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Requirements of a pedagogical software for the training of the visual function on people with low vision

School Years: Low Vision

Cristina Espadinha; Leonor Moniz Pereira

Assistente; Professora Catedrática

Departamento de Educação Especial e Reabilitação / Faculdade de Motricidade Humana

Estrada da Costa

1495-688 Cruz Quebrada

Portugal

cespadinha@fmh.utl.pt; lmpereira@fmh.utl.pt

 

This report resumes our work to achieve answers to the question: what are the requirements that needed to software makers produce pedagogical software satisfactory to train the visual function on low vision’s people.

According to Corn and Koenig (1996, 4)[1] a person with low vision is:

A person who has difficulty accomplishing visual tasks, even with prescribed corrective lenses, but who can enhance his or her ability to accomplish these tasks with the use of compensatory visual strategies, low vision and other devices, and environmental modifications.

In consequence, the low vision population is geographical disperse and heterogeneous with differences in their visual abilities, pathologies, age (including onset age), past experiences, personality, needs and expectations, i.e., with different specific support needs. Moreover, society nowadays has new barriers to the low vision population since it is vision oriented and it is computerized.

A computer can present accessibility difficulties although it can be a powerfully to be used as a complementary support instrument due to the easiness of adapting materials and resources (nevertheless, there are few products designed with that propose).

Reviewing these two aspects - low vision population characteristics and the potential use of computer resources in support – we outline our problem: identify the design features to be included in informatics products to rehabilitate low vision people. Yet it still remains another problem: how to answer the problem? It will be answer by exposing how the experience was carried out.

The first step was to elaborated and validated a survey with 111 questions organized in 5 different parts:

Afterwards, it was crucial identify the target professionals to be included in this study. In Portugal there are no data signalling the professionals linked with the rehabilitation of the visual function, it was necessary to go to different contexts, namely:

All contacts established to interview the professionals can be summarized as follow (table I):

Professionals types

 

Contacted persons

 

Interviewed persons

 

Technicians related to professional training or to rehabilitation of low vision persons

 

18

 

18

 

Professionals from low vision hospitals teams

 

7

 

7

 

Support teachers of visual impaired children/young

 

73

 

51

 

Other professionals

 

4

 

4

 

Totals

 

102

 

80

 

Table I – Professionals contacted and interview in this study

The final sample was constitute by 78 individuals (two were discarded after incoherencies with their answers), and their characterization can be synthesized as:

The data collected was analysed according statistics procedures, specifically descriptive statistic techniques. It was observed:

The statistic treatment was made to respond to the following hypothesis:

As you can imagine, the collected and analysed data was abundant and that’s why today it only will be presented some information describing the representative hypothesis: the professionals’ opinion varies according to different characterization indicators, in classifying the specific software requisites that allow visual function training using a computer.

To respond hypothesis, we analysed the query answers related to:

Professionals could choose between six different classifications to answer the requisites questions:

Question

 

No opinion

 

Obsta-cle

 

Dispensable

 

Interesting

 

Important

 

Indispensa-ble

 

Frequencies

 

%

 

Frequencies

 

%

 

Frequencies

 

%

 

Frequencies

 

%

 

Frequencies

 

%

 

Frequencies

 

%

 
35 - allows creating new contents
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9

 

11.5%

 

47

 

60.3%

 

22

 

28.2%

 

38 - compatible hardware

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

 

5.1%

 

39

 

50%

 

35

 

44.9%

 
39 - specific software compatibility
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

 

2.6%

 

31

 

39.7%

 

45

 

57.7%

 

100 - characters features adjustment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

 

3.8%

 

18

 

23.1%

 

57

 

73.1%

 

101 - text colours/textures adjustment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

 

3.8%

 

25

 

32.1%

 

50

 

64.1%

 

102 - character/line spacing adjustment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

 

5.1%

 

25

 

32.1%

 

49

 

62.8%

 

103 - object colour adjustment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

 

5%

 

39

 

50%

 

35

 

44.9%

 

104 - object contour adjustment

 

1

 

1.3%

 

 

 

1

 

1.3%

 

5

 

6.4%

 

35

 

44.9%

 

36

 

46.2%

 

105 - object colour adjustment

 

1

 

1.3%

 

 

 

 

 

4

 

5.1%

 

28

 

35.9%

 

45

 

57.7%

 

106 - adjust objects proximity

 

2

 

2.6%

 

 

 

1

 

1.3%

 

8

 

10.3%

 

40

 

51.3%

 

27

 

34.6%

 

107 - overlaying objects

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

1.3%

 

14

 

17.9%

 

40

 

51.3%

 

23

 

29.5%

 

108 - objects re-orientation

 

 

 

 

 

2

 

2.6%

 

11

 

14.1%

 

42

 

53.8%

 

23

 

29.5%

 

109 - objects re-dimension

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8

 

10.3%

 

38

 

48.7%

 

32

 

41%

 

110 - objects moving

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10

 

12.8%

 

39

 

50%

 

29

 

37.2%

 

111 - objects in motion

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

1.3%

 

15

 

19.2%

 

35

 

44.9%

 

27

 

34.6%

 

Table II – Percentages of professionals’ answers relating the specific software requisites classification.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As table II illustrate majority of requisites were classified as important, although the professionals consensually grade as indispensable requisites the text features, the colour adjustment and specific software compatibility.

    

Question
 

Academic Studies

 

Specialized Studies

 

Working Experience

 

Supporting VI - years

 
Total nr VI supported
 
35 - allows creating new contents
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

38 - compatible hardware

 

 

 

 

.012   (.05)

 

 

39 - specific software compatibility

 

 

 

 

.019   (.05)

 

.48   (.05)

 
100 - characters features adjustment
 

.014   (.05)

 

 

 

 

 

101 - text colours and textures adjustment

 

 

 

 

.043   (.05)

 

 

102 - character and line spacing adjustment

 

 

 

 

 

 

103 - object colour adjustment

 

 

.036   (.05)

 

 

.034   (.05)

 

 

104 - object contour adjustment

 

 

 

 

.029   (.05)

 

 

105 - object colour adjustment

 

 

 

 

 

 

106 - adjust objects proximity

 

 

 

.020   (.05)

 

.015   (.05)

 

 

107 - overlaying objects

 

 

 

 

 

 

108 - objects re-orientation

 

 

 

 

 

 

109 - objects re-dimension

 

 

 

 

 

 

110 - objects moving

 

 

 

.016   (.05)

 

 

 

111 - objects in motion

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table III – Correlations between specific software requisites classification and sample profile.

It can be observed, in table III, the positive correlations between questions and characterization features. It can be outlined that the number of years supporting visual impaired individuals seems to be the most important feature to generate correlations. These were constant results in the study, along with other findings which contribute to the conclusions withdrawal. 

Summarizing all data collect by the survey, the three main indicators that seemed to influence the answers were:

After data analysis, two main conclusions were highlighted: Portuguese professionals profile and high valorisation of most indicators. In spite the professionals interviewed represented the Portuguese reality, they were the foremost limitation within this study (the majority had low expertise and low experience in visual impairment support). Regarding the valorisation of general requisites professionals’ majority has the same opinion (important or indispensable). The same opinion is shared concerning the specific requisites that allow the software use to visual function training in a learning environment. The only subject that was not consensus was the possibility of software use autonomously.

It is recommended, in future studies, to pursue the designing of guidelines to produce software to be used by low vision persons. Furthermore it is important develop and test software to visual efficiency training in low vision according to identified criteria. Finally, in Portugal it is imperative to rethink the training of visual impairment specialized professionals.    

   



[1] Corn, A. L.; Koenig, A. J. (1996). Perspectives on Low Vision. In A. L Corn. & A. J.  Koenig (Ed.). Foundations of Low Vision: Clinical and Functional Perspectives. New York: AFB Press, pp. 3 – 25.


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