Chapter 8: New technology

Contents

  1. From Piaget to Internet - new media tools as a vehicle for bringing constructivist learning theory for life
    Mirela Arion, Romania
  2. Handicapped but with full rights in informatics
    Dariusz Bielecki, Poland
  3. Multilingual Braille Translation Systems
    Paul Blenkhorn and Gareth Evans, UK
  4. Sensory Stimulation using a Multimedia PC
    Paul Blenkhorn and Gareth Evans, UK
  5. Results of the 5-year Program effort to increase the use of information Technology to improve education and employment options for blind and visually impaired persons in East and Central Europe
    Lawrence F. Campbell (USA), Krisztina Kovacs (Hungary), Branislav Mamojka (Slovak Republic)
  6. Technology for all
    Felipe Torrecilla Delgado, Spain
  7. Development of the international collaboration between the Netherlands and Romania in the computer project
    Annelies Feelders, the Netherlands
  8. Living with, or in spite of, technology when you are blind or partially sighted
    Marie-Reneé Hector, France
  9. Distance education for visually impaired people in Denmark
    Torben Iversen, Denmark
  10. The teaching of computer sciences at a Belarussian special school for low sighted children
    Ludmila Lebedko, Belarus
  11. Belarussian Computer Centre for Visually impaired People
    George Losik, Belarus
  12. A computer program to assist in initial reading in CVI children
    Hugo Maes, Erik Vandenbussche and F Westerhuis, Belgium
  13. The development of educational software for children with a visual impairment
    Steve McCall, UK
  14. Virtual reality applied to haptic perception
    José Antonio Munoz Sevilla, Spain
  15. Mathematics with PC and Braille Display
    Oddvar Oyan and Ole Erik Jevne, Norway
  16. The development of the windows 95. Modification Manual for visually impaired computer users
    J. Ravenscroft and Marianna Buultjens, UK
  17. How we teach visually impaired children ACCESS technology
    Vladimir Sokolov, Russia
  18. New Technologies: What a panacea for visually impaired people??!!
    Béatrice Souquet, France
  19. Vita - an innovative approach to meeting open and distance learning needs of the visually impaired
    Diane Stacey/Lesley Talbot - Strettle, UK
  20. TANDEM project
    Svend Thougaard, Denmark
  21. Computers in foreign language class of visually impaired students
    Jaroslaw Wiazowski, Poland

lecture
8.1

From Piaget to Internet - new media tools as a vehicle for bringing constructivist learning theory for life

full text of lecture 8.1

Mirela Arion, Romania

Address:
"Babes-Bolyai" University
M. Kogalniceanu 1, 3400 Cluj-Napoca, Rumania
Fax: +40 64 191906
E-mail: marion@hiphi.ubbcluj.ro

The paper intends to prove that integration of new information technology in education will generate mechanisms for reducing complexity involved in the interaction of students with the "knowledge world", by enabling a flexible open learning environment, which can play a facilitating and mediating role during any learning process.

Constructivism is the philosophy of learning which states that learners make sense of their knowledge by adding new information to the existing knowledge, they must earn knowledge and participate to it, not simply being carried to it by their teachers.
Constructivism has proved that deeper learning is reached if learners are acknowledged in the learning process.
The Internet and its techniques seem to be the perfect media for making use of the constructivist principles, but, in order to justify the integration of world wide web techniques in education, one must attempt to answer at least two questions:

Critical thinking, problem solving, communication skills, co-operative working skills, can all be achieved in new open and flexible learning environments, which bring rich learning theories to life through new media tools.


poster
8.2

Handicapped but with full rights in informatics

full text of poster 8.2

Dariusz Bielecki, Poland

Address:
mgr in¿. Dariusz Bielecki
Ul. Wyœcigowa 31, ZSZ Nr 3 - Lublin, Poland
E-mail: dbielecki@edu.apple.pl

Vocational Schools Complex No 3 in Lublin received Macintosh hardware from Ministry of National Education (MEN) in September 1996. These are modern, multimedia, network-linked computers perfect for first contact for children, students or university professors.

Vocational Schools Complex No 3 in Lublin is an integration school, (that is education institution), in which handicapped children learn with fully efficient children.
In the first year of using new computers, I was comparing Mac OS and Windows platforms. I knew that I would start work with visually impaired students next year. Windows 95 interface is very similar with Macintosh. In such a way the Mac OS system in Windows firstly came to existence. The philosophy of Windows system was developed by Apple company as early as 1984. Simple and effective operation system as well as a very intuitive system of user communication with this computer made it easy for me to administer computer lab.

