Immersive Learning: Developing an Interactive Touch Screen Learning Module for Children with Autism

DS 69: Proceedings of E&PDE 2011, the 13th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education, London, UK, 08.-09.09.2011

Year: 2011
Editor: Kovacevic, Ahmed, Ion, William, McMahon, Chris, Buck, Lyndon and Hogarth, Peter
Author: Stone, R. Brian; Beach, Lindsay; Ganci, Aaron; Jones, Taurean; Ribeiro, Bruno; Strouse, Emily; Woolley, Elise
Series: E&PDE
Section: Design Teaching Environment 3
Page(s): 684-689


Design and Engineering have truly reached a point of convergence. With the growing complexity of project deliverables, expanding technologies, and more diverse and discriminating audiences, we've reached a point where collaboration through immersive experiences is required. Oftentimes, the constraints of an academic term, either quarters (10 weeks) or semesters (14-16 weeks) do not allow for full immersion in a project. Nor does it offer the opportunity for students to realize fully roles and responsibilities or the necessary behaviours for successful collaboration. Our goal was to structure a long-term, in-depth collaborative study environment that would facilitate rigorous research, discovery, and outcome. This one-year group study enabled the student participants to understand the process of designing an interactive experience at a holistic level. It furthered the idea of collaboration and allowed time to deliver a project beyond a speculative composition to a fully functional application. Our project goal was to develop an interactive application that enabled autistic children to practice communication and social interaction. Our interdisciplinary team of graduate students developed a touch screen application that facilitated the learning of word and picture associations. This paper will outline the interdisciplinary process utilized in the creation of this application and the rationale supporting its development. Key to the success of this application was the collaborative make-up of the design team, the duration of our experience, and the collaboration with software engineers, therapists, and autism researchers.

Keywords: Touch-screen, Co-participation, Interaction, Learning module, Collaboration, Autism


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