Education and technology experts from Germany, Spain, Finland, and Italy are collaboratively developing a user-centered methodology for trainers of autistic people to develop virtual and augmented reality experiences.  These exercises aim to make students employable in work environments by exercising their technical skills and fostering their social skills.

BitTheSpectrum’s main objective is to improve the learning of autistic people, bringing together the experience of special education trainers and the possibilities of new technologies such as augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR). 

The project is a multidisciplinary team led by the Otto von Guericke University of Magdeburg dedicated to training VET teachers, educational technology experts from Finland (3DBear), Spain (Skills Divers) and Italy (Accademia IRSEI) and the Finnish special education school network (Louvi). In addition, the association of parents of disabled children ASPAJUNIDE collaborates on a disinterested basis.  

So far, the consortium has developed an online training course that addresses topics such as new technologies, autism and user-centered design methodologies. The course in English is available free of charge at the following link.

In addition, a dedicated methodology has been developed, focused on educators and learners, to help create exercises and experiences in augmented and virtual reality. During the creative process, the needs of both groups are always (and primarily) taken into account. By analysing the problems that each challenge poses for both. As examples of exercises, up to 8 concrete experiences are being developed in virtual reality. These will help students to solve everyday problems such as using public transport to more specific manufacturing processes and workshops. With augmented reality, up to 20 exercises are being developed that will test students in situations where they need to express and understand different emotions and feelings.

During 2024 the aim is to test the different exercises in AR/VR and see the benefits of the integration of autistic people in the labour market.  In Spain, Skills Divers and ASPAJUNIDE are working together for the development of 2 virtual experiences including a T-shirt printing and priming workshop. The Finnish partner LUOVI has developed with the partner 3DBear a virtual scenario of an everyday bus ride, interacting with other passengers. The other partners will collaborate with national or local associations of ASD students for the development of the next 6 VR scenarios.

BitTheSpectrum is a project funded by the European Commission, specifically through the Erasmus + partnership programme and coordinated by the German Otto von Guericke University of Magdeburg.

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