The Power of Technology to Improve Literacy for Children with Disabilities in Developing Countries

The Power of Technology to Improve Literacy for Children with Disabilities in Developing Countries

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Technology, can transform, literacy, for children with disabilities, my. Name is Michelle Maliki and I'm a program manager here. At World Vision on all, children reading a grand challenge for development which, is a partnership, between USAID. World. Vision and the Australian, governments we're, an ongoing series, of competitions, that leverage science and technology to, source tests, and disseminate, scalable. Solutions. To improve literacy. Skills both. Early grade readers in developing. Countries. Globally. It's estimated, that between 93. Million and 150. Million children. Have, a disability, although. Given how limited the data are the actual number could actually be even, higher it's. Estimated that, 19, million children, globally are, blind. Or have low vision and, fewer. Than 3% of children with disabilities attend. School girls. With disabilities are, less likely to attend men boys and, those, that do often, lag between behind. Their peers in terms of graduation, rate, many. Education. Systems, do not sufficiently, address, or accommodate. Prince learning needs. Inadequate. Infrastructure. Absence. Of suitable transportation. Lack of teacher training that. Addresses, the individual, needs of children with disabilities and, poor. Quality, or non-existent. Accessible, learning resources. Prevent. Children with disabilities, from attending, or fully. Participating. In school. Ministries. Of Education, funders. NGO. And NGOs, are, strengthening. Efforts to create inclusive, education. Systems for all especially. Children with disabilities, and to help us reach sustainable, development, goals around, equitable. Quality. Education, for all by 2030 all. Children. Reading round 2 which, started in 2014. Supports. Technology based innovations, to improve quality education. And early, grade reading outcomes in, three focus areas and one, of those focus areas those children with disabilities. We. Awarded, three grants, under our. Round to that sought to. Improve reading outcomes for. Students who, have low vision or wines and today, you will hear from two of our grantees, Benetech. And resources. For the blind but. First I'd like to introduce Christina. Solemn and Amy Reeves from, school to school international, to, present an overview of our research, on improving reading. Outcomes for, children who have low vision or blinds if you, have questions, during the presentation. Please, enter them in the chat box and we'll have time for Q&A, following. All three presentations. So. Christina, and Amy over to you. Thanks. So much Shelly um so. We have the privilege Amy and myself have the privilege of talking a little bit about how we actually. Assess these three projects, that AC are funded, I'm. Going to talk a little bit about just our process, to get an egg Ravello panned ready to go to do, the. Literacy, assessment, of the. Students in each of these three projects, amy, is going to talk more detailed. About what we found with both the agri and some of our qualitative, findings our, approach to that and I'm going to come back and do kind, of a summary, of across, all three projects, what, seemed to be the most important, indicators for, success and, helping students with who. Are either blind or have low vision learn, to read better so. One of the first things that we did in India. List c2 in the Philippines, was look at whether there was an existing agra or whether, we needed to develop a negra and think, about which of these sub tests should we use for these students, what are what's the project working on so, some of the projects were doing a lot of the early skills they were using jotted dots which is something where children.

Can Type their own letters and and do, their own kind, of spelling, at the very early 8th early, stages, some. We're using daisy, players, where they were doing listening and they were following, along and then, other projects, were doing kind. Of a whole assortment of things so, we had to determine which sub tests were going to be meaningful in terms of what, the students would be how, they would be changing, we also to think about what was there anything in the existing, negra or how we would adapt the agri that, would be inaccessible, for students who are blind is, there something that's around color, or is, a site based item, that would be challenging for these students and really think about how, we would want to adapt for that in, each case we involved local, stakeholders. In the project, of course and their their technical advisers but also local DPOs, disabled, people's, organizations, and other specialists, in the Philippines, there was actually people from, the ministry at DepEd who, are able to come and join us during the adaptation, process in other, places we didn't have access to a person like that they either didn't exist at the local level where the project wasn't able to invite. Them in and really get them to engage. Then. Following, the adaptation, process we would go through and pilot of course and we, learned so much through each of our pilot experiences, I'm going to talk a little bit about that on the next slide but, what was really working and what we needed to fix in terms of the, size of the Braille the spacing, of the Braille the, actual, story is what was what was challenging and what wasn't challenging for students and, making sure that the Assessors, were also administrating, them properly, and then finally, we would standardize, that figure, out exactly what we wanted our adaptation to look like and we would train the Assessors, on the final the final process. Britany, can we go to the next fine. So. Some, of the key opticians that we did end up doing that I wanted to share with you were first we had to think about the stimuli, and which different stimuli we would want to create for the project, so, in some projects, the students were only working with students, who were Braille readers either they were very low. Vision or they were blind in other projects, we were looking working, with students who also used an access, large print, in the project, so, in each case way to determine, which kind of Braille we needed to use and which kind of large print we needed to use and, in. Each, case we also to think about was Braille going to change as they progressed for some students, read, uncontracted. Braille. At the early stages and then as they progressed. And moved to grades three and four they were reading contracted, Braille which, is a different form and. Then we also used, different, different, sized print, in terms of what the project was going to be producing, for the student materials so. We to think about that and then also think about how we would quality. Assure the Braille and make sure that it was actually produced. Properly which was quite challenging for us we. Determined, time, so for all the times subtasks, on Agri we gave the students three minutes that includes students.

