Open & Inclusive SIG: Digital Inclusion


Join us for the next open & inclusive Special Interest Group on Tuesday 17th May 2022 (13.00 – 15.00) to hear Professor Jane Seale’s talk on digital inclusion followed by a hosted discussion around the links between openness and inclusion. All are welcome!

How can ‘openness’ enhance the digital inclusion of people with learning disabilities?

Professor Jane Seale, WELS

Over the past thirty years there has been much talk and excitement about the potential of technology to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities. And yet, in 2020 when the pandemic struck and life for many of us moved online, many people with learning disabilities were not able to use technology to keep connected and stay well. They were digitally excluded. Research conducted by Jane Seale revealed that a main reason for this exclusion was a lack of support. Many people who provide formal or informal support to people with disabilities did not have the skills or resources to facilitate access to technology. Why might this be? After thirty years of ‘talk’ why has the community not developed or sustained a practice that is capable of supporting the digital inclusion of adults with learning disabilities? In this presentation, Jane will review past and current support practices, focusing in particular on the potential role that open resources and open practices might play and the challenges around the development of open resources and open practices in the learning disability community.

Jane graduated from Plymouth Polytechnic in 1987 with a degree in psychology. She then went on to join the Computer Applications to Special Education Research Unit at Keele University where she completed her PhD focusing on the management of special needs technology in adult special education.

In 1993 she joined Southampton University, taking on various roles including lecturer in higher education and innovation. Between 2000 and 2002 Jane set up the first ever UK based Masters in Assistive Technology at Kings College, London. In 2010 Jane became Professor in Education at Plymouth University, moving in 2013 to take up a position of Professor in Inclusive Education at Exeter University. Jane joined the OU in April 2016 in order to lead on REF related strategy and capacity-building for 100+ education researchers across the university. 

Link to Recording