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Title: Anticipatory Cognitive Mapping of Unknown Spaces in Unknown Spaces by People who are Blind Using a Virtual Learning Environment
Authors: Mioduser, David
Lahav, Orly
Issue Date: Jun-2004
Publisher: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
Citation: Mioduser, D. & Lahav, O. (2004). Anticipatory Cognitive Mapping of Unknown Spaces in Unknown Spaces by People who are Blind Using a Virtual Learning Environment. In Kafai, Y. B., Sandoval, W. A., Enyedy, N., Nixon, A. S., & Herrera, F. (Eds.), International Conference of the Learning Sciences 2004: Embracing Diversity in the Learning Sciences (pp. 334-341). Santa Monica, CA: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Abstract: Mental mapping of spaces, and of the possible paths for navigating these spaces, is essential for the development of efficient orientation and mobility skills. Most of the information required for this mental mapping is gathered through the visual channel. People who are blind lack this crucial information and in consequence face great difficulties (a) in generating efficient mental maps of spaces, and therefore (b) in navigating proficiently within these spaces. The work reported in this paper follows the assumption that the supply of appropriate spatial information through compensatory sensorial channels, as an alternative to the (impaired) visual channel, may contribute to the anticipatory mental mapping of unknown spaces and consequently, to blind people's spatial performance. The main goals of the study reported in this paper were: (a) The development of a virtual learning environment enabling blind people to learn about real life spaces which they are required to navigate (e.g., school, work place, public buildings); (b) A systematic study of blind people's acquisition of spatial navigation skills by means of the virtual learning environment; (c) A systematic study of the contribution of this anticipatory mapping to blind people's spatial skills and performance in the real environment. In the paper a brief description of the virtual learning environment is presented, as well as findings regarding blind persons' learning process and actual performance in the real space.
Appears in Collections:ICLS 2004

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