In a recent Network Autism blog post, Sue Fletcher-Watson recently advocated for the use of technology to teach specific skills needed for individuals with ASD to function in a predominantly neurotypical world.
Fletcher-Watson’s basis for this argument was the commonly held, yet often accurate stereotype that people with ASD are normally “whizzes with computers”, paired with examples of individuals with autism displaying a strong preference for using technology that can be seen in the extant literature (Bernard-Opitz et al., 2001; Buggey, 2005; Charlop-Christy and Danesvar, 2003; Schriebman et al., 2000). Based on the aforementioned, in addition to using technology to teach various skills to learners with ASD, we may also want to consider an increased focus on teaching computing to individuals with ASD.
To that end, consider this upcoming workshop: Interaction Design and Children 2015 Workshop – Every Child a Coder? Research Challenges for a 5-18 Programming Curriculum Call for Participation (There is not much time to submit [deadline: March 30th, 2015]; however, there is plenty of time to register for the conference):The current drive in many countries to teach computing to all from an early age has potential to empower and support children in creative and problem-solving tasks.
However, there are a number of challenges in ensuring that computing curricula, tools and environments embody appropriate progression and engender motivation for the topic across the school years. This workshop will consider the key research challenges in learning coding throughout childhood.
We seek position papers from designers of programming environments for children, developmental psychologists, educational researchers and practitioners, and others with interests in this area, which address key questions such as:
Position papers and discussion
Hands on overview of current tools (during breaks)
Road map activity: participants work in groups to draw a road map of the developmental stages in computational thinking, based on developmental theory from psychology, mathematics education and empirical work in computer science education.
Whole group plenary: discussion and identification of gaps in knowledge and research in the field.
Expected outcomes: After the workshop, the organizers will work with participants to develop the road map, and key areas for further research, into a paper for the International Journal of Child Computer Interaction.
Submission deadline: March 30th 2015
Notification of Acceptance: April 13th 2015
Workshop: June 21st 2015
Location: The workshop will take place at the IDC’15 conference at Tufts University, Boston, MA Website: The workshop website is at http://everychildacoder.org.uk/
with thanks to Sue Fletcher-Watson