How Special Needs Desperately Need Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) has shown the ability to leverage unique perspectives. Leap With Alice, an AR-focused EdTech company, aims to be the first to provide undeniable evidence that this emerging technology can empower learning disabilities like never before. Until now, there has not been a study examining the impact of AR-enhanced learning on students with dyslexia and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The research team at Leap With Alice has submitted a proposal to the National Science Foundation with the aspiration of determining just that.

The project team will utilize evidence-centered design to systematically develop, implement, test, and assess an AR-enhanced instruction and assessment model. The project will occur in classrooms in the state of Florida, where the Next Generation Science Standards have been adopted. The proposal builds on previous work utilizing Universal Design for Learning as a means to develop and assess accessible STEM-AR for students with disabilities.

One out of five people are afflicted with dyslexia, a reading disability that negatively impacts the ability to identify letters, decode sounds, and read fluently. This leaves students with dyslexia at a distinct disadvantage during traditional text-based STEM learning and assessment activities. Unfortunately, many students with dyslexia and ASD fall further behind their peers. This is evidenced by the latest National Assessment of Education Progress Science (2011) scores, which indicated 68% of students with disabilities scored at the below basic level in science, compared to 31% of students without disabilities. As an end result, only 5% of individuals with disabilities enter the STEM workforce (Leddy, 2010).

Providing AR-enhanced lessons, educators may foster a learning environment for meaningful engagement and deeper understanding. AR can be the source of individualized learning that targets unique learning abilities, such as dyslexia and ASD. Presenting education through a variety of interactive learning modalities, educators are able to identify how each student best learns. Investing in modern technology to create Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) has shown to increase overall engagement and subject matter understanding.

As a student begins to identify their optimal approach to absorbing information, educators hone in on the most effective ways that they can connect with their students. AR provides educators an assistive technology that generates interactive and engaging content; taking the existing world around us and overlaying additional information on top of it.

Leap With Alice provides free tools for creating educational content that has been enhanced by augmented reality. Those original creations can be bought and sold on a peer-to-peer exchange, allowing educators an opportunity to supplement their income. In addition to providing the platform for establishing a “revenue-in-your-sleep” business model, Leap With Alice facilitates the ability for creators to take true ownership of their work with Digital Rights Management.

The AliceSuite™ encompasses a variety of tools, centered around AliceLabs™ - a free, augmented reality creation tool. Simple drag-and-drop features and templates allow educators to create interactive content that increases engagement, resulting in a more effective learning experience. AliceExchange™ facilitates an Educator-to-Educator ecosystem of exchange with the capacity to buy and sell AR-enhanced content. Leap With Alice creates a world where students learn through innovation and educators earn through imagination.

Leveraging the innovative capabilities of augmented reality and blockchain technology, Leap With Alice is leading the way toward an educational revolution that is long overdue. Welcome, to education’s new reality. Come Leap With Alice!

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