EdTech can be transformative for all sorts of students, of all different ages and abilities. As a support tool it can be particularly effective in helping students who are held back by a disability, since there’s so much you can now achieve with the technology. One particularly hard thing to deal with in education is blindness or other visual impairment issues. EdTech solutions to what can be a debilitating condition are varied and fascinating. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at these tools available to students with this particular impairment.
The BrailleNote Apex is one of many braille notetakers which serve as an information management system. It boasts an incredibly high level of functionality with everything from a word processor to an email service and has a range of plugins to make it even more of a useful tool. You will be able to type with either a QWERTY keyboard or a braille keyboard and it supports Apple devices. In terms of EdTech for students with visual impairment, this is an excellent place for you to begin, with something that has so many basic useful functions.
Audio Exam Player
This is an iOS application which has a limited but really useful function. “A lot of the times it can be embarrassing for someone with visual impairment to feel separated from their peers by needing to have questions read to them by teachers for their exams. This app makes the whole process far more intuitive and discreet and, ultimately, easy for the person in question”, says Harvey Slater, educator at Ukwritings and Bigassignments. The app is very simple and easy to use, so you won’t find that there are any problems when it comes to the exam room.
Virtual Pencil is software developed by HenterMath to help with tackling mathematical problems through interaction. For most effective usage the software is coupled with a screen reader of some sort and, as the student goes about attempting the formula the numbers in the equation and the actions that are being undertaken are displayed through Braille or read aloud to the student. It has a navigation system which ensures that a student never loses where they are in the process. It also has a solution process, which allows answers and/or corrections to be made as the user goes.
TypeAbility Typing Instruction
The skill of touch typing isn’t one that really exists for blind students. Or rather, touch typing is simply typing for them. Teaching typing is a really important part of their education and learning the keyboard as a blind person is naturally difficult. “Typing is one of the few areas in which blind people can ed up having an advantage over others, since training on a keyboard without ever being able to see the letters can mean you eventually type at great speeds with great accuracy”, suggests Holly Minter, tutor at Academized and Revieweal. TypeAbility is a full keyboard education course, running across 99 different lessons. Students who use it will have complete use of a keyboard by the end, and it can be used on a whole range of different keyboards, from laptops to one handers.
Audible By Amazon
This is the simplest one on the list, but one of the most effective. Audible is essentially just a podcast and audiobook service, but it’s one that is immensely popular and its integration on all smartphone devices means that it has an incredible flexibility for when and how it can be used. All accessibility options on modern smartphones, such as VoiceOver in iOS, will allow easy access to the app and all sorts of different things can be listened to through Audible, from text books to classroom podcasts. It’s a simple, intuitive solution for students of all types, but particularly for those with visual impairment.
A disability like visual impairment can seem completely debilitating and ultimately frustrating when it comes to education. But the growth of EdTech has meant that there are so many options to choose from when it comes to defeating the disability and ensuring a great quality of education in the face of the difficulties.