Written by Lavinia Panait, Adriana Prodan
Producing software with educational content addressed to children and students has led to a new era in modern education and learning. It appeared as a demand for involvement of cutting edge technologies, devices and appliances into this obsolete state of learning methods, not to literally replace them but rather to spring up new ways of discovering world, facts, experiments and whatever the human mind could proliferate.
Reckoning that people with hearing disabilities and deafness are endowed with better developed visual abilities than individuals with normal sense of hearing, teaching labs in computer-generated environments combined with realistic elements like augmented reality or 3D simulations of real world help them to enhance their comprehensible potential by visualizing processes in more depth.
Being given this powerful common ground, Newton project proposes to approach STEM subjects as an integrated theme that targets all fundamental structures that lay the basis for understanding the real world phenomena and assist people with hearing impairments in fostering their abilities of learning, perceiving and percolating meaningful information to be further on accessible in their capacity for reasoning.
To this end, Newton ICT platform integrates virtual experiments, virtual labs and fab-labs including multi-sensorial media content delivering (olfactory, gustatory, tactile and thermoceptive sensations) and appropriate commercial devices for generation of mulsemedia content. Among various psycho-pedagogical methods of teaching deaf or hard of hearing students there can be enumerated: self-directed pedagogical methods such as flip-classroom, problem based learning, e-assessment practice testing and exploratory methods such as explicit or independent lecture, systematical and independent observation, small experiments, objects manipulation, schematic demonstrations with the help of graphics, images, projections, models and mock-ups, educational games, dramatization, visual simulation, tactile and multimodal stimulation.
All the above mentioned methods can easily be applied into educational content developed and tailored for specific activities and purposes and delivered to students with special needs by the means of augmented reality and virtual labs using gamification techniques. In this way students get involved into the learning process and express their curiosity about exploring the provided content using last mile technologies in learning domain.
SIVECO Romania as one of the technical partners in the project has an important contribution in educational content development using serious games, descriptive animations or simulations, augmented reality, virtual reality and proper assessments techniques, in accordance with benchmark and operational objectives. Using certain teaching methods and procedures appropriate for the specific types of hearing disorders and deafness, all provided educational content is run into state of the art teaching labs and study environments which are embedded into an impressive pan-European learning network platform.