Marjon News

Marjon students head to Slovenia to present on augmented reality uses in outdoor education

Released: 24.08.18

Two Plymouth Marjon University students are travelling to Slovenia to speak at the European Outdoor Education Conference on the subject of augmented reality uses with autistic young people.

Abigail Gurr, 26, and Stuart Watson, 31, have bridged the divide between two Marjon degree programmes to come together and present ideas to a group of Outdoor Education experts at the conference which takes place in late September.

Stuart is entering the third year of his studies of Speech and Language Therapy while Abigail is graduating in October in Outdoor Adventure Education.

Together, they’ve been working to analyse current theories around the use of technology to support autistic people in the outdoor education setting. The pair have then specifically spent time looking at how new augmented reality technology could be implemented to enhance the outdoor education experience through the use of graphical overlays in smart glasses.

Abigail said: “It’s really rare to have two people so fresh out of university presenting at a conference like this but we have worked hard to come up with some new ideas and we’re keen to get some feedback from experts about our thoughts.

“Technology can be quite a controversial subject in the outdoor education setting so we’re interested to hear people’s views because we very much believe technology should be used to enhance the experience, and not take over it.”

The pair are at the cutting edge of the debate around the use of augmented technology in outdoor education; with very little research available on the topic. Some current studies show how smart glasses can be used to aid the classroom experience for young autistic people but its use in an outdoor environment is still very much new ground.

“We’re looking at taking that technology from an indoor setting to the wider world for neurodiverse people,” said Abigail, who now works as an Institutional Outreach Officer at Marjon.

“Maybe the technology isn’t quite there yet, but it will get there and we’re trying to encourage the outdoor education sector to embrace it rather than avoid it.” 

The conference takes place in Bohinj, Slovenia, and Abigail and Stuart will be presenting for 20 minutes before taking comments from the audience.

Marjon lecturers in Outdoor Adventure Fiona Nicholls and Su Porter, along with Technician Hamish Wilson, will also be presenting at the European Outdoor Education Conference.

You can still apply to study at Marjon in 2018. Visit our clearing page for more.

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