Context and Research

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has impacted contemporary society, including education and schools, where technology has been used as part of the teaching and learning process for many decades. There are several technologies, which although not developed for educational purposes, are increasingly used in present-day schools (Flewitt, Messer, & Kucirkova, 2014,   Ditzler, Hong, & Strudler, 2016, Ren, 2014).

Digital technologies have influenced pedagogies and environments for learning. Learning experiences can become more flexible, interactive, collaborative and multimodal (Churchill, Fox & King, 2012; Kress & Pachler, 2007). These technological innovations have also provided learning opportunities for students who need additional support in the classroom, and students with special educational needs (SEN) (Florian & Hegarty, 2004). There is an emerging broad consensus worldwide about the benefits that can be brought to school education through appropriate use of technology, however, research also indicates that unless merged innovatively into classroom practice, they may be little more than devices which deliver repetitive curriculum content (Loveless, 2010, Flewitt et al., 2014).

Digital inequality takes the form of exclusion not only in terms of not having access to equipment but also in the low level of autonomy, skills and support provided to those who are marginalised. Those persons with Learning Difficulties and Disabilities (LDD) who often lack this autonomy are particularly hard hit. Research has shown that technology can have a positive effect, both in terms of engagement and learner outcomes at cognitive, social and emotional levels. However, investigations regarding the process by which technology supports positive outcomes for capacity building (and training) are rare.
As in mainstream schools, teachers of young people with LDD can benefit therefore from alternative pedagogic approaches.