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Design to Support Interpersonal Communication in the Special Educational Needs Classroom

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Abi DurrantORCiD, Dr Jonathan Hook, Róisín McNaney, Tim Smith, Mathew Kipling, Professor Patrick OlivierORCiD


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This paper describes our Experience-centered Design (ECD) inquiry into the current and potential role of digital photography to support interpersonal communication and expression in a class at a mixed special education needs school. Presented as a case study, we describe five classroom-based Creative photography workshops that engaged pupils with a broad range of complex special needs, along with classroom staff. We further describe how, from these workshops, we generated a set of qualitative considerations for the design of digital photographic tools to support interpersonal communication and expression in this setting. Additionally, we present the preliminary evaluation of a photo-sorting tool that we developed in response. Our case study demonstrates how an ECD approach can guide an interaction design process in a special education needs setting, supporting interaction designers in understanding and responding pragmatically to the complex and dynamic interactions at play between the stakeholders.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Durrant A, Hook J, McNaney R, Williams K, Smith T, Kipling M, Olivier P, Stockman T

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: IDC 2013: Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children

Year of Conference: 2013

Pages: 46-55

Date deposited: 18/06/2013

Publisher: ACM


DOI: 10.1145/2485760.2485778