There is a growing interest in augmented reality and its potential to improve special education. It has the ability to create interactive experiences by enhancing the real-life environment with virtual elements.
When applied to special needs learning, lessons can be accessible to children with different types of disabilities. Thus, teachers can meet the needs of all the learners in the classroom.
So how can AR change special needs learning?
Let’s get right into it.
Why Special Education Needs Augmented Reality
Virtual reality fully immerses users in a digital world. AR, on the other hand, superimposes digital elements in a real-world environment. Learners are only external observers in an AR lesson. This is very important, as some children with special needs don’t respond well to new environments.
An AR app, for example, might bring books and other printed resources to life by adding 3D images, videos, and audio. It might also give educators the option to modify text to make information easier to understand for students with visual or hearing impairments.
Customization is important to special education because kids with special needs have varying abilities, limitations, and interests. Using AR, educators have the potential to accommodate the individual learning styles and limitations of special needs students.
Furthermore, AR democratizes special needs learning. Some augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) apps are inaccessible to certain families because they are too expensive. Meanwhile, others are too complex.
Augmented Reality Applications for Special Education
Today, there is an ever-growing selection of AR applications for special education. Teachers and parents must explore their options to determine the most appropriate apps for their learners.
Otsimo Speech Therapy is an education app that offers speech therapy for kids with verbal communication issues. Whether it’s users who have non-verbal autism, stuttering, or articulation issues, the app can understand what they’re trying to say and help them improve. It uses voice and speech recognition to assess the learner’s pronunciation and articulation. Then, it uses machine learning technology to determine progress.
AR makes speech therapy fun and engaging through funny filters, such as hats and masks. These can be used as rewards whenever learners complete the speech exercises.
Assemblr is an AR platform that promotes exciting learning experiences. It isn’t designed for special education per se. Nonetheless, its level of customization makes it a valuable learning tool in the classroom. Through experience-based learning, it can make certain topics easier for learners to grasp.
Educators and parents can use the vast array of 3D educational materials available. They can also create their own from scratch.
Augmented reality enhances special education by making it more fun, interactive, and accessible. With AR, kids can learn at their own pace from the comfort of their own homes.
Compared to VR, it’s more practical because it doesn’t require expensive equipment, which children with special needs might not even be comfortable using. It also doesn’t require qualified staff or a large space to run the technology.
Perhaps, someday, AR might finally make education inclusive for all learners.