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In-Touch Digital Platform for Unconventional Users

In-Touch logo

Project Team Members: Angelique Paul

In-Touch is an adaptive learning technology which extends the learning experience beyond the classroom hours and environment to serve as a safe online space for students to receive customized help from their tutors. In-Touch pairs a student mentee who is struggling in one area with a student mentor that is excelling in the same subject.

How does your project remove barriers for people with disabilities and/or aging populations?

In-Touch is a digital platform that is used to help students that learn through unconventional methods. I define an unconventional learner as someone who does not learn through traditional classroom methods. Research demonstrates that there are several different learning styles – including visual/verbal, visual/non-verbal, kinesthetic, and auditory/verbal – that are not addressed by standard teaching experiences, leaving students that do not learn this way feeling isolated and alone. In-Touch addresses this issue by pairing a student mentee student mentor. This method of peer learning is an effective method of teaching, as students that learn unconventionally respond better to someone in a trusting, mentorship position rather than a teacher in an authoritative position. Additionally, this approach benefits both the mentor and the mentee, as the student will learn in a comfortable setting while the mentor will gain community service hours and hands-on experience.

Where did the idea for your project come from?

During my elementary and secondary education, I found it challenging to learn in a method that suited my learning styles. Fortunately, I was able to work with a mentor and tutor that patiently took the time to understand my learning styles while forming a trusting relationship and bond. As a graduate from OCAD’s Faculty of Design and Ryerson’s Master of Digital Media program, I decided to use my design skills and personal experience to develop the In-Touch platform.

What are the goals and objectives of your project?

The goal of In-Touch is to help students from Grades 4–8 learn confidently in their unique styles of learning in a comfortable and supportive work environment, while providing the student mentor in Grades 9–12 with hands-on experience and the opportunity to gain community service hours. The main objective is to offer a subscription to a school that is easily accessible to each classroom, starting in Toronto-area schools and moving into district school boards throughout Toronto and Ontario.

Who is the target audience for your project?

The target audience for In-Touch are student mentees in Grades 4–8 and student mentors in Grades 9–12. As a platform designed to help all students reach their fullest potential, In-Touch was created to bridge the gap for unconventional learners.

What did you and your team gain from being involved in the Accessibility Project?

The Accessibility Project has been an enriching experience that has given me invaluable entrepreneurship and leadership skills while working on a project that I am passionate about.  Through this experience, I have continued to understand the importance of perseverance, determination, and focus – three characteristics that were vital when networking with schools and working collaboratively with ed-tech professionals. Additionally, The Accessibility Project has shown me that a strategic plan can and will change. Accepting change propelled my project forward and taught me how to pivot, which expanded the scope of my project and refueled my dedication to In-Touch and its users. Once I began to emphasize the needs and wants of my users, I was able to use their insights to drive and direct my design thinking, which resulted in a platform that spoke to the needs of my target audience.

What are your future plans for your project?

I am currently participating in Ryerson’s Social Venture Zone Business Incubator, with the hope that In-Touch will be implemented in Toronto-area schools and beyond as a tool that teachers will offer to their students to aid in the learning process.