This article describes an investigation into the potential of mobile operating systems and native apps to transform educational inclusion for disabled students. It is framed by a philosophy of inclusive technology, which theorises that contemporary technologies, such as the World Wide Web, netbooks, tablets and smartphones, could possibly increase the social inclusion of people with disabilities, as these technologies are more portable, provide greater social access to institutional environments and communities, are more socially acceptable and allow greater social communication than traditional assistive technologies. By drawing reference to this philosophy, the article evaluates the accessible software available in Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS operating systems for tablets and smart phones. These systems were chosen as previous literature observes that they offer provision for students with disabilities, and their manufacturers have claimed that they are amongst the most accessible technologies on the market. Two instruments are used to evaluate these devices: (1) A sociological model of technical capital: This model is based on Bourdieu’s theory of social capital, and is premised on the notion that access to technology, either through financial, geographical, intellectual or physical means, increases life chances and access to financial capital, social equality and access to higher levels of education; (2) The SAMR Model of Educational Technology: This model is premised on the theory that educational applications of technology are premised on the transformation or enhancement of traditional pedagogies, either through the substitution, augmentation, modification or redefinition of educational tasks. The evaluation of these mobile operating systems concentrates on their use in three staple study skills: (1) The making and sharing notes in written, audio and video formats; (2) The organisation of information in the form of text based, audio and video files; (3) The recording of still images, audio and video files. The evaluation finds that both operating systems have similarly effective accessible settings in terms of their ability to enlarge text, reverse colours and save and change the quality of audio and video files. However, it is found that Android has better native facilities for audio recording, organizing and sharing files, and Apple iOS has an advantage in terms of its ability to photograph in photo-negative and create time lapse recordings. However, there are issues with both operating systems in terms of pricing, potential ease of use, and cultural diversity. The evaluation concludes that these mobile operating systems have the potential to be used for tasks discussed in the SAMR model, but both systems still need to improve a number of features in order to make their potential technical capital more socially accessible.
|Title of host publication||INTED 2015 Proceedings|
|Place of Publication||Valencia, Spain|
|Number of pages||9|
|Publication status||Published - 2 Mar 2015|
|Name||INTED Conference Proceedings|
- assistive technology
- mobile technology