Source: Teachers College Record, Volume 113 Number 1, 2011, p. 181-204.
The aim of this study was to test the effectiveness of VR technology in enhancing the teacher’s knowledge and awareness of dyslexia, a phenomenon that is very difficult to explain.
Not only it is a very difficult phenomenon to communicate, but also the research community still needs to suggest and accept a unified typology of the disorder.
Population and Setting
Eighty teachers of various subjects participated in this study.
They were selected randomly from a variety of schools in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area. Each of the teachers in the 40 experimental group experienced a virtual reality simulation that simulated 10 virtual worlds corresponding to the 10 types of dyslexia the authors found in the literature. The experience took 20 minutes to complete and was conducted in a VR laboratory in a clinical setting.
The 40 teachers, in the control group each separately watched a 20-minute film on the subject of dyslexia and reading disorders. All the subjects filled out questionnaires before and after the intervention.
The teachers were divided into an experimental and a control group. In the experimental group, the teachers were exposed to ten 3D virtual worlds that simulated 10 cognitive experiences of dyslexic students.
The teachers in the control group viewed a film that elaborated on similar experiences. All the subjects filled out questionnaires before and after the intervention. The questionnaires tested the teachers’ level of cognitive awareness of the dyslexic students’ experiences when encountering the written word.
In addition, the subjects in the experimental group were interviewed before and after the intervention.
The research results clearly suggested that experiencing a variety of simulated types of dyslexia via virtual reality can bring about a greater improvement in teacher awareness of the dyslexic pupil’s cognitive experiences than is achieved by viewing a film about dyslexia.