Who Are using magnifiers. With the large print students. Who are using, their. Fingers for the Braille. With. Lots of consultation. With both local DPOs, death-bed. And others, we just determined that it was better to have a longer. Period of time given, the different, ways. Students, were accessing the materials, and we, wanted to ensure that everybody had sufficient, time to, show what they were able to do on a time sub test so we did include three minutes for all of the fluency, sub tests on Agra so that would be you, know letter. The. Letter name identification, familiar. Word non, word oral, reading fluency were. All given, at the three minute mark in. Terms of accommodations, you know in addition to having different different. Size fonts and, different Braille, that we would providing. To the students we also had to think about what were the students able to use during, the actual assessment so, could, they use a reader stand, and in some cases even. It's. A window, that students can use to focus their eyes especially, students who are low vision and, they were reading in the the, large print so they would use their their window as they would move it through the subtest in, other cases students, would use magnifiers. In, other cases we would have different kind of braille mats that were comfortable for the students so, what we did with each of the accommodations, and addition list stimuli is we would just document, what the student, needed. To use at baseline so we could also use similar. Stimuli. On accommodations, or same. Stimulating. Accommodations, at end line so students would have a similar, we're. Hopefully experiencing, it in a similar way so, we did we, did work on that and some students, you know would lean on the desk and put their heads directly, in front of it some, preferred to sit upright and have a stand, so, we really wanted the students to be most, comfortable, and really stimulate, simulate. What, they were experiencing. In their classrooms, and what teachers were allowing them to do when they were doing their own reading and, then. Finally we really had to think about who, could be Assessors, for. These projects. In. The, case, a Barbie. Eye in, the Philippines, we were able to have students who all, had. Assessors, who all were Braille. Readers, and they could follow along with the students, in other, cases we, actually had to write in. Below. The Braille for, the Assessors to be able to follow along because we couldn't find. Assessors. Who are not project staff to do the assessment so we're even sometimes, project, staff were not fully. Conversa. And Braille and weren't not able to read so, we had to think about what was the training and how would we make sure that the Assessors, were accurately. Marking, what. The students were able to do and in all cases with. The three projects, we were able to use tangerine, to collect the data for the Agra as well, as the student assessment, and the stimulant, accommodations, that we used for each student. We. Go to the next slide so. I, just wanted to help. Everybody know a little, bit more about some of the challenges we faced this was obviously a really unique. Situation for us to try and do this with very small scale really. Quick projects. So. We would only be in country a couple of weeks working, with the project staff and the people, who are helping us accommodate. Some. Of the some of the challenges that we face when we were trying to get an Agra ready to go for our assessments, where there, are very small student populations, in the ACR projects, already and then, also perhaps in the surrounding, areas so we couldn't always find, a similar population, to, pilot, or equate a baseline, an online test with so, we really struggled, trying to determine, how. Best to. I. Think. Somebody just unmuted, can they mute themselves. I'm. Doing a lot of background noise thank you so, we, had a we. Had students, who were, only. Getting, the ACR projects, for example in lassoo - there was only one school for children who are blind in the country, so, to find other students, who are reading Braille the.

Same Braille that these students are reading and had similar experiences, we couldn't find them so we had to remove, some of those students who are receiving the intervention to be our pilot, students, but then they didn't get the baseline an unlined for, the actual project, so we really struggled with that and in each case it was a similar scenario of trying, to figure out do we remove the students from our actual assessment, to be able to pilot and, and how best do we do that to make sure that they are similar, students, when we're doing this. Creating. The stimulus were very, challenging, we really had a lot of errors in them so, both, when we had the braille typed there. Were just times. When the braille was not printed properly, and we, had people read it but it wasn't necessarily vetted properly so, when students went to read it they. Were experiencing. The wrong letter or, spacing. Was different, in different lines so. Just trying to have enough attention, to those details and having somebody who can provide quality. Assurance, is really important, but also challenging. Because, maybe not very many people at, the, project level or at the Department of Education are able to help with that I, think. I was mentioned earlier that a small student population, also means the Assessors. Don't get to practice very much with actual, students, so, we would do mock you. Know assessments. But to actually see how a student would perform, and how a student respond, to them and how, to set them at ease etc, was, challenging, because we just didn't have a lot of ability. To do that so, by the time they went to do the actual baseline, they, were still maybe a bit green when they did that, the. Next piece is really around how, do schools, actually identify. Is this, student a large print reader is the student a Braille reader does. A student have other multiple disabilities. Are. They are, they mainstreamed, are they working in that classroom alone what, are the policies, in the country, and how best can we figure out who the students are and in. Each case we had different experiences, of. That and how the, system, was identifying. Students, and and recognizing, them and so we, had to determine at the project, level how we would identify the different, groups of students we were assessing but, it might not be the same as what the school was calling, them or how they were treated at the school level and then.

