Ms. Chris Byrne
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HIV and At-Risk Youth

As part of our educational focus, the HIT Lab collaborated with an alternative school within the Seattle Public School for "Virtual Reality and 'At-Risk' Youth - The HIV/AIDS Project" in the spring of 1993. The student population consisted of youths who were dropping out of the mainstream school system and were at risk of dropping out of school completely. Our goals were to motivate the students and to learn more about Virtual Reality as an educational tool within a curriculum. The teachers chose AIDS education as the topic of study.

During this project, we worked with teachers, students, and AIDS educators. The process involved the students first learning about HIV/AIDS, then about computers, and then putting the information all together by building a virtual world about HIV/AIDS. Ultimately, the students created a world where the participant takes the role of the T-4 cell and tries to avoid getting hit by the HIV cell. At the same time that you try to not get hit, you attempt to "grab" the safe sex objects in the world, such as a condom, a clean needle, and bleach for cleaning a needle. The hardest object to catch which is also worth the most points is abstinence, represented by a zipped up pair of pants flying around the world.

Overall, we found that the students enjoyed working with the technology and also learned something about a very important topic. We continue to believe that VR is a very useful educational technology.

Human Interface Technology Laboratory
Last Update: January 3, 1996