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The University of Southampton
Southampton Education School

Research project: Shaping the future of technology use in the classroom

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The Shape project aimed to contribute to shaping the future landscape of technology use in the classroom for children on the autism spectrum.

Dates: 2012-13

Funder: ESRC

It drew upon four Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) projects to explore and disseminate creative ways in which these learning environments could support the development of children's social communication skills and understanding. Shape used a collaborative approach in which the project team worked with teachers and children in six special, specialist and mainstream schools.

The first strand focused on digital story creation with children and staff from the six schools. The second strand created the foundations for a wider TEL community of practice by encouraging practitioners to engage with one another and the project team through face-to-face workshops, a Facebook page and a website set up by the project.

The two strands of work enabled the project team to explore ways of using these TEL environments to meet educational goals for the children and to identify different approaches to embedding TEL in existing practice as well as highlight future uses of TEL in the classroom. Through the digital storytelling teachers reported that they improved their ability to i) assess children’s difficulties; ii) extend their uses of technology to support learning and iii) focus on a broad range of social communication and interaction skills for the children. The Shape project pioneered a new form of knowledge exchange that enabled teachers to find their voice in critiquing the usability, usefulness and flexibility of the technologies made available to them.

Related research groups

Centre for Research in Inclusion
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