Accessibility in M-Learning

Ensuring Equal Access

Authored by: Jodi B. Roberts

Handbook of Mobile Learning

Print publication date:  April  2013
Online publication date:  June  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415503693
eBook ISBN: 9780203118764
Adobe ISBN: 9781136311536


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A shift is occurring in distance education in which learning can occur anytime and practically anywhere a learner has an Internet connection or telephone service. This new delivery method is known as mobile learning (m-learning). M-learning, as defined by Compton, Muilenburg, and Berge in Chapter 1, is “learning across multiple contexts, through social and content interactions, using personal electronic devices” (Crompton, 2013, p. 4). These personal electronic devices allow individuals to teach and learn at a distance in a manner that is digital, customizable, and real time, and incorporates the senses. Portable computing devices, such as smartphones, media players, personal digital assistants (PDAs), tablets, e-readers, and wireless laptop computers, to name a few, are considered examples of mobile technologies (EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. 2010; Granic, Cukusic, & Walker, 2009; Quinn, 2008). What makes these technologies applicable to education is the ability for learners and instructors to access academic courses, learning materials, and textbooks, without having to log in from a fixed location. In addition, mobile technologies are able to assist in providing educational avenues “for populations of individuals who, for various reasons, have been unable to succeed in or are unable to participate in a traditional educational environment. One sub-group of this population includes [learners] with disabilities” (Roberts, Crittenden & Crittenden, 2011, p. 242). In order for learners with disabilities to actively participate in these educational opportunities, it is vital that the devices utilized have accessibility features that are compatible with, or act as assistive technology by accommodating, a learner’s unique disability needs, as well as complying with current accessibility legislation.

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