I had the pleasure of giving an Ignite Talk last week at the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning Conference on the topic of “mixed-ability maker culture.” By mixed-ability maker culture, I mean a collaborative culture within which people with and without disabilities can co-exist and co-create as they work to maximize and develop their own skills. I’m at the early stages of this work, so it was a real gift to be able to share some of my thoughts with the brilliant and critically engaged DML community.
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Thanks for the feedback, Robin! I’m very much interested in AAC and how families incorporate these technologies in their lives, especially taking cultural and institutional factors into account. For my dissertation, I plan on looking on the high-tech end at AAC devices like iPad and Dynavox (as one kind of “mobile device communication” among families), and on the low-tech end at switch-activated toys (as one kind of “hacking” among families). I agree that there’s not enough mainstream discussion about “assistive technology” (and how families come to decide how these technologies are defined and how they fit among the other media/tech they use).
Your are an enthusiastic speaker and writer and am excited about what you are doing. I am a speech-language pathologist with over 17 years experience working with students with complex communication needs (Augmentative and Alternative Communication). I have been advocating for inclusive settings and opportunities for my students. Their full participation is often more limited by the culture of their school environments than the limits of the disabilities themselves. Your work promises to bring this discussion further into the mainstream. I couldn’t agree more that technology has the potential to significantly level the playing field for diverse learners. Your work is inspiring.
Respectfully, Robin Shobe