International Conference on Information Resources Management-CONF-IRM2017
A growing number of young people with disabilities is pursuing university education. Available research on the impact of Information and Communication Technologies on this matter has mainly focused on assistive technologies and their compensatory role for the adjustment of this group of students to the tertiary setting. However, limited research has looked at the role played by digital technologies such as social media and mobile devices in the transition to university, a critical period of change for all students but more challenging for those with impairments. This paper presents the findings of an empirical study that investigated the experiences of students with vision impairments aged 18 to 24 who were transitioning to a New Zealand university. The findings draw from observations, a researcher diary, focus groups, individual interviews, and data from social media. The study found that new technologies play several enabling roles that help students to manage diverse transition challenges. These roles not only include aspects such as impairment compensation, communication, information, and learning but also support arrangement, collaboration, and social connection and participation. By incorporating in the analysis the potential of digital tools, the article updates and expands the understanding of the role of ICTs in higher education from experiences and views of young people with vision impairments.