New assistive technologies based on smartglasses, which are computerized glasses with an optical display, may herald a new approach to help augment special education services . Smartglasses, such as for example Google Glass, contain a complex array of sensors, and are able to collect video and audio data from the user and the environment. They are also able to monitor movement and velocity through an inbuilt gyroscope and accelerometer . Smartglasses can provide users with video and audio guidance through an inbuilt display and bone conduction/audio speakers. However, there are substantial knowledge gaps and conflicting reports in regard to how these devices may be used in real classrooms, and optimized for teaching and learning [36,37]. Some early findings in university settings suggest that while educators may be very interested in using smartglasses, they may encounter technical and usability difficulties when they attempt to do so .
Specialized smartglasses designed for socio-emotional learning have been found to be feasible , well tolerated , safe , and help reduce symptoms of autism [34,40] and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder . Additionally, despite past negative perceptions and stigma associated with such devices, children with autism express a desire to use these socio-emotional assistive smartglasses technology in the classroom setting .
However, real-world classrooms may provide a much more challenging setting for social skills interventions  than the controlled research environments where much of this research has been conducted. The teachers who utilize this technology during their normal school day will be able to rapidly assess the key technical factors that have been shown to drive the adoption of this technology, such as its reliability, ease of use, and a belief that the technology can aid learning . There is also a need to understand the perceptions and attitudes of school educators, especially as smartglasses-based educational interventions are novel and largely experimental. Through exploring both practical issues and teacher’s personal perspectives, this report aims to shed light on internal and external barriers to the adoption of smartglasses as an assistive special education technology.
We sought to identify the perception and attitudes of the school educators in relation to:
- The practical, logistical, and technical aspects of the smartglasses system intervention;
- The impact of the smartglasses system on the student’s social, emotional, and academic skills; and
- The broader impact of the smartglasses system on the educator, their teaching, and the rest of the class.
2.1 The Technology
2.2 The Participants
2.3 The Intervention
Impressions of the effect of the intervention on the student’s attention was varied (Table 5). During the exercise, it appeared that the student demonstrated very high levels of attention, and was able to stay on task. However, a slight increase in distractibility was noted by his special education teacher, although this apparently did not impact his academic work.
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Case Study of a Digital Augmented Reality Intervention for Autism in School Classrooms: Associated With Improved Social Communication, Cognition, and Motivation via Educator and Parent Assessment
Smartglasses are a novel assistive technology that can help facilitate social communication and behavioral coaching for students with ASD. The use of the Face2Face module by educators over a 2-week period was associated with improvements in social communication.This study supports the use of this novel technology to deliver assistive social communication and behavioral coaching in schools.
Improved Socio-Emotional and Behavioral Functioning in Students with Autism Following School-Based Smartglasses Intervention: Multi-Stage Feasibility and Controlled Efficacy Study
A substantial number of school children with ASD demonstrate chronic and impairing cognitive and behavioral challenges. This study provides evidence that Empowered Brain, a smartglasses-based socio-emotional aid for autism, is both feasible and efficacious in improving symptoms of social withdrawal, irritability, and hyperactivity in students with autism. The improvement is demonstrated as part of a longitudinal school-based intervention. Further studies involving larger samples and incorporation of randomized controlled trial methodology are underway to further elucidate the impact of this technology.
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