Overcoming wicked problems and institutional voids for social innovation: University-NGO partnerships in the Global South

Overcoming wicked problems and institutional voids for social innovation: University-NGO partnerships in the Global South. Technological Forecasting and Social Change,Volume 173, 2021,121104, ISSN 0040-1625.

Abstract: This paper argues that, while universities have a crucial role to play in social innovation by democratizing knowledge, fulfilling that role in the Global South requires them to partner with civil society actors such as NGOs. With their history of working with the socially disadvantaged, NGOs have a unique role in clarifying the nature of demand since social innovation must often address ill-formulated “wicked problems”. Similarly, NGOs can fill the “institutional voids” which limit socioeconomic transactions in the Global South. The paper discusses the wicked nature of visual-impairment, which is both widely prevalent and has biopsychosocial attributes i.e., the functional limitations are reinforced by the psychological perceptions of the blind and visually impaired (BVI), and the sociological stigma of impairment. The empirical setting is India where policies for the BVI population are being formulated within a broader framework of social inclusion. The paper investigates how the International Institute of Information Technology Bangalore (IIITB) has taken advantage of state policies to embrace an academic mandate which includes social innovation. Specifically, it explores IIITB’s incubation of the NGO Vision Empower, and the partnership that has followed, to overcome the neglect of the BVI in science and mathematics education.

Design of Programs for Students and Teachers with Visual Impairment in the Global South: A collaborative response to the COVID19 pandemic in Karnataka, India

The following entry from Vision Empower was accepted for the CHI 2021 conference workshop on Disability design in low resource settings.

Design of Programs for Students and Teachers with Visual Impairment in the Global South: A collaborative response to the COVID19 pandemic in Karnataka, India

Supriya presented at the workshop on 16th May 2021.

Introductory video for the workshop:

Accessible Computer Science Fall Workshop : White paper

Supriya from Vision Empower took part in the “Accessible Computer Science Fall Workshop” Nov 17, 2020 – Nov 19 2020 on “Using research to make Computer Science education accessible to all learners” organized by Microsoft, University of Washington, and University of Colorado, Boulder. The whitepaper, Reimagining Accessibility and Inclusion in K12 Computer Science Education Through Curriculum and Professional Development was an outcome of this workshop.

Assistive Technology Research and Disability Studies in the Global South: the Need for Synergy

Co-authored by Vidhya Y for a workshop at The ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2020
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ICTD2020: Conceptual Learning through Accessible Play: Project Torino and Computational Thinking for Blind Children in India

Gesu India, Geetha Ramakrishna, Joyojeet Pal, Manohar Swaminathan
ICTD 2020 | June 2020

View the Publication at Microsoft Research site

Project Torino is a physical programming environment designed for teaching computational thinking to children in schools in the UK, regardless of the level of vision. We introduced project Torino to children in three schools for the blind in Bangalore, India as a toy for playing with songs, rhymes, and stories. We present the results of 103 semi-structured play sessions spread over three months with 12 children (2 girls, 10 boys) with diverse backgrounds. We found that children progressed from playing with pre-connected examples, to making changes, to actively participating in what items are played. Engaging the children in conversation while they played, we established that the teams had grasped three basic concepts of computational thinking–flow of control, variables, and loops without any explicit instructions towards learning them. We propose that play-based approaches can be successfully used with low resource overhead to introduce fundamental concepts of computational thinking.

ASSETS ’19: The 21st International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility

Computational Thinking as Play: Experiences of Children who are Blind or Low Vision in India

Authors: Gesu India (MSR India), Geetha Ramakrishna (Vision Empower), Jyoti Bisht (Vision Empower), Manohar Swaminathan (MSR India)

ICT Trends : United Nations Asian and Pacific Training Centre for Information and Communication Technology for Development (APCICT) created for inter-governmental organizations

ICT Trends: Chap 3. Assistive technologies

CodeTalk: Improving Programming Environment Accessibility for Visually Impaired Developers

By Venkatesh Potluri Microsoft Research India, Bangalore, India, Priyan Vaithilingam, Microsoft Research India, Bangalore, India, Suresh Iyengar Microsoft Research India, Bangalore, India, Y. Vidya Vision Empower Trust, Bangalore, India, Manohar Swaminathan, Microsoft Research India, Bangalore, IndiaGopal Srinivasa, Microsoft Research India, Bangalore, India

“We can go anywhere”: Understanding independence through a case study of ride-hailing use by people with visual impairments in metropolitan India

By Kameswaran, Vaishnav, Robin Brewer, Tiffany C.E. Veinot, Jatin Gupta, Joyojeet Pal, Sile O’Modhrain, Aakanksha Parameshwar, Vidhya Y, an, et al. 2018. “‘We Can Go Anywhere’: Understanding Independence Through a Case Study of Ride-hailing Use by People with Visual Impairments in Metropolitan India.” Proc. ACM Hum.-Comput. Interact., 2(CSCW): 85:1-85:24.

Creating an Accessible Technology Ecosystem for Learning Science and Math: A Case of Visually Impaired Children in Indian Schools

Co-authored by Supriya Dey, Vidhya Y, Mounika Neerukonda, Suprgya Bhushan and Amit Prakash which has been accepted for presentation at the MCHV-INAIS Workshop on “Being (more) human in a digitised world” held at IIM Calcutta campus on February 1st and 2nd, 2019.