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Friday, November 21 • 11:30am - 12:00pm
Web-based open learning tools for the blind

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The movement to open up courseware has largely omitted the needs of those of us who are blind. My development work for more than 20 years has focused on learning materials for foreign language learning, including textbooks and drill and practice software.

In collaboration with a technical university in Austria, I developed an HTML5-based drill and practice program with the ability to toggle between a visual interface and an audio interface. The environment has a two level menu and in the visual mode, the user is provided with a text and audio prompt , and the option for graphics. The same content is used for the audio interface with the audio as the active components. Other than a passive learning environment where the learner hears the prompt and response, there is the option to also type the answer.

The development is currently being tested with blind users in Wisconsin and South Africa. The same environment is also used by sighted learners, who can opt to use the visual interface or toggle to the audio interface.

In initial trials, I have noticed that the interactive audio interface has specific benefits for sighted learners as well. Student are compelled to focus more on the activity and their concentration is greatly increased. This offers an exciting research opportunity with this novel design.

The environment is free and open to learners and options are being explored to engage more content developers.

Speakers
avatar for Jacques du Plessis

Jacques du Plessis

President, National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages
* Develop open courseware since 2004 for less commonly taught languages | (www.afrikaans.us). | * Currently developing open HTML5 learning tools for the blind. | (http://www.flexitutor.com/eargear/html/) | * Interested in learning about success in getting universities to adopt open | textbooks.


Friday November 21, 2014 11:30am - 12:00pm
Virginia Ballroom

Attendees (20)