Recently I had the pleasure to help organize “Computer Science Day” as part of the University of Florida‘s Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) group’s week-long summer day camp they were hosting for local middle-school girls, sponsored by the Florida Museum of Natural History. The goal of the camp was to expose the girls to some of the awesome science going on here at UF, and, in addition to CISE, the girls got to visit Biology, Astronomy, Chemistry, and Engineering.
For CISE Day, I advised the CISE department’s student-run organization Women in Computer Science and Engineering (WiCSE) in organizing, structuring, and staffing the day’s events. We planned events such as lab demos, outdoor CS Unplugged activities, and hands-on coding with CodingBat and Scratch. The campers were engaged and positive throughout the day, and later, WiSE staffers told us that CISE day was the favorite day of many of the campers!
You can see more information about the event from the WiSE group here, and check out our CISE Department news item here.
A poster that my colleagues Sapna Prasad, Amy Hurst, Ravi Kuber, and I submitted to the ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (ASSETS 2012) has been accepted! The poster, called “Participatory Design Workshop on Accessible Apps and Games with Students with Learning Disabilities,” reports on the participatory design workshop we ran in December with Landmark College students, which I previously posted about here and here. Here is the abstract:
This paper describes a Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics (STEM) outreach workshop conducted with post-secondary students diagnosed with learning differences including Learning Disabilities (LD), Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorders (AD/HD), and/or Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). In this workshop, students were actively involved in participatory design exercises such as data gathering, identifying accessible design requirements, and evaluating mobile applications and games targeted for diverse users. This hands-on experience broadened students’ understanding of STEM areas, provided them with an opportunity to see themselves as computer scientists, and demonstrated how they might succeed in computing careers, especially in human-centered computing and interface design. Lessons learned from the workshop also offer useful insight on conducting participatory design with this unique population.
You can see more information on this project and the workshop at the project website. Check out the paper here.
In a previous post, I mentioned that my colleagues at UMBC and Landmark College and I had an AccessComputing minigrant accepted for funding to run a “Participatory Design Workshop for Accessible Apps and Games” at Landmark, a small 2-year college in Vermont that serves students with learning and cognitive disabilities.In early December, we actually had the opportunity to run the workshop and it was a great success! The purpose of the workshop was to expose Landmark students to some of the basic principles of human-computer interaction, focusing on participatory design and taking into account user needs and characteristics when designing technology. UMBC students led the participatory design sessions on mobile apps and games they were designing as part of a current course project.
Throughout the workshop, we noted that the Landmark students were very engaged and enjoyed the design activities very much. They were a group of kids with a technology-orientation (the course they were recruited from was a web design course), and heavily involved in playing video games. The apps we brought were gaming-oriented, if not full-fledged video games, and this aspect seemed to really appeal to the Landmark students. The UMBC students remarked on how much they learned about working with users in small participatory design groups as well. We look forward to maybe doing future versions of this workshop, or other collaborative activities with UMBC and Landmark students.
You can find the information on the ongoing collaboration between Landmark and UMBC, as well as specifics about the event and some of the outcomes here (stay tuned for updates!).