Skip to main content
Faculty of Community Services

Jason Nolan



Email Address:


  • Maker/DIY culture.
  • Responsive ecologies.
  • Social technologies for young children.
  • Play.
  • STEM in the early years.
  • Privacy and autonomy.


I am autistic. I'm also director of both the Responsive Ecologies Lab (RE/Lab) and the Experiential Design and Gaming Environment (EDGE) lab, and associate professor in Early Childhood Studies at Ryerson University. I graduated with a PhD in Critical Pedagogy from the University of Toronto in 2001, with a dissertation on virtual learning environments. My work has appeared in journals such as Information, Communication & Society, New Media & Society, Surveillance and Society, and Canadian Children. In 2006, I co-edited The International Handbook of Virtual Learning Environments (2006). In 2016 I was featured in the CBC TV program "Disrupting Design" focusing on my project Adaptive Design International that I'm starting up in Bolivia.

Research Interests:

Research interests:

  • Adaptive design for children with disabilities.
  • Inters-sensory environments.
  • Gaming/play.
  • Privacy/autonomy.
  • Sensory play.
  • STEM.
  • Informal learning environments.

Current Courses:

  • CS8932: Children, Technology and Play
  • CS8933: STEAM Punks: exploring science in the early years
  • CMCT7002: Situating sensory learning practices with technology  (York University)
  • CLD419: Children and Technology
  • CLD415: Concept Development in Science
  • CLD317: Concept Development in Math

Selected Publications:


  • Weiss, J., Nolan, J., Hunsinger, J., and Trifonas, P. (Eds.). (2006). The International Handbook of Virtual Learning Environments. Berlin: Springer Academic Publishers.


  • Binder, M., Sorin, R., Nolan J., & Chu, S. (2015). Multimodal Meaning—Making for Young Children: Partnerships through blogging. Understanding Digital Technologies and Young Children, Susanne Garvis and Narelle Lemon (Eds.). New York: Routledge.

  • Nolan, J. and McBride, M. (2015). Embodied Semiosis: Autistic 'Stimming' as Sensory Praxis. In Peter Trifonas, (Ed.), The International Handbook of Semiotics. Berlin: Springer, pp. 1069-1078.

  • Bal, A., Nolan, J. and Seko, Y. (2014). Melange of Making: Bringing Children’s Informal Learning Cultures To The Classroom. DIY Citizenship: Critical Making and Social Media. Megan Boler and Matt Ratto eds. MIT Press.

  • Nolan, J. (2010). Learning with Anne: Early Childhood Education Looks at New Media for Young Girls. In Gammel, I. and Lefebvre, B. (Eds.) Anne of Green Gables: New Directions at 100. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

  • Nolan, J. and Bakan, D. (2010). Social technologies for young children: Cultural Play with In Poissant, L, and Tremblay, P. (Eds.)Toronto/Montréal/Lille: Together Elsewhere. Montreal: Presse de l’Université du Québec.

  • Nolan, J. (2005). The Technology of Difference: ASCII, Hegemony and the Internet. In Trifonas, P. (Ed.), Communities of Difference: Culture, Language, Technology. New York: Palgrave.

  • Nolan, J. (2003). Blogs. In Christensen K., and Levinson, D., (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Community: From the Village to the Virtual World.Thousand Oaks: Sage. Pp. 96-97.

  • Nolan, J., & Weiss, J. (2002). Learning Cyberspace: An Educational View of Virtual Community. In Renninger, A., and Shumar, W. (Eds.), Building Virtual Communities: Learning and Change in Cyberspace. Cambridge UP.

Journal articles and published extended abstracts:

  • Chu, J.H., Harley, D., Kwan, J., McBride, M., Mazalek, A., Nolan, J. (2016). Narrative Design for Historically-Inspired Sensory interactions. DIS'16, Conference on Designing Interactive Systems. ACM. Brisbane, Australia.

  • Harley, D., McBride, M., Chu, J. H., Kwan, J., Nolan, J., & Mazalek, A. (2016). Sensing context: Reflexive design principles for intersensory museum interactions. MW2016: Museums and the Web 2016.

  • McBride, M., Harley, D., Mazalek, A., & Nolan, J. (2016). Beyond Vapourware: Considerations for Meaningful Design with Smell. CHI'16, Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM. San Jose, U.S.

  • Nolan, J., Raynes-Goldie, K., and McBride, M. (2011). The Stranger Danger: Exploring Surveillance, Autonomy, and Privacy in Children’s Use of Social Media. Canadian Children Journal, 36(2), 24-32.

  • Cole, J., J. Nolan, Y. Seko, K. Mancuso, & A. Ospina. (2011). GimpGirl Grows Up: Women With Disabilities Rethinking, Redefining, and Reclaiming Community. New Media and Society. 13(7), 1161-1179.

  • Nolan, J. & Levesque, M. (2005). Hacking human: data-archaeology and surveillance in social networks. ACM SIGGROUP Bulletin Special Issue: Less of You, More of Us: The Political Economy of Power in Virtual Communities. 25(2), 33-37.

  • Mann, S., Nolan, J., & Wellman, B. (2003). Sousveillance: Inventing and Using Wearable Computing Devices for Data Collection in Surveillance Environments Surveillance & Society. 1(3).  

Position Currently Held:

Associate Professor and Director, Response Ecologies Lab + Experiential Design and Gaming Environments Lab

Creative Activity
Awards and Honours

Contact details

Office details

  • Office location: BTS 103-N, Bell Trinity Square
  • Hours available: By appointment.

Connect on social media