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Themes in Science and Technology Education, v2 n1-2 p253-268 2009

The use of virtual environments for special needs is as diverse as the field of Special Education itself and the individuals it serves. Individuals with special needs often face challenges with attention, language, spatial abilities, memory, higher reasoning and knowledge acquisition. Research in the use of Virtual Learning Environments (VLE) targets both cognition and behavior (Rizzo,, 2001). Virtual environments encourage interactive learning and provide a variety of opportunities for the learner to have control over the learning process (Pantelidis, 1993). Virtual reality technology is an exciting tool that involves a safe and supportive environment to transfer knowledge between virtual and real worlds. Through such technology, individuals with special needs can look carefully at their own strengths, abilities, and learning preferences in comparison to the required learning task and expected learning outcome. This article reviews relevant research that explores the use of virtual reality for individuals with special needs.

Descriptors: Educational Technology, Technology Uses in Education, Special Education, Simulated Environment, Computer Simulation, Teaching Methods, Literature Reviews, Physical Disabilities, Perceptual Impairments, Visual Impairments, Hearing Impairments, Severe Disabilities, Autism, Learning Disabilities, Attention Deficit Disorders, Behavior Disorders, Brain, Head Injuries, Evaluation Methods

Themes in Science and Technology Education. The Educational Approaches to Virtual Reality Technologies Laboratory, University of Ioannina, Ioannina, GR 45110, Greece. Tel: +30-2651005697; Fax: +30-2651005854; Web site:

Autor: Jeffs, Tara L.


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