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AR/VR, Education

Fountaindale School visit: How using Augmented Reality in education can transform learning for children with Special Educational Needs

27th March 2024

Using Augmented Reality in education offers innovative solutions for inclusive learning

Finding ways for digital technology and creativity to enhance people’s lives is one of the reasons we do what we do. We understand Augmented Reality’s power to transform learning experiences by making them more interactive and engaging, particularly when it comes to education. 

Gooii Director Phil recently visited Fountaindale School in Mansfield to talk about his work as a co-founder of a digital agency. The National Careers Week initiative enabled the students to learn about the variety of professions and industries that are on offer. 

Putting Augmented Reality in education into practise

Fountaindale School is a school for 3-18-year-olds who have profound and multiple learning needs, as well as complex physical, medical and sensory needs. Phil was invited by Fountaindale teacher Majella Robson to give a presentation on XR technology. 

During the session Phil talked to a group of 6-16-year-olds about the Extended Reality experiences he has created at Gooii. He then gave them Hololens 2 headsets so they could try out our Robin Hood: An Arrow Through Time’ holographic film

When the user puts on the AR headset, a holographic interactive film about Robin Hood is projected into the room in front of them. This creates a reimagined, augmented reality – digital content laid over the moving landscape in front of you. This makes you feel like you are part of the movie, enabling you to interact with the film and its characters.

The teachers were blown away by how engrossed the children were with the experience. The children had previously experienced a Virtual Reality magic carpet ride, but had never tried using Augmented Reality. 

SEN child trying out VR headset

Majella at Fountaindale School said: “Phil started the session by delivering a presentation about Gooii and what they do. The pupils had the opportunity to ask questions and the presentation was interactive. Phil was engaging and he was able to link his work to things that the pupils would be familiar with. For example certain films and brands. 

“This created lots of excitement and anticipation for what was to come! Phil took the time to tell each pupil what was going to happen and what to look out for when wearing the AR headset. This time was crucial and our pupils felt at ease and keen to participate as a result. It was wonderful to see our pupils so enthusiastic and immersed in the AR activities. For them to be able to interact with the scene, by holding out their hand for a bird to land on it, really was priceless.”

SEN child trying out VR headset

The benefits of using Extended Reality for children with SEN

AR can make learning a more fun, interactive experience. It has the ability to capture the attention of children with SEN more effectively than traditional methods. Some children with SEN struggle with understanding abstract concepts. AR can provide concrete, visual representations that can often be easier to grasp, particularly when taught step by step.  

VR can often be overwhelming and almost too immersive. In contrast, AR projects digital content into the safe, familiar environment around you.

SEN child trying out VR headset

Creating a totally new, virtual space could be disorienting, particularly for children with SEN. Whereas AR enables them to remain connected to their physical surroundings while engaging with augmented content.

The ability to make AR experiences multisensory can be beneficial for children with SEN, as it could cater to preferred learning styles and needs. Using AR, we can create visual, auditory and sometimes tactile experiences that can help with information retention and engagement. These levels of stimulation can also be managed to avoid sensory overload for certain children. AR can also be an accessible learning tool for children with visual and hearing impairments. This is the headsets can be adapted to suit the user’s physical abilities. 

SEN child trying out VR headset

AR experiences can also encourage social interaction in a classroom setting or therapy session. As multiple children can interact with the same augmented content while still being aware of and communicating with each other. 

Using AR to further improve the education of children with SEN

If we can create XR experiences that are specifically linked to the curriculum, it might enable students to engage with topics in a way that is more suited to their learning style. Imagine interacting with virtual zoos, enchanted forests and ‘visiting’ different countries. Or creating settings to inspire creative writing and storytelling, pointing and counting objects, or bursting balloons to develop counting skills. The world is your oyster when it comes to creating learning experiences with AR. Which makes it an incredibly exciting and rewarding space in which to work.

If you’d like to create an engaging learning experience using cutting-edge technology, please get in touch