January 30th, 2014
The EDGE Lab is very proud to welcome Dr Victoria Henshaw who is joining us as an international research fellow, focusing on projects involving multi-sensory environments, design and inclusion. We recently had the privilege to host a visit from Dr Henshaw in Toronto who spoke with Ryerson’s Faculty of Design students about her work on urban smellscapes, which is focused on a ‘human-centred’ approach to the sensory dimensions of urban design and city centre management. As part of her urban design practice, Dr Henshaw described her practices with guided ‘smellwalks’ in towns and cities around the world. While it was too cold to enjoy a smell walk during the recent cold snap, we plan to invite her back in warmer times.
Among the unique highlights of Dr Henshaw’s visit was having the opportunity to smell some of her wonderful collected smells, including some rare Arabian Oud Oil and scents of Paris:
You can learn more about her urban smellscapes at her blog, Smell and the City. Dr Henshaw is a lecturer in the department of Town and Regional planning at the University of Sheffield.
Prior to Dr Henshaw’s visit, EDGE lab director Dr Jason Nolan and doctoral researcher Melanie McBride presented a talk as part of Dr Victoria Henshaw’s ‘Designing with smell’ colloquium at the Design Principles and Practices conference in Vancouver. Nolan and McBride’s talk advanced ‘neurodiversity’ as a standpoint from which to address inclusive sensory design principles and practices in relation to different ways of sensing that challenge, but also extend, the normative ‘sensory order.’ This talk furthers Nolan and McBride’s ongoing research into the conceptualization and design of technologically mediated multi-sensory environments and McBride’s doctoral research on smell as a neglected modality of digital communication and culture.
December 2nd, 2013
Lab researchers Jason Nolan and Donna Koller are members of IMPAKT, and wish to invite members of the Ryerson community to this important talk: Bullying Prevention for Children with Differences and Disabilities by Dr. Debra Pepler
December 9, 2013, 3:30 – 5:00pm Main Auditorium – Hollywood Theatre 1rst Floor Black Wing, Room 1249 The Hospital for Sick Children
Topic: Children with differences and disabilities are bullied at a higher rate than their typically developing peers. Natural processes within children’s groups move these children to the margins, where they are at increased risk for victimization. Children with differences and disabilities want and need healthy peer relationships as much as any other child. The healthy development of all children depends on healthy relationships. It is our role as adults involved in the lives of children to redirect natural peer processes to ensure that children with differences and disabilities are fully included in positive peer relationships. We will explore critical strategies for promoting healthy relationships and healthy development for children and youth including: adults’ self awareness, building rapport with children and youth, scaffolding or coaching, social architecture, and systems change.
Dr. Debra Pepler is a Distinguished Research Professor of Psychology at York University and a Senior Adjunct Scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children. Her research focuses on aggression and victimization among children and adolescents, as well as children in families at risk. Together with Dr. Wendy Craig, Dr. Pepler leads a federally funded national network, PREVNet (Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network), that is Canada’s Authority on Research and Resources for Bullying Prevention and a National Centre of Excellence Knowledge Mobilization Network. PREVNet’s mission is to promote safe and healthy relationships and prevent bullying for children and youth.
More info at: IMPAKT Talk -DebraPeplerDec9-2013
November 25th, 2013
Early childhood studies alumna Rubina Quadri is using a $27,000 Ryerson Social Enterprise Fellowship Federal Development Grant to develop a communication device for autistic children.
Rubina Quadri is helping children learn the art of communication. The Early Childhood Studies (ECS) ’12 graduate received a $27,000 Ryerson Social Enterprise Fellowship Federal Development Grant to develop a prototype of Talking Buttons, a reprogrammable touchpad to help autistic children communicate. Like fellow ECS graduate Sherene Ng, Quadri’s internship and work as a lab technician and research assistant in the EDGE Lab got her acquainted with adaptive design. Quadri started to learn about Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) devices and how to enhance its capabilities. AAC are communication methods to help support or replace speech and writing for those with impairments. Read more at: “Talking Buttons helps kids vocalize needs”
November 19th, 2013
EDGElab HQP Rubina Quadri and Sherene Ng featured on the GRAND website
Quadri and Ng were recently awarded a Social Venture Commercialization Fellowship for $30,000 from FedDevOntario and Ryerson to develop an original EDGElab property. The Talking Touchpad, which was initially conceptualized and developed by EDGE lab director Jason Nolan, is a wearable, customizable Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) device for children ages four to six who have speech disabilities (difficulty speaking or being understood). The Talking Touchpad allows children to communicate to others in a spontaneous, independent way. According to the The Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists, speech impairments in school-aged children are frequently misdiagnosed as learning disabilities or behavioural problems. The Talking Touchpad can facilitate self-expression and help to diminish misunderstandings.
