The COSPATIAL Project

James Winchester

James has taught in special needs since he qualified in 2009. He specialises in working with post-16 students running a Life Skills curriculum, looking to develop their social, communication, life and vocational skills to help them take an active role in the community. He is also responsible for curriculum development, focusing on finding suitable accreditation and adapting it to allow all learners to achieve.

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The main emphasis of the COSPATIAL project is finding ways to adapt existing classroom technologies to engage children with autism in learning social skills. The project is being led by Dr Sarah Parsons of the University of Southampton and Dr Sue Cobb of the University of Nottingham. Thanks go to Dr Sarah Parsons for talking us through the project and, although we did not get to see the project in action, it was clear to see how the technology would be used with Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) students.

The COSPATIAL project focuses on two types of technologies:

  • Collaborative Virtual Environments
  • Shared Active Surfaces

In this post I am going to concentrate on the Collaborative Virtual Environments. These allow multiple users to interact and communicate within a shared virtual space. They do this by accessing the space on individual laptops that are in the same room. There are 3 different programs that the students can use, each working on different elements of social interaction from communication to working together to complete a task.

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