Taking into Account Sensory Knowledge: The Case of Geo-technologies for Children with Visual Impairments

Abstract : This paper argues for designing geo-technologies supporting non-visual sensory knowledge. Sensory knowledge refers to the implicit and explicit knowledge guiding our uses of our senses to understand the world. To support our argument, we build on an 18 months field-study on geography classes for primary school children with visual impairments. Our findings show (1) a paradox in the use of non-visual sensory knowledge: described as fundamental to the geography curriculum , it is mostly kept out of school; (2) that accessible geo-technologies in the literature mainly focus on substituting vision with another modality, rather than enabling teachers to build on children's experiences; (3) the importance of the hearing sense in learning about space. We then introduce a probe, a wrist-worn device enabling children to record audio cues during field-trips. By giving importance to children's hearing skills, it modified existing practices and actors' opinions on non-visual sensory knowledge. We conclude by reflecting on design implications, and the role of technologies in valuing diverse ways of understanding the world.
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Emeline Brulé, Gilles Bailly. Taking into Account Sensory Knowledge: The Case of Geo-technologies for Children with Visual Impairments. ACM CHI'18, Apr 2018, Montreal, Canada. ⟨10.1145/3173574.3173810⟩. ⟨hal-01699039⟩

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