Small-Group Clinics as Follow-Up to Workshop on PwDs and Access to Education

Following the 17th September 2019 workshop with Persons with Disabilities (PwDs), we ran two design clinics on October 1st and 2nd at Sunway Clio Hotel. The first group included blind participants whereas the second group included the deaf. Both clinics put the participants through their paces by combining futurology methods with fast prototyping approaches. Further, the participants were asked to consider the social impact (and consequence) of their proposed prototypes.

The October 1 clinic centred on training teachers in the implementation of creative STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education. A subsidiary of this project is a proposal for developing a master creative lesson plan. Much of the clinic time was spent considering the present probable and plausible (and some possible) scenarios relating to current policy implementations and existing policy possibilities.

The participants found that the lack of diversity in the teaching body and insufficient teacher preparation had led to the systematic exclusion of sensory-disabled students from STEM subjects at the school level, despite policies that suggest otherwise. They were interested in the realization of universal design in science education that could allow for a more inclusive approach to the teaching of STEM at all levels. The group of that there has not been much work done on STEM education and the disabled in the Malaysian context.

The clinic on October 2 focuses on education for the deaf. A key issue is a national policy of using of Kod Tangan Bahasa Malaysia (KTBM) instead of Bahasa Isyarat Malaysia (BIM) in schools. BIM is a unique language developed by the Malaysian deaf community and is well-suited to their communication needs whereas KTBM is a code (not a language) that signifies Bahasa Malaysia. While KTBM was intended to help deaf students learn Bahasa Malaysia grammar, the deaf community finds it laborious to use, unintuitive, and less effective at communicating meaning than BIM—making KTBM an obstacle to teaching and learning.

Much of the clinic time was spent on helping hearing participants understand the differences between BIM and KTBM and the experience of their deaf counterparts in using the language and the code. The group continued to explore a process for transitioning to BIM, the needs of deaf students who have additional sensory or learning disabilities, and the integration of hearing and deaf students (including exposing hearing students to BIM from primary school).

The participants of both clinics have since taken their respective prototype proposals online as they continue to collaborate, where they will not merely be working with each other, but are reaching out to other stakeholders and experts with similar interests. Besides the original participants who continued from the September 17th workshop, we have additional participants, from both academia and Ministries, who were intentionally brought in to lend perspectives that would contribute to a deepened consideration and refinement of the proposals.

Watch this space for future reveals.

ProtoPolicyAsia August “Futurology Workshop”

ProtoPolicyAsia hosted a half-day “Futurology Workshop” on 16 August 2019 at iLabs Makerspace at Sunway University, an extension to the “Champions Workshop” and “Co-designing Workshop with Community Members” held in July 2019.

The workshop was attended by Champions from the previous workshop, students, and Sunway University academics. The workshop aimed to introduce its participants to theories and practice of future through a curated series of activities to impart participants with some future thinking skills. The workshop ended with a game play as a microsimulation of the process of future thinking.

Mapping Trends and Signals

The workshop began with the Mapping Trends and Signals led by Ringo Harrison. This exercise continued over the duration of the workshop, prior to the final activity, where participants were asked to map their understanding of futures in a cumulative exercise.  Participants were divided into two groups and tasked with developing two maps on categories, signals and trends, which ends with the development of policy recommendations.  It was at the end of all lectures that the participants consolidated their maps and presented their findings.

Futures “Lightning Talk”

The next session involves a series of Futures “Lightning Talk” by four invited speakers who are academics from Sunway University; Distinguished Prof David Bradley, head of the Centre for Biomedical Physics ,  A/Prof Lau Sian Lun, head of the Department of Computing and Information Systems, A/Prof Gopalasamy Reuben Clements, co-founder and vice-president of Rimba, and Dr Goh Yi Sheng, senior lecturer at the Department of Art & Design.

Prof Bradley’s talk discusses “Inhabiting Hostile World” and shared his expertise on radiation physics to a broader consideration of technologies for dealing with a  hostile radioactive world. A/Prof Lau discussed, through the “The Future in ICT, about changes across time, its affect in communication that included a take-home message: “let future ICT connects us, but not control us.”  Biodiversity conservationist, A/Prof Clements used repeat of a dystopic past in possible futures to jolt participants to consider more seriously, the  “Future of Forests” by using the motif of the computer short-cut keys, “CTRL-ALT-DEL” to present how the present could be reset to create a forest-friendly future. Dr Goh introduced participants to the “Future of Design” by bringing AI to the design of human connectivity. The presentations were interjected with 2-minute Q&A before the speakers came together as a panel, at the end, to position their respective lectures within the context of the future of policies.

Different Strategies of Future-Thinking

The next session was led by Dr Clarissa Lee on “Different Strategies of Future-Thinking”. The session was divided into five sections which are, foresight approaches, emergence vs. disruption, timelines and scaling, futures in policy, and ethics. The objective was to inform participants with existing methodologies of foresight to scaffold the lightning talks session.

Gaming the Future

Ho Yi Jian led the last session,“Gaming the Future” not merely to field-test the prototype of a game designed to expose players to the experience of speculative design, but also served to consolidate the overall learning process.

For more information please contact Liza (lizaht[at]sunway.edu.my / 60137678897) and Dr Yong (mhyong[at]sunway.edu.my / 03-7491 8622 ext 7165).