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Virtual Worlds for stuttering support Grant Meredith School of Science, Information Technology & Engineering, University of Ballarat, Australia.

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Presentation on theme: "Virtual Worlds for stuttering support Grant Meredith School of Science, Information Technology & Engineering, University of Ballarat, Australia."— Presentation transcript:

1 Virtual Worlds for stuttering support Grant Meredith School of Science, Information Technology & Engineering, University of Ballarat, Australia

2 Today’s content Not focused on many figures and findings Not focused on high-end technology More about low-tech solutions More conceptual in nature A look at a research programme Some ongoing projects A conversation between friends

3 Who am I? University of Ballarat School of Science, Information Technology & Engineering Lecturer of multimedia and computer games Discipline Coordinator of Games, AI & Multimedia Teach professional communication including presentation skills

4 And…………..No secret…… I STUTTER

5 Why do I research? Three big reasons #1 & #2? My children They deserve a positive world to live in Hannah James

6 My 3 rd reason Fame & Fortune? NO! Are you joking? #3: To make a individual difference To humanity To individuals To leave a small personal mark on society A sign of contribution

7 Research? Do you? Yes Social justice Cyber ethics Information systems IT education I am also the research programme leader of TEPPS

8 TEPPS? Technologies for Empowering People for Participation in Society (TEPPS) programme Short history & very applied Rapid design & development of Assertive Technologies It revolves around personal empowerment Also interested in online stuttering scammers

9 Assertive technologies? Are electronic technologies which are flexible in use and empowering for the user. Assertive Technologies are designed to encourage self-directed and proactive positive life changes for the user.

10 Benefits? A single product that can benefit different audiences/users You use the technology in a manner YOU wish to in order to assist YOUR life

11 Lost opportunities Assertive Technologies aim to: Reduce the amount of lost opportunities: For the individual For the country/nation For the world/humanity Reduce those “what if” moments Increase Quality of Life Increase contributions to society

12 One problem to ponder for TEPPS To create interactive/virtual opportunities for speech practice & anxiety exposure. A flexible interactive product Covering feared/avoided situations Shopping, job interviews etc Prolonged practice & on-call demand

13 First solution? A virtual 3D world to enable people who stutter the world over A central virtual meeting area Meet and communicate Form support groups Work through scenarios Shopping & job interviews

14 Virtual Worlds? Computer simulated online worlds Involve communities of like minded people People represented as “avatars” Usually customisable Some broad types which all involve “community”: 1 billion users! game-based (WoW) Massively multiplayer online games (MMO) MMORPG user created content (Second Life)

15 Development platform - Second Life Online virtual world Not a game Free for basic users Easy to develop within Used the world over for many purposes Is “perpetual” – Always turned “on”

16

17 So? Let’s create a virtual world environment for people who stutter

18 Virtual Stuttering Support Centre – Demonstration (VSSC) Demo

19 Problem again? The VSSC is functional & working It exists and it functions We need time to research, evaluate and appraise People who stutter need time to adjust A new method of support A new environment to work within

20 A step too far, too fast? After long consideration I had a thought I had made a fundamental mistake Maybe over excited by emerging technologies? We need some solutions now, some basic solutions These basic solutions had been overlooked by many people

21 Devolution Initial Second Life concept Created DVD concept

22 Scenari-Aid DVD 2011 Contains a series of video scenarios with steps Including the likes of: Cafes/shops Job interviews General stores Theatre Portable, flexible, accessible & cheap Appealing to multiple target audiences An “Assertive” technology

23 Scenari-Aid

24 A beautiful story of community Everyone you see gave their time free They were all the real people – no actors Ballarat, my city, wanted to assist Almost 100% hit rate of help People believed in the “vision”

25 Let me reiterate Everyone wanted to help! Hardest to find was a GP We used a scientist (Dr) Why? He was on campus & owned a white coat User feedback -The GP looks like a scientist

26 Double edged sword of success Face anxieties & phobias Facing feared words & situations Saying own name Answering unexpected questions Uncertainty of response Practice fluency Preferred Techniques Own time & pace At times of need In private

27 Research the users Online survey from mid 2011 Open and closed answer types Users asked to participate when informed enough to give a valid answer Most users had/were undergoing treatment Very positive results

28 Findings in a brief Respondents strongly indicated that the DVD: Improved their general fluency Increased their social confidence Eased levels of related anxieties Assisted with real world fluency transfer Helped to self-critique fluency progress Was seen as a valuable tool

29 Deployment copies freely distributed 4 Australian university clinics Major Australian stuttering self support groups Clinics in Germany, U.S.A & NZ Individual users globally

30 Not a single audience – some examples Stroke recovery People who stutter Long term unemployed People with social anxieties English skills for non- English speakers Developmental disorders

31 But a DVD Is too restrictive Costs many to produce and post

32 Solution – Streaming website 2013 Over 100 scenarios and expanding FREE Global reach

33 Further work Scenari-Aid Adding personal development tools Branching scenarios Audio/Video tools Mobile/tablet access

34 Questions/Comments/Feedback? Feel free to contact me


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