Enabling Technology

Social impact: Education

Project ideas

Universally Accessible Video Games

Categories | Social impact: Education | Disabilities: Medical | Disabilities: Cognitive | Disabilities: Physical | Disabilities: Auditory | Disabilities: Visual |

Description - Some forms of entertainment, video games for instance, cannot be accessed by persons with disabilities. Build a video game that can be enjoyed by anyone. A game that can be used in an educational setting for young children would be excellent. Multiplayer games would be interesting, especially ones that involve cooperation among kids with different abilities.

Realistic Sounds

Categories | Disabilities: Visual | Interfaces: Auditory | Information visualization: Maps and diagrams | Information visualization: Rendering | Social impact: Education |

Description - Is it possible (or even worthwhile) to make realistic sounds for audio simulations like a street-crossing game? How much does realistic audio improve such simulations over using synthetic sound effects? Research in this area would be beneficial to other projects that make use of audio environments for education.

Typing Tutor

Categories | Social impact: Education | Disabilities: Visual |

Description - Create a free typing tutor for children who are blind. In a school near here, a blind 4th grader did NOTHING every week while his peers took keyboarding lessons because his school didn't buy speech software for one of the computers in the keyboarding class. We could fix this! Make it fun and educational at the same time. Design it so that it is accessible by children both with and without sight. Getting it to run on multiple platforms would be excellent.

Mental Models

Categories | Social impact: Education | Social impact: Acceptance | Disabilities: Visual |

Description - What kinds of models do people who have always been blind have for space, scale, projection, etc.? How might computer aids or specific lessons address changing that model? Research this topic and report on your findings. Develop a prototype if appropriate.

Braille Twister Game for Kids who are Blind

Categories | Disabilities: Visual | Interfaces: Tactile | Interfaces: Auditory | Social impact: Education |

Description - Kids who are blind often have poor muscle tone because they don't move around much. The idea of this project is to get kids to move AND to teach them something at the same time. So called "DDR Mats" such as the RedOctane Dance Pad http://redoctane.com/exreddanpad.html are intended for playing the game "Dance Dance Revolution" with the PlayStation or XBox. With an adapter these mats can be connected to the USB port on a PC. I think we could make a neat game something like Twister that is fun for kids and teaches Braille. The idea is for the child to use their hands, feet, head, or whatever to press the appropriate dots (up to 6) for a Braille character.

External links

BATS: The Blind Audio Tactile Mapping System

Categories | Disabilities: Visual | Interfaces: Auditory | Interfaces: Tactile | Interfaces: Devices | Information visualization: Maps and diagrams | Social impact: Education |

Description - BATS is a project at UNC that uses audio and tactile feedback to convey map information to blind users. It focuses on helping students with visual impairments.

Submitted by Peter Parente

Gifted Children with Learning Disabilities: A Review of the Issues

Categories | Disabilities: Cognitive | Social impact: Acceptance | Social impact: Education |

Description - This article discusses a possible population of students who have learning disabilities and also academic gifts. If one or the other is overlooked, school may not meet the needs of the student. The article mentions that neither traditional resource rooms nor an inclusive classroom may be appropriate for these students. This article does not contain many suggestions for solutions, but it is an interesting perspective. Instead of viewing learning disabilities and academic talents as disjoint, they may be more related than we think.

Submitted by Kelly Van Busum

Overcoming Dyslexia Article

Categories | Disabilities: Cognitive | Social impact: Acceptance | Social impact: Education |

Description - This is an interesting article about several successful businessmen (including Charles Schwab and John Chambers, the CEO of Cisco) who have dyslexia. The article discusses their experiences in school and in business and how dyslexia has influenced their lives positively and negatively.

Submitted by Kelly Van Busum

Dyslexia Teacher

Categories | Disabilities: Cognitive | Social impact: Education |

Description - This site contains many interesting articles about dyslexia: what dyslexia is, symptoms of it, and where to go for help. There is a link where people can submit techniques they find helpful when managing dyslexia. For example, one person describes distinguishing a lowercase 'b' from a lowercase 'd' by remembering that 'b' looks almost like 'B'. There are also a variety of articles describing teaching methods (some are helpful, some are harmful) used with people with dyslexia. There is a section for dyslexia news, and several articles involving technology related to dyslexia.

Submitted by Kelly Van Busum

MIT Games-To-Teach Project

Categories | Social impact: Education |

Description - A group at MIT is investigating the use of games for education. Findings here might apply to the development of universally accessible video games.

Submitted by Peter Parente