Research Projects


Voices of Digital Natives: informal learning and sociable media in child and youth culture
PI: Jason Nolan
Co-PI: Jennifer Jenson, Megan Boler, Alex Bal
Graduate Research Assistants (coding & data collection): Alana Butler, Noah Keneally, Daniel Joseph
Undergraduate Research Assistants: Rubina Quadri, Sherene Ng
Funding: SSHRC $142,500 ; EDGE CFI/MRI in kind
Timeline: 2010-current
Description: As more and more children are growing up with digital media, it is becoming increasingly important to study how they use these technologies in their everyday life online. While existing studies by educators and social scientists tend to share alarmist rhetoric, little has yet been written about how young users (from 3 1/2 to 8) are using digital media in their everyday life. In this research we employ ethnographic and participatory approach and ask young media users to take us into their media space, show us how they play, study, share and socialize within and through the media. By observing children’s use of media in situ, we expect to better understand the life of so-called “digital natives,” raising important questions about how digital media provide these children with potential for informal learning outside official and institutional settings. Our long-term research objective is to interview the same group of children on a yearly basis in order to be able to document and start tracking how the use of digital media changes over time. Our current project is funded for three years but we hope to secure funding for a longitudinal study of 15 years.
Project alumni: Yukari Seko, Alison Gaston
Adaptive Design for Young Children with Disabilities
PI: Jason Nolan
Undergraduate Research Assistant: Rubina Quadri
Adaptive Design Studio Lab tech: Sherene Ng
Funding: VPRI: $10,00; ECE SRC $750;  EDGE CFI/MRI in kind
Timeline: 2010-present
Project Alumni: Alison Gaston, Noah Keneally, Amanda Clugston, Sarah Tan, Tonja Armstrong-Macinnis, Ourania Xanthopoulos
Inter-Sensory Experience Environment
PI: Jason Nolan
Advisory: Frank Russo
Research Lead: Melanie McBride
Funding: GRAND NCE $11800 (2010-11); $15000 (2011-12); $20000 (2012-13); EDGE CFI/MRI in kind
Timeline: 2010-present
Description: This interdisciplinary project is focused on the development of inter-sensory practices, objects and environments (ISEE). Projects will be devoted largely on children with sensory integration disorders such as Autism. This studio promotes user-initiated and practitioner-supported approaches to the research, development, implementation and uses of objects and applications for informal play, learning and well-being.  This EDGE -associated studio is being constructed in the Rogers Communication Centre. The studio builds on our initial research project: “The Impact of Snoezelen in Pediatric Complex Cont. Care” by Dr. Koller and Nolan, which tested the efficacy of multi-sensory environments in a study with Bloorview.
The Impact of Snoezelen in Pediatric Complex Continuing Care
PI: Donna Koller, Jason Nolan
Funding: FCS/SEED $5000; EDGE CFI/MRI in kind
Timeline: 2011-ongoing
Description: The Impact of Snoezelen in Pediatric Complex Continuing Care is a study by Dr. Koller and Nolan, which tested the efficacy of multi-sensory environments in a study with Bloorview.
GimpGirl Community
Project Members: Jennifer Cole (Director), Lucy MacDonald
Funding: EDGE CFI/MRI in kind
Timeline: 2010-ongoing
Description: Hosting and support for a virtual community and network that supports women with disabilities:
Gone Gitmo
Project Leads: Nonny de la Peña, Peggy Weil
Funding: EDGE CFI/MRI in kind
Timeline: 2011
Description: Hosting and support for a virtual simulation of Guantanamo Bay Prison in Second Life:
Out from Under: a virtual learning environment
PI: Melanie Pantich, Kathryn Church, Jason Nolan
Undergraduate Research Assistant: Vlad Cazan
Funding: LTEF $14,500; EDGE CFI/MRI in kind
Timeline: 2011
Canadian Association of Inclusive Educators
Project MembersGary Bunch, Kevin Finnegan
Funding: LTEF $14,500; EDGE CFI/MRI in kind
Timeline: 2011
Description: CAIE has the objective of supporting inclusion of learners experiencing disabilities in the regular classrooms of community schools. We provide professional development support in various forms to teachers and other educators. We believe that every learner has the right to learn in the company of other children in the community. We know that regular class teachers can contribute to inclusion through their work in their classrooms. We also know that it is only the regular class teacher, supported by special education teachers and other team members, who can create a sense of belonging in all students:

Gaming Privacy
Project Leads: Kate Raynes-Goldie, David Fono, Jason Nolan,
Funding: $50,000 Office of the privacy commissioner of Canada
Timeline: August 2011-March 31 2012
Description: Gaming Privacy is a Canadian game development and research project aimed at creating a privacy literacy game created with children, for children:
Privacy and Autonomy
PI: Jason Nolan
Graduate Research Assistants: Kate Raynes-Goldie, Melanie McBride
Funding: GRAND NCE $6000; EDGE CFI/MRI in kind
Timeline: 2010-
Description: Scholarly research and publication on children’s privacy and autonomy online
Publications:  Nolan, J., Raynes-Goldie, K., &  McBride, M. (2011). The Stranger Danger: Exploring Surveillance, Autonomy, and Privacy in Children’s Use of Social Media. Canadian Children Journal. (36)2, 24-32.
A first look at Outdoor Play in Canadian early childhood ed. settings
PI: Jason Nolan (PI)
Research Assistants: Sally Kotsopolous, Alison Gaston
Funding:FCS SEED $5000; EDGE CFI/MRI in kind
Timeline: 2011

Digital Narrative and Nutrition
PI: Jacqui Gingras, Jason Nolan, Alex Bal
Funding: LTEF $15,000; EDGE CFI/MRI in kind
Timeline: 2011
Television programming as explicit learning environments
PI: Jennifer Jenson, Jason Nolan, Eric Sorenson (Henning Software Solutions)
Research Assistants: Alison Harvey
Funding: MITACS $20,000; EDGE CFI/MRI in kind
Timeline: 2011
DocSHIFT Institute
PI: Richard Lachman
Funding: Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund, the OCE Interact program, and the Ryerson New Faculty SRC Development Fund; EDGE CFI/MRI in kind
Timeline: 2011
Description: EDGE Lab and documentary production company Kensington Communications are working with the Royal Ontario Museum to explore methods of using documentary content and augmented reality/location-aware media in museums. EDGE Lab is also partnered with the National Film Board, the Canadian Film Centre, HotDocs and DocToronto to run the DocSHIFT Institute, a three-month mentorship program to develop innovative digital media documentary works.  The program is supported by the OMDC Creative Clusters Fund.

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