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Tag: social media

Recommended read: Lewthwaite, Sarah (2011) Disability 2.0, student dis/connections: a study of student experiences of disability and social networks on campus in higher education. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

Abstract: For many young people, social networks are an essential part of their student experience. Using a Foucauldian perspective, this qualitative study explores the networked experiences of disabled students to examine how dis/ability difference is ascribed and negotiated within social networks. Data comprises 34 internet-enabled interviews with 18 participants from three English universities. Accessible field methods recognise participant preferences and circumstances. Data is analysed using discourse analysis, with an attention to context framed by activity theory.

Disabled students’ networked experiences are found to be complex and diverse. For a proportion, the network shifts the boundaries of disability, creating non-disabled subjectivities. For these students, the network represents the opportunity to mobilise new ways of being, building social capital and mitigating impairment.

Other participants experience the network as punitive and disabling. Disability is socio-technically ascribed by the social networking site and the networked public. Each inducts norms that constitute disability as a visible, deviant and deficit identity. In the highly normative conditions of the network, where every action is open to scrutiny, impairment is subjected to an unequal gaze that produces disabled subjectivities. For some students with unseen impairments, a social experience of disability is inducted for the first time.

As a result, students deploy diverse strategies to retain control and resist deviant status. Self-surveillance, self-discipline and self-advocacy are evoked, each involving numerous social, cognitive and technological tactics for self-determination, including disconnection. I conclude that networks function both as Technologies of the Self and as Technologies of Power. For some disabled students, the network supports ‘normal’ status. For others, it must be resisted as a form of social domination.

Importantly, in each instance, the network propels students towards disciplinary techniques that mask diversity, rendering disability and the possibility of disability invisible. Consequently, disability is both produced and suppressed by the network.

More than 100 teachers from across Europe participated in the SMILE (Social Media in Learning and Education) action and undertook a pedagogical journey to explore jointly the challenges and opportunities involved when using social media in learning and education.

The outcomes of the project, funded by a Digital Citizenship Research Grant from Facebook, are now published in a digital handbook. You can find pedagogical materials and resources from the learning laboratory with many valuable reflections and suggestions on some critical aspects of the use of social media as regards school policies, pedagogical principles, professional development, responsible use and challenges to adoption.

Unfortunately, the accessibility aspect was entirely ignored in this project. Improving the Accessibility of Social Media in Government is an excellent article that does address accessibility concerns of social media.

Have you ever observed how people with disabilities are experiencing your content on social media? Is someone who uses a screen reader or other assistive technology able to understand your content on Twitter or Facebook? Following video is a 20-minute sprint where you’ll learn specific tips for making your social media content more accessible. The video goes through tools and tactics you can use to help make sure your social media engagements are readable for all your communities.
Presenter: Scott Horvath, USGS
Produced by DigitalGov University, an initiative of the General Services Administration.
Source: DigitalGov University

Using social media is for everyone, also for people with disabilities. However, many accessibility issues arise, which were strikingly discussed in the presentation “Social Media Accessibility: Where Are We Today? A modest attempt at awaking the giants” by Denis Boudreau at CSUN 2012.

Media Access Australia now released a nice list of guidelines how a person with disabilities can use YouTube (guidelines) , Twitter (guidelines) and Facebook (guidelines).

On 19-20 April 2012, Copenhagen (Denmark) will host the “IT Innovation Camp on social media and ICT for people with disabilities”. The aim is to share knowledge, develop ideas and transform early-stage concepts into prototypes in under 48 hours.
The camp will bring together IT companies, developers, researchers, designers, practitioners and students.
The camp is an initiative by Socialt Udviklingscenter SUS in Denmark.

Following is a lightening presentation by Dennis Lembree, creator of Accessible Twitter, at CSUN 2010 Tweetup in San Diego, California. Accessible Twitter is an alternative to the Twitter.com website. It is designed to be easier to use and is optimized for disabled users. The web site application is now in Beta stage.