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המכללה האקדמית בית ברל > English > About Us > News > Newsletter > Summer June 2022 > Beit Berl Uses Technology to Expand Accessibility Awareness

Beit Berl Uses Technology to Expand Accessibility Awareness

Heightened awareness for handicap accessibility over the past decade has brought to light the need for those in public roles – especially teachers -- to be equipped to interact with people with disabilities. Beyond providing physical accessibility, the

the challenge for institutions of higher education lies in instilling accessibility within the culture and as an integral component of campus services. To facilitate a deep understanding of the limitations of the people with special needs, Beit Berl College's Dr. Osnat Dagan, Sharona Elias, Ariela Helving, Meital Rickman and Ronit Glassman and developed Accessibility Beit Berl, a 3D simulated graphic Virtual World (VW) environment where interactive experiences allows the learner to experience the 'real' world by creating a sense of being in the 'here and now'. Exploiting the benefits of learning in a VW, Accessibility Beit Berl develops an awareness for learners with disabilities and learners from different cultural and linguistic background by familiarizing the user with the challenges these learners face in academia. Participants experience the virtual world through an avatar that personifies the user with a selected disability.

Built in the style of an escape room, each room invites a personal and experiential encounter that challenges the avatar's limitation through varying simulations: orientation on campus and reaching the relevant building; reading as a person with a visual impairment (or listening as a person with a hearing impairment); navigating spaces using a wheelchair; managing distractions as a person with an attention deficit disorder; and more. Accessibility Beit Berl forces the user to face environmental barriers alongside personal limitations. It allows the user to experience how different learners face the challenges of learning: to experience frustration, difficulty and success. Succeeding each challenge with the limitation allows the user to move from room to room. Reaching the end combines a reflective discourse on learning, looking at ways of coping and discussing the implications for learning and teaching.

In experiencing inaccessible learning, Accessibility Beit Berl raises questions about learning accessible within the user. Beit Berl's VW is a unique and innovative development corresponding with social and legal trends that promote the need to raise awareness among faculty and students that academia is a diverse place that serves different learners. Accessibility Beit Berl  is in the final stages of development. Once launched, it will be used by students, faculty and administration at Beit Berl and other institutions of higher education. 


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