Vygotsky, defectology and visual light sensitivity in the digital classroom.

Year: 2019

Author: Sproul, Janene

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper provides a view of digital media rich classrooms seen through the lens of Vygotsky’s theory of defectology. It proposes that contemporary use of digital media in all high school classrooms may be enforcing a model of exclusion for students with visual light sensitivity (VLS). Visual light sensitivity has both neurophysiological and psychological elements. It applies to all individuals who are sensitive to visual light, whether intermittently or permanently. Students with VLS may have a diagnosis of migraine (ongoing condition) or concussion (short-term condition).

The paper begins with a commentary on higher mental processes referring to translations of Vygotsky’s lectures and the use of mediating processes. The chapter continues by referring to Vygotsky’s model of defectology focussing on the element of active participation using signs and proposes a dialectic argument for inclusive classroom practices. A model is proposed to demonstrate how students with VLS may be excluded from active participation in classroom practices by some pedagogical choices for use of digital media. The paper concludes by presenting recommendations for inclusive practice to decrease the barriers to learning to avoid exclusion within the digital classroom for students with VLS.