About the project

Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) can offer significant benefits for children on the autism spectrum, particularly in the areas of social interaction and communication. For practitioners and parents these are priority areas for children’s learning and development and yet few research-led innovations make it into real-world classrooms.

The overarching aim of this project was therefore to contribute to shaping the future landscape of technology use for children on the autism spectrum in the classroom, and through this to contribute to educational advancement, emotional wellbeing and positive outcomes for children. Through this work we also i) explored how we could extend the use of these technologies to wider groups of children and ii) embed TEL in existing practice. This entailed highlighting the benefits of well-designed TEL to both teachers and children.

To meet this aim, we drew upon four recently completed or near-to-completion multi-disciplinary TEL projects in order to disseminate and explore innovative and creative ways in which these learning environments can support the development of children’s social communication skills and understandings in educational settings

  • ECHOES 
    explores joint attention and social communication for children on the autism spectrum aged 5-7yrs.
  • COSPATIAL 
    focuses on collaboration and social conversation skills for young people on the autism spectrum aged 8-14yrs.
  • ReacTickles 
    were developed for children and young people with autism and other related communication difficulties. They encourage interaction, collaboration and learning about cause and effect and they can also be used for relaxation.
  • Somantics
    promote self-awareness, confidence and independence in children and young people with autism and other related communication difficulties.

We also created the foundations for the development of an effective online community whereby practitioners and researchers can not only address how to extend the use of TEL for this group of children but can i) identify future uses of TEL in the classroom and ii) inform the research community about priority research foci for technology enhanced learning.

 

   

ESRC

This research is funded by ESRC