By Elizabeth Rosenzweig, Director, World Usability Day
When I heard that Steve Jobs died, I felt like a light went out in the world. Ever since I started using the Macintosh computer, in 1985, I felt encouraged that there were people out there who really understood how to use technology to help people achieve their dreams. The organizers of World Usability Day honor the legacy of Steve Jobs by acknowledging him as a pioneer, an innovator and a leader who showed us the essence of how good design can create change, for the better, especially in the field of Education. Not just at Apple, but at his companies Next and Pixar, Steve Jobs pulled together teams of talented people to show the world that technology can help people learn and enjoy life.
Steve Jobs is a perfect example of a person who intuitively understood the power of user-centered design.
By: Amanda Davis, Bentley University
Students use a variety of technologies to learn and complete assignments. In some cases, the form of technology is imposed by the schools. At other times, students can select their own interactions to engage in their studies.
Three student researchers - Diego Mendes, Amanda Davis, and Vignesh Krubai of Bentley University recently conducted an engagement comparison study between traditional paper textbooks and digital textbooks found on an iPad. All ten of the participants were students who owned iPads and use the internet for at least ten hours per week. This article will focus on the qualitative findings from their tests. Additional information about the research methods and support, provided by SMI and Affectiva, can be found at affectiva.com and www.eyetracking-glasses.com.
Among these students, common activities on their iPads include accessing the web, checking email, gaming and social networking. Some students additionally mentioned using eBooks, music application, course maintenance, movies and looking at powerpoints during class.
Each of the students were asked to do a series of tasks on the iPad version of the textbook, followed by the paper version of the textbook. When questioned about their preference between the digital and paper version of the textbook, half of the students preferred the iPad and the other half preferred paper textbook. Despite owning an iPad, half of the students preferred the traditional methods for studying.
by Amanda Davis, HFID Student at Bentley University
Technology in the classroom has come a long way. In the 1980s, teachers began using desktop PCs. Since then, education technology has expanded to include the internet, blogging and websites, laptops, podcasts, e-learning platforms such as Blackboard, interactive whiteboards and digital notebooks. Press coverage of the latest technology frequently declares that this technology will revolutionize education. Beyond the hype, what are the trends for technology adoption in the classroom? What enables or limits this adoption?
In the fall of 2008, an estimated 100% of public schools had one or more instructional computers with internet access; the ratio of students to instructional computers with internet access was 3.1 to 1 . Over the 10 year span from 1995 to 2005, the percentage of schools with internet access rose from 8% to 97% . 23% of all public school teachers have an interactive whiteboard in their classroom and 4% have a handheld device . As of 2009, according to the Institute of Education Sciences’ survey Teachers’ Use of Education Technology in U.S. Public Schools, 40% of public school teachers ‘often’ use computers during instructional time during the day. 29% of public school teachers say ‘never’ or ‘rarely’ .
The high percentage of classrooms not using computers or the internet for instructional purposes, despite access, is alarming; numerous studies link the use of technology and higher student achievements. A 2005 study by Gulek and Demirtas, Learning with Technology: The Impact of Laptop Use on Student Achievement, showed students with immersive laptop experiences earn significantly higher test scores and grades for writing, English-language arts, mathematics, and overall Grade Point Averages (GPAs) .
Social Networking in Health Care Part II: Managing Trust in Peer to Peer Support Groups on Social Networks
by Marc Resnick, Professor of Human Factors at Bentley University
As I concluded in Part I, there is nothing that can destroy the value of a peer to peer support group faster than harmful information, exploitive behavior, and disrespectful interactions. Once inaccurate information or negative interactions begin to spread across a network, they are difficult to stop. It is critical to prevent them from gaining any traction, usually through the presence of moderators with the authority to intervene when necessary.
Moderators have three primary responsibilities. First is to prevent the development of negative information cascades. Negative information can either be inaccurate medical information or therapy recommendations that are inappropriate. Because of the prevalence of motivated reasoning and emotional information processing in these domains, information cascades can develop frequently and spread rapidly if they are not actively contravened. The best way to interrupt an information cascade is to post an immediate reply that links to the correct information on a trusted content source that is written for the minimum education level of members.
Second, the endorsement of behaviors that conflict with the healthy behaviors the network is trying to promote must be contradicted immediately. Behavioral cascades also are sensitive to motivated reasoning and emotional information processing. Members can be tempted to model the behavior of their contacts, even when it is unhealthy. This is especially true for popular members. Behavioral cascades can be interrupted simply with an immediate reply reminding readers of the counteractive effects of the suspect behavior. Repeat offenders should be warned not to repeat the practice.
Social Networking in Health Care Part I: Designing Trusted Peer to Peer Support Groups using Social Networks
by Marc Resnick, Professor of Human Factors at Bentley University
Social Networks have become popular web services because they can satisfy any one of a number of objectives for users. They can connect people who already have connections in the physical world, but desire another venue for communication. They can connect people who have no prior connection, but have something in common such as a hobby or physical malady and wish to share information, ideas, and attitudes. Each of these two approaches engenders different functional and design needs. This series of two articles will focus on the latter case, the design of peer to peer support groups using a social network platform.
The most important tradeoff that must be considered in the generation of trust for this domain is the tradeoff between trust and privacy. Trust is often established through rich profiles where members present details of their identity and their expertise. The more one knows about an online contact, even when it is not specifically relevant to the topic of the social network, the more initial trust that emerges at the beginning of the relationship. Homophily, the sharing of similar traits, is the basis for most initial trust.
written by Melissa Leach (Research Associate at Bentley Design and Usability Center)
and Diego Mendes (UX Researcher at Bentley Design and Usability Center)
Grembe is a small mobile application developer that builds applications for children with special needs for iPhone, iPad, iOS and Android. They currently offer two applications: iCommunicate which allows parents and educators to design visual schedules, storyboards, communication boards, routines, flash cards, choice boards, speech cards among other things; and iReward, which is a positive reinforcement chart for the iPhone/iPod.
Grembe was founded by a husband and wife team after facing challenges in behavior management with their own child with special communication needs. They had the idea of creating an innovative application to help families in behavior management, allowing for more accessible communication and understanding between children and their parents, educators and caregivers.
We recently had the opportunity to interview Jeffery Johnson, co-founder and software engineer at Grembe Apps.
How did the business grow and who benefits from Grembe's applications?