodal and pictorial resources support more holistic interpretations and understandings of concepts—and how can we utilise such resources to support more multi-voiced academic discussions?
- How can we design settings and learning scenarios in ways that are inclusive of a wider range of stakeholders?
- On what grounds do we understand online distance education as ‘accessible’ and ‘inclusive’, and what are the realities?
- How can we understand learning and support pedagogy in international distance education in the context of a post-colonial world?