September 30th, 2013
We’re proud to announce that EDGE lab’s Sherene Ng is in the news again! This time, it’s the Financial Post. Sherene describes her journey from intern to entrepreneur here …
September 20th, 2013
Sherene Ng, visiting scientist in the EDGE Lab, was featured this week at the event celebrating the Ashoka Changemaker U (Ashoka Canada) designation for Ryerson, “Ryerson’s record of innovation and social entrepreneurship”.
Ryerson has earned the prestigious Ashoka Changemaker U designation, joining just 23 other universities around the world to hold the title including Duke University, Brown University, Boston College and Cornell University. The designation recognizes Ryerson’s record of innovation and social entrepreneurship. Celebrating the announcement this week at Ryerson are, from left, Wendy Cukier, vice-president, research and innovation, Vicki Saunders, advisor to the VPRI, student entrepreneurs Shane Feldman, Che Kothari and Sherene Ng, and Sheldon Levy, president. Photo credit: Clifton Li.
July 10th, 2013
Congratulations to Dr. Yukari Seko (and her son the honorary Dr. Asahi) on her graduation from the Communications and Culture program. Dr. Seko worked in the lab as lead graduate student on the “Voices of Digital Natives” research project.
June 28th, 2013
EDGE lab is proud to announce a new publication from lab director Jason Nolan and graduate RA Melanie McBride. Their paper, ‘Beyond gamification: reconceptualizing game-based learning in early childhood environments,’ presents a new theoretical framework for conceptualizing Digital Game-Based Learning (DGBL) that emphasizes the role of autonomy, affinity, play and space as critically overlooked dimensions of children’s informal and out of school learning and play with games. As well, they seek to help educators distinguish some of the differences between game-based learning and other game-associated trends such as gamification and so-called ‘serious games.’
With much of the current conceptualization of DGBL reflecting the increasingly standardized and ‘data-driven’ priorities of K-12 and Post-Secondary education, Nolan and McBride ask whose identities, priorities and cultures are advanced or ignored when schools attempt to appropriate and relocate games in contexts far removed from those in which they are typically enjoyed. Finally, the paper interrogates why, if play and engagement are really at the heart of learning with games, we aren’t we starting with a model of learning that definitively play-based — that of the early years? From the abstract:
The recent promotion and adoption of digital game-based learning (DGBL) in K-12 education presents compelling opportunities as well as challenges for early childhood educators who seek to critically, equitably and holistically support the learning and play of today’s so-called digital natives. However, with most DGBL initiatives focused on the increasingly standardized ‘accountability’ models found in K-12 educational institutions, the authors ask whose priorities, identities and notions of play this model reinforces or neglects. Drawing on the literatures of early childhood studies, game-based learning, and game studies, they seek to illuminate the informal contexts of play within the ‘hidden’ and ‘null’ curricula of DGBL that do not fit within the efficiency models of mainstream education in North America. In the absence of a common critical or theoretical foundation for DGBL, they propose a conceptual framework that challenges what they regard to be the institutionally nullified dimensions of autonomy, play, affinity and space that are essential to DGBL. They contend that these dimensions are ideally situated within the inclusive and play-based curriculum early childhood learning environments, and that the early years constitute a critically significant, yet overlooked, location for more holistic and inclusive thinking on DGBL.
June 26th, 2013
Amy Fong is a previous internship student who completed her fourth year placement at the EDGE Lab. She is currently finishing her last year in the Early Childhood Studies Program and has returned as a regular volunteer.
For her fourth year internship project, she created an “Adaptive Dollhouse” that included adaptive design pieces created at the EDGE Lab. She recreated and integrated many of these unique furniture pieces into her dollhouse in hopes to bring forth awareness of what adaptive design is, and what their functions are.
The special furniture pieces in the “Adaptive Dollhouse” can be seen and used as a learning tool to inform children about adaptive design.
June 4th, 2013
The EDGE Lab welcomes our new undergraduate research assistant Lyubka Totina. Lyubka is a 3rd year student in Ryerson’s Ted Rogers School of Management – Business Technology Management and will be working under the direction of Sherene Ng and Rubina Quadri on the Wearable Shoe Sensor commercialization project. Funding for the assistantship comes thanks to the Ryerson Summer Research Opportunities Program, and the Wearable Shoe Sensor project is funded by a grant from FedDev Ontario.