School ties: Keeping students with chronic illness connected to their school learning communities

Conference item


Wilkie, Karina and Jones, Anthony. (2010). School ties: Keeping students with chronic illness connected to their school learning communities. International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) Conference. Semmering,Austria: International Federation for Information Processing. pp. 1 - 13
AuthorsWilkie, Karina and Jones, Anthony
Abstract

Participation in their school community provides children and young people with opportunities for interaction and collaboration, benefiting them educationally and socially. Their involvement and sense of belonging can be disrupted significantly by the experience of chronic illness, not least because of prolonged or recurrent absence from school. Given that there are increasing incidence of and survival rates for chronic illness, schools are more likely to have students who are enrolled but are absent from lessons for significant periods of time owing to a chronic health condition. Helping these students stay connected to their school communities - strengthening their school ties - is essential, not only for psychosocial reasons, but to minimize their educational disadvantage and the impact on their quality of adult life and employment prospects.
Although on-site hospital schools seek to address the educational needs of hospitalized children and young people, decentralized healthcare and improved medical treatment mean that they have less access to those students who are only hospitalized for short periods of time and receive treatment or recuperate at home. Out of the reach of hospital schools, these students also may not be attending their own schools, increasing the likelihood of disconnection and isolation.
Children and young people themselves have indicated their social and academic concerns about absence from school and their desire for maintaining connections with their teachers and peers. Increasingly flexible communications technologies, such as videoconferencing, online whiteboarding, and interactive whiteboard (IWB) application sharing, provide opportunity for facilitating such connections. This paper describes the investigation of technology-mediated communication between students and their schools in the context of a research project funded by the Australian Research Council and in its third year of data collection across a number of schools in the state of Victoria. It explores some of the impediments to the successful implementation of technologies, highlighted by a collective case study of several students and their teachers. It presents a model for the linear and cyclic process of connection between students and teachers. Data suggest that ambiguity about their role and management of communications technologies in a school setting are significant challenges for teachers who have a student absent for significant periods owing to chronic illness.

Year2010
JournalNew Developments in ICT and Education
PublisherInternational Federation for Information Processing
Publisher's version
License
File Access Level
Open
Page range1 - 13
Research GroupSchool of Education
Place of publicationSemmering,Austria
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