Widgets for Personal Learning Environments adaptable to the needs of disabled students
Pearson, Elaine and Perrin, Franck-Olivier (2011) Widgets for Personal Learning Environments adaptable to the needs of disabled students. pp. 1-10. In: Proceedings of the The PLE Conference 2011, 10th - 12th July 2011, Southampton, UK.
Disabled students often need very individual solutions that go beyond the provision of assistive technologies in order to make a learning environment accessible. More recent developments in Web 2.0 and cloud computing has raised all users expectations of personalisation. This has led us to consider the potential of widgets to provide the choice of tools, applications or services to support the learning experience of disabled students. Widgets for Inclusive Distributed Environments (WIDE) a recently completed JISC funded project considered the use of widgets as independent tools, services or application to support the learning process rather than representing the components of the VLE itself. The aim of the WIDE project was to use a community based approach to develop resources that extend the functionality and flexibility of VLEs. The experience of using a set of widgets in a learning environment leads towards the concept of Mash-up PLEs in that it allows students to use applications or tools as they see fit. It presents the possibilities of adaption to individuals’ specific needs. This paper will describe the WIDE approach to the development of widgets for accessible and personalised learning and explore the affordance and limitations of producing widgets that conform to W3C standards for rich internet applications. It will also address the implication for future development of open source widgets as part of a Mash-up PLE.
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