The Accessibility in Educational Placement for Students with Disabilities (AcTinSite) project aims to work in collaboration with people involved with student placements, including Placement managers, Administrators, and Staff who work in Accessibility Services. To meet our aim, we will create a toolbox. Here stakeholders can find what is needed to support the inclusion of students with disabilities in placements. The expected stakeholders we plan to engage with are Students with disabilities (with or without an official diagnosis), Placement managers at the education and placement institution, and Staff in Student Accommodation Services.
Other Collaborators: Iris Epstein (School of Nursing, York University) Lindsay Stephens (Department of Human Geography, University of Toronto) Nastaran Dadashi (School of Design, George Brown College) Karen Swartz (Associate Director, Student Accessibility Services (SAS), York University)
This program of research focuses on the category of Assistive Technology (AT). It interrogates and critiques the social construction of this class of technologies and seeks to intervene via the development of techniques and platforms that create new and improved paths of inclusion for the creation of ATs using maker methods and personal-scale fabrication.
This program of research is funded by an NSERC Discovery Grant titled “Accessible Making for Assistive Technology” (2018-2024)
This research initiative is an umbrella for projects that investigate systems with deliberately slow interfaces, such as tangible embedded system that use a living media interfaces or other ‘strange’ approaches (e.g., flexural materials, one-degree of freedom articulators). This umbrella includes the Rafigh project (a dissertation research project by Foad Hamidi) and Austin Vuong’s somaesthetics project.
The objective of the ‘ENAbling MEdia for Literacy’ (ENAMEL) research project is to develop and to evaluate the digital technologies that are required by stakeholders to support vibrant ecosystems for literacy development. The ENAMEL project is currently supporting two projects: one focused on supporting learning of early-level Braille (in North America) and the other focused on capacity building in Special Education contexts in an East Africa country. The project focuses on low-cost, DIY technologies (such as 3D printing and low-cost single-board computers, such as Raspberry Pi and Arduino) and open source software. These technologies provide innovative and new approaches to supporting the development of functional knowledge in learners (primarily children) concerning printed and written materials. This project espouses user-centered, rather than technology-centered, design approaches, and seeks to critically reflect on the hidden assumptions, ideologies and values underlying the design of such technologies.
The FLiK Project uses a Community-Based Research approach to understand the socio-economic, cultural, psychological and technological dynamics that determine the impact of designing, developing and deploying do it yourself (DIY) digital assistive technology for Kenyan children with disabilities. The project examines how cultural attitudes and norms about disability affect the process of development and use of digital assistive technology for this population and investiagtes how collaborative Participatory Design (PD) processes shift the understanding of technology and disability in this cultural context.
Lab Collaborators: Hamidi, Foad
Other Collaborators: Michaela Hynie Michaela Hynie (Department of Psychology, York University) Susan McGrath (School of Social Work, York University) Patrick Mbullo Owuor (Executive Directory, Pamoja, a Community Based Organization)
This initiative focuses on the use of real-time signal processing in human-centered interactive applications, with a focus on health and wellness. This initiative includes various projects, including the design of a VR-EEG system for guided meditation (Parreira), the Parametric Kinematic Speech Project, and Serious Games for Child-Focused Speech Therapy. The Real-Time Visualizations of the Vocal Tract for Clinical Interventions (VTV) project is connected to this umbrella of projects, and has its own project page.
Other Collaborators: Yana Yunasova (Department of Speech Language Pathology, University of Toronto) Petros Faloutsos (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, York University)
This research initiative is an umbrella for projects that investigate ways to innovate in the ways that learners experience educational environments that are mediated by digital technologies. At present, this initiative includes two projects:
- The “Leveraging Adaptive Learning Pathways to Improve Access and Engagement within an LMS Environment” (LePa) Project
- Indexical Storytelling in Collaborative Learning Environments in STEM Education (Raghad El-Shebiny’s masters-level project)
Lab Collaborators: El-Shebiny, Raghad
Other Collaborators: Vassilios Tzerpos (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, York University) Anni Siren (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, York University)
This initiative focuses on investigating the ways in which disability is taken up in various online discourses, with a specific focus on how ableism is reproduced and reinscribed in these online conversations. Various projects under this umbrella have focused on different on-line platforms, such as in discussion forums and within fan-fic communities.
