Augmented Reality on Mobile Devices to Improve the Academic Achievement and Independence of Students with Disabilities

The use of Augmented Reality (AR) as an instructional strategy to teach individuals with disabilities enrolled in postsecondary education activities is the topic investigated by Donald Douglas McMahon in this dissertation, published in 2014 by Trace: Tennessee Research and Creative Exchange, University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The dissertation was developed as two stand alone studies examining features, capabilities and use of Augmented Reality (AR) as an instructional strategy and the connections between the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles and AR in education.

Study #1 examined an AR based intervention to teach academic vocabulary to postsecondary education students with intellectual disabilities. Findings indicate that the AR vocabulary intervention produced a positive impact on student mastery of the science vocabulary terms through its combination of real world and digital content.

Study #2 examined an AR based intervention to support functional navigation skills relating to an employment task to postsecondary education students wit intellectual disabilities.

Findings show that the AR treatment was the more effective treatment for improving the navigation skills of participants; participants made more independent navigation decisions using the AR navigation tooland reached unknown designations without requiring person-supported assistance during AR.