The target population is going to increase, the population pyramid points to investment, so more elderly people will require the use of electro-optical aids and vision support products with greater incidence. The current technological trend is aimed at developing more software for the mobile phone and the personal computer, as well as tele-loupes and luminous warnings.
Students with vision difficulties in the classroom show situations ranging from low vision to blindness . Blindness implies the absence of vision. However, most blind people retain useful visual remnants.
- A person is legally blind when affected in the best vision eye, at least 1/10, visual acuity on the Wecker scale (0.1) after the best optical correction and/or the 10º visual field reduction or more, in Spain (for members of the ONCE). In other areas, visual acuity is managed from 0.3 to consider a blind person (WHO), or depending on the visual rest 0.4 if we talk about amblyopia.
- On the other hand, the area between normal vision and total blindness is called Low Vision . For Corn (1989) is associated with a vision, which with standard correction, prevents a person from planning or visually executing a task, but improves the operation through the use of aids, optical or non-optical, adaptations of the environment or employment of techniques.
The visual impairment of the students can be partial or total, implying a loss of functional vision that entails, among other needs:
- get to know in a guided way the usual environments (through volunteers, guide dogs, etc.),
- the adaptation of the job and/or study,
- the adaptation of printed texts ,
- the use of audio recorders and/or multiple support products to access information
The relationship in the classroom
Sighted people have a lot doubts when it comes to people with visual problems in terms of how to relate and communicate with them. ONCE gives us some indications in its Relationship and Communication guide.
It is always recommended that the student's location in the classroom is close to the teacher, so that a quality auditory perception is favored . You can reserve a place in the first rows of the classroom by placing a sticker on the desk that we have in the CAE or asking the classmates to give you the most appropriate position.
Verbal communication is the fundamental way through which they access a large part of the visual information of their environment. It is convenient to use the vocabulary with normality, expressions like "look", "see" or "blind" are usually used by people with visual impairment. Verbal descriptions of charts, diagrams and powerpoint presentations are necessary to facilitate the understanding of the explanations.
It is also possible to adapt printed materials . They should be provided with enough time, ideally before the classes. Sometimes enlarging the size of these documents should be enough, in others cases instead, it will be necessary to transcribe to Braille , or to electronic format ( through OCR ), or to allow audio recordings . ONCE has some Recommendations to present printed texts accessible to people with visual impairment.
Podcasts, video recordings (Flipped classroom), MOOCS, virtual tutorials, are widely beneficial
There is no doubt that today new technologies are fundamental in our lives. Well, in the case of these students is one of the most important ways of teacher-student-environment communication. The electronic mail and the virtual campus , also all digital materials such as pdf documents, word, powerpoint presentations, latex, etc., that are made available to the student are potentially accessible through browsers and/or specific adaptation programs.
- Guidelines for the design of Accessible Educational Environments
The guidelines for the design of educational environments of the ONCE , are the result of the work of the ONCE in collaboration with other organizations and have as their aim to be a guide and reference of all those professionals involved in the design and development of these platforms so that they are accessible and usable by students with any type of visual disability.
- Curricular adaptation strategies. The relationship in the classroom. Innovations
Pioneers in our university and a reference for the rest of Spanish universities, are the tactile digital whiteboards and tablets PC , applied to the teaching of people with reduced vision. The satisfaction of the experiences carried out, the degree of motivation of the teaching staff, the students with difficulties and the students in general, give us enough guarantees to strongly recommend the use of this material.
In others, the exploitation of existing resources, such as video conferencing applications through telematic networks combined with character extension programs, can also be interesting for teaching applications.
The examination tests
The transcription of the text to the Braille format is recommended, if its extension and complexity does not suggest a simple dictation. For the translation we have the invaluable collaboration of the ONCE. Fully guaranteeing the confidentiality of the process. But, taking into account that it must be sent at least 10 days before the desired date.
For the student to take the exam, in certain cases it will be inevitable to use the Braille'n'Speak or a compatible and adapted PC computer . In the first case, it can be requested in the moments prior to the beginning and in public that the memory of the electronic notepad or Braille'n'Speak (PC Speaking) is erased. When finished, the student will give us a disk with the copy of the answers (How to see the exercise delivered by the student?). If for technical reasons it is not possible we can request the students to give us their notepads until they are solved. In the second case, it will be answered in Word format or another one that allows its later revision.
In the case of exams with mathematical calculations , we have the BLAT and TALP (mat) programs, developed by Carles Sadurní, for the Braille-Tinta translation and vice versa. This application requires entering the formulas following the notation of LaTeX (advanced management), Derive, ASCIIMathML (to write math in a simple way through the computer, free distribution, you can write and see the result "on the fly"), as for example: "the Pythagorean theorem states that h ^ 2 = c_1 ^ 2 + c_2 ^ 2". The adaptation of José María Fernández and Domingo Martínez of the program is online in Braille Online Mathematical Editor (see introduction). In addition, ONCE in a European consortium developed the mathematical editor Lambda (Linear Access to Mathematics for Braille Devices and Audio-synthesis). Most important features of the lambda editor.
Sometimes students prefer to take oral exams
- Exam timing
Reading time is longer for people who are blind or have vision problems because it is a sequential reading. Students have to carry out multiple readings to locate the information that others in a "sweep" of sight achieve. Depending on the complexity of the test, it is always advisable to leave a minimum of 50% more time to allow reviewing the answers.
- Lambda Project. Linear Access to Mathematic for Braille Device and Audio-synthesis . ONCE [oNLINE RESOURCES]
- Servicios Sociales. Documentación y publicaciones sobre discapacidad visual . ONCE [ONLIne RESOURCES]
- Servicios Sociales. Discapacidad visual: Aspectos generales . ONCE [ONLIne RESOURCES]