Gaming platform helps autistic students learn

Project developed at USP uses teaching practices that do not punish students who get test answers wrong

Following the concept of inclusive education, a study shows a new way to expand access to education: a gaming platform that facilitates learning for autistic students, reports the USP Newspaper

The experiment, created by researchers from the Institute of Mathematical and Computer Sciences at the University of São Paulo (ICMC-USP), divided the students into two groups. 

One of them carried out cognitive activities on a platform with a game interface, developed from joint work with a neurodivergent disorders clinic.

The second group performed similar activities on a system without gamification. The students who used the gamified platform “showed a greater understanding of the knowledge tests”, says the researcher responsible for the study, Laíza Ribeiro Silva, from ICMC-USP.

The game platform project followed the practice of Discrete Trial Teaching (DTT). This technique consists of not punishing the student who provides a wrong answer to a test.

“If the student clicks on the correct answer, they will receive positive reinforcement”, explains researcher Laíza. “But when he gets the question wrong, he doesn’t receive a punishment. He is presented with the correct answer and then moves on to the next question.”

Thus, the prototypes developed by the research exclude negative returns in the learning process, regardless of whether the answer provided by the student was correct or incorrect.

Digitization of speech

In relation to studies of teaching methodologies, the digital interventions for children with autism are proven and commonly used.

One project by professor Catia de Figueiredo Walter, from the Faculty of Education of the State University of Rio de Janeiro (Uerj), for example, uses tablets that have applications with an image and voice system to educate autistic children.

The process uses the digitization of the child's speech to generate cards with images or photos selected by the user, thus allowing more effective communication.

“The device helps to increase vocabulary and develop functional speech and communicative interaction”, says speech therapist Letícia Gonçalves, who participates in the project.

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