virtual reality

5 AR & VR tools for social skills

As interest in augmented and virtual reality grows, so, too, do the technologies' potential to help students with special needs.

For students who have content knowledge but need a little extra social and emotional knowledge, virtual and augmented reality could be especially helpful.

“There is lots that, if we understand what needs to be taught in terms of social competency, could be woven into virtual reality and augmented reality development,” Smith said.

We’ve gathered a list of augmented and virtual reality tools that focus on social skills and social-emotional learning:

1. Kinful 
Kinful is a social-emotional learning (SEL) curriculum harnessing virtual reality to bring intercultural exchanges directly into the classroom. These virtual exchanges serve as a powerful experiential learning experience in unlocking SEL competencies. The curriculum and corresponding virtual reality videos, complete with student assessments, are delivered through a digital platform.

2. InMind 2 VR
This VR experience exposes students to the chemistry behind human emotion. InMind VR 2 is set inside the brain of John, a teenage boy, and is inspired by Lovheim’s theory of emotions and Disney Pixar’s Inside Out. To control John’s emotions, the user has to catch the right neurons by shaking his head. The molecules will control John’s reactions to the situations around him, which will shape his future as an adult.

3. Public Speaking VR
This virtual reality experience offers a realistic training platform for job interviews and public speaking events, which helps students practice and become more comfortable with such situations. Students can use a virtual reality headset to hone their skills and identify ways to address their anxieties around public speaking.

4. Augmented CaRer
Augmented CaRer focuses on helping children with autism, along with their parents, teachers and caregivers, gain access to clearer and more consistent means of non-verbal communication.

5. The Autism Glass Project
Developed by a team at Stanford University, this system uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to automate facial expression recognition that runs on wearable glasses and delivers real-time social cues. The system uses the outward-facing camera on the glasses to read facial expressions and provides social cues within the child’s natural environment. It also records the amount and type of eye contact, which adds an additional layer for behavioral intervention.

Laura Ascione

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