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Informatics 2016, 3(4), 21; doi:10.3390/informatics3040021

Disabling and Enabling Technologies for Learning in Higher Education for All: Issues and Challenges for Whom?

School of Education and Communication, Jönköping University, Jönköping 551 11, Sweden
School of Health and Education, Skövde University, Skövde 541 28, Sweden
Karlstad Municipality, Nyed Primary School (13–16 years), Molkom 660 60, Sweden
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Antony Bryant
Received: 18 December 2015 / Revised: 29 April 2016 / Accepted: 25 October 2016 / Published: 28 October 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Information and Communication Technology in Higher Education)
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Integration, inclusion, and equity constitute fundamental dimensions of democracy in post-World War II societies and their institutions. The study presented here reports upon the ways in which individuals and institutions both use and account for the roles that technologies, including ICT, play in disabling and enabling access for learning in higher education for all. Technological innovations during the 20th and 21st centuries, including ICT, have been heralded as holding significant promise for revolutionizing issues of access in societal institutions like schools, healthcare services, etc. (at least in the global North). Taking a socially oriented perspective, the study presented in this paper focuses on an ethnographically framed analysis of two datasets that critically explores the role that technologies, including ICT, play in higher education for individuals who are “differently abled” and who constitute a variation on a continuum of capabilities. Functionality as a dimension of everyday life in higher education in the 21st century is explored through the analysis of (i) case studies of two “differently abled” students in Sweden and (ii) current support services at universities in Sweden. The findings make visible the work that institutions and their members do through analyses of the organization of time and space and the use of technologies in institutional settings against the backdrop of individuals’ accountings and life trajectories. This study also highlights the relevance of multi-scale data analyses for revisiting the ways in which identity positions become framed or understood within higher education. View Full-Text
Keywords: functionality; disability; technology; higher education; support services; ethnography; learning functionality; disability; technology; higher education; support services; ethnography; learning

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Bagga-Gupta, S.; Messina Dahlberg, G.; Winther, Y. Disabling and Enabling Technologies for Learning in Higher Education for All: Issues and Challenges for Whom? Informatics 2016, 3, 21.

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