The SHAPE Project, technologies to enhance learning for young people on the Autism Spectrum

The OpenSen blog reviews some recent developments for children on the autistic spectrum including a variety of humanoid robotics, kinectwiki, Cospatial, Reactickles magic and a virtual environment- Echoes:

Echoes is a technology enhanced learning experience, where young people with ASC can explore in a virtual learning environment by interacting with Andy an intelligent virtual character.  Andy encourages exploration and provides opportunities for social communication in a virtual magical garden and during some hands on time with the software I was able to sort and move flower pots, collect items, throw a bouncing ball, shake rain clouds to create raindrops that allowed me to grow flowers and burst bubbles, all with Andy’s encouragement.  Andy could helpfully look at items to prompt further interaction and sign to me using Makaton, even when we tried to be unhelpful by playfully soaking Andy with a rain cloud, we weren’t scolded or corrected, instead Andy continued to provide prompts to other areas of interest and opportunities that would create a more positive result from our interaction

 

Video and in full

 

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Communicating in Research

Leigh Hall of the Education Disruptions blog writes about a project where they are encouraging teachers to collaborate and wondes how best to do this. They have set up a VoiceThread

Although I’ve just sent out one VT, I am hopeful it will work well as a means for communicating information about the project. First, teachers can watch it at their own pace. Second, they can watch it as many times as they want (some of it or all of it). They can also leave comments if they need help with something that others likely could benefit from.

They look at how the voicethreads can be explored further and note how if this had been done as a face-face workshop they would not have the advantage of the recordings being easily available for review

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Learning in Networks

Brian Harrison reports from #DENSI2012 on a discussion about networked learning. He believes that learning networks can enhance and develop collaboration amongst educators and show how learning amongst students as well as educators are connected. He mentions a taxonomy provided by Judith Warren Little which includes

Sharing: There is an exchange of learning that flows in two directions (think of sharing units, links or resources) but there is no expectation that the parties will actually use what has been shared. We are great collectors of ideas and resources but tend to stick with what we know and prefer. Sharing is important because it fosters a norm that sharing is a good thing for teachers and builds positive interdependence; a precondition for true collaborative learning. It is worth noting that this phase, and the next one, are non-hierarhcical and based upon the principle of mutual benefit.

In full