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Inclusive Website Accessibility Project: Accessing The Websites by Blind And Deaf Persons

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION: From left : Georgian Auma (student, deaf), Felix Mainda (computer instructor), Georbert Athoo (computer instructor), Christine Awour (Intern, totally blind), Mildred (vocational instructor, sign language communicator)

 

         Written by: Felix O. Mainda, inABLE Kenya, Assistive Technology Instructor

From the start, inABLE has been on the educational front line in Kenya introducing and installing assistive computer technology environments at in-need schools for the blind. Now, our innovative, yet flexible, organization has taken on another major undertaking to achieve inclusive usage of the touch screen iPads by the totally blind pupils. This trailblazing accessibility project has left no stone unturned.

Participants

All inABLE instructors, together with the totally blind intern Christine Awuor, totally deaf student Georgian and Sign Language Instructor Madam Mildred have worked collaboratively to make this accessibility project very successful with the use of the available screen reader that reads out texts on the screen.

Objective

The organization’s objective is to render information technology to all, including the blind and those with other special needs in Africa and around the world. Evaluating Accessibility The instructors, interns and the students evaluate the accessibility by carrying out a test case scenario using the World Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

Why is this important?

Accessibility in this regard is very important because it enables people with visual, hearing and other special needs disabilities to access and obtain any information from the Internet through websites. It’s essential in this information age to make sure that no one capable and interested in using the Internet is left behind.

iPad Enthusiasm Propels Students to Learn Computer Technology

May 22, 2015

How does a person who is blind use an iPad? It’s a simple question that both sighted and blind people frequently ask. The answer: With assistive technology.

The iPad is a visual device that utilizes touch screen technology, which offers no physical feedback. Apple solves this problem for the blind or low vision person with Voice Over, an advanced screen reader assistive technology. As well as, Siri and Dictation to help blind users type, launch apps, and read calendar.

Once Voice Over is activated, a user places a finger on the screen and runs it along the screen's surface. Whenever the finger runs above an icon or static text, Voice Over will read it out loud. What exactly does it read? Everything! A screen reader not only tells users what is visually displayed on the iPad touch screen it also gives information about buttons, links, text attributes, and even describes the iPad holding position. When the user finds what they are looking for, they double-tap and the app, link, setting, etc is activated.

inABLE students at the seven assistive technology computer labs at Thika Primary School for the Blind, Thika High School for the Blind, St. Oda Primary School for the Blind, St. Lucy Primary School for the Blind, and St. Lucy High School for the Blind are becoming familiar with the iPad screen layout and device navigation.

Additionally, over 60 kids participated in a 7-day book camp to improve their iPad navigation skills at the inaugural Peer-to-Peer Training Computer Technology Camp hosted by inABLE on April 20-25 at the Thika Primary & High School for the Blind.

To appreciate the response to iPad learning, please read the student notes below:

Collins Maikuva:   “These iPad are good to us. I have discovered that a blind person using an iPad is not hard. Our teachers are very encouraging. Learning iPad has a lot of benefits like increasing our knowledge about technology, encouraging our hope on technology, and giving us world access network. I have taken notes on everything and when I buy an iPad for myself am sure I will be able to use it.”

Rebecca Waithera:   “On Monday morning [at the inABLE technology camp] I was very happy to have iPad in my hands. It was my first time to learn iPad, I did not understand how a blind person can use iPad without sight. I thank God for giving me this chance to be in Thika learning iPad. In iPad I have learned many commands that you must use for your iPad. It’s not hard to be taught iPad.

The training of iPad is making us feel accepted in our world, mostly in our country Kenya. InABLE- thank you for giving us good instructors. We can understand them well and they are ready to help us any time there is a problem in learning.”

David Mutugi:   “I just can’t hesitate to say that am very pleased with the iPad lessons we are taking here at Thika. They are both interesting and fun. The new updates we are being given about the changing technology are so much impressing. The teachers teaching us are professionally trained, understanding and cheerful. In fact I couldn’t believe that I can use touch to operate an iPad until it was practically proved to me.”

 

Full House at inABLE Computer-Technology Camp in Thika Kenya

This week inABLE-Kenya had the privilege of hosting 90-100 students from four inABLE computer lab sites— St. Lucy Primary School for the Blind in Meru, St. Oda Primary School for the Blind in Kisumu and Thika Primary and High Schools for the Blind — to kick-off innovative holiday-break computer-education camp experience.

While inABLE has already successfully implemented its assistive technology computers lab program for the blind at all these four schools, this weeklong computer skills camp gives students and faculty more time to interact with and learn to use a variety of computer devices.

This first-ever technology-education camp with a peer-to-peer computer-training focus has been generously funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, General Electric, Access Kenya LTD., Safaricom Foundation and Blackboard Inc. Participating students, who are at different computer skill levels, have also been encouraged to share their computer knowledge and mentor peers.

 

This computer technology boot camp program, includes:

1) iPad training

2) Research and web navigation

3) Typing skills

4) Employable skills training

•            Web Design (HTML basic coding techniques for static pages)

•            Web Accessibility Evaluation (Identify if websites are accessible to persons with disabilities)

•            Cisco IT Essentials (Troubleshooting skills on both hardware and software)

 

 

           

 

 

 

 

 

Paralysis, Total Blindness and Physical Handicap Will Not Deter Student’s Computer-Technology Education

Whitney Akinyi participates in a computer skills lesson in the lab

[PHOTO CAPTION: The totally blind and paralyzed Whitney Akinyi participates in a computer –skills lesson with inABLE Computer Instructor Georbert Athoo, as her Mother looks on.]

      Written by: Georbert Athoo, inABLE Assistive Technology Instructor

 14-year old Whitney Akinyi's pushes herself to master new computer skills with intense determination, despite multiple disabilities. Upon losing here sight at age nine in class four, Whitney had to begin her education all over again from nursery school to learn Braille. In addition, Whitney has left-side paralysis which requires right-hand only computer adaptation.

After staying at home for five years in total blindness, Whitney’s interest in learning was not lost. She works diligently to complete new braille lessons, as well as the inABLE computer program curriculum.

Whitney’s passion for her computer education grows daily. Whenever her mother comes to the school for a visit, Whitney eagerly demonstrates her newest computer skills.

The strength and persistence that Whitney displays is remarkable. Her computer learning progress exemplifies how computer labs at special needs schools enhance the learning opportunities for a wide-range of students.

Sign Language Support Helps Deaf Students Learn Computer Skills at inABLE St. Oda School for the Blind Location

Student Dinna Atieno, Computer Instructor Georbert Athoo, Deaf instructor Mildred Ajwang Deaf Instructor Mary Juma

[Photo caption: From left: Deaf/ unable to speak student Dinna Atieno, computer instructor Georbert Athoo (in white top), deaf instructor Mildred Ajwang and deaf/unable to speak instructor Mary Juma (in red skirt) assisting the computer instructor to assess the pupil in a computer examination room through sign language.]

Written by: inABLE Computer Instructor Georbert Athoo

inABLE’s computer technology program at the St Oda School for the Blind has been successfully adapted to accommodate students with hearing impairments. These new beneficiaries of the inABLE computer-lab-for-the blind program have inspired a cooperative teaching approach.

Our four totally deaf students—Nereah Awino, Gorrety Awino, Caren Awuor and Dinna Atieno—are now learning fundamental computer skills by way of sign language communication combined with enlarged screen display.

St. Oda teachers, who use sigh language to communicate with students during both training and examination, support our computer instructors during training and oral examinations. For instance, one of the practical examinations is done orally with all computer-devices laid on the table. After completing this oral tests these students practically operate the computer and manage different applications, like Microsoft Word and Math Flash, with ease.

By focusing on what is best for the student, inABLE is now able to better serve a wider-range of special needs students. It is a privilege to work side-by-side with St. Oda’s teachers to enhance the education of deaf students with computer technology training.

We are quite proud to tell you that all four students excelled in their examinations!