Likewise, I consider the thought provoking and important work of Jay Dolmage, Amy Vidali, Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, Margaret Price, Sharon L. Snyder, David T. Mitchell, Brenda Jo Brueggemann, and many others as incorporating the software of disability--expanding its understanding, its embodiment, its theory, etc. I see access, then, as the hardware that provides--to some extent--the doorways to be widened, the speak-to-text app, the video of an unattended class. Students, and not just disabled ones, can then become part of the Burkeian parlor (Burke, 1973, p. 110) where they can comfortably enter a conversation without feeling they are being seen as a disabled person, but seen as having a voice with something to add to the ongoing conversation. For me, too, access is not about the theoretical; it is about opportunity. If I'm teaching and facing the chalkboard as I'm drawing a concept on the board, a deaf student probably will not know what I'm saying. Technology and certain apps for mobile devices could provide a real-time running transcript of what I'm saying so that students, again, all students, could follow along, or review later exactly what I explained.
All this discussion is important, but more important is to reconsider how we function, operate, and hopefully adjust our classes to be more accessible regardless of the difficulty or perceived difficulty of making adjustments. If we fail to act, teach, and legislate access and inclusion relative to disability and technology, we will be creating a "digital disability" (Goggin and Newell, 2003, p. 148) or "new dimensions of disability" (Goggin and Newell, 2003, p. 131).
My goal with this piece has not, nor could it have, been to provide all the fascinating and productive ways apps or accessibility programs can or could be used in a composition classroom. Such a task would be outdated as soon as it were finished. Rather, my goal has been to point out a few current apps, how they might be used, and encourage all of us to engage our classrooms in ways that utilize such advances in technology. It seems clear that when students realize that their mobile devices can also be used as an educational tool, they will become more engaged in their own learning. This translates to students that are happier, more willing to learn, and interested in discovering how new (and old) apps can be applied to current writing concerns.
One way to begin to use m-learning and disability studies is discover a few apps that are focused on assisting students with disabilities. Then, as simple as it sounds, ask students to find ways to incorporate their usage into their writing. Instead of, what might be one's natural instinct as a teacher sometimes, telling students what or how, we could ask them to figure out ways where they can use various applications in their composing process. This is precisely where the facilitator and guide aspect of pedagogy becomes important—and maybe uncomfortable. Sometimes we are used to providing students with the answers, directing them to them, or coaxing them through a series of steps so they better understand how a process works. As difficult as it is, we must set them free to explore their own process and how a particular set of apps can be beneficial.
I continue to learn from how traditional students interact with technology. When I might be apprehensive about trying something out, they forge ahead without hesitation because, because for them, they can restart the program or simply download a new copy. When I might be concerned about breaking it, they recognize it almost as disposable. This makes their interaction with new apps and programs vastly different from mine, and this has significantly changed my thinking and pedagogy. In essence, they are explorers and I follow a map. Giving them ownership, encouraging them to adapt, and getting them thinking about how apps can be used in different ways benefits their composing process while tacitly demonstrating that an app designed for a person with (dis)abilities might give them new found abilities.