About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 5029-5031
Publication year: 2011
ISBN: 978-84-614-7423-3
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2011
Location: Valencia, Spain

A STUDY OF ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY USE BY STUDENTS WITH VISUAL IMPAIRMENTS IN SINGAPORE

L. Cohen1, M.E. Wong2, D. Tan2

1James Cook University Singapore (SINGAPORE)
2National Institute of Education (SINGAPORE)
Assistive technologies enable individuals who are visually impaired to write and edit papers, conduct research, gain access to information, communicate and develop job skills (Abner & Lahm, 2002). No matter the diversity of learning needs, technology features prominently in the lives of persons with visual impairments and its utility is not only key to bridging visual impairment, but also as an integral part of life in Singapore. This study is particularly pertinent given that Singapore is ranked the world’s second most networked economy (Global Information Technology Report, 2010) and evidence show students with visual impairments are not adequately equipped in skills in assistive technology (Wong & Cohen, in submission).

The primary research questions are:
1. In what ways do students with visual difficulties respond to an on-going intervention regarding the use of assistive technology?
2. What are the enablers and barriers to the use of assistive technology by students with visual impairments?

This study describes the introduction and implementation of assistive technologies in a special school for primary-age students with visual difficulties. The observation framework is grounded in the research literature of design ethnography (Barab, Thomas, Dodge, Squire, & Newell, 2004; Barab & Roth, 2006). Despite research-based evidence on the benefits of using assistive technology by students with visual difficulties, a special school in Singapore had not used assistive technologies until 2009 when researchers introduced assistive technology to students and teachers. A series of training sessions in using assistive technology were conducted for students with visual difficulties and their teachers. Observations were conducted to understand how students use assistive technologies during and after the training sessions. Observations were coded and reviewed by three researchers. The video records were supplemented by field notes of the same lessons taken by researchers as in situ observers.

The results revealed that the majority of students and their teachers were not using nor had much knowledge of assistive technologies. Although Singapore is a country in which technologies are pervasive and intensively utilized by most of the population, students and their teachers lack access to training and relevant technologies, particularly technologies that support teaching, learning, and employment. On-going trainings of teachers demonstrated that assistive technologies can be incrementally integrated into the school curricula. Implications for interventions and potential changes in policies and practices are discussed. The results of this study are a unique contribution to the research literature on assistive technology use in Southeast Asia.
@InProceedings{COHEN2011AST,
author = {Cohen, L. and Wong, M.E. and Tan, D.},
title = {A STUDY OF ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY USE BY STUDENTS WITH VISUAL IMPAIRMENTS IN SINGAPORE},
series = {5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2011 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-614-7423-3},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {7-9 March, 2011},
year = {2011},
pages = {5029-5031}}
TY - CONF
AU - L. Cohen AU - M.E. Wong AU - D. Tan
TI - A STUDY OF ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY USE BY STUDENTS WITH VISUAL IMPAIRMENTS IN SINGAPORE
SN - 978-84-614-7423-3/2340-1079
PY - 2011
Y1 - 7-9 March, 2011
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2011 Proceedings
SP - 5029
EP - 5031
ER -
L. Cohen, M.E. Wong, D. Tan (2011) A STUDY OF ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY USE BY STUDENTS WITH VISUAL IMPAIRMENTS IN SINGAPORE, INTED2011 Proceedings, pp. 5029-5031.
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