Blind Students and Technology

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Session Description
The presentation reports a case-study of a blind college student, Sameera, at the College of Languages and Translation (COLT). Sameera has an iPhone, an iPad and a laptop. She has a twitter, Facebook and Whats App accounts and can use Skype. She uses MS Office (WORD, Powrpoint…etc) and the university registration system. She uses a screen reader, i.e., text-to-speech software and the iPhone Voice Over App (a screen reader). In Addition, she has a notetaker (Braille Sense) that enables her to surf the internet, take notes in class, synchronize her calendar and contacts, and read silently through the use of a refreshable Braille display. She gives her Camera voice commands to take photos and writes captions for each photo. A navigation software for the blind helps her save places and locations. She gives it voice commands and it saves them. Sameera reported that the voice software helps her communicate with people better, especially when she uses What’s App and Skype. Since she takes listening and interpreting courses in the Multimedia Language Lab at the College, Sameera indicated that no screen reading software is available in the Multimedia Language Lab at COLT like HAL or JAWS. Everything is operated by the mouse NOT voice. The instructor does not wait for her either. Although she finds Braille Sense very useful, she cannot afford buying it. She borrows it from the Center for Special Needs Students at the university. Assitive technologies used by blind students, advantages and challenges will be reported in detail.
Reima Al-Jarf, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

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