Veative has been featured on the Assembling Inclusion podcast (Episode 21) by Dr. Katie Nieves Licwinko (https://anchor.fm/assemblinginclusion). In this episode, we discuss ways that virtual reality can play a role in education, and can be a wonderful tool for inclusion, when done right.
The Veative system was designed from the very beginning to attend to the needs of all students (and teachers!), in a meaningful, practical and feasible way. Veative’s world-leading immersive content library is voiced (for those with vision and/or reading difficulties), textual (for those with auditory issues), in 3 DoF (3 degrees of freedom) for those with mobility concerns, and uses only 1 controller, for those with fine-motor skills limitations.
Though Veative has made content for almost every device out there, we recognize that practicality far outweighs the “wow” factor, and that education is far, far different from gaming and entertainment. To that last point, inclusion also means that this is a learning tool which is affordable by all, and we have proven that to be true.
Inclusivity means availability to everyone
VR helps students with special needs develop their knowledge, skills, and attitudes in ways that would not have been possible otherwise. For students with diverse needs and learning styles arising from their disabilities, VR can help accommodate often unique and individual learning experiences. The VR affords a truly personal experience.
Veative’s VR education solution allows students with special needs to learn at their own pace, while being distraction and judgment free. Differentiated learning in a regular classroom is what spec-ed teachers have been looking for, and we responded.
We know a distraction-free experience for students with attention deficiency challenges is essential. The immersive environment of a Veative VR experience encourages sustained attention and a deeper level of focus. The Veative solution provides individuals with ADHD with high levels of stimulation and immediate learning by doing in a virtual world those things that feel more comfortable, and makes them less anxious. Learning with VR increases motivation, eases interaction, develops cognitive skills, enhances short-term memory, and makes lessons more enjoyable.
- Active learning – better outcomes
- Distraction & judgment-free learning
- Formative assessments in every module
- Standards aligned
- Robust data analytics
- Easy to use for teachers and students
- Affordable, scalable, easy to deploy
A 3 dof headset is quite possibly the only choice for a special needs student. This device has 1 controller, which essentially means there is a requirement for manipulation of only the index finger and thumb, on one hand. For many of the modules, only the index finger needs to be used to trigger events to happen (select, drag/drop, move a slider, etc…). For those with an ability to articulate the index finger only, the controller can be strapped to the user’s hand.
Another option would be to use a joystick controller, attached to a wheelchair. With the joystick, one would be able to “walk” through an environment (where applicable). 2 buttons on the base of the joystick would allow for all other interactions.
Let’s take a moment to consider what it means to be able to “walk” through an environment, rather than teleport to another location, as happens in a 6 dof environment. A man with severe mobility issues, whom we met in the UK, wanted to try the VR, so our module of Taj Mahal was set up. Like a Google Expeditions module, it gave him the experience of visiting that place. Unlike Expeditions (just a filmed environment to look at), he was able to move inside the environment. An exuberant “I can walk!” was yelled out, which caught the attention of those in the area. It was a wonderful moment, which perfectly expressed the uniqueness of this technology in giving someone a sense of presence, and an ability they may never have had before.
This (picture) is just an example. We have not made one yet, but the key idea is that this would definitely be an option which could be added. We would simply map our modules to this device. We are set up for exactly this kind of thing. A 6 dof VR headset uses 2 controllers, and these cannot be mapped easily to an external controller (because they are completely controlled operating systems, typically not made for edu). You would be severely limiting options and usage, with a 6 dof device, and besides, you cannot “walk” within those devices. That Taj Mahal experience is no longer possible, as it would be with a 3 dof device.
“Virtual Reality experiences allow for student interaction and increase memory retention of key concepts practiced within the modules without judgment. The virtual reality headsets provide a distraction free learning environment to help students focus on the tasks at hand through an interactive medium”
“To date our experience with the Veative VR Solution has been very positively received by both staff and students. The interactive nature offers inclusivity and diversity among learners without judgment. We are currently looking into its viability with our board in a variety of settings – special education, ESL, stem, e-learning or in classrooms.”
Diana Lang, Assistive Technology Lead, Halton District School Board