USABILITY OF BRAILLE AND AUDIO OUTPUT TECHNOLOGIES FOR CHILDREN WITH VISUAL IMPAIRMENTS
515 Kimball Tower
Day Phone: 7162284213
Dr. James Lenker
University at Buffalo, State University of New York Street
515 Kimball Tower
Day Phone: 7168293141
This paper investigates the usability and impact of Braille and audio output technologies for comprehension abilities of K—l2 students with visual impairments or blindness for persons with visual impairments or blindness, Braille is a versatile reading and writing medium either used alone or as a complement to print. A large quantity of print books and periodicals can also be accessed through the use of computers and scanners with optical character recognition (OCR) technology, which are ultimately “read” using screen reading software. This assures that students can effectively listen to text in circumstances when it is not present in Braille. To date however, there has been little research comparing the usability of these two reading modalities for children with visual impairments.
The current study compares reading comprehension of children using Braille as compared to reading using an audio output device. We also explore the academic situations for which children show preference to a particular mode of reading. The knowledge obtained from this study will improve our understanding of the role and significance of the two modes of reading on the child’s academic performance and daily functioning.
The purpose of this study is to investigate the usability and impact of two modes of output for students with visual impairments or blindness.
The research questions for this study are
1) Is there a difference in the comprehension abilities of students with visual
impairments or blindness when they read using Braille as compared to listening to
2) Do the students prefer one mode over the other? what are the reasons for these preferences?
3) is there a correlation in the student’s preference of a particular mode and their level of satisfaction usin9 that mode?
4) Is there a correlation in the student’s preference of a particular mode and their performance on the reading comprehension test using that mode?
S) Are the students’ reported preferences similar to the perceptions of their teachers and parents?
This study will involve students with visual impairments or blindness 5 to 18 years of age. A purposive sampling method will be used to recruit participants from two sources: (a) students who participated in the ‘Instant Access to Braille’ project at the Center for Assistive Technology (CAT), at University at
A within-groups design will be used to compare each participant’s performance and usability preferences for the two AT interventions. The independent variable is the mode of output, which has two levels, Braille and Audio. The dependent variables are reading comprehension, user satisfaction with device, and preferences for output mode based on task.
Brigance Comprehensive Inventory of Basic Skills
The BriQance comprehensive Inventory of Basic skills- Revised (cIBS-R) measures reading and listening comprehension of students. It was developed in 1978 by Albert Brigance and revised in 1999. It is criterion-referenced and assessments are based on curriculum content and objectives. It consists of subtests that assess various areas of a student’s functioning like readiness, speech, listening, writing, math, and etcetera.
A Braille edition for the CIBSR was designed by the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) in 1999. This edition comprises of 23 subtests with l4 Braille modules. (http://sun1.aph.org/starweb/APHBLLouis/servlet.starweb).
This test has different forms that assess academic skills of students depending on their grade levels. Form c assesses the listening comprehension levels of participants when using audio output devices. Form F, in hard copy Braille format, will be used to assess the student’s reading comprehension.
Quebec User Evaluation of satisfaction with Assistive Technolo9y (QUEST)
The Quebec User Evaluation of Satisfaction with assistive Technolo9y (QUEST) version 2.0 measures user satisfaction with AT devices and associated services. The QUEST includes a device sub-scale (8 items) and a services sub-scale (4 items). Each of the 12 items is rated on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 indicates “not satisfied at all” and 5 indicates “very satisfied”. Demers, Monette, Lapierre,
This questionnaire comprises of the following data: (a) demographic information about the assistive device bein9 used, (b) user preferences for Braille and audio output for general use and specific subject areas, and (c) usability of each mode of output. The questionnaire items use a Likert-like scale to capture information about everyday usage, ease of use, device preference for different tasks and frequency of device usage.
Parent and TVI Questionnaires
Additional questionnaires will be used to capture parent and TVI perspectives, respectively. Each will focus on student preferences for and performance using, the two output modes.
At the onset, the student takes form F of the cIBs-R, which is in hard copy Braille. This assesses the student’s reading comprehension abilities and his/her amount of retention. Following this, the student takes Form c of the cIBS-R, which is in audio format and answers the questions presented thereafter. In order to identify the most appropriate grade level for testing each participant, the student s TVI will be consulted to ascertain the level at which he/she is functioning. Raw scores will be calculated based on the student’s performance. Following this, the examiner verbally reads out the QUEST questionnaire to the student, once for Braille and once for Audio, and notes down the responses. This gives us an idea of the satisfaction level of the student with respect to both the modes of output. Following this, the student is given the student questionnaire to fill out in electronic format, which addresses different issues regarding Braille use vs. Audio output prefer parent and teacher perspectives will be queried using the parent and teacher questionnaire respectively.
Research question 1: “Is there a difference in the reading comprehension abilities of students with visual impairments or blindness when they read using Braille as compared to listening to the text?”
Research question 1 will be analyzed using a paired t-test which will compare the reading comprehension scores of students using Braille and audio outputs
Research question 2: “DO the students prefer one mode over the other? What are the reasons for these preferences?”
Research question 2 will be analyzed using an independent t-test. The number of
Braille and audio responses will be counted and compared. Research question 3: “Is there a correlation in the student’s preference of a particular mode and their level of satisfaction using that mode?”
Research question 3 will be analyzed using a Pearson product moment correlation coefficient that will correlate the responses obtained on the student questionnaire and the QUEST. This will help to analyze the correlation between the child’s preferred mode of reading and his/her satisfaction with that mode.
Research question 4: “Is there a correlation in the student’s preference of a particular mode and their performance on the reading comprehension test using that mode?”
Research question 4 will be analyzed using a Pearson product moment correlation which will correlate the responses obtained on the student questionnaire and the Brigance CIBSR.
Research question 5: “Are the students’ reported preferences similar to the perceptions of their teachers and parents?”
Research question 5 will be analyzed using the wilcoxon signed-Ranks Test, which will compare the responses on the student, parent and TVI questionnaire.
At the time of proposal submission, data collection for this study had not yet begun. The results will be completed in time for presentation and discussion at the CSUN conferences. This study will compare the differences in comprehension abilities for students using Braille and Audio output, respectively as reading methods. The results will determine the everyday viability of each output mode for students with visual impairments and blindness. This information will yield new insights about the functional rationale for student choices between two commonly recommended input alternatives. In effect, this study will enable practitioners to improve recommendations of these devices for students with low vision.
This study has two principal limitations: (a) the sample size of 26 limits the generalizability of results, and (b) this study evaluates the effectiveness of
a Braille and audio output only for comprehension. Hence the results may not apply to other learning skills like spelling, grammar skills, math skills and, problem solving.
American Printing House for the Blind. A student Braille edition for the CIBS-R. Retrieved on July 14, 2005 from
(http : //sunl. aph . org/starweb/APHBLL0ui s/servl et. starweb)
curriculum Associates. The cIBs-R. Retrieved on July 14, 2005, from
(http:wwwcul.. asptopi cT0A&sub=TOA2&ti tl e=br i gci bs&Type=scH&custld=
Demers, L., Monette, M., Lapierre, Y., Arnold, D. L., & wolfson, c.
(2002).Reliability, validity, and Applicability of the Quebec User
Evaluation of satisfaction with Assistive Technolo9y (QUEST 2.0) for adults with
multiple sclerosis. Disability and Rehabilitation, 24, 21-30.