Technology for visually impaired children can present a challenge at times. If people cannot be trained how to use technological devices, the effectiveness and advantages are gone.
Teaching visually impaired children how to use technology is the purpose of Alphapointe Technology Camp. Alphapointe’s weeklong program is the result of the nonprofit organization teaming up with Sprint and Samsung to teach the children how to use tablets and various features and applications. The intent is to make the devices more accessible when the children return to school.
Camp instructor Krista Mankae is enthusiastic about the different skills the children are learning. “We’re coming up with different applications to help with documentation, writing papers, keeping organized,” she said. “But at the same time, we’re showing them those accessibility features that can magnify and navigate (and) talkback features that can help with kids who have visual impairment on a tablet.”
For example, a whiteboard presents challenges to kids who have difficulty seeing. One of the applications the children learn to use scans the whiteboard and then “talks” to the user of the tablet. It tells the student what the app “sees” on the screen.
The 24 students are divided into two groups, those who are blind, and a second group of students who are partially sighted. Some of the students have even ventured to develop their own apps.