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Title: Living autism : an immersive learning experience
Authors: Martino, Steffi de
Haddod, Foaad
Briffa, Vince
Camilleri, Vanessa
Dingli, Alexiei
Montebello, Matthew
Keywords: Virtual reality
Virtual reality in education
Autistic children -- Education
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: ICEDU
Citation: De Martino, S., Haddod, F., Briffa, V., Camilleri, V., Dingli, A., & Montebello, M. (2016). Living autism : an immersive learning experience. 9th Annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation (ICERI16), Seville. 7041-7049.
Abstract: The scope of this paper is to present a works-in progress research project currently being developed at the University of Malta. The project brings together inter-faculty experience and expertise from the areas of education, ICT and digital arts to provide an alternative experience in teacher training. In the past decade, in Malta there has been a drive to provide a more inclusive education experience. Teachers in the classroom need to be able to relate with children having different levels of abilities, including those lying on the autism spectrum. Our proposal for this project is to bring a different narrative to a specific audience. One of the challenges, which teachers are facing in classrooms that have opened their doors to inclusion, is that of trying to understand and empathise with an autistic learner. Autism is a very complex condition that can manifest itself in a number of ways related to behaviour, communication and relationship with others. Parents of autistic children most often describe how difficult it is for someone who has never had the experience of living with an autistic child, to understand and empathise with how their children perceive the world around them. We believe that despite teacher training, teachers as well as learners go to class largely unprepared for the arrival of an autistic classmate because they cannot fully visualise the experience that a person with that condition lives through. Through this virtual experience we want to support a more sensorial approach to developing empathy with the condition of autism in a classroom setting. The scope of this project is to develop and deliver an app that combined with a virtual reality (VR) headset can take the users through a journey into the experiences of an autistic child in a classroom. Using narratives from parents of autistic children as well as experts in the field of autism and learning with autism, this project will focus on re-creating the classroom experience as perceived from the autistic learner’s perceptions that include sights, sounds, actions and interactions. Questions that will be explored at subsequent stage in the project include: Will the VR have a visible impact on the teachers’ empathy towards children with autism? How strong will the impact of the VR experience be on the teachers’ ability to support learners with autism in the classroom?
ISBN: 9788461758951
ISSN: 23401095
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacMKS - 2017
Scholarly Works - FacICTAI

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