As I just mentioned, there, were definitely students with multiple disabilities that, were in the population, and, all. Three of the projects didn't. Have standard ways to identify other, disabilities. The students had, and how best we would accommodate for that and so, we know that those students may be needed additional, accommodations, or this where, the teachers wanted to provide something else but we didn't know exactly who, those students were and how best to do that so they were a part of our population, in the, assessment, but we didn't necessarily, you. Know identify. And support them in a way that they might need to be able to show what they can do on some, sort of you, know an, assessment, so, that was that's a little bit of the overview of how we developed. Our grant and, I think Amy now it's gonna jump in and talk about what, we found from that. Thanks. Christina, so, in, the next couple slides I'm gonna talk a bit about our evaluation approach. More generally and then dig into the Ebro findings and Christina, give you a really good overview of our approach leading up to the assessment of the agri and I'm gonna take you from there so. Um in collaboration, with the grantees themselves. We collected, quantitative. Data as. You, know we collected, a gross and we administered, that those at baseline and endline and then, the project's also collected monitoring, data and fidelity of implementation data, throughout the life of the project and that was used to supplement the. Agri findings, in. An endline we also collected, qualitative, data using. Key employment interviews and focus group discussions, and, these. Data then contributed, to our assessments, of the project implementation as, a whole and. Also specifically. About the technology, development, process, because these were pilots we wanted to know how how. Successful. Or how challenging was the the process of developing, a new technology within, this the grant life and, then. We also used the qualitative, data to supplement our scalability assessment. I won't be talking about that in detail but I'd refer you to each grantees, evaluation, report to find out more about that methodology and the findings. And. So in the next slide we. Have a screenshot, from the report, it's a little bit hard to read so I apologize, but I'll take you through some of the high-level things we want to focus on, in. This graphic, summarizes the Agra findings across the three projects, that worked with students his low vision or or are blind. I want. To highlight that there were two different types of research design across the three projects, for, the projects in India and list su2 we, used a reflexive, comparison. Design which, means that we had one intervention group that we compared at baseline and at end line for. The project and the Philippines, we used a quasi experimental design, in which we had one intervention, group and one comparison, group and then, we compared, these two groups mean, gain scores, from baseline to end line.

I'll. Also know that all the students who participated, in the projects, were assessed using the Agra we didn't do random sampling we did a census, of all the students who participated, I, also. Want to highlight a few the limitations. To. Help you contextualise. The Agra findings so, on the projects in India and masuzu, we, did not have a comparison, group and as Christina was mentioning there weren't any schools, with. The same conditions, nearby that would allow us to construct a comparison, group and so, what this means is it's not possible, for us to isolate the impact of the project and so, instead what we're seeing is the impact of the project conflated. With an additional year of schooling. The. Next, limitation, Christina touched on this also is that the sample sizes are really small for these projects, as. You can see for the project in India it's 49 students, for. The project in the city was 21 students, and in. The Philippines was the hundred and forty-three students, which included, 72. Students in the intervention, group and 71, comparison, students. With. A small, sample size, and. What. It is, that our ability to extrapolate, these findings, to a wider population is limited so, we, would recommend that more research be, done to understand if these impacts were hold in different, contexts, or with different different, numbers of students. But. Quickly so summarize the findings. We. Did observe improvements. In literacy skills. Across. The three projects, for, students who participated, in the interventions, and specifically. For the projects, in India and in Lesotho, students, who participate, in the projects, had higher. Scores across, all the subtests, endline, when, we compared them baseline and again, just a reminder that is the impact, of the intervention, plus. An additional year scoring and, students. Who participate, in the project in the Philippines, had, significantly. Higher gain scores on all, the Filipino, medium, and English medium Agri subtasks, than, their counterparts in the comparison group and those are statistically, higher. And. So, we are really encouraged by these research findings we're, really excited to see all them. But. Because, their pilot projects, and because, of the quantitative, research limitations, we also really. Wanted. To highlight some of the more holistic, qualitative, learnings from the projects which, Christina will talk to you through them. Thank you Amy that was great. So. From, yeah, exactly, from all the qualitative, and quantitative, data that we collected from these projects we, came up with sort of six, lessons, that we think are helpful for people to think about when they're. Developing. And implementing these projects, and really this came from you, know stakeholder, interviews with, deaf ed as well as even students telling us what actually worked and how, best their reading was improved, and.

So I'm just gonna walk you through those now and again please read the reports there's just so much more so this is just a little snapshot of all the things that we found in these three projects, the. First one was organizational, capacity, to support students, this. Feels, really common. Sense but, you know having technical advisors within your organization. Who know the context, and who have relationships, with, the different, DPOs, and, people, that can help you implement. Is critical, and we saw that each. Of the three projects, had different, capacity. Internally, at the local level and that capