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Appears in:
Pages: 3861-3870
Publication year: 2010
ISBN: 978-84-613-5538-9
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-10 March, 2010
Location: Valencia, Spain

INVISIBLE TO THE EYE. COGNITIVE AND RELATIONAL DISABILITIES IN THE WEB

M.G. Fiore

University of Foggia (ITALY)
… I have no wish to be healed from myself. Allow me the dignity of finding myself again in the ways I desire; recognize we are different from each other, that my way of being is not just a broken down version of yours. Question yourselves in your convictions, define your positions. Work with me to build bridges between us. (Jim Sinclair, 1998)

A human being - wrote Andrea Canevaro (1993) – holds many properties and functions in himself. The lack of some of these makes it harder to recognize that in the other to which I teach or from whom I learn there is something of myself, and that we are similar, beyond differences in role and culture, of existential histories and competence levels.

A recognition that happens to be much harder when the relationship with the other has to do without verbal signals or has to mediate those meanings which we all take as a given, including those that allow us to decode “adequately”(as to say in a way that is strategical to communication) all those behaviors and rituals that make us feel part of a whole we accept, and in which we are accepted.

The impossibility of not communicating postulated by Paul Watzlawick makes us symbolic animals, even despite ourselves. This too, as to say, when our behaviour is bent to a “no contradictory” interpretation logic, in which it is almost palpable, for instance, the tendency to not recognize the existence of a thought and mind in those who cannot use their voice, and in those lacking the ability to “read and write with letters”.

The right to communicate, to be communicated with in ways that are meaningful, understandable, and culturally and linguistically appropriate (A Communication Bill of Rights, 1991) means to have the right to take an active role in that collective narrative which we call culture, in that webwork of relations and signs inside of which our existence develops and which we call society. Of this webwork, a stable role is recognized to verbal phonetic or graphical signs, but any object can be part of it and any mental image. There is physical object that cannot become a sign. (A. Ponzio, 1997)

Unlike sensory disabilities, when the topic is web accessibility, intellectual or relational disabilities are often dismissed: the variability of a deficit not connected to a gradual scale, makes "design for all" (as underscored by the ONU Convention on the rights of Challenged Individuals – Crpd – acknowledged by the Italian government with the Law 18/2009) particularly complex when it comes to application.

A complexity arising, in my opinion, partially explain with a still too strict gutenberghian conception of the web, in which reverberate both the predominance of the written text as a perceptional support for teaching, and the little attention paid to the cognitive strategies of the learning subject (more than often forced to follow those of his teacher).

Such predominance leads us to use images mainly as support for verbal comprehension, dismissing their importance as autonomous and alternative code for those using them preferentially to acquire and recall informations and information-rich knowledge contents (de La Garanderie).

Expanding the research in such a direction might perhaps help us to understand the real meaning of that migration of the mind from the head towards the screen mentioned by de Kerckhove, helping us at the same time to discover new social skills of which neurotipical subject in particular seem to be lacking.
@InProceedings{FIORE2010INV,
author = {Fiore, M.G.},
title = {INVISIBLE TO THE EYE. COGNITIVE AND RELATIONAL DISABILITIES IN THE WEB},
series = {4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2010 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-613-5538-9},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {8-10 March, 2010},
year = {2010},
pages = {3861-3870}}
TY - CONF
AU - M.G. Fiore
TI - INVISIBLE TO THE EYE. COGNITIVE AND RELATIONAL DISABILITIES IN THE WEB
SN - 978-84-613-5538-9/2340-1079
PY - 2010
Y1 - 8-10 March, 2010
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2010 Proceedings
SP - 3861
EP - 3870
ER -
M.G. Fiore (2010) INVISIBLE TO THE EYE. COGNITIVE AND RELATIONAL DISABILITIES IN THE WEB, INTED2010 Proceedings, pp. 3861-3870.
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