technology for students with ADHD. Providing education

Synchronous virtual classroom for student with ADHD disorder M. Ibrahim1, P.W.C. Prasad1, Abeer Alsadoon1, A. Elchouemi2 1School of Computing and Mathematics, Charles Sturt University, Sydney, Australia 2Hewlett Packard Enterprise Abstract – This paper focuses on the ADHD disorders of students between 6-18 years old; the aim of this study is to find out what has been done with advanced technology for students with ADHD. Providing education for Students with learning disabilities is a significant challenge, as these types of students need special learning tools. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common type of disorder which causes learning difficulty and disability. Students with this kind of disorder usually have a limited span of attention and they are easily distracted. In addition to the possibility of using advanced learning tools for enhancing teaching processes for students with ADHD, this paper evaluates current learning management systems (LMS) that are used in schools and investigates what should be modified in the current (LMS) to make them more helpful for students with ADHD. Research shows that students with ADHD can significantly benefit from the application of ICT tools for academic purposes. Advanced technologies can be used to improve the teaching process for these students through virtual learning; adding a virtual classroom at schools would be very helpful for these kinds of students especially if this classroom is designed well. Keywords— learning management systems (LMS); attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); virtual classroom; ICT. I. INTRODUCTION In recent years, the rapid improvement of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) has significantly changed the face of the learning management systems (LMS) around the globe. Online learning systems, as a small portion of the current LMS at schools, have been enhanced by merging strategies to address individual students’ capabilities and preferences in order to provide an adaptive and personalized learning environment. This has allowed learners to be more focused on their learning processes instead of being distracted through the enormous amount of information that is usually available on LMS. Some countries are fast catching up to this trend in technology, and are adopting ICT tools such as Multimedia Technology, Web-Based Education, Mobile Learning, cloud computing, virtual reality and augmented reality in learning and training in order to enhance LMS. Students with learning disability can also benefit from this development in ICT tools. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common type of disorder that causes learning difficulty and disability. Students with this kind of disorder usually have a limited span of attention (the amount of concentration time student can spend on a task) and they are easily distracted. Traditional educations systems are not suitable for Students with ADHD. Advanced learning tools and new LMS are needed for students with this type of learning disability to ensure an effective learning system that can increase their interest and grab their attention to ensure an effective learning method [1]. Significant number of solutions has been provided to help students with ADHD in their learning process, such as using virtual reality and augmented reality (AR) in education. Most of these solutions are dedicated to specific approaches or places and done without considering the cost and how these solutions can be linked to the current LMS in schools. In order to make them global and applicable for most schools, this paper focuses on the ADHD disorders of students between 6-18 years old and the purpose of this work is to propose a framework for developing learning management system elements and contents for schools. More specifically, this study has 3 main objectives: ï‚· To analyse the current methods that are used to identify ADHD disorders at schools. ï‚· To investigate the current methods and solutions that are used to help students with ADHD disorders in the learning process, and analyse the current LMS. ï‚· To propose new solutions (virtual classroom) to help students with ADHD at schools. The paper is organized as follows: 1. Section 2 discusses the literature review of VR for ADHD students, followed by 2. Section 3 explains the current framework 3. Section 4 proposes a new framework 4. Section 5 discusses the proposed framework. 5. Section 6 looks at possible future work. II. LITERATURE REVIEW A. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder Significant Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common mental disorder which starts in early childhood and can continue during adolescence and adulthood. This disorder makes it difficult for students to focus and pay attention [2]. There are three common types of ADHD between students and children: 1) Inattentive type: student cannot concentrate or stay focused on a task or activity. This disorder is more common with girls. 