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How mixed reality glasses can help readers with difficulty

Young readers read scientific text using mixed reality glasses to deliver supplementary content in the virtual world

Imagine you are a heavy reader. You are afraid to read … in any classroom. You feel like a loser and you start to hate school. One day your science teacher brings Microsoft HoloLens headset. You wear mixed reality glasses and take a scientific article that the teacher wants you to read. You are reluctant to start reading.

After a few sentences you get lost, because you do not know what “light energy” means. As your gaze stops on this phrase, an animation showing an example of a concept with a behind-the-scenes explanation jumps out of the page through the glasses. After a few moments you read the word “photosynthesis” and there is another animation with a sound explanation. Suddenly reading in a science class acquires completely new emotions … you feel successful and even want to read more about science.

Characteristic of fighting readers

Some students have difficulty reading and this is a difficult situation. First, they struggle with anxiety. High anxiety is often present in readers with difficulty, and they tend to have anxiety when reading along with general anxiety. Second, low-skilled readers struggle with motivation. In fact, readers have difficulty having a low reading self-concept, which is due to low motivation. Third, suffering readers have low achievement. Given high anxiety and low motivation, readers find it difficult to read only at a low level. For these difficult readers, general teaching methods are not enough … and they are lagging behind.

Scientific reading of mixed reality

At the University of East Carolina we wanted to create something unusual, so we created a Sciences reading experience for 5th class students using Microsoft HoloLens. HoloLens is a mixed reality technology – it combines the real and virtual worlds to create something completely new. Young readers wore mixed-reality glasses and then looked at a page of scientific text in the real world. But we programmed HoloLens to provide additional content in the virtual world that could only be seen and heard through glasses. Because abstract concepts can frighten young students, we focused on providing additional information for complex scientific concepts. When students’ eyes focused on a particularly difficult word or phrase, the glasses provided audio-visual information to supplement what they read.

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