This report will be looking at how Information Technology for Disabled Students would provide a competitive advantage for Bradford College and student’s success. Mainly looking at Visually Impaired students and other areas such as dyslexia. Blind and partially sighted people (visually impaired) are being sidelined by today’s society. For many of the two million people in the UK with a sight problem, obtaining information in a form that they can use remains an ever-present challenge.
Although blind and partially sighted people should be able to receive news, notices and personal information in a format that they can access, all too often this doesn’t happen. There is no reason why disabled people should be left behind by technology Visual impairments are divided into two general categories: blindness and low vision. Individuals with blindness have absolutely no sight, or have so little that learning must take place through other senses.
Only 10-15% of the visually impaired population is totally blind. People with low vision have severe impairments and need special accommodations, but are still able to learn through vision. ” (Office for Students with Disabilities) Technology can be invaluable for people with visual impairments, both as a tool for learning and communication and for providing visual stimulation. By using a computer with appropriate software and hardware the visually impaired user can be given access to standard resources.
A thousand websites were tested for the survey using automated software, and detailed user testing was carried out on 100 sites, including government, business, e-commerce, leisure and web services such as search engines. The results showed that the worst affected group were those with visual impairments. Blind people involved in testing websites were unable to perform nearly all of the tasks required of them despite using devices such as screen readers. (www. bbc. co. uk, visited: 25/04/07)
Independence, integration and participation are three fundamental concepts for visually impaired students. Independence in the sense of self-sufficiency, thereby eradicating the requirement of everyday personal assistance and support functions, integration throughout all levels of education, and (active) participation pervading all facets of society. Are these concepts, or goals, wholly achievable however? There are many ways in which these aims can be fulfilled for visually impaired students, but perhaps one of the most powerful means is through the use of information technology.
This is particularly relevant when it comes to visually impaired students and the ways in which they access their studies in further and higher education Bradford College can do a lot more to assist Visually Impaired students to succeed in their studies, and doing that will give the College competitive advantage over other Colleges and Universities in the country. Starting point perhaps is by making the College website readable by Visually Impaired students.