Teaching Children Road Safety Using a Simulated Environment
Keywords:gaming, primary education, road safety, tablet technology, virtual reality
The importance of road safety education is widely acknowledged; however, there is a lack of consistency in road safety interventions currently being used in UK schools. Furthermore, the majority of road safety educational programmes use knowledgebased methods, which do not necessarily translate to improved behaviour in real traffic environments. The use of virtual reality is starting to emerge as a viable option, as it allows for repeated risk-free practice. This study aimed to test the efficacy and playability of a virtual reality road crossing iPad-based game with children aged 7-9 years. A total of 137 children from primary school years 3 and 4 completed the study. The game comprised ten levels increasing in complexity. Participants navigated to a target using a magic portal into the virtual world (the iPad position matching the direction of travel). Remote, anonymous in-game data were collected and the results suggested that performance was significantly better on their final attempt as compared to their first attempt, regardless of age and gender. Overall, the results suggest that the iPad-based game allowed the children
to practice road crossing in an immersive environment, without risk and could
provide a useful, evidence-based addition to current road safety education in UK schools.
Keywords: gaming, primary education, road safety education, tablet technology, virtual reality
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