The TalkBox Project has the following goals: to provide a low-cost open-source, open-hardware Speech Generating Device (aka “SGD”) to the community, so that those who need such devices can more easily obtain them; to empower more individuals who have disabilities be makers themselves; to create an ecosystem of making that provides employment opportunities for high school students who have developmental disabilities.
Other Collaborators: Ray Feraday (Special Education Teacher, Toronto Catholic District School Board)
The ACTon project employed participatory visual methods to engage both disabled students and placement instructors in order to learn about the challenges they encountered when communicating about accommodations in placement. The PiET Lab collaborated in the development of several interactive learning modules (videos and supplementary materials), which are intended to increase awareness of and knowledge about the rights of disabled students in education and to decrease barriers to disabled students’ success in placement and experiential-education programs.
Other Collaborators: Iris Epstein (School of Nursing, York University) Lindsay Stephens (Department of Human Geography, University of Toronto) David Gelb (Department of Design, York University) Nazilla Khanlou (School of Nursing, York University) Marian MacGregor (Executive Director, Centre for Human Rights, Equity & Inclusion, York University) Judith McDonnel (School of Nursing, York University) Roxanne Mykitiuk (Osgoode Hall Law School, York University) Ellen Schraa (School of Health Policy & Management, York University) Karen Swartz (Associate Director, Student Accessibility Services (SAS), York University) Linda Juergensen (School of Nursing, York University)
The Borderless Higher Education for Refugees (BHER) Project aims to make educational programs available where refugees need them. The UX/KMb Research Project was a sub-initiative to design and develop a set of digital tools to provide other institutions and stakeholders with the means to create their own BHER-like initiatives.
Other Collaborators: Don Dippo (Faculty of Education, York University) Giles Wenona (Anthropology, York University)
Lo-Fi is the name of a multi-year collaborative media art practice between Nell Tenhaaf and Melanie Baljko. It explores on the relationships that form between human interactants and populations of artificial agents, particularly when the embodiments of the artificial agents are deliberately made to be highly abstract (and thus have low-fidelity to human agents). Of particular interest is the attribution of agency by human interactants within interactive systems. Agents are abstracted entities, composed of light clusters, having multiple modes of visual and auditory expression, and are embedded in surfaces with dimensionality and depth. This media art practice has both artistic and scientific goals.
Lab Collaborators: Kaftarian, Michael
Other Collaborators: Nell Tenhaaf (Visual Arts, York University)
Speech impairments arise often due to difficulties controlling and coordinating the tongue, the most important speech organ. In the VTV project, we are devising novel modes of visualization for use in a clinical setting for interventions focused on tongue movements. Our goal is to develop a suite of visualization techniques to provide salient feedback both to clients and to clinicians, for use among the client-clinician therapeutic dyad. The feasibility of this approach is predicated on recently completed work that provides a sensor-rich alternative to acoustic-to-articulatory inversion, an approach that is based on the Wave system (Norther Digital, Inc.), which is a state-of-the-art enabling technology that can track a patient’s tongue with sub-millimeter accuracy. This work is funded in part by the Centre for Information Visualization and Data-Driven Design (CIV-DDD). These research activities are being undertaken by a collaborative team consisting of members from York, University of Toronto and OCADU (M. Baljko, Y. Yunosova, P. Faloutsos, N. Tenhaaf and F. Lebouthillier).
Lab Collaborators: Zarringhalam, Rojin Majd
Other Collaborators: Yana Yunasova (Department of Speech Language Pathology, University of Toronto) Petros Faloutsos (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, York University) Francis Le Bouthillier (Sculpture/Installation, OCAD University) Nell Tenhaaf (Visual Arts, York University)
Synchrum is a tangible tool for rhythmic collaboration, inspired by Tibetan prayer wheel. Synchrum calculates rotations per minute and compares it with a target rate, deciding whether a user is in synch and for how long. Thus, it affords audience participation via sustained in-synch rhythmic movement, using a tangible physical object. It can be used to engage the audience in a digital performance that opens the possibilities for collaboration in narration and extends the range of expression.
Other Collaborators: Nell Tenhaaf (Visual Arts, York University)
This project focused on aspects of UX research and design for a digital repository for commemorative tattoos and contextualizing narratives. We repurposed and pilot-tested omeka as a tool of social empowerment.
Lab Collaborators: Duhig, Robert
Other Collaborators: Deborah Davidson (Department of Sociology, York University)