Were we right? A re-evaluation of the perceived potential of technology to transform the educational opportunities and outcomes of learners with special educational needs

Jane, Seale (2019). Were we right? A re-evaluation of the perceived potential of technology to transform the educational opportunities and outcomes of learners with special educational needs. History of Education (Early Access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/0046760x.2019.1657508

Abstract

The focus of this paper is the history of how special needs technology in the UK was developed for people with special educational needs between 1970 and 1999. Despite the proclaimed potential of technology, this context and period has undergone very little historical examination. This paper will draw on interviews with 52 experienced professionals in order to illuminate this history. Analysis will attempt to extend our understanding of the perceived transformative potential of technologies and the factors that influenced the actual transformative potential of technologies. In particular the analysis will focus on three particular kinds of transformations: a transformation of the micro-technology industry; a transformation of teaching practice and a transformation of experience of special educational needs/disability. These three transformations and the potential tensions between them will be illuminated through two themes: ‘Entrepreneurialism versus Creativity’ and ‘Miracle Cure versus Just a Tool’.

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