2) Hyperactive-impulsive type: the student is too active and sometimes acts without thinking but does not show serious attention problems. This disorder is more common with boys. 3) Combined type: the student is inattentive, impulsive, and very active [3]. Even though there is no global unanimity on the prevalence of ADHD in children and adolescents, Willcutt [4] has produced comprehensive meta-analysis on Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV (DSM_IV) to estimate the prevalence of ADHD and he found that there are clear gender and age differences with respect to the prevalence of ADHD as shown in the below table : Table.1 the prevalence of ADHD in children and adolescents [4] B. Diagonosis of ADHD and assesment tolls According to the DSM-5 ADHD Diagnosis [5], at least six of the following nine Inattention symptoms must be present with a person for at least six months to be diagnosed with ADHD Inattentive subtype: • Failure to pay attention to details and make careless mistakes. • Difficulty to follow instruction and failing to complete tasks. • Difficulty sustaining attention during activity • Often discarded by extraneous stimuli. • Forgetfulness of daily activities. • Avoidance of activities that demand sustained mental effort. • Often does not listen when spoken to directly. • Difficulty in organizing tasks and activities. • Often loses things necessary for daily activities. At least six of the following nine Hyperactivity and Impulsivity symptoms must be present with a person for at least six months to be diagnosed of ADHD Hyperactive-impulsive subtype: • Often fidgets hands or feet or squirms in seat • Often leave seats in classroom • Often talks excessively • Often has difficulty playing quietly • Is often ‘on the go’ or acts as ‘driven by a motor’ • Often runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate Impulsivity • Often blurts out answers before questions have been completed • Often interrupts or intrudes on others • Often has difficulty awaiting turn Students must meet criterion for both Inattentive and Hyperactive/Impulsive presentations to be diagnosed with ADHD Combined subtype. There are many rating scales that can be used by teachers and parents to evaluate ADHD in students. However to be sure that student has ADHD, a physician specialist must evaluate the cases clinically [6]. Doctors and specialists diagnose using different methods and tools to identify ADHD such as interviews with patients and parents, rating scales and teacher’s feedback. In addition they may use technology to analyse the brain of people with ADHD. An example using advanced technology in assessing patient with this kind of mental disorder is QEEG (Quantitative Electroencephalogram) brain mapping. C. Advanced ICT to enhanced learning process for students with ADHD Most recent systems that are designed to deal with disability students such as students with ADHD, Online Web-Based Education, and the le
arning materials uploaded online and contents are accessible by all students. Some tools can be provided with this solution to meet student’s needs such as headsets in order to help ADHD students who are easily distracted. This headsets quipped with sensors detects brain activity and offers rewards when a student shows improved concentration [7]. Smartphone, PDAs, Tablet PC can also be used by students in Online Education. In addition there are many mobile apps that can help ADHD students overcome distraction, and some mobile learning games can help them to overcome inattention problem. The advantages of using mobile learning are accessibility, Self-Pace Learning, portability and suitability. Another innovation, augmented reality (AR) combines virtual things with the real world to support the real world. Unlike Virtual Reality VR which replaces the real word with a synthetic background. AR can be used in the special needs education to increase students’ motivation and attention. Furthermore students’ interaction with AR objects can enhance their understanding and improve their ability to memorise lessons and important things. An example of applying AR in learning systems is establishing 3D class rooms by adding the magical sense of a 3D object that appear on top of the real classroom [3]. ADHD/subtype Age prevalence Male: female Inattentive 6-12 13-18 5.1 5.7 2.2 : 1 2.0 : 1 Hyperactive-impulsive 6-12 13-18 2.9 1.1 2.3 : 1 5.5 : 1 Combined type 6-12 13-18 3.3 1.1 3.6 : 1 5.6 : 1 Total ADHD 6-12 13-18 11.4 8.0 2.3 : 1 2.4 : 1 III. CURRENT FRAMEWORK The first part of this section will explain the diagnoses process used to identify students with ADHD in detail. The second part will review the current LMS in schools. A. Diagnosing and assessment process of ADHD Recently, ADHD seems to occur more frequently in children and adults and that is the a strong reason why several researches have been already done to approach the diagnoses and assessment process, intervention of these disabilities as well as attention training too. These processes are based on behaviour, symptoms, cognition, interview results, academic result, rating scales measurements, IQ, brain mapping and other. However some these assessments and diagnoses methods can be done by using advanced ICT tools such as Gordon Diagnostic System (GDS), which is a portable device that contains a group of tasks as games that measures the ability of students to sustain attention and reduce behavioural clashes [1]. Figure1 shows the diagnosing process of ADHD with students