Opening Real Doors: Strategies for Using Mobile Augmented Reality to Create Inclusive Distance Education for Learners with Different-Abilities
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Technological developments of recent years can provide the ability to use innovative techniques and tools in education. One of these useful tools is mobile augmented reality, a technology that enables users to enrich the real world with virtual content using mobile computing. Learners with different-abilities (or learner with disabilities) are a growing and significant demographic globally, yet distance education has failed to address their specific needs to create a fully inclusive experience in education. Mobile augmented reality (MAR) and its distinct characteristics provide an opportunity to remedy this situation. This chapter will present three strategies for eliminating systemic barriers in distance education through the added value of MAR. The chapter concludes by summarizing and contextualizing the research, describing the current limitations, gaps in research and exploring key areas for future studies so that MAR technology can reach its full potential for inclusiveness in distance education.
KeywordsMobile augmented reality (MAR) Disability Distance education Attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) Augmented reality (AR) Autism spectrum disorder Inclusion Intellectual disability (ID) Learning disability (LD) Mobile augmented reality (MAR) People with different-abilities
Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder is a mental disorder of the neurodevelopmental type. It is characterized by problems with paying attention, excessive activity and/or difficulty controlling behavior.
For the purposes of this chapter, AR will be defined as experiencing the physical world while using a device that provides an informational or graphical overlay to enhance the person’s perception of reality. Users interact with the real world in real time through a tool that can display additional information in the form of videos, graphics, sound and/or GPS data. Augmented reality can also be classified as either marker-based or location-based. Marker-based AR uses recognizable images or symbols in the real world such as Quick Response Codes (QR Codes), whereas location-based AR uses the location of the user through systems such as the Global Positioning System (GPS) to augment the physical world.
Autism Spectrum Disorder describes a range of conditions classified as neurodevelopmental disorders. Individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder must present two types of symptoms: deficits in social communication and interactions along with restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests or activities. Features of these disorders include social deficits and communication difficulties, repetitive behaviors and interests, sensory issues, and in some cases, cognitive delays.
Inclusion in an educational context describes a learning situation that considers and values all learners. All learners are full participants in the learning environment and not restricted in any way.
An intellectual disability is a disability characterized by significant limitations in both intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior.
Learning Disabilities are neurologically based processing problems. These processing problems can interfere with learning basic skills such as reading, writing and/or math. They can also interfere with higher level skills such as organization, time planning, abstract reasoning, long- or short-term memory and attention.
Mobile augmented reality is the intersection of two interface technologies: augmented reality and mobile computing. Small and portable computing devices (i.e., smartphones and tablet computers), linked by wireless networks, contain elements such as a camera and MEMS sensors such as accelerometer, GPS and solid-state compass that make them suitable for AR platforms
For the purposes of this paper, the term “people with different-abilities,” “learners with different-abilities” or “students with different-abilities” will be used to describe people who have been limited in society physically, sensorial, cognitively and/or psychologically. These include but are not limited to people who are visually, hearing, motility or otherwise physically impaired, people who are on the autism spectrum, have Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) or have one or more learning disabilities, people who are developmentally disabled and also people who have mental health issues.
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