Fast Cars and Fast Learning: Using Virtual Reality to Learn Literacy and Numeracy in Prison




virtual reality, digital literacy, literacy and numeracy, prison education


Virtual reality has the potential to vastly improve the experience of education for incarcerated learners, particularly those with limited levels of numeracy and literacy. It is estimated that nearly two-thirds of prisoners in New Zealand lack the functional numeracy and literacy they need to fully participate in everyday life. Many have had sub-optimal experiences with formal education, often leaving early and disengaging fully with education. Many more suffer from a range of learning challenges brought about by traumatic brain injury, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and a range of other conditions.

The Methodist Mission Southern was contracted by the Department of Corrections New Zealand to deliver intensive literacy and numeracy training to prisoners in one of the country

Author Biographies

Jimmy McLauchlan, Methodist Mission Southern

Jimmy McLauchlan is the Business Development Leader for Methodist Mission Southern.

Helen Farley, Digital Life Lab, University of Southern Queensland

Dr Helen Farley is an Associate Professor (Digital Futures) at the Digital Life Lab, University of Southern Queensland. She researches the educational affordances of emerging digital technologies for learning. She is leading the Australian government-funded Making the Connection project which is introducing digital technologies into correctional centres to enhance access to higher education for Indigenous and non-Indigenous prisoners. The project has been successfully deployed in five states and territories with some 2000 students. Helen also led USQ






Peer Reviewed Research Papers