Posts By / whittingtonp

AT4SEND Training Package developed from HEIF Small Fund

The Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) Small Fund has resulted in the development of the Assistive Technology for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (AT4SEND) Training Package as an add-on to the existing AT4SEND Android Application developed by Dr Paul Whittington, Dr Huseyin Dogan (Department of Computing & Informatics) and Professor Keith Phalp through Quality Research Funding.

The HEIF project (Principal Investigator: Dr Paul Whittington and Co-Investigators: Dr Huseyin Dogan, Dr Nan Jiang and Professor Keith Phalp) commenced in May 2021 and completed on 31st July 2021. Vers Creative UK, a Bournemouth application development company, were sub-contracted to develop the AT4SEND Training Package as an Android Application. As Vers Creative UK previously developed the Assistive Technology Recommendation section of AT4SEND, they were able to integrate the new Training Package. The AT4SEND Training Package was designed by Dr Paul Whittington, based on semi-structured interviews held with the assistive technology domain, including the Department for Education, Dorset Council and London Grid for Learning. These formed the basis of a requirements specification provided to Vers Creative UK to guide the development.

The AT4SEND Training Package consists of 3 sections: Training, Learn and Videos. The Training section consists of information focusing on popular categories of assistive technology hardware and software. The information is based on literature obtained from online sources and separated into descriptions, benefits and limitations. Based on the discussions with the assistive technology domain, it became evident that these were the most important aspects to focus on for a training package. Each category has a 5 question multiple-choice Quiz, which tests the user’s understanding of the assistive technology information. The questions were devised by Dr Paul Whittington and there is a defined pass mark of 80% for each Quiz. There is also a general Quiz of 20 questions to test the user’s understanding of all the assistive technology categories. The training results will be stored in the user’s AT4SEND profile.

The Learn section consists of online assistive technology articles, so that users can find out more information about the general use of assistive technologies. This is supported by the Videos section where a selection of YouTube videos is provided to illustrate real world examples.

To assess the suitability of the AT4SEND Training Package, usability evaluations will be conducted during the autumn, involving mainstream and special educational needs schools, assistive technology industries, Department for Education and Policy Connect, who operate the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Assistive Technology. The HEIF funding has also been used for incentive Amazon vouchers that will be provided to the evaluation participants. The usability of the AT4SEND Training Package will be assessed by techniques, including the System Usability Scale and NASA Task Load Index. Dr Paul Whittington will be responsible for conducting these evaluations and analysing the results. We anticipate these being published in a future journal or conference publication, to be submitted later in the year.

We have received further funding towards the AT4SEND project from the Mazars Charitable Trust, which will be used to further develop the functionality of the Training Package based on the usability evaluation findings.  The Training Package does not currently have images of assistive technologies due to the copyright issues of using online sources. In the future we will approach assistive technology manufacturers to obtain approval to use images of their products in AT4SEND. We will post updates on the development of the Training Package on our HCI Research Group website: https://hci.bournemouth.ac.uk/project/at4send/. We plan to disseminate AT4SEND as an Android Application on the Google Play Store.

We are very grateful for the funding from HEIF that has enabled development of the Training Package, increasing the functionality of AT4SEND from a recommendation system to an application that also provides assistive technology training. It is anticipated that this will raise awareness of assistive technologies to teachers, teaching assistants and support staff, which has been highlighted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Assistive Technology as an important area of development.

Further information on AT4SEND Training Package

HEIF Small Fund Awarded for Development of AT4SEND Training Package

A Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) Small Fund has been allocated to develop the Assistive Technology for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (AT4SEND) Training Package. This will be an add-on to the existing AT4SEND Android Application that was previously developed by Dr Paul Whittington, Dr Huseyin Dogan and Professor Keith Phalp through Quality Research Funding. AT4SEND is an Android Application that recommends assistive technologies based on peoples’ physical and cognitive abilities and further details are available at: https://hci.bournemouth.ac.uk/project/at4send/

The prototype AT4SEND app

The HEIF project (Principal Investigator: Dr Paul Whittington and Co-Investigators: Dr Huseyin Dogan, Dr Nan Jiang and Professor Keith Phalp) will commence in May 2021 and complete by end of July 2021 with a sub-contractor developing the training package. The aim of the add-on is to enhance assistive technology training for teachers, teaching assistants and support staff, therefore promoting the use of assistive technology in an educational environment. This aligns to the UK Government’s current strategy, ‘Realising the potential of technology in education’, which is supported by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Assistive Technology. The training package will consist of resources on available assistive technologies, including links to online videos and quizzes focusing on specific technologies. We are viewing AT4SEND as a form of continuous professional development with defined pass marks for the quizzes.

During the initial requirements elicitation phase of the project, we will have discussions with schools and assistive technology providers, to determine the features and functionality of the training package. Once the training package has been developed, we will approach mainstream and special educational needs schools to conduct evaluations involving their staff. This is anticipated to be in time for the start of the new academic year in September 2021. Based on our previous SmartAbility and Authentibility Pass research, we have existing contacts with local schools and charities, who will be involved in the project, such as Victoria Education Centre and London Grid for Learning. Dr Whittington and Dr Dogan are academic representatives on the Smart Homes and Independent Living Commission and the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Assistive Technology who will both be approached for disseminating the training package.

