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Title: Standardising the design of educational computer reading programs for children
Author: Tuedor, Marian
ISNI:       0000 0004 2685 8275
Awarding Body: Middlesex University
Current Institution: Middlesex University
Date of Award: 2009
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Educationalists working in the sphere of special education, psychologists and software engineers continue to debate the efficacy of technology interfaces and the merits of information technology with regard to supporting learning in children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and the need to standardise software design for this group. This research argues that, for these children to optimise the use of this technology, it must be designed to meet the learning needs and characteristics of this condition, and so a design/development standard is needed. There is currently no instruction to aid educational professionals in choosing suitable computer programs that can be employed to support learning to read in children with ASD. The present research offers a rigorous comparative analysis of the multimedia conditions. A selection instruction (SI) was developed to facilitate the choice of appropriate computer programs for children with ASD, and forms part of the pilot study for this investigation, which was later modified and developed into an educational computer programs design standard. This SI serves as a set of guidelines that is intended to assist professionals and the parents/guardians of children with ASD in their search for good, useable programs that will assist in the acquisition of early reading skills by this group. This research advocates the development of effective computer programs based on individualistic considerations and the stringent application of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) principles in the design of multimedia computer technology for children with ASD. Two educational programs were employed in the investigation, and the data collection method included quantitative (pre-tests; a comparative study of children with ASD and typically developing children in videorecorded sessions, and post-tests) and qualitative (interviews, and an attitude questionnaire) methods. This approach was triangulated, thereby promoting the validity and rigour of the investigation. The present research concludes that, although there were recorded gains in the application of computer technology to teach new words to children with ASD, there were problems relating to the appropriateness and suitability of the programs for the children employed in this research, as detected during the interviews and from the attitude questionnaires, noting the need for autistic preferences in the design and development of these educational computer programs. This investigation offers a broader approach to the theoretical understanding and explanation of autistic learning styles, reading methodologies and issues relating to the design, development and usability of multimedia computer technology. Attention is drawn to the inadequacy of the existing technology and research into ASD and how the disorder affects learning in these children.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available