Burgstahler, S., & Cronheim, D. (2001). Supporting peer-peer and mentor-protégé relationships on the internet. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 34(1), 59-74. Retrieved from http://caret.iste.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=studySummary&StudyID=396
This study explores whether computer-mediated communication can be used to initiate and sustain peer-peer and mentor-protégé relationships and alleviate barriers to in-person communication faced by individuals with disabilities. It also compares peer-peer and mentor-protégé e-mail interactions. Content of e-mail messages exchanged between high school students with disabilities (49) and adult mentors (35) along with survey and focus group data were analyzed. Results support the electronic community as a favorable environment in which to provide peer and mentor support for high school students with disabilities. Results suggest that peer-peer and mentor-protégé relationships perform similar functions, however, peer-peer relationships are more personal. Conclusions can guide programs that wish to help youth advance their personal, academic, and career goals.
Kaye, H. S. (2000). Disability and the digital divide. (Abstract 22). San Francisco: University of California, Disability Statistics Center.
People with disabilities have less access to computers and the Internet than their non-disabled peers. This survey research found that individuals with disabilities are less than half as likely as their non-disabled counterparts to own a computer, and they are about one-quarter as likely to use the Internet.
In this study, stakeholders, including individuals with disabilities, family members, service providers, and educators, report barriers to the use of telecommunications products for students with disabilities in pre-college educational settings. Inadequate funding, lack of knowledge and skills of stakeholders, and challenges associated with providing ongoing technical support to students with disabilities are reported as major barriers. Barriers to the access and use of telecommunications tools and resources by students with disabilities must be overcome in order for these students to reap benefits equal to those of their nondisabled peers.
National Council on Disability (2000).
Federal policy barriers to assistive technology. Washington,
DC: Author. Retrieved from http://www.ncd.gov/publications/2000/May312000
An analysis of Federal policy barriers to the availability and use of assistive technology by individuals with disabilities was conducted by the National Council on Disability. Funding is reported as the top barrier by providers and policy experts. Consumers identify the two biggest barriers to be lack of knowledge of stakeholders about appropriate assistive technology and lack of funding to purchase assistive technology. In addition, as reported by the National Council on Disability (p. 25), "the rapid acquisition of educational technology has not sufficiently addressed the needs of students with disabilities. Access for students with disabilities is just beginning to be identified as an important factor when purchasing educational technology. Barriers to the use of advanced telecommunications for students with disabilities in public schools include special education teachers not sufficiently trained to use equipment." Other barriers include lack of trained professionals to evaluate assistive technology, difficulties in locating assistive technology to test by individuals with disabilities, confusion about existing laws and policies regarding assistive technology, gaps in laws and policies that fund assistive technology, and the bureaucracy of public programs and insurance companies.
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