Virtual learning for persons with visual impairment: an exploration of learning platform in a home environment from UTH special school in Lusaka, Zambia.
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The purpose of this study was to explore the accessibility of virtual learning platforms for person with visual impairment in a home environment. The study was purely qualitative in nature and took the form of a case study and interview guide and Focus Group Discussion were used to generate data. Purposive sampling was used to sample fifteen participants who took part in the study, who comprised of one head teacher, seven parents and seven learners with visual impairment. The responses from semi-structured interviews and Focus Group Discussion were analyzed qualitatively using thematic analysis. Emergent from this study were a host of findings among which included: availability of computers and smart phone with screen readers and installed WhatsApp, Zoom, Google Meet/ Classroom or Email used to access virtual learning. In addition, radio and television were used by learners. Further, it was revealed that a child with visual impairment require computers with JAWS, smart phones with speech reader and readily available internet facility, some radios and TVs to access and benefit from the virtual learning environment at home. The study found accessibility of virtual learning in a home environment depended on internet connectivity and having rightful gadgets which were user-friendly to individual with visual impairment as well as low socio-economic background as it determined the purchasing power. Furthermore, challenges faced included: children lack of computers and phones with bundles to go online, poor internet connectivity and unconducive home environment. Equally, it was revealed that parents needed social-support and financial support from well-wishers and government to support them with ICT gadgets specifically designed for children with visual impairment. Besides, they needed internet services and with ITC gadgets instilled with speech readers or JAWS. Thus, the study suggested that teacher could start using video and audio-conferencing teaching, open up virtual resources Centre for learners to log-on and chat or download work, to strength the collaboration between teacher and parents and lowering prices on ICT equipment for the visually impaired. It is recommended that an awareness raising campaign on parents to know the available user-friendly ICTs and assistive technology facilities for the visually impaired children to access virtual learning at home. Parent should shoulder their responsibilities of providing appropriate state-of-the-art ICT-based facilities like computer, smart phones and access to internet connectivity to enable the children with visual impairment access and use virtual learning at home.
The University of Zambia
SubjectChildren with disabilities--Zambia--Education.
People with disabilities--Zambia--Education.
People with visual disabilities--Juvenile literature.