The use of magnifying glass software, change of pixel resolution, or colour display method makes the work very much easier. Some of the students have to magnify the screen four times, and some of them switch it into black and white mode. They use key abbreviations for this purpose, without computer restarting. I have noticed that students prefer to use one computer in pairs. For the purpose of clearance I will present to the reader the difference or rather similarities between the platforms:

Windows 95/98Mac OS
American keyboardPolish keyboard
START buttonApple menu
Trash bin- standard in the leftTrash bin - standard in the right
Folder/catalogueBriefcase
IconMark

The subject's curriculum' informatics elements' is taught to visually impaired students in 2-year cycle, two lesson hours per week.
The computer work with visually impaired students strengthened my conviction that these students are able to master computer operation elements, and the received knowledge will make their contacts with the environment easier.

SUMMARY

  1. Lack of information is one of the most serious problems that the handicapped face.
  2. Handicapped children take advantage of information techniques in a very creative way providing lessons are properly prepared.
  3. Sensor fail cannot limit the full integration of students with the society, computers and modern electronic equipment can help to solve this problem.
  4. The Government of the Republic of Poland is analysing many important documents elaborated by pertinent international bodies. 'Informatics for Secondary Education', created in 1994, is one of the most important is the programmes, recommended by UNESCO '. This is a model programme setting standards in common information systems.

Bibliography:

  1. Computers for training of the disabled - Jan £aszyk WSIP Warsaw 1998.
  2. Internet articles: http:/www.idn.org.pl (new window)
  3. Articles from ' Informatics at School' conference Lublin 1996-1998.

lecture and poster
8.3

Multilingual Braille Translation Systems


Paul Blenkhorn and Gareth Evans, UK

Address:
Umist, Dept. of Computation
P.O. Box 88, Manchester M60 1QA, UK
Fax: +44 161 200 3324
E-mail: p.l.blenkhorn@umist.ac.uk

This session discusses the general principles of the design of multilingual Braille systems - both text to Braille and Braille to text. The session will reference four practical systems developed by the authors.
Firstly we discuss the conversion of Braille to text with three examples.

Currently these work in English and Welsh. Conversion to most other languages is straightforward and will be discussed in the session.
The system that translates text to Braille converts documents from Microsoft Word into Braille, allowing non-specialists to simply convert and emboss. This can be readily modified for languages other than English - details will be given in the presentation.

Full text not available


lecture and poster
8.4

Sensory Stimulation using a Multimedia PC


Paul Blenkhorn and Gareth Evans, UK

Address:
Umist, Dept. of Computation
P.O. Box 88, Manchester M60 1QA, UK
Fax: +44 161 200 3324
E-mail: p.l.blenkhorn@umist.ac.uk

Since the 1980s microcomputers have been used, for developing visual and auditory skills, in educational programmes of children who have multiple disabilities and a visual impairment. Such systems have proved stimulating, motivating and educationally useful for a wide range of users. Recent developments have focussed on using multimedia Microsoft Windows-based machines to support sensory stimulation and development for this client group. A wide range of resources have been developed including:

This session will present the characteristics of the software packages and will discuss ways in which these are used with clients.

Full text not available


lecture and poster
8.5

Results of the 5-year Program effort to increase the use of information Technology to improve education and employment options for blind and visually impaired persons in East and Central Europe

full text of lecture 8.5

Lawrence F. Campbell (USA), Krisztina Kovacs (Hungary), Branislav Mamojka (Slovak Republic)

Address:
Overbrook School for the Blind
6333 Malvern Avenue, Phila.,19151, USA
Fax: +1 215 878 8886
E-mail: larry@obs.org

In 1996, with support from the Open Society Institute, the Overbrook School for the Blind and many local donors in East and Central Europe and the Baltics, the Eastern European Network on Access Technology for Blind and Visually Impaired Persons was created to increase the use of access technology in education and employment. This initiative now involves eight countries (Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and the Slovak Republic) and is entering its fifth year of operation.

This presentation will review important milestones in the development and implementation of this program and provide an overview of the results achieved as well as the challenges encountered. Specifically this presentation will look as such program development milestones as the:


poster
8.6

Technology for all

full text of poster 8.6

Felipe Torrecilla Delgado, Spain

Address:
O.N.C.E.
Calle Prado 24, Madrid 28014, Spain
Fax: +34 91 429 31 18

This paper aims to reiterate once again the serious difficulties encountered by handicapped people when they try to gain access to their surroundings. It also points out the moral responsibilities held by legislators, designers and manufacturers for finding solutions and/or alternatives to ensure that the handicapped enjoy the right to move freely.

