Games for Change is Gamified!


Stefan Schutt

Victoria University

The Lab: a technology club for young people with Asperger’s Syndrome

This presentation will provide an overview of The Lab, a free weekly after-school ‘technology club’ for 10-16 year-old young people with Asperger’s Syndrome or High Functioning Autism who enjoy working with computers. A partnership between educational games developer Oztron and Victoria University, The Lab offers professional mentoring in programming and design, as well as the opportunity to connect with peers with similar interests. The Lab also offers a series of online design and programming lessons that any young person can undertake at home, plus regular one-off holiday sessions. Parents and carers meet during Lab sessions to discuss issues and strategies for their children. Parents/carers also manage their own online information portal. As a result of the Lab’s success to date, it now has a waiting list of over 80.

In the presentation we will discuss what makes The Lab work, what hasn’t worked, what we have learned, and where we plan to take it in the future.

Dr Stefan Schutt is an award-winning researcher and educator whose specialty is new technology and young people, as well as narrative and the Internet. He runs a range of projects for VU involving disadvantaged young people and technologies such as mobile phones, educational games and the web. Prior to VU, Stefan worked in the Internet industry as a coder, project manager and producer, and before that as a professional writer and musician. Completed in 2011, Stefan’s PhD at RMIT's Centre for Animation and Interactive Media focused on a web-based system for the publishing and sharing of personal life stories.