Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVIs) quietly and unobtrusively teach within the gen ed classroom. Subtle verbal or physical prompts are often needed to explain the braille graphic, to align the math problem correctly, etc. This is often referred to as "push-in" TVI instruction versus "pull out" when the student is pulled away from the class for 1:1 VI instruction.
How does "push-in" work during Zoom meetings when schools are closed and an adult is not available at home to assist? The TVI does not want disturb the entire class and going into a separate Zoom Room is not an option, as the student still needs to hear the classroom teacher. What options are available for private instruction during the classroom Zoom meeting? Through a Facebook discussion, TVIs have shared the following suggestions:
- Can enhance chat font size (may require IT to change the students settings)
- Screen readers can be set to read the chat out loud
- May require the classroom teacher to make the TVI a co-host
- Phone Call on speaker (landline or mobile)
- 2 Zoom meetings running at once, or Zoom and another platform (i.e. Google Meet, FaceTime, text message)
- Only one device should use the camera
- Be sure to Mute the student on the classroom Zoom meeting
- Can run two platforms on the same device or use a second device
Language Translation Feature
- Allows the student to listen the "interpreter"/TVI as well as the classroom teacher
- Also good for audio description
- Built-in to Zoom
Additional TVI Comments
I have a teacher that talks with all her students individually to check in during the week by having them bring up the zoom link. She lets one student at a time into the chat when she is ready to talk to them one on one and then has them end their meeting. She approves the next student when she is ready to chat with them.
I have used Google Meet and Zoom at the same time with one of my students. He uses 2 different devices for each platform (laptop with screen reader and iPad) but I’m able to run both meeting platforms on my one computer. We’ve also used a telephone (landline) to communicate during lessons without everyone else in the Zoom hearing us. His parents provided him with a landline next to all his other equipment.
I used my old iPhone, took out the sim card, wiped it and gave it to a parent with an old camera tripod. The parent set up the phone facing the student. Using Facetime, I can hold a conversation with the student while they are using headphones on their Zoom Session.
When I see an issue, I private chat directly with the classroom teacher and advise her about behavior issues, not participating, missing glasses, etc.
We are working on using the interpretation feature. The teacher needs to turn it on in the meeting settings and assign an interpreter at the beginning of the class (we just pick a language). The student can then select the interpretation channel and will hear the classroom teacher and the interpreter/TVI. Make sure that "mute original audio" is not selected! This is only a one-way communication (interpreter to student) and everyone in class will hear what the student says. We ask the student to give a discrete thumbs or thumbs down to let us know if she understood the directions (this will not work for visually impaired TVIs). The student can turn on interpretation when using JAWS by using the Tab key to navigate to "interpretation" or "more" and then "interpretation" while in the main Zoom window. The interpretation button is a drop down menu for selecting language.
We use a Walkie Talkie app. It works just like a walkie talkie and is great for low vision students. it can be on in the background of Zoom.
We make a phone call via Google . . . computer to computer. No phone required!