Providing Learning Support for Blind or Visually Impaired Students Undertaking Fieldwork and Related Activities

Preparations

Video and multimedia

Video has traditionally been used in geographical teaching as a means of introducing students to elements of places and peoples that it might not be feasible to encounter at first hand. In relation to fieldcourses, video can be used not only to introduce students to some of main the characteristics of the study area, but it can also be used by the students themselves as a field study tool, recording interviews with key local informants, or creating a video 'poster' for assessment purposes.

On the surface, the viewing and creating of videos would appear to be totally unsuited to visually impaired students. However, this need not necessarily be the case, because many blind and visually impaired people routinely watch TV programmes. The Scottish Sensory Centre (SSC, 2000b) provides useful guidance in three related areas:

how to make best use of existing video materials
— choosing, supplementing, and using
how to extend the use of existing video materials
— index marks, annotated stills, supplementary audio, text subtitling
hw to develop new video materials
— handling colour, contrast, complexity, movement, text and supplementary materials.

Multimedia program adaptations

Many multimedia simulations make extensive use of graphics, whether they are static images, video sequences or animations (e.g. computer-generated animations). Most of these are inherently inaccessible to blind or low-vision students. Rothberg & Wlodkowski (1998) review techniques for enabling graphics within simulation programs to be converted into narrated audio or text-to-speech output.

Page updated 14 December 2001

GDN pages maintained by Phil Gravestock