and the role of doctor, teacher and special education teacher in identification process. In this flow chart I tried to combine the diagnosing process of ADHD with identifying learning disability process. Hence most researches of students with ADHD have showed that 25 to 50 percent have learning disabilities in order to find we can provide proper support for students after been diagnosed with ADHD disorder [8]. B. Current LMS in school Learning Management System (LMS) have been improved by merging methods and techniques to address special need students learning abilities and preferences in order to offer an adaptive and personalized learning. It has helped students with special needs such as ADHD students to be more interested and focused on their educational processes instead of being lost navigating through the huge amount of information that is usually available. Figure 2 shows the current framework of LMS that is commonly used in Australia and based on two main methods face to face and online learning systems, and each one has own element [9] Figure 2 Figure 1 IV. IMPROVED LMS FOR STUDENT WITH ADHD The number of online courses, offered by universities, has increased dramatically in the last decade. Some schools started to offer blended learning system, by merging current face to face learning systems with online learning. But most these online learning in schools are not suitable for students with ADHD disorder. Figure-3 shows assumption of percentages of online learning and face to face learning from total LMS. Students with this kind of learning disabilities need special courses and learning tools in order to keep them more focused on the course contents and during online class. They need to interact with their instructor in real time to make sure they will not be easily distracted. This interaction between ADHD students and teacher can be achieved by integrating Synchronous technologies such as such as video/audio conferencing, chat, and web conferencing. An example of using Synchronous technologies in e-learning is a virtual classroom. Synchronous virtual classrooms are usually defined as web-conferencing or e-conferencing systems. This classroom allows real time communications in which multiple students simultaneously interact with each other via different type of network connections such as internet to conduct class and conference, guide discussions, and create presentations [10]. A. Proposed LMS for students with ADHD The current LMS in schools has two methods of learning face to face learning (F2F) and online learning, and we assume that the F2F is 80 percent of total LMS and online of is about 20 percent of the current LMS as shown in figure-3. However, in the solution we suggested adding the virtual class room as a part of LMS, so the proposed LMS will contain three methods F2F 80% of LMS and I have decreased the online to 10% of LMS as there is about 50 percent of element overlap with proposed virtual classrooms component such as online resources, online tests and some individual tasks and activities. Then the virtual Learning will be 10% of LMS. Figure-4 shows that the proposed LMS. B. Virtual Classroom elements. This solution designed to help students with ADHD in their educations process by modifying and adding some elements to the virtual classroom to meet the requirements and needs of these kinds of students. The purpose of virtual classroom is to let students with learning disabilities that coexist with ADHD students to communicate with special educations teachers from remote special education school. Figure-5 shows the element and components of this class rooms. There are three main elements and each one has some tools to support students and teachers:  Synchronous learning: contains tools for real time interaction between teacher and students during class and for discussions between participants.  Assessment: contains tools and tests to help special education teachers to assist ADHDs in this group of students remotely.  Assistive technology for students: provides students with ADHD with required tools regarding their learning disabilities such as hand writing processor software for students who have writing disabilities [11] C. Virtual classroom architecture The design of this virtual classroom is very simple; there is one central special education school connected with multiple regular schools. Participants of this classroom conduct their lecture via computer rooms at their schools as these labs are fully equipped with all needed ICT tools to ensure the efficiency of these solutions. Figure-6 shows the architecture of this solution . V. DISCUSSION As it can be implied from the above review, there is a positive impact of ICT in dealing with special needs students such as ADHD , Successful adoption of the use of ICT tools is important to have a well-built learning environment for students with learning disabilities. Virtual classroom is an example of using advance technology to support students with ADHD. However, there are some ICT tools that are more interesting and motivating for students with ADHD such as using virtual reality and augmented reality, but as I mentioned in the literature review, these solutions are hard to implement and require special tools and infrastructure, which is hard to provide in each schools. For this reason I propose simple and cheap solution which is helpful for these students at same time. The findings shows that advanced ICT tools are playing a major role in LMS. The architecture of proposed virtual classroom for students with A