Focusing on the problems the blind and visually impaired face, the paper looks into the right this group of people has to participate and enjoy any activity that is promoted around them: education, work, leisure etc.

It also analyses the influence and repercussions that scientific breakthroughs are having on the visually impaired if, from the design stages, the devices it produces are not equipped with the most essential features to aid access to them.

Some specific difficulties are also examined (such as in the field of communication) research and development priorities are proposed and possible international co-operation on this matter is discussed.

Finally, the author makes some reflections on the political, economic and social elements which are the determining factors in ensuring the full integration of all citizens.


lecture
8.7

Development of the international collaboration between the Netherlands and Romania in the computer project

full text of lecture 8.7

Annelies Feelders, the Netherlands

Address:
Visio R.I.N.H.
Paasheuvelweg 17, 1105 BE Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Fax: +31 20 6970191
E-mail: tovg.amsterdam@wxs.nl

Visio, national foundation for the visually impaired and blind in the Netherlands, has collaborated with schools for the blind and visually impaired pupils in Romania since 1993. One of the projects is the computer project.
Phase 1: In 1997 the computer project started with the first (national) course for teachers in using special devices. Visio provided a computer for every school. The course was given by a Dutch and a Romanian teacher. Back at home the teachers began with computer lessons for their pupils. Two contact persons became helpdesk for the teachers.
Phase 2: In 1998 the second course was organised, partly by the helpdesk, partly by Visio. The teachers learned to work with more devices, like a scanner. Teachers from the Republica Moldova "joined the club". Romania became member of the EENAT(Eastern European Network for Access Technology).
In 1999 every school was connected to the Internet.
Phase 3: In 2000 the third course will be organised, mainly by the helpdesks. System management, educational material and a curriculum will be developed.

In our speech we wish to tell about:


lecture
8.8

Living with, or in spite of, technology when you are blind or partially sighted

full text of lecture 8.8

Marie-Reneé Hector, France

Address:
Institut National des Jeunes Aveugles (INJA)
56, Boulevard des Invalides, 75000 Paris, France
Fax: +33 14 44 935 36

People always think about the advantages brought to low vision or blind people by technology. However, those working in the field of education should be able to warn their students about the various sociological factors involving the use of technological devices, sometimes putting the disabled user in difficult situations. One day, I was asked if technology was always helpful, and so I started to make a list of the various occasions on which I or some of my friends were confronted with such devices as intercoms, blister packs etc......
I think the way in which disabled users may react is linked to the quantity of information received from educators as well as from other disabled users, who may either act as teachers or witnesses to help them prepare for their own integration into society as future adults. In that respect, they need to know the advantages and disadvantages that can be the result of technological revolution throughout the past and present years in a world where they will be asked to do as much as possible for themselves. The maximum autonomy can in no way replace sight.


poster
8.9

Distance education for visually impaired people in Denmark

full text of poster 8.9

Torben Iversen, Denmark

Address:
Frederica-Middelfart Tekniske Skole
Teknikervej 2, 7000 Frederica, Denmark
Fax: +45 79201113
E-mail: tiv@fmts.dk

What is the purpose of the project?

We expect blind people to obtain access to the modern information society through the computer and the Internet. From a basis of computer skills from the so-called PC user Education we will give blind people possibilities to follow all kinds of education from home equal to normal sighted people. The project will translate distance learning courses to the blind people's language.
The project has been developed in a joint venture between Fredicia-Middelfart Tekniske Skole (Technical College) and Dansk Blindesamfund (Danish Association of Blind People in Denmark).

We have already translated one of the subjects: Basic Skills for Word Processing. Some blind people have tested the course and found it very useful for them to become more efficient communicators and better PC users.


poster
8.10

The teaching of computer sciences at a Belarussian special school for low sighted children

full text of poster 8.10

Ludmila Lebedko, Belarus

Address:
Ezerische Special Secondary School
Antonovastr., home 46/1
Ezerische, Gokodokski region, Vitebskaya obl. Belarus 211580
E-mail: losik@newman.bas-net.by

There are one hundred children having problems with an eye-sight at the school in Ezirische situated in the Northern region of Belarus. Children go to school at the age from 6 till 17 years old. Older pupils are more interested in computer sciences. In fact the theory of computer sciences is taught for pupils and it can be explained by the old version of computers. That is why we spend much time on making up computer programmes and reading newspapers, journals concerning a computer. As a result of this situation, pupils have poor skills and not enough experience in working with a modern computer.

