Director Update: Spring 2014

By Francois DesjardinsBlogs, Experience, , , , , , , , , , , Comments are off

Francois DesjardinsYear five of this project for UOIT has been one of transitioning from mostly installation and initiation of many systems to now engaging in the next phase which is the catching-up to get where we want to be with the research.   Although we had some early students completing their masters using the first wave of mobile devices with a variety of learners with some disabilities, none of them made use of the data collection and analysis systems in the EILAB as it was just recently completed.

In order to use the system, we have had the people from NOLDUS, the vendor of the software system for data collection and analysis, come in to offer introductory training workshops to both students, professors and research assistants. Following these, the assistants has been experimenting with the systems and helping each other out as well as students to prepare methodologies for various studies and research projects.

With some projects and studies now being initiated, it was noted that the lab furniture was ill suited for working with elementary school aged learners. As some of our group working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder also remarked, sometimes when working with these individuals, a “rest-time” is required before more work is to be done and therefore a “quiet” corner with comfortable seating was deemed necessary. To start meeting these requirements, some “school sized” tables and chairs were acquired for the lab as well as a couple of “bean-bag” chairs. All this is intended to make the ASD children, as any children, feel safe and more comfortable when they come in with their parents to help with some of the studies that need to be done in the lab environment. With the recording setup being also adaptable, this furniture has been worked into the actual data collection setups without a problem so far. The first studies involving children with ASD using mobile technologies are currently undergoing ethics review with the first data collection slated to begin within the next couple of months.

The project investigating the effects of using an augmented reality app in adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder is also progressing with the development of the app itself having been completed. It is presently in beta testing and debugging before the actual experimentation can begin. This project involve collaboration between professors and students from the Faculty of Education and the Faculty of Business and Information Technology (FBIT).

Currently, with the support of internal resources (The Center for Teaching and Learning, UOIT), the EILAB is developing a set of tutorials as on-demand help documents for current and potential users of the lab systems. These are to be then available directly from the EILAB web site. The current production schedule aims at having the first wave of these completed by end of summer 2014.