Because of the immersive qualities of virtual reality (VR), it makes the technology a fantastic medium for teaching and learning. Its why researchers at the University of Guelph are using the tech to uncover the risky strategies children use to cross the road.
Barbara Morrongiello, the Canada Research Chair in Child and Youth Injury Prevention, has been researching how kids decide to cross the road at crosswalks by creating virtual neighbourhoods. Positioned at the kerb, kids were then given the decision how and when to cross. The research team then monitored various aspects like walking speed, the path the children chose and even what they were looking at, reports CBC News.
Morrongiello said: “We found that children pay more attention to distance of cars than speed, so when cars are far away, this creates problems because they assume they are safe. So they stop monitoring traffic as they cross, they walk slower, and the car winds up coming closer to them or hitting them.”
“Children get exposed to all sorts of bad crossing behaviour, from adults, and teenagers and even other children who are risky crossers, and that makes it harder for them to understand and hold on to what the rules really are,” Morrongiello adds.
Through her research, Morrongiello is developing a new VR system to help teach children basic fundemental crossing skills, to ensure their safety when crossing roads.
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