Mobile Technology for Social and Communication Support Among Students Identified on the Autism Spectrum (Principal investigator: Rhonda McEwen, PhD.)
Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can range in ability from gifted to severely challenged; however, common among individuals on the spectrum are limitations in verbal communication. To date, studies have focused on improving communication which is often crucial to achievement outcomes. Children with ASD often have difficulties with social interactions such as reciprocal interaction, emotional expression, initiation of verbal greetings and maintaining communication. It has been shown that individuals with ASD can benefit from some kind of augmentative communication support. However, few studies have examined how to adapt them for specific use as an assisting technology. We seek to fill this gap in two studies: (a) Touch technologies in the Classroom, Feb 2010-Dec 2011, assesses the use of iPod and iPad touch devices in K-Grade 8 classes at Beverley Junior Public School in downtown Toronto; (b) Mobile Technology for Social and Communication Support Among Students Identified on the Autism Spectrum, Feb 2011-Dec 2012, studies the use of the application Marco Polo - a context aware mobile communication application that runs on a standard multi-use touch-screen device (specifically, Apple iPhone and Google Nexusone Android phones) at Heydon Park Secondary School by Grades 9-12 in downtown Toronto. Study manager is Rachelle Campigotto and the research is generously supported by the Knowledge Media Design program. (Photo by S. Morey, May 2010).
For a recent Prezi presentation of this study, at TabLife TO, see here.
Analysing the information seeking, use, and sharing practices of newcomers to Toronto regarding the mobile phone (Principal investigators: Drs. Rhonda McEwen & Nadia Caidi.)
The objective of this study is to investigate the information seeking, use and sharing activities employed by newcomers to Canada that influence their choices regarding mobile phone services. Immigrants or newcomers are a population in transition struggling to deal with an unknown information environment. The notion of everyday life information seeking (or ELIS) is useful in shedding light on the complexity of immigrants' quotidian information practices. ELIS holds that individuals seek information on a daily basis in complex ways and from a variety of sources in order to manage their lives. In other words, the everyday life context out of which an information need arises contributes significantly to how that need is made sense of and addressed. This research is supported by a MITACS grant. (Photo by telecombuzz.info, online Dec 2010).
Examining smart-phone policies and practices in the workplace (Principal investigators: Drs. Catherine Middleton & Ozkur Turetken - Ryerson University, with Dr. Rhonda McEwen - University of Toronto).
“We want to find out what it means for individuals when they have devices that allow them to be connected to the office anywhere, anytime,” says Catherine Middleton. “We’re also interested in their impact on the organization and whether we can assist organizations to create rules and processes to make their use more effective.” The project looks at the consequences of unified communications, a new type of software that integrates voicemail, e-mail and instant messaging. Among other questions, Middleton, Turetken and McEwen are interested in what organizations expect when they give portable e-mail devices to their employees. “Although there is an ‘off’ switch, I wonder if there’s an organizational culture or even an explicit rule that says when you have a BlackBerry, you have to be available 24/7.” For more see here. This research is supported by a SSHRC grant. (Photo by TechAmerica.org, online Dec 2010).