Assistive Technology & Ethics


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This presentation examines two articles related to topics on assistive technology and ethics, “Teaching Assistive Technology through Wikis and Embedded Video” by Oliver Dreon Jr. and Nanette I. Dietrich, and “When Dealing with Human Subjects: Balancing Ethical and Pratical Matters in the Field” by Michael A Evans and Liesl M. Combs. Topics covered in this presentation include defining/history of assistive technology, wikis & video, YouTube, and ethical issues surrounding assistive technologies.

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Assistive Technology & Ethics

  1. 1. Assistive Technology and Ethics Michaela Noakes Doug Strahler April 12, 2011
  2. 2. Articles Teaching Assistive Technology through Wikis and Embedded Video By Oliver Dreon, Jr. and Nanette I. Dietrich When Dealing with Human Subjects: Balancing Ethical and Practical Matters in the Field By Michael A. Evans and Liesl M. Combs
  3. 3. Teaching Assistive Technology through Wikis and Embedded Video By Oliver Dreon, Jr. and Nanette I. Dietrich
  4. 4. What is Assistive Technology?
  5. 5. Timeline of Assistive Technology Definition  Any item, piece of equipment, or system, whether acquired commercially, modified, or customized, that is commonly used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities (Taken from the Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Standards)  Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1988 (The Tech Act)  The first formal, legal definition of assistive technology was published  This act was amended in 1994  Assistive Technology Act of 1998 ("AT Act")  Repealed and replaced The Tech Act, but the definition stayed the same  Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Standards (1998)  Developed as required by 1998 amendments to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act  Definition stated the same (AccessIT, n.p.)
  6. 6. Overview of Situation  Typically took students into the AT lab to use the equipment  AT Lab was under construction  Alternative solution proposed by student
  7. 7. Alternative Solution  Student remembered seeing a YouTube video that demonstrated the use of an AT device  “The device transferred spoken word into text through the use of a wireless microphone and a student laptop.” (Dreon Jr. & Dietrich, 78)  “This spontaneous teaching moment ultimately lead to the solution to our dilemma.” (Dreon Jr. & Dietrich, 78)  This allowed for a student to apply real world experience to the classroom
  8. 8. The Solution  Teachable moment for the educators  Reflection and collaboration  Wiki & Video (Ability to promote learning from a sociocultural perspective)
  9. 9. Sociocultural Perspectives  “Learning is situated in social and physical contexts, occurs through interaction within a group, and is distributed across the individual, the community, and the tools they use.” (Dreon Jr. & Dietrich, 79)  Based on work by Vygotsky (1978) and Dewey (1933)
  10. 10. The Class Wiki Objective  Post YouTube and TeacherTube videos that demonstrated AT  Short wiki tutorial was provided  Asked to post videos that were respectful in nature  Required to post different videos and comment on classmates videos  Goal: Provide a meaningful experience  Personalizing Assistive Technology & Visualizing Future Teaching
  11. 11. Personalizing Assistive Technology  Prior to this exercise, classes never observed special needs students using the devices  Focus shifted from the specific technology to the pedagogy and how the technology can assist the learning  Learning how the technology is being used, as opposed to how to use the technology  Context of student reflections also changed
  12. 12. Visualizing Future Teaching  Teachers visualized a change in role as educators  Practicing teachers  Reflected on how technology could support student learning  Virtual Field Experience  Empty lab: Hands-on experience  Wiki: Eyes-on experience  Hybrid approach
  13. 13. Additional Literature  Higher Education Migrates to YouTube and Social Networks  “Second, high school and college students, who use our materials to enhance their own classroom instruction or to do research for papers and projects.” (p. 20)  “…create feelings of belonging.” (p. 21)
  14. 14. Additional Literature (cont.)  YouTube, Critical Pedagogy, and Media Activism  “This technological development [YouTube] has amplified individuals’ voluntary participation in mutual education through proliferating new voices and visions, making possible the democratization of knowledge and learning in their daily lives.” (p. 15)  “The real value of education as self-realization can never be confined to a classroom.” (p. 16)  “…means that consumers are at liberty to freely move around cyberspace and make the choices they desire without restriction found in ‘real’ space.” (p. 25)
  15. 15. When Dealing with Human Subjects: Balancing Ethical and Practical Matters in the Field By Michael A. Evans & Liesl M. Combs
  16. 16. “Shall conduct research using professionally accepted guidelines and procedures, especially as they apply to protecting participants from harm.” Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT)
  17. 17. Defining Qualitative & Quantitative  Qualitative  “Data in which the variables are not in numerical form, but are in the form of text, photographs, sound bytes, and so on.” (Trochim, G6)  Quantitative  “The numerical representation of some object. A quantitative variable is any variable that is measured using numbers.” (Trochim, G6)