Once the development has been completed, the application is anticipated to be available on the Google Play Store. We will post another article on completion of the development where we will include screenshots of the AT4SEND Training Package.

Assistive Technology Symposium 2019

Dr Huseyin Dogan and Dr Paul Whittington from the BU Human Computing Interaction Research Group, hosted the second Assistive Technology Symposium at Talbot Campus in support of the BU2025 Strategic Investment Area of Assistive Technology. The Symposium was a fusion of research domains, including digital health, education technologies and user experience.

The Symposium was opened by a keynote presentation by Steve Tyler, Assistive Technology Director at Leonard Cheshire, who discussed the current developments in Assistive Technologies and the potential challenges. Steve also described the Leonard Cheshire projects, including MySense, a Predictive Health Analytics system that non-intrusively monitors to provide a holistic view of the person.

Other presentations during the day included the current BU research projects of SmartAbility and FACETS, as well as by the BU Additional Learning Support department, who discussed learning strategies through metacognition. We also welcomed speakers from the Dorset Integrated Care System, London Grid for Learning and Diversity and Ability. The Symposium was concluded by a panel discussion with the speakers, to discuss the developments and challenges of assistive technology.

The Symposium delegates have expressed positive feedback from the event, including “a number of very useful and insightful presentations”, “the Symposium was beneficial because it was an opportunity to meet like-minded people” and “good to know what is going on at BU”.

BUHCI would like to thank all of the speakers and delegates for a successful Assistive Technology Symposium and we will host the third Symposium in 2020.

The presentations from the Symposium can be downloaded here.

Assistive Technology Symposium 2019

Dr Huseyin Dogan and Dr Paul Whittington have organised an Assistive Technology Symposium on Monday 24th June 2019 in Share Lecture Theatre, Fusion Building, Talbot Campus, Bournemouth University, 09:00 – 17:00.

The 2nd Assistive Technology Symposium at Bournemouth University will be a fusion of research domains: Digital Health, Educational Technologies, Human Computer Interaction, Inclusion, Learning Strategies through Metacognition, Smart Technologies, and User Experience. Download Assistive Technology Symposium 2019 Programme.
We have presentations from a range of speakers including academics, researchers and postgraduate students, including a keynote presentation from Steve Tyler, Assistive Technology Director of Leonard Cheshire. The Symposium will conclude with a Panel discussing collaborative projects and future Assistive Technology research.
There is no cost to attend the event, but delegates are required to register online through Eventbrite at:
Registration includes refreshments and a finger buffet lunch (please advise by email of any dietary requirements). Tickets will be available on a first come first served basis and there is a maximum capacity of 60 delegates.
If you have any questions regarding the event, please do not hesitate to contact Dr Paul Whittington by email: whittingtonp@bournemouth.ac.uk

BBC South filming of Assistive Technology research

On Friday 30th November 2018, BBC South visited the Faculty of Science & Technology at Talbot Campus, to film the Assistive Technology research being conducted by Dr Paul Whittington, Dr Huseyin Dogan and Professor Keith Phalp.

Assistive Technology has been identified as one of the key strategic investment areas in the BU2025 vision. The filming focused on the use of different technologies for people with reduced physical and cognitive abilities and the use of alternative methods of interaction to control Dr Paul Whittington’s car.

Briony Leyland interviewed Dr Huseyin Dogan who discussing the importance of Assistive Technology research and raising awareness of potential benefits to improve the quality of life for people with reduced abilities. Dr Dogan also demonstrated the different technologies that have been purchased by the Faculty, including smartglasses, an iPad with a Switch Control feature to enable interaction through head movements and EEG headsets.

The SmartATRS system

Following the filming of students working in one of the computing labs, BBC South then proceeded to film outside. Dr Whittington demonstrated SmartATRS (Automated Transport and Retrieval System) to control the motorised driving seat, the automated tailgate and platform lift in the vehicle, as well as the autonomous docking of the powerchair through LiDAR technology. Dr Whittington was then interviewed to discuss his personal experience and motivations behind the research he is conducting at BU, “To transmit my knowledge to help others improve their quality of life and see the benefits that technology can bring.”

South Today Evening News reported on the advantages of using smartphone interface, compared to the original keyfobs that are challenging for people with reduced finger dexterity.

Dr Huseyin Dogan was also interviewed later in the afternoon, by Louisa Hannan, Drivetime Presenter on BBC Radio Solent. Assistive Technology research at BU was discussed further, explaining the future developments and examples of our research.

BBC filming the Faculty of Science & Technology was a great experience and we were very fortunate with the weather as there were clear blue skies and the cameraman commented that it was too sunny! It was an amazing opportunity to highlight and promote the Assistive Technology research being conducted at Bournemouth University.

This publicity coincides with the International Day of Disabled Persons (3rd December) and we are keen to empower persons with reduced abilities to ensure inclusiveness and equality.

If you would like for further information about our assistive technology research or a link to the South Today feature, please contact us:

Dr Paul Whittington (whittingtonp@bournemouth.ac.uk)

Dr Huseyin Dogan (hdogan@bournemouth.ac.uk)