Unge med blindheds brug og oplevelse af elektroniske punktnotatapparater

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With a trend towards ever-increasing digital self-service, digital learning environments and digitalization of society in general, it is necessary to consider how accessibility, in line with the Accessibility Directive, is ensured for the blind and visually impaired. Braille as written language is absolutely crucial for people with visual impairment, in order to get good literacy skills and hence access to e.g. digital self-services and learning environments and thereby education and jobs on par with people without visual impairment. The project stems from a finding that there is a lack of research-based knowledge about the practical use of refreshable Braille displays, from an interactional and ethnomethodological research approach.

This report is a presentation of the research project BrailleTech and its results. BrailleTech is an empirically based case study of five blind adults aged 18-22 years and their use of refreshable Braille displays in everyday life, both at home and in an institutional setting (school/work). The approach of the study is exploratory and the purpose of studying five cases in depth, is to gain a detailed view into which themes and perspectives each of the cases make relevant, when using their refreshable Braille displays. Furthermore, the study consists of a series of interviews with the network around the case persons, ie. parents, teachers, schoolmate, vision consultants, SPS teachers, support persons and actors in the field, including the Danish Association of the Blind (DAB), The Institute for the Blind and Partially Sighted (IBOS) and Low Vision International (LVI).

One of the main results of the research project is that the case persons all strongly consider the refreshable Braille display as an insufficient tool for several online activities. A major theme of this study is therefore the finding that the computer and smartphone, to a greater extent than the refreshable Braille display, are anchored as everyday “go-to technologies”. Yet still the refreshable Braille display is used for specific tasks, e.g. writing and reading in detail, and the cases show how the participants shift between devices which form a media ecology of inter
Furthermore, this study finds that when users are unable to access the school's teaching platforms or documents with the refreshable Braille display, they do not have the opportunity to act independently and hence rely on the help of their assistant. This means that they don’t have the same starting point for achieving learning, compared with their sighted classmates. The study moreover shows that another key barrier to ensuring learning for students with blindness, are the many transitions throughout the educational years and the replacements in the teaching staff, resulting in the loss of built-up skills and specialized knowledge.

Finally, this report presents several recommendations and points of attention for authorities and professionals, surrounding and supporting Braille readers. In summary, recommendations are that the refreshable Braille display must be able to access and navigate online learning platforms, and it must be secured that the students are equipped with updated and well-functioning devices. Another central point of attention amongst professionals should be the organization and sharing of knowledge, practical experiences and pedagogical understandings around Braille reading, the use of refreshable Braille displays and accessibility - with the aim of avoiding knowledge loss and fragmentation within the field. It is also a recommendation, that there is an ongoing dialogue with the schools about whether the general recommendations and educational policies are practiced, and whether there are difficulties that need to be addressed. Finally, this report argues that it would be beneficial if, as a supporting tool together with the work of the vision consultants, authorities set up a national advisory telephone or contact line with the overview of the field in Denmark, which can advise and forward the contact to the right actors within the field. This could serve as a way of accommodating the confusion and uncertainty amongst schools and teachers receiving a blind student for the first time, as well as function as a place that brings together relevant knowledge and actors within all aspects of the field of blindness and visual impairment in Denmark.
Original languageDanish
Place of PublicationCentre for Interaction Research and Communication Design
Number of pages74
ISBN (Electronic)978-87-93300-19-4
Publication statusPublished - 2022

ID: 314173404