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Japanese information and communication technology company Fujitsu has teamed up with Kagawa University to explore the potential of virtual reality (VR) and other technologies to deliver inclusive education where everyone can learn together, regardless of whether they have a disability.

With the cooperation of the Kagawa Prefectural Board of Education, the Shodoshima Town Board of Education, and the Tonosho Town Board of Education, Fujitsu and Kagawa University have embarked on the study to find out how VR and other technologies, such as telepresence, can promote understanding of disabilities and improve expertise in special needs education.

The study began on 20 November and will run until 31 March 2019. It involves about 50 teachers and support staff at a total of five schools. The study will also includes the teachers and staff at an education centre in Kagawa Prefecture that conducts research into education as well as training for those working in educational fields.

In this study, Fujitsu said that three trials will be conducted, consisting of a disability VR experience, which uses VR to simulate the difficulties experienced by children with disabilities, training through remote observation of lessons, using a fully spherical camera capable of capturing 360-degree video, and remote education consulting, which connects experts providing training with teachers on isolated islands through video conferencing.

Ultimately, the trials aim to offer support for instructors that handle special classes by raising their expertise and deepening teachers’ understanding of disabilities. In addition to evaluating the effectiveness of these three methods, the study will also consider an effective ICT utilisation model for inclusive education.