DHD is very simple and cost-effective solution which allows students to interact with instructors and classmates from other schools in real time. However, there are some important details should be considered in order to gain the benefits of this virtual classroom: The required facilities and resources must be provided such as computer, internet and other important equipment, that is why in this solution we suggested that the participants should conduct the virtual classroom from computer labs in their schools. ï‚· Assistive technology all required software and tools for learning disability students should be available for them during the class time. ï‚· Course content must be designed by External educational Experts in order to be helpful for ADHD students. ï‚· Training should be provided for Instructors and teachers who monitor students during the class. ï‚· Real-time technical support in order to ensure the virtual classroom will run without any problems. However, any learning system project can be evaluated with specific evaluation aspects, such as evaluate learners’ feedback and their achievement of learning objectives, teachers’ feedback, the impact of the solutions on the school, and in this case as these students have ADHD disorder doctors’ feedback should also be considered. However, to obtain the above information we need to do some surveys and these surveys can’t be done without applying this solution in some schools. So there are no accurate data about the result and the efficiency of this proposed framework. VI. CONCLUSION This research focuses on the possibilities of finding adaptive learning systems using ICT tools to enhance learning management systems. These tools can be used by students with ADHD disorder and teachers. In this study we proposed Synchronous virtual classroom in order to offer real-time interaction between students and their instructor. Motivating new learning material, assistive tools and other helpful tools are included in this classroom. The features of the classroom help students to be able to spark their interest and grab their attention, which is the main problem that faces education system for students with ADHD. In spite of the number of computer based tools that are used in identifying ADHD by teachers, we tried to add the available computer based test and methods as elements and tools in the virtual class room. This paper also reviews different ICT solutions that used to help ADHD students such as online learning and augmented reality based education. In addition to that how using cloud computing technology can help to drop the cost of the e-learning. A further challenge comes from, limited number of resources that can help to implement these solutions and get feedback about it. More research needs to be done in this area in order to get effective educational systems, implementation virtual classroom and performing surveys are important to evaluate the result of this solution References [1] A. Drigas and A. Tourimpampa, “Processes and ICT Tools for ADHD Assessment, Intervention and Attention Training”, International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning (iJET), vol. 9, no. 6, pp. 20-25, 2014. [2], “NIMH » Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder”, 2013. [Online]. Available: [3] K. Aziz, N. Aziz, A. Yusof and A. Paul, “Potential for Providing Augmented Reality Elements in Special Education via Cloud Computing”, Procedia Engineering, vol. 41, pp. 333-339, 2012. [4] E. Willcutt, “The Prevalence of DSM-IV Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: A Meta-Analytic Review”, Neurotherapeutics, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 490-499, 2012. [5] Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), 5th ed. Arlington: American Psychiatric Publishing, 2013. [6], “Identifying ADHD | What parents and teachers should know – The Polyclinic”, 2011. [Online]. Available: [7] M. Selinger, A. Sepulveda and J. Buchan, “Education and the Internet of Everything”, cisco, 2013. [8] R. Jewers, “Book Review: Teaching Teens with ADD, ADHD & Executive Function Deficits: A Quick Reference Guide for Teachers and Parents, Second Edition (2011)”, Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, vol. 79, no. 3, pp. 158-158, 2012. [9] D. Bath and J. Bourke, Getting Started with Blended Learning, 1st ed. Griffith: Griffith University, 2010. [10] F. Martin and M. Parker, “Use of Synchronous Virtual Classrooms: Why, Who, and How?”, MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, vol. 10, no. 2, 2014. [11] K. Stanberry and M. Raskind, “The Best Software and Gadgets for ADHD Students”, ADDitude Magazine, 2009. [Online]. Available: [12] S. Rodrak and Y. Wongsawat, “EEG brain mapping and brain connectivity index for subtypes classification of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder children during the eye-opened period”, 2013 35th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC), 2013.

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