  18. 18. How does one do good instructional technology research and design, balancing ethical concerns with sound qualitative methods?
  19. 19. Defining Research  “Research means a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge.” (Duquesne University, n.p.)
  20. 20. A Commitment to Working in the Field  “Instructional technology researchers and designers committed to emergent understandings, to gaining emic insights on a focal phenomenon...” (Evans & Combs, 31)  Methodologies:  Ethnography  Naturalistic inquiry  Action research  Case study  Design-based research
  21. 21. Ethical Issues  Adequately detailing the scope of research  “IRBs are rightly more concerned with ethics than validity” (Evans & Combs, 31)  Capturing detailed data on participants  Maintaining anonymity and confidentiality, especially with minors  Ensuring confidentiality and anonymity through digitized data capture
  22. 22. Three Focal Points Influencing Methods  Respect for persons  Beneficence  Justice
  23. 23. Respect for persons  “Ensure that research participants are treated as autonomous agents and are not manipulated as merely means to a given research end.” (Evans & Combs, 32)  Informed consent  Assurance of assent for minors is paramount  Verbal assent in the presence of a parent, guardian or teacher  Assent must be recorded for IRB approval  Ethical dilemma: Alteration to assignments or class time
  24. 24. Beneficence  “Defined as an obligation on the part of researchers to do no harm, maximize possible benefits and minimize possible harms.” (Evans & Combs, 32)  “The term ‘beneficence’ is often understood to cover acts of kindness or charity that go beyond strict obligation.” (The National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research, 5)  Heightened sensitivity by researchers to the needs and changing levels of comfort of participants to have data collected on their behaviors in the classroom  Participants must explicitly know that withdrawal from the study is always an option  No coercion has been introduced or perceived  Maximizing benefits to all participants
  25. 25. Justice  “Obligating researchers to guarantee equity of treatment--that all learners have access to the same treatments and all expectations for requirements are equal.” (Evans & Combs, 33)  Assured justice by:  the intervention was not significantly different from normal classroom procedures  all students had the opportunity to engage in all experimental treatments, ensuring equity Tangram (
  26. 26. Advice for Experienced and Novice Instructional Technologists 1. Exercise creativity in obtaining informed consent/assent 2. Obtain comprehensive informed consent 3. Execute an initial site visit 4. As advising faculty, take a prominent role in the research 5. Attend to concerns, second thoughts, and negative perceptions
  27. 27. Duquesne’s Institutional Review Board (IRB)  “Duquesne University’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) is responsible for ensuring compliance with federal regulations, university policies and professional standards guiding the conduct of research involving human subjects.” (Duquesne University, 4)  The IRB is composed of representatives from the University Administration, faculty representatives from various schools and colleges, and members of the community outside the University.
  28. 28. Duquesne IRB (cont.)  Primary Responsibilities  Protects the rights of participants  Protects researchers by deeming the research ethical and in compliance with Federal guidelines  Belmont Report  TAP #41 “The policy is applicable whether the research is undertaken on a large or small scale. Pilot projects, student dissertations projects, independent study projects, and course projects must follow this policy if they involve human subjects in research.” (  AECT: Association for Educational Communications and Technology  For more information, please visit the link below: 
  29. 29. Q&A
  30. 30. References AccessIT. (2002). What is assistive technology?. Retrieved from Dreon Jr., O., & Dietrich, N. I. (2009). Turning Lemons into Lemonade: Teaching Assistive Technology through Wikis and Embedded Video. TechTrends, 53(1), 78-80. doi:10.1007/s11528-009-0241-6 Duquesne University. (n.d.). Human subject research policies and procedures. Retrieved from Evans, M. A., & Combs, L. M. (2008). When Dealing with Human Subjects: Balancing Ethical and Practical Matters in the Field. TechTrends, 52(6), 30-35. doi:10.1007/s11528-008-0214-1 Gilroy, M. (2010). Higher Education Migrates to YouTube and Social Networks. Education Digest: Essential Readings Condensed for Quick Review, 75(7), 18-22. Kellner, D., & Kim, G. YouTube, Critical Pedagogy, and Media Activism. The Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies, 32(1), 3-36. doi:10.1080/10714410903482658 Pacercenter. (2010). Understanding assistive technology [video]. Retrieved April 1, 2011 from The National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research. (1979). The Belmont Report: Ethical Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects. Retrieved from Trier, J. (2007). “Cool” engagements with YouTube: Part 1. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 50(5), 408-412. doi:10.1598/JAAL.50.5.7 Trochim, W.K., & Donnelly, J.P. (2008). The research methods knowledge base (3rd ed.). Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.