Practices of Assistive Technology Implementation and Facilitation: Experiences of Teachers of Students with Visual Impairment in Singapore

Project Number
OER 25/12 WME

Project Duration
February 2013 - September 2015

Status
Completed

Abstract
All students with visual impairments should have appropriate instruction in the use of blindness and low vision specific assistive technology by an educator. Instruction should be goal-oriented; focused on academic, vocational, and independent living skills; and should build on a hierarchy of skills. Logistical constraints must not impede access to assistive technology and appropriate instruction in the use of assistive technology for all students with visual impairments (Smith, Kelly & Kapperman, 2011). Initial OER-funded research investigated assistive technology use amongst teachers of students with visual impairments and their students. Findings revealed serious gaps in students' skills and knowledge in assistive technology. As investigations also focus on teachers, it was apparent that the gaps in student knowledge were attributable to the teachers' lack of exposure to training and knowledge of assistive technology. The consequences were inconsistencies in delivery of instruction and practice; which depended on informal sources of support from more-knowledgeable peers from within school and familial networks. Without adequate process of assistive technology provision, teachers were unable to effectively select and apply assistive technology to meet the academic and special needs of their students (Wong & Cohen, 2011). This research study will provide baseline information about the process by which teachers determine, administer, train, implement and monitor assistive technology using the Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative (WATI) framework as a guide. Given the diversity of assistive technology available, this research will also understand the necessary collaborative relationship with stakeholders in facilitating assistive technology for students with visual impairments.

Research Themes
Children at Risk (Disability/Disorder)

Funding Source
NIE

Related Links
SingTeach Issue 41 2013: Working for Students with Special Needs
SingTeach Issue 55 2015: Learning with Assistive Technology

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