Index of Tables Index of Figures Appendices




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Effective Inclusion: a study on technologies used by visually impaired learners

MA PDET Research Dissertation


Clare Rees

October 2010


Are technologies helping learners with visual impairments in their learning? This study looks at available technologies, what provision learning providers are expected to make under various statutes and whether braille is still a viable reading and writing format for those with impaired vision.


Contents


Chapter 1 3

Introduction 3

Rationale 3

Main Research Questions 4

Aims and objectives 4

Hypotheses 4

Chapter 2 – Review of Literature 5

2.1. Introduction to visual impairment 5

2.2Educational Provision and Legislation 6

2.2.1 Educational Provision and assessment of learners 6

Table - Timeline for changes in Educational Provision (UK and USA) 7

2.2.2. Staff Training and Provision of Technology 13

2.2.3. Legislation 15

Chapter summary 17

2.3.Technologies for visual impairment 19

2.3.1.Visual technologies 22

2.3.2.Screen reader and audio technologies 24

2.4.Digital technologies (wider technologies) 26

2.5.Braille and non-digital equipment 29

Chapter 3 38

Research Methodology 38

Relevant research methods 40

Results 43

Results of Questionnaires 43

Results - Validity of Study 45

Analysis of results 46

Target audience 47

Discussion of Findings 78

Further limitations of the study were hampered by the lack of questions on touch typing. This may have generated clearer information on the keyboard skills of VI learners. Technology certainly exists within this domain. If further research opportunities became available, it would be advantageous to take account of touch typing provision and the level of skills with the ability to record the optimal method for developing these skills. 90

Limitations of the study 90

Chapter summary 90

Conclusion 92

Recommendations 95

Bibliography 97

RNIB (2004). ‘Beyond the stereotypes’: A study of economic inactivity among blind and partially sighted people in Sweden, Germany and Romania -
A report to the Board of the European Blind Union. RNIB. [online]. 101


Index of Tables




Index of Figures




Appendices


A Glossary of terms

B Relevant UK Legislation

C Questionnaire

D Questionnaire contacts

E Raw data

F Analysis of questionnaires - scale of responses

G Extended analysis

H Case Studies

I Useful Technologies 2010

J Email May Russell RNC 8.2.10


Chapter 1

Introduction


Learners are accessing education and learning opportunities far more effectively as technologies continue to improve, helping to reduce barriers and aiding progression. Educational and training resources offer a larger variety of accessible formats and support inclusive learning, but gaps exist about the available technologies and schemes to promote recruitment of disabled people into the working population.

Legislation exists to protect the learner with disabilities from discrimination, but are the learning providers meeting their requirements?

This study aims to define sight impairment, explore the entitlements that may be afforded to a VI learner and explore the provision of technology in the learning environment for the visually impaired learner. It seeks to evaluate how providers can ensure that an inclusive experience can be enjoyed by the learner alongside his/her peers, allowing all to maximise their learning potential.


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