LYFTA: SUITABILITY FOR STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS
TEACHING CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS USING IMMERSIVE TECHNIQUES
Immersive technology can be designed to make it easier for teachers to delve into complex themes and topics that can be difficult to introduce and teach. There is growing evidence and feedback from SEND practitioners showing the impact that using this technology as a teaching tool can have for students with special educational needs.
CASE STUDY: working in the virtual world with children on the autistic spectrum
Helena Morrissey is assistant headteacher at Elms Bank Specialist Arts College, a secondary special school in Bury, NW England. If you had asked Helena a year ago, whether she thought her pupils - many of whom are on the autistic spectrum - would be watching foreign documentaries and reading subtitles, she admits that she would have laughed at the idea. But thanks to several factors inherent in the Lyfta experience, this is indeed what is happening at Elms Bank School.
According to Helena Morrissey, there are three reasons for the impact using Lyfta can have on children on the autistic spectrum:
The child is the driver, and being able to return to something that they missed or didn’t understand, can work better than linear learning experiences
Being in the driver’s seat means children are independent learners, making choices and building on their understanding and interests at a pace that works for them
The structure is easy for children of all ages and abilities to grasp even if some of the concepts actually may not be straightforward at first
Helena believes that the traditional teaching methods for subjects like history or geography can be too abstract and even irrelevant for some of her students. However, the Lyfta immersive experience has enabled students to begin to understand people more and it has helped them to start to notice, compare and discuss what they think, as never before.
CASE STUDY: dyslexia and using virtual reality (VR) headsets
While working with secondary school students in London, co-founder and CEO of Lyfta, Serdar Ferit, asked the group to take turns with the VR headset and read out any text they could see on screen, to the rest of the group. Serdar was not aware at the time that one student in particular had severe dyslexia and found reading particularly challenging. Whereas previously, this student would have been unable to read aloud and would usually experience immense panic from having to do so, he was able to read the short passage perfectly! When he took the headset off, he told Serdar that this was the first time he’d been able to read out loud without making a mistake.
In Wales, a group of teachers decided to undertake a short experiment to see what using the headsets might mean for their students who have challenges affecting their ability to concentrate, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or their ability to read, as is the case for students with dyslexia.
The simple experiment involved asking students to read aloud from a sheet of paper and from a VR environment with a headset on. The students were videoed and asked about how they felt. Their teachers also spoke passionately about the difference they saw in their students’ ability to read. This included greater confidence, fluency and competence when reading in the VR environment, as compared with reading from a page. At present, there is a larger-scale research project taking place to explore this further, in partnership with the University of Oulu in Finland.
To learn more about VR and dyslexia visit https://www.lyfta.com/videos/
Lyfta’s combination of real 360° environments, the personal stories within them, and the activities that run through the experiences, offer learners an array of logically connected environments. Lyfta’s stories give context, and context is the magical glue that seduces our brain to learn in ways we may not have experienced before.We are excited that using Lyfta could support more children in their access to and enjoyment of learning, whoever they are and whatever challenges they may face.
WHAT IS LYFTA?
Lyfta is a computer and tablet based platform where teachers and pupils can explore immersive, human-focused documentary stories from around the world, which provides a powerful tool for delivering the curriculum.
Lyfta is adaptable for different age ranges, abilities and topic areas. It is great for teaching Literacy, PSHE, Citizenship, SMSC, Geography, R.E. and Art, and is equally powerful when used to help children understand issues and concepts which can be more abstract or harder to convey.
The school package includes 25 immersive, interactive stories designed to broaden pupils' horizons, over 90 lesson plans, and 25 assembly plans - covering 11 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Teach Global Awareness through interactive exploration of real 360-degree environments from around the world.
Nurture Empathy and Understanding for people from all walks of life, through powerful short documentaries.
Provide Hope and Aspiration through inspiring human stories, featuring a diverse array of people who have worked hard to overcome obstacles and succeed against the odds.
Share the Power of Community and Togetherness through real stories about teams and communities, as well as collaborative exercises and projects for pupils to work on.
See feedback from teachers and headteachers at https://lyfta.com/feedback
Lyfta's learning resources include online self-assessments, which schools can use to track how pupils develop. Schools that have been using Lyfta in low-diversity parts of the UK and Finland have seen a positive change in pupils' attitudes towards people from different cultural backgrounds.
PEDAGOGICAL EVALUATION: OUTSTANDING
Kokoa Standard, an independent Finnish Educational Standards Body, conducted a detailed evaluation process to assess the value of Lyfta as an educational resource and examine how effectively Lyfta supports learning.
Lyfta was judged to be an “outstanding” resource that represents high educational quality and is proven to promote learning efficiently. You can read the comprehensive at http://bit.ly/2IocQnK or the summary here http://bit.ly/2DBCOFz
AWARDS & ACCLAIM
Lyfta was Finland's official nomination and winner of a World Summit Award in the Education and Learning category. Lyfta was also selected by hundred.org as one of the top 100 inspiring innovations in education in the world and won the Global Edtech Startup Award for Best Edtech company in Scandinavia.
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS…
If you’d like to get in touch with us, the easiest way is to go to www.lyfta.com and click the little chat box on the bottom right of any webpage and send us a message.
Be sure to include your name and email address so we can respond!