Dynamics, recitals, making mistakes, picturing success: these can be challenging for anyone, but they are particularly difficult for people with autism. Thanks to a generous Faculty Led Innovations in Education (FLY) grant, Rhoda Bernard and Lori Landay have launched the Immersive Tools Project. Drawing on experience from the successful private music lessons program in the Berklee Institute for Arts Education and Special Needs, we’ve identified specific points of intervention that we believe can be addressed with the novel technological tools of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Currently, two VR and AR prototypes—Recital Simulation and Music Lesson Virtual Toolbox—are under development. In collaboration with our team of three students in the Music Education and Autism graduate programs and two undergraduate students with expertise in VR and AR, we are developing and testing these tools over the 2018-2019 academic year. We look forward to sharing them with the Berklee community and beyond.
Thanks to a generous gift from the Marianne JH Witherby Foundation, we are able to continue our beta testing work in the 2018-2019 school year. We hope to share the immersive tools far and wide after they are further refined.