Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Professional Studies


Information Management and Technology


Ruth Small

Second Advisor

Corinne Roth Smith


activity theory, disabilities, education, information and communication technologies, social cognitive theory, wireless grids

Subject Categories

Library and Information Science


The ability to interact with peers and coworkers in online digital networks is essential in learning and business environments. Our digital participatory culture is based on communication in response to purposeful activity and is facilitated by information and communication technologies (ICT). Students with emotional, behavioral, and learning disabilities are often disengaged and excluded from this knowledge-building conversation. This disengagement results in a cycle of failure exhibited through diminished self-efficacy and inadequate academic and emotional self-regulation. A critical goal of those who work with these students is to bolster their resilience, persistence, participatory, and communicative skills--to invite them back into the conversation.

This research study investigated the potential for wireless grids technologies to serve as a viable infrastructure for students in a therapeutic high school setting to participate in digital social networks. Using social cognitive theory as a theoretical framework and activity theory as a conceptual framework, this study specifically investigated how a wireless grids implementation of the WeJay Social Radio Edgeware Gridlet was used to positively impact perceived self-efficacy and academic and emotional self-regulation associated with written and oral communication. This study also investigated how a digital networked environment could extend and enhance current methods used by school staff and programs to address cognitive, emotional, and behavioral issues affecting student socialization and learning in a therapeutic high school setting.

The supports, resources, and opportunities for collaboration and socialization in the networked environment of the research space proved motivating for students and staff, and fostered academic, emotional, and behavioral self-regulation and positive self-efficacy for written and oral communications as evidenced by the artifacts and radio shows produced by students. Furthermore, students and staff participants expressed their interest in continuing to use WeJay. The outcomes of this research study suggest that informal, interest-based learning should take place in school. For some students, school is the only place they will have access to the technology and supports required to engage in powerful informal learning experiences. For fragile populations, these experiences may provide opportunities for success that have eluded students in formal, teacher-directed, curriculum-driven educational settings.


Open Access