Technology for Inclusion A supporting Case Study for interact 2016

This is a story about a young man named Aidan.

I taught Aidan across three subjects; Visual Art, Photography and Visual Design. For Design and Photography Aidan usually had an aide to help him with the organization, management and execution of tasks. Aidan followed a 'life skills' pathway in all three subjects due to experiencing significant difficulties with organizing and remembering scripted content.

He would often read instructions and /or steps in processes and forget them nearly immediately. The net result of this was that academic subjects assumed nightmarish proportions and became a reservoir of situations that promoted and perpetuated feelings of low self esteem.

Aidan was an avid online gamer and in his rare conversations with other people I discovered he had an extraordinary ability to;

  1. Work out how things worked without being told.
  2. Remember and describe very complex and detailed gaming scenarios, character traits and abilities. .
Screenshot of features from iTunes landing page.
Aidan learned and remembered through doing

This doing took place in a digital environment, so the 'ah ha' moment for me occurred in the 2nd semester of the development of Aidan's Body of Work in Visual Art when I was showing him some images i had made using 'Sketch Club' software and asked him if he would like to try it out. He had never drawn using 'software' before after a quick tour of the interface and a brief demo of 'what did what' I handed him a stylus and left him to his own devices.

After about an hour of trying things out Aidan's first images began to take shape. Three things came out of this; I understood:

  1. that he could draw directly from his imagination / memory without the use of any supporting material and that he had a very distinct visual sensibility,
  2. that he could get to the core of the workings of the drawing tools and their modifications quickly.
  3. he was willing to experiment
This was the first image, made using Sketch Club, that Aidan was happy with.
Sketch Club for IOS

"Sketch Club is a powerful digital art tool paired with a vibrant community of artists across all skill levels. Ranging from professional illustrators and concept artists to students and hobbyists, creative people from all over the world join together in Sketch Club to create, share, and inspire!

CORE FEATURES • State of the art brush and compositing engines rivaling expensive desktop applications • Up to 64 layers with configurable blending, naming, and color tagging • Up to 4K canvas size with presets including standard 300 DPI print sizes • Brush, Blur, Eraser, Fill, Pen, Pixels, Procedural, Select, Smudge, Text, and Vector tools • Loads of built in tool presets plus thousands more from the community • Layer filters for color adjust, blurs, edges, noise, vignette and more • Layer transform with skew, shear, and tiling • Line, circle, and square shapes with automatic aspect ratio snapping • Horizontal, vertical, and dual mirroring modes • Canvas recording and export in full 1080 HD • Background autosave and persistent undo history • Universal binary supporting iPhones and iPads • Over 6 years running of continuous updates • No annoying in-app purchases or ads

TOOLS • Brushes with high resolution shapes, pattern textures, and input curves • Export sketches and presets to iCloud Drive • Create and share custom brush presets in community library • Pen tool presets include calligraphy, fountain pen, gel pen, and more • Pen and Vector tools include simplify for smooth lines even with shaky hands • Create smooth filled shapes and gradient with Vector • Procedural Sketchy and Smooth for amazing fast results • Procedural Bristles for realistic oil painting simulation

CUSTOMIZE • Configurable color themes to make Sketch Club uniquely yours • Customizable shortcuts for single tap access to your favorite functionality • Popup quick color swatch and size and opacity controls • Floating reference image with color sampling

COMMUNITY • New challenge every day and new competition every week! • Massive library of shared brushes, templates, and textures • Live stream and chat for feedback and fun while you draw • Learn through tutorials, speed painting videos, and live classes • Follow other artists and gain fans as you share your creations • Community whiteboard with realtime collaborative drawing • Annual awards honoring some of the best creations each year FOR THE PROS

• iPad Pro and Apple Pencil support • PSD file format export • RGB and hexadecimal color inputs • Bluetooth stylus support for Adonit, FiftyThree, Hex3, TenOne, and Wacom • Screen mirroring modes for presentations and demos • Draw in Multiply, Normal, Overlay, and Screen brush blend modes • Input curves with angle, distance, fade, pressure, random, speed tilt, and time • Adobe Creative Cloud import and export" @ MobileAction.co

The last images of the series demonstrated an increasingly complex understanding of how to use layered components to build a sophisticated and well resolved image that included the representation of environments and locations as opposed to static colour fields.

IPad 2 + Wacom stylus

After producing such a strong Body of Work it was hard to let Aidan walk away without having the means to carry on what he had started. I had asked him previously what he planned to do when he left and he said he didn't know because "people like me don't stand much of a chance getting a job" I asked him if he wanted to continue working on this series of drawings. He simply replied "I don't have anything to do it with"

So in the last week of school for Year 12 I stripped the iPad of my mail accounts, deleted all my images and documents along with the apps that I knew Aidan would not be likely to use, deleted my AppleID, renamed it Aidan's iPad and gave him the iPad and stylus. After that point the journey was his.

Rose Babakhanian

“Rozhin Sorkeh. ‘Photoshop Preliminaries’. “Adding Another Dimension”

Rozhin arrived in Australia from Iran with barely any English. During the term when this and other works were made, everything was communicated and taught through the use of translation apps and software (Babylon). For the most part, my translations of tutorial scripts and theory content into Farsi (Persian) provided Rozhin with some hysterical moments. However we got through it. She produced some extraordinary work. After completing her studies in Visual Art & Visual Design she continued on to undertake tertiary studies in Design in Brisbane and in 2015 started work with an architectural / design agency in Sydney, NSW.”

Excerpt From: Gary Poulton. “Visual Design @ Wyndham.” Gary Poulton, 2016. iBooks. https://itun.es/au/UdcV_.l

Recent works
Shkulla Hadi

From Afghanistan. Life Skills / Support study pathway. Story to be narrated.

Credits:

All images Aidan Hawken & Rose Babakhanian, Photographs @ Gary Poulton

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