Imagining a digital future: how could we design for enchantment within the special education curriculum?
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The implementation of the new “Successful Futures” curriculum in the UK, means that learners between the ages of 3 to 16 will be challenged to use digital media to develop their life skills, personal confidence, work skills, career planning, health and well-being (Donaldson, 2015). Teaching staff, responsible for delivering this multi-faceted programme for learners with profound disabilities, have reported that the perceived benefits of technology are misaligned to individual needs and capabilities. This is particularly evident when combined with a developmental approach that favours the achievement of milestones rather than discovery-led, task free, interaction (Simmons, 2019). The work reported here aims to directly address these gaps. We describe a series of Digital Imagining workshops, which set out to encourage creative and co-productive relationships between teaching professionals, academic artists, makers and computer scientists. During the activities, we experimented with digital fabrication tools as a means to envision contingent, imaginative interactions between learners with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD), other people and their environment. In collectively critiquing the ideas developed during the workshops participants recognized the benefit of simple contingent, cause and effect actions for drawing attention to the material properties of objects. Almost seamlessly, these sensory explorations became the trigger for more complex ideas for integrating the demands of the digital curriculum into more natural daily scenarios. The shared process of ideation and tinkering was reported to be vital in generating a shift toward inclusion as a creative, imaginative and expressive counterpoint to the pervasive emphasis on utility and function.
International Association of Societies of Design Research Conference 2019;
Keay-Bright, W. and Eslambolchilar, P. (2019) 'Imagining a Digital Future: how could we design for enchantment within the special education curriculum?',International Association of Societies of Design Research Conference 2019, Manchester, UK, 2-5 September 2019.
Conference paper presented at International Association of Societies of Design Research Conference 2019, Manchester, UK, 2-5 September 2019.
Cardiff Metropolitan University (Grant ID: Cardiff Metropolian (Internal))
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