Saturday, September 23, 2006

Day Five - Learning Communities - Living with Albert

What do you need to know about the technical limitations of your members and their equipment before they participate in a learning community?

When one thinks about how to start a learning community, one of the issues that needs to be dealt with is to consider the technical limitations of your members and their equipment before they participate in a learning community. That consideration might include matters of privacy and security for a youth community, speed of the computers for rural community, or perhaps whether or not a computer or a telephone might be the best and most affordable device for a community in a poor area. Today, I’d like to us to visit a community for those with limited abilities. Certainly, the handicapped, the elderly and others can enjoy and benefit from learning communities, but just how do we go about making those types of communities accessible to potential members?

A nice article to read in consideration of these factors is “Building Smart Communities: what they are and how they can benefit blind and visually impaired people”. Afterwards, why not visit Leukodystrophy Family (Nervous System Disabilities), or the Visually Impaired Blind Users Group of Massachusetts, or listen to this audio interview (Life with Albert Part I and Life with Albert Part II - If you have problems with these links try to listen from my blog, Rebuilding Indianola) with Albert, a blind instructor in a refuge camp in Western Sahara, Africa (an incredible interview with a unique approach to using very sparse resources, basically a screen reader only, to build a learning community in a place with 95% illiteracy). This interview was original podcast from another interesting learning community with unique approach to using technology to enhance education, EdTech Talk, a part of the WorldBridges network. Now that these communities with unique approaches to user capacity and capability are in our rear-view mirror, how will you implement your learning community so that user equipment and technical limitations will not hamper the other aspects of creating a learning environment?

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