Noah Kenneally & Alison Gaston
Researchers, EDGE Lab
Digital Media Zone (DMZ), Ryerson
Noah and Alison are researchers at EDGE Lab – the Experiential Design and Gaming Environments Laboratory, located in Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone (DMZ). Their focus is early childhood education.
Noah & Alison’s CareerMash
“We do a whole whack of things, but most of them have to do with disabled children’s autonomy, and how they learn and interact with each other”, Noah says. They have developed several technologies to help disabled kids learn faster and connect with friends in new ways. Their projects include a keyboard made of colourful cardboard and giant arcade-key buttons and another sponge-like bendable keyboard connected to a computer with conductive thread rather than wires.
These learning technologies make it easier for disabled kids to do schoolwork and build relationships with their friends.
Why this Job Rocks
The best part about this work is reaching children through research. Noah and Alison play for a living – testing and researching new types of tech and methods to engage disabled children in the classroom. At EDGE Lab, they work with a mashup of people in art, film, TV and radio, teachers, and engineers.
Noah was an artist and designer for 14 years, and is now a third year Ryerson University student in early childhood education. His tech skills are self-taught.
Alison graduated from Ryerson University with a B.A. in early childhood education and psychology and worked in the field for over 20 years, both in Canada and internationally. She is currently working towards an M.A. in early childhood studies while continuing her work at the EDGE Lab.
Noah and Alison demonstrate that anyone can innovate with technology, even those specialized in education. Their careermash is an innovative and exciting part of what they do.
Tips for Success
- Play: “We get to play at work and have fun. Our work is about play, but is conducted through play”, Noah says. When you’re blending technology and education, it’s important to keep your imagination alive. And yes, sometimes that means thinking and acting like a child at work!
- Experiment: “Keep experimenting. Keep having passion and you’ll find an outlet for it”, Alison says. After over 20 years in the field of early childhood education, Alison decided to pursue a masters degree and start learning about technology-based education aids. It’s never too late to experiment and try new things!