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Reflections on the role of the ‘users’: challenges in a multi-disciplinary context of learner-centred design for children on the autism spectrum

Reflections on the role of the ‘users’: challenges in a multi-disciplinary context of learner-centred design for children on the autism spectrum
Reflections on the role of the ‘users’: challenges in a multi-disciplinary context of learner-centred design for children on the autism spectrum
Technology design in the field of human-computer interaction (HCI) has developed a continuum of participatory research methods, closely mirroring methodological approaches and epistemological discussions in other fields. This paper positions such approaches as examples of inclusive research (to varying degrees) within education, and illustrates the complexity of navigating and involving different user groups in the context of multi-disciplinary research projects. We illustrate this complexity with examples from our recent work involving children on the autism spectrum and their teachers. Both groups were involved in learner-centred design processes to develop technologies to support social conversation and collaboration. We conceptualise this complexity as a triple-decker ‘sandwich’ representing Theory, Technologies and Thoughts and argue that all three layers need to be appropriately aligned for a good quality ‘product’ or outcome. However, the challenge lies in navigating and negotiating all three layers at the same time, including the views and experiences of the learners. We question the extent to which it may be possible to combine co-operative, empowering approaches to participatory design with an outcome focused agenda that seeks to develop a robust learning technology for use in real classrooms.
1743-727X
421-441
Parsons, Sarah
5af3382f-cda3-489c-a336-9604f3c04d7d
Cobb, Sue
175b7880-4fbb-4ac8-a7ab-1a0bdd985bac
Parsons, Sarah
5af3382f-cda3-489c-a336-9604f3c04d7d
Cobb, Sue
175b7880-4fbb-4ac8-a7ab-1a0bdd985bac

Parsons, Sarah and Cobb, Sue (2014) Reflections on the role of the ‘users’: challenges in a multi-disciplinary context of learner-centred design for children on the autism spectrum. International Journal of Research and Method in Education, 37 (4), 421-441. (doi:10.1080/1743727X.2014.890584).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Technology design in the field of human-computer interaction (HCI) has developed a continuum of participatory research methods, closely mirroring methodological approaches and epistemological discussions in other fields. This paper positions such approaches as examples of inclusive research (to varying degrees) within education, and illustrates the complexity of navigating and involving different user groups in the context of multi-disciplinary research projects. We illustrate this complexity with examples from our recent work involving children on the autism spectrum and their teachers. Both groups were involved in learner-centred design processes to develop technologies to support social conversation and collaboration. We conceptualise this complexity as a triple-decker ‘sandwich’ representing Theory, Technologies and Thoughts and argue that all three layers need to be appropriately aligned for a good quality ‘product’ or outcome. However, the challenge lies in navigating and negotiating all three layers at the same time, including the views and experiences of the learners. We question the extent to which it may be possible to combine co-operative, empowering approaches to participatory design with an outcome focused agenda that seeks to develop a robust learning technology for use in real classrooms.

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Accepted/In Press date: 19 January 2014
e-pub ahead of print date: 17 March 2014
Published date: August 2014

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 361382
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/361382
ISSN: 1743-727X
PURE UUID: 4d8f1214-d216-4887-b3b4-afb8a1f6a384
ORCID for Sarah Parsons: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2542-4745

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Date deposited: 23 Jan 2014 14:16
Last modified: 07 Oct 2020 05:07

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