The second task concerning the teaching of computer sciences pursued by the Board of the school is the increase and improvement of English among pupils though a foreign language is paid a lot of attention to. The participation in the conference of one representative from the school in Ezerische will promote the development and the solution of specific problems for teachers of computer sciences at the school for low sighted children.


lecture
8.11

Belarussian Computer Centre for Visually impaired People

full text of lecture 8.11

George Losik, Belarus

Address:
Institute of Engineering Cybernetics
National Academy of Sciences, Surganovstr. 6, Minsk, 220012 Belarus
Fax: +375 17 231 84 03
E-mail: losik@newman.bas-net.by

The appearance of speech synthesisers led to the revolution in the computerisation of blind people's lives. But the practice of exploitation non Russian language synthesisers showed that it's hard for Russian speaking Blind to audition the speech of this synthesisers. Therefore in the Institute of Engineering Cybernetics Russian language speech computer for the Blind was developed. This allowed us to organise blind people training in Belarus in the special Center. For many years we have taught the blind and low-visioned persons to work with the computer: secondary school pupils and university students. However our present-day computer provides only simple skills for the Blind. The center students need new modern Western computer development for the Blind working with Windows, Internet, Scanner. Therefore the members of the Center are interested in the experiences of colleagues in Poland, Germany, Italy, France. Our many years' training experience showed that it is not the hard- and soft-ware but everyday work of teacher is very important. It is very important to create the training motive for the blind person.


poster
8.12

A computer program to assist in initial reading in CVI children


Hugo Maes, Erik Vandenbussche and F Westerhuis, Belgium

Address:
Laboratory of Neuropsychology, K.U.Leuven Medical School
Campus Gasthuisberg, Herestraat 49, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium
Fax: +32 16 34 59 93
E-mail: hugo.maes@med.kuleuven.ac.be

Children with the cerebral visual impairment syndrome (CVI), besides other deficits, often suffer from initial reading disorders. Initial reading implies the correct recognition of separate characters, the synthesis of these characters into a word, and the establishment of the sound-word link. When these problems can be overcome, there are still difficulties in the reading of complete sentences, mostly due to the inability to track the words on a line.
It is thought that these problems, at least partly, do arise from an attention problem. Therefore, a suite of computer programs is presented, that assist CVI children in initial reading, and in the reading of short sentences. Words and/or sentences are presented on a screen, and the attention is guided by visual prompts, both on the word and on the sentence level. The sound-word link is enhanced by simultaneous voice presentation of the words and by identification of the spoken word in a set of visual distracters on the screen. The programs are totally open and they are language-independent, using material from the child's own school.
As to reading, CVI could offer a model for developmental dyslexia, so this program set could have much wider use in the remediation of initial reading.

No further text available.


poster
8.13

The development of educational software for children with a visual impairment


Steve McCall, UK

Address:
university of Birmingham
School of Education, university of Birmingham, Edgbaston,
B15 2TT Birmingham, United Kingdom
Fax: +44 121 414 4865
E-mail: S.McCall@bham.ac.uk

This poster describes some recent educational technology developments at the university of Birmingham. Firstly the development of a 'Touch Typing Tutor'. This software presents a series of lessons, systematically introducing the user to different letter and sentence copying exercises. The software has a highly configurable large print display and speech output. Secondly, the development of computer-based resources for supporting the teaching of early tactual reading skills. 'Soundbook' provides tracking and listening activities (stories, songs and games) which work in conjunction with a touch tablet and tactile 'overlays'.

No Further text available


lecture
8.14

Virtual reality applied to haptic perception

full text of lecture 8.14 (RAR archive)

José Antonio Munoz Sevilla, Spain

Address:
O.N.C.E.
Calle Ramirez de Arellano 21, 28043, Madrid, Spain

This paper aims to describe a new technological development based on virtual reality techniques. If it were put into practice, it would constitute another tool that could be used in education within the rehabilitation field.

The REVIT system (the Spanish acronym for "Virtual Reality with Tactile Interaction") would allow the blind to interact with computer graphics by means of touch. It consists of two modules: a recognition module for interior/exterior environments and a tactile command module. The first module allows interior surroundings (offices, houses, etc.) to be distinguished by touch and audio signals. It recognises the forms, sizes and textures of objects. It was initially designed to recreate virtual scenarios of building interiors allowing the user of have three-dimensional knowledge of objects. Nevertheless, applications for the tactile recognition of geometrical forms as well as both human and animal anatomical shapes could be developed as the system's original design objectives had a much wider scope. The other module is a tactile command module. It allows users to control the applications by means of tactile button command panels.

Lastly, the system is also fit for use in the rehabilitation field as it allows for the creation three-dimensional tactile maps quickly and flexibly.


lecture
8.15

Mathematics with PC and Braille Display

full text of lecture 8.15

Oddvar Oyan and Ole Erik Jevne, Norway

Address:
Tambartun national Resource Centre
N-7224 Melhus, Norway
Fax: +47 72879310
E-mail: ole.erik.jevne@ks-tambartun.no

The project "Mathematics with Braille Display" was started three years ago and will be finished in June year 2000. The main goal of the project is to answer the following question: Which mathematical tasks can be solved with a computer and how can this be done by a blind student?
Sub-questions:

The project has produced: an electronic book in mathematics (upper secondary education), formulation of some educational rules and adjustment of the screen reading program for use in mathematics.

The project is a co-operation between the two national resource centres for visually impaired in Norway, Huseby in Oslo and Tambartun in Trondheim.

The lecture will discuss the challenges and problems we have faced during the project period. The setting for a blind student in Norway today is a PC with Windows 98, a 80 characters braille display and JAWS screen reader. Through making the electronic book and arranging seminars with the students the project has yielded some answers that can be presented.


lecture
8.16

The development of the windows 95. Modification Manual for visually impaired computer users

full text of lecture 8.16

J. Ravenscroft and Marianna Buultjens, UK

Address:
university of Edinburgh
SSC, Holyrood road, EH8 8AQ, Edinburgh, UK
Fax: +44 131 651 6502
E-mail: john.ravenscroft@ed.ac.uk
E-mail: Marianna.Buultjens@ed.ac.uk

A common scene in today's classroom is not one of a teacher surrounded by reference books instructing the class on how to use an index page or a reference chart but one where independent learners explore the features of a suite of computer programmes. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is now regarded as a key element in the education of young children. ICT is indispensable to the VI person for it provides access to previously unattainable information; it develops self-confidence and self-promotion, and facilitates entry into the job market. However, many VI children have significant difficulty in accessing ICT and computers. Many VI users 'make do' with the default settings of the computer and struggle through the software packages available to them. This presentation will report on the development of a Windows 95© Modification Manual specifically designed for VI computer users. The large print manual focuses on changing parts of the operating system of Windows 95© that is/are specifically relevant to VI computer users. The manual was developed with significant input from VI teenage computer users and it is hoped that through using the Manual VI computer users will empower themselves to achieve greater ICT skills.


lecture
8.17

How we teach visually impaired children ACCESS technology

full text of lecture 8.17

Vladimir Sokolov, Russia

Address:
Moscow School for the blind children
Malaya Cherkizovskayastreet, 64-92, Moscow, 107392, Russia
E-mail: vvs168@dol.ru

Teaching ACCESS technology in Moscow School for the Blind Children is approximately divided into three stages. First stage is learning the keyboard using special exercises and methods, created by our schoolteachers. Here children begin to learn such terms, as text redactor, menu, insert, replace etc. The principle of learning the program of speech access is the need; i.e. children learn the program of speech access as a way to fulfil other tasks.
In the second stage terms such as file, catalogue, operational system and the others appear. Children work with programs and files, prepare and print the documents. The most important for them now is to imagine the screen. We use the relief schemes and cards with the descriptions for it. The orientation in text is done with the help of speech program.
The Third stage is a study with elements of programming, databases and tables. Now children work independently with the supervision of a teacher. There are also facultative hours for those who want to learn ACCESS technology on the higher level. Children have a possibility to learn Windows 95 and use Internet for their own purposes. Also ACCESS technology is used in other spheres of the study process: in learning physics and math, for literature lessons and in the complex activities connected with the development of low vision.


lecture
8.18

New Technologies: What a panacea for visually impaired people??!!

full text of lecture 8.18

Béatrice Souquet, France

Address:
CSES Peyrelongue
12, rue A. de Dusset BP27, Ambares 33440, France
Fax: +33 5 56 77 69 15
E-mail: CSES.Peyrelongue.33@wanadoo.fr

Most of the newspaper articles which have been written on new technologies keep emphasising the various qualities that the adapted computers can provide to blind or visually impaired people allowing a self sufficient access to information.
Thanks to new technologies, blind and visually impaired people are no longer at a disadvantage compared to fully sighted people. But so much effort is needed !
Much effort is necessary to blind and visually impaired people to control new technologies and not to be overwhelmed by them.
These efforts are :

As far as pedagogy linked with computers is concerned, the teacher must first acknowledge that pedagogical action is well framed. Which parameters directly connected to visual impairment should be taken into account in order to achieve this new way of teaching? Thanks to the image the fully sighted person can get information more and more rapidly and in a synthesised way. Since they can't see the image, visually impaired people experience difficulties with access to a lot of visual information. Access is slowed down and even sometimes made impossible (Internet data).

Although I don't pretend to have an answer to these questions, I'll try to bring the teachers who are facing these problems in their own classroom, to give thought to this important issue that anyone teaching new technologies should bear in mind.


lecture
8.19

Vita - an innovative approach to meeting open and distance learning needs of the visually impaired

full text of lecture 8.19

Diane Stacey/Lesley Talbot - Strettle, UK

Address:
Royal London Society for the Blind
Dorton House, Seal, Sevenoaks, Kent TN15 OED
Fax: +44 1732 592506
E-mail: diane.Stacey@rlsb.org.uk

While Multimedia and Internet education is developing at a significant rate in mainstream education, the needs of the visually impaired person is not always being met effectively. The adaptive technology that blind and partially sighted people use to access computers is in conflict with the visual emphasis of this new media.

The Royal London Society for the Blind, in partnership with Eyecue Ltd., has developed an innovative open and distance learning tool that addresses visual impairment specific training needs through a system that providesTechnological Inclusivity and subsequently enables wider participation for this client group.

The 'Dorton at a Distance' project is based on a client/Webserver hybrid application called VITA (Visually Impaired Training Archive) which has been designed to meet the specific learning needs of people who are visually impaired, in the delivery of course materials.

It consists of two components. The Webserver hosts a database application to allow the controlled delivery of course materials, and an accessible Website to promote the courses and handle registration. The client application allows the courseware to be presented in an accessible format to the VI person, as well as providing control interface for communicating with the tutor and other students. The VITA interface works seamlessly with all adaptive technology designed to work with Windows applications.

This application is also being similarly used to deliver training to teaching and support staff who work with visually impaired people. Courseware now on-line includes the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) and the Certificate in Special Educational Needs (Visually Impaired) (CSEN (VI)).


lecture
8.20

TANDEM project

full text of lecture 8.20

Svend Thougaard, Denmark

Address:
Refsnaesskolen
Kystvejen 112, 4400 Kalundborg, Denmark
Fax: +45 59 57 01 01
E-mail: svend.thougaard@vestamt.dk

The Tandem project is an application project for TACIS (I will describe TACIS afterwards). TANDEM is an Acronym for „TACIS Applications with Nordic Design for Education and Mobility" and describes the goals of the project. The consortium consists of 8 partners.
TACIS is the abbreviation for Tactile Acoustic computer interaction system is designed to give blind and partially sighted persons access to pictures and graphics. The users can examine the pictures using three kinds of media: tactile, „tonescapes" -which means landscapes composed of tones with different pitch- and synthetic speech.
The system itself - see also the photograph- is composed of the following elements:


lecture
8.21

Computers in foreign language class of visually impaired students

full text of lecture 8.21 (RAR archive)

Jaroslaw Wiazowski, Poland

Address:
Zaklad dla niewidomych
Laski, 05-080 Izabelin, Poland
Fax: +48 22 7522105
E-mail: jarwioz@ids1.ids.pl

Computers have found their place in schools. They are being used both by science teachers as well as teachers of other subjects. For last four years information technology has played a substantial role in the foreign language class in the high school for the visually impaired students in Laski, Poland. CAI provides a new tool for teaching foreign languages at the same time developing in the students' cognitive and social skills. Computers offer a more independent way of tackling tasks assigned by instructors/teachers. The presentation aims at demonstrating how diversely information technology can be utilised in special schools and how it allows blind students to join best mainstream schools. Thanks to computers blind students study successfully in such schools as United World College in Norway, where I have experienced to work as well.

Despite the trend towards more and more graphical presentation of the contents of the screen computers still can be used by the blind. It is more challenging for instructors to train blind users, so that they can master this 'unfriendly' environment. In task-oriented and student-centred class of English such a situation brings forward new problems but also new means. This presentation will also direct towards ways of solving the problems.


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