Self City aimed to find a better method for training pupils in special education social amenities.
Within a special education branch named 'Cluster 4', many pupils have such a social-emotional or very light mental handicap, that they cannot function properly in a group. One of the goals of special education is to lead these youngsters back to regular education or a work situation.
For these pupils there is a need for training their social amenities. But the problem is that most of the existing methods are not suitable for this group of pupils, as they are developed for groups. Especially with the 'Cluster 4' pupils, there is often and rapidly a conflict with their environment and therefore they cannot optimally profit from these trainings.
Is it possible to find a method that better suits the needs of these pupils, without having to function within a group from the start? Can ICT be a right medium to achieve this aim? Can the principles of gaming be used in learning new roles, that fit in socially accepted behaviour? With these questions Waag was approached by the initiators of the Self City project:
- Stichting Experimentele Werkplaatsen (SEW)
- RENN4: Regionaal Expertise Centrum Noord Nederland (cluster 4)
- The Van der Reeschool (RENN4) in Smilde and
- Prof.dr.H.J.M.Hermans, Em. of the Radboud University at Nijmegen.
It is clear that a successful method will be to the benefit of both teachers as pupils. For pupils to enhance their chances to finish regular education, for teachers to finally have a method to tackle persistent problems.
Both the pupils and teachers were involved in the development of the new method, and a test environment is also being set up during the project’s initial phase.