Preparing Educators of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder to Integrate Virtual Reality Technology: A Case Study in Graduate Education
Wednesday, March 20 4:55 PM-5:15 PM
Learners with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) experience deficits in social communication skills and the use of virtual reality (VR) technology has been explored as an instructional intervention to address these needs. VR is advantageous for individuals with ASD, due to the opportunity the technology provides to practice situations that can be customized to closely matched authentic experiences and settings. Research on the design and implementation of VR-based social skills programming for ASD has increased and there are now more accessible tools for educators to apply, either in instructional or therapeutic environments. Unfortunately, this area has been largely unexplored in the context of teacher preparation. This session will make practical use of the existing knowledge base of VR and ASD by connecting it with teacher preparation. The presenter will outline a case study of practicing educators in a graduate program and how they were prepared to integrate VR technology to support students with ASD. This will include examples of the graduate students’ approaches to integrating VR and discussion will focus on how graduate coursework can be used to prepare educators to meaningfully integrate VR technology with this population.