Technology leads the way for disability education

LOTTEY WILLSHIRE.

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Virtual reality technology helps students with a disability to improve their practical life skills. Photo: Lottey Willshire.

Queensland disability services provider, Endeavour Foundation, is leading the way in modern special education by using state of the art virtual reality technology.

A partnership forged between the foundation and Queensland University of Technology last year instigated the forward-thinking technology development program.

The partnership is designed to help disabled students learn important life skills using virtual reality technology.

Endeavour’s Education and Lifestyle Program has benefited greatly from the virtual reality software as students regularly use the technology to practice performing daily tasks within the safety of a virtual environment.

Based in the Brisbane suburb of Windsor, the post-school education program helps students with a learning disability to build their literacy, numeracy, and life skills to prepare them for independent living.

Endeavour’s education, learning, and development services coordinator, David Horstman says the new technology helps students to learn how to complete daily tasks such as catching the train and crossing the road.

“Technology like this means students are able to learn how to complete certain tasks within the safety of virtual reality,” Mr Horstman said.

“It’s a great learning experience not just for the student operating the equipment, but for others who watch it all happen on the screen.”

Lead researcher and expert in computing sciences at QUT, Laurianne Sitbon believes virtual reality is an effective learning tool for students working towards independent living.

“This technology is all about flexibility, responsiveness, and helping people with a disability achieve as much independence as possible,” Dr Sitbon said.

Mr Horstman says Endeavour Foundation are currently working closely with QUT to research the possibility of 360 degree camera and green screen softwares to further help disabled students.

“Filming real life environments with 360 degree technology means students will be able to physically act out tasks in familiar environments on the green screen,” Mr Horstman said.

For more information about the Endeavour Foundation, visit https://www.endeavour.com.au/

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