Tablet technology adapted for the blind

We’ve already seen countless examples of how technology, particularly cheaper hybrids like tablets, have helped healthcare and business for the under-resourced developing world.  Now there’s much promise for visually-impaired people to unlock the assistance of the world of technology that was previously unavailable to them.

Bloomberg Business Week recently covered a story detailing intensive iPad training for teaching blind students, undertaken by a group of American educators.  Lead by Ed Summers, himself blind, the group learnt how to control iPads using hand gestures and voice control, in order to pass these teachings onto visually-impaired students and allow them to participate with technology as other students do.

Summers, Head of Accessibility at the SAS Institute, seeks to help blind students use the tablet to complete homework, conduct research and communicate with teachers and friends in the same way that seeing students are able.  Summers’ goal to help make technology more available to special-needs individuals will see tablet-based updates and teaching models to the traditional Braille attachments already used for computers.  With the global education industry using iPads increasingly as part of their formal education plan, these workshops will be invaluable in integrating blind scholars with their peers in and outside of the classroom.  The workshops are still in the early stages but hundreds of education professionals have completed training and with manuals and guides created for the course, these teachings will hopefully find their way around the globe.


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