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Irony of ability – how less helps you do more

Just wanted to highlight this interesting article, talking about an English professor at Oklahoma City University who has Lou Gehrig’s disease.  She teaches her class via video conference, and of necessity has learned a new approach of listening and letting students lead the discussion:

Taught by a Terrible Disease

This interested me for several reasons.

  • We are all going to have phases in life where we are disabled, either in comparison to the rest of the world or by our own definition.   It’s cool seeing how people creatively use technology to not only re-enable but to improve their interactions and experiences.
  • As a remote team member for the last 10 years, I appreciate seeing how people are able to do their work from remote.  In this story, we read of how the professor’s teaching has improved by being remote from her class.
  • Open source methodologies provides a way for massive improvements in accessibility through various hackability efforts, such as the Open Prosthetics Project.

Sometimes the only way to show educators is by immersing them in collaborative experiences where they learn personally the value of open participation, such as POSSE.  It makes them better able to help their students become open participants when the students see the learning and modelling from the instructor.