If we are to be truly successful integrating technology into education, the technology needs to be safe, easy and fun to use. Otherwise, people may not use it, they may use it for awhile and then abandon it, or they may use it inefficiently and ineffectively wasting time and possibly money.
The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES)
has designated the month of October as National Ergonomics Month (NEM): A Time For Teaching, Learning, Networking, Service and Fun!!!
. During the month of October students are encouraged to study ways in which products and systems could be better designed.
What can members of the Technology Integration in Education (TIE)
1. Review the HFES: NEM
website. There is a section on that site just for teachers and there are free offers.
2. Join the Games To Explain Human Factors: Come, Participate, Learn and Have Fun!!!
group in TIE to discuss Human Factors/Ergonomics. There are already a few classroom activities posted.
3. Consider devoting an assembly or a few class periods to teaching students about ergonomics. Games To Explain Human Factors: Come, Participate, Learn and Have Fun!!!
is one presentation which effectively introduces the topic and is a lot of fun as well. It is suitable for students from middle school through graduate school. This presentation is available at no charge to teachers upon request to me (appropriate identification such as Teachers name, school name, address, telephone number, classes where the presentation will be utilized as well as an email address with 5 meg capacity for individual notes are required). Free consultation on the presentation is offered. School visits to do the presentation are also offered, and the cost will fit within a school budget.
4. When you and/or your students encounter a product which is difficult to use do not blame yourself for having difficulty using the product. Instead, think about how the product should have been better designed so that it would be safer, easier, and more fun to use.
5. Let your programmers, suppliers, and manufacturers know about the usability problems encountered with their products. You might also convey your suggestions on how to fix them.
6. It is now NEM. Please help to promote Human Factors/Ergonomics this month. Let me know if I can help.