In just Columbia alone, there are 1.9 million individuals who are visually impaired, and the majority are uneducated due to the lack of financial means and access to inclusive educational programs. It is important to ensure that the visual disabled get the same education as the rest of society, and through technology, it can be accomplished.
A team of members from the IEEE Columbian Caribbean section is working to raise awareness towards the inclusion of people with visual impairments in English learning. They are working to accomplish this through the creation of a mobile application that is inclusive of all visual impairments and allows each student to learn without restriction.
The basis of their solution is based on Vygotsky’s approach to the visually impaired, which is through inclusion and focuses on addressing the student’s strengths rather than weaknesses. Their English learning mobile application is to be accessible to everyone, not just addressing one type of visual impairment but rather a combination of all needs.
A universal application for English learning will be designed using the concepts of Total Physical Response and Natural Approach. These concepts have been proven successful and will be of great use, especially while in the pandemic and learning from a distance. It will also be used during in-person learning because the app will be a bridge for communication, so the visually impaired are able to participate without relying on another student.
The project plan is broken into five phases starting with the design of the technical and inclusion requirements for the app and ending with a project evaluation, which will be conducted with the Institución Educativa Distrital La Magdalena (INSEDMAG). This school has a history of helping disabled students, especially those with visual impairments, which is why they will be developing the project here. They will also be working with Fundave, a foundation in Barranquilla that works with visually impaired people living within the city.
EPICS in IEEE (Fischer-Mertel Community of Projects) has granted the team $5,000.00 to start designing their mobile application, which will be a major advancement in English learning for the visually impaired.
View a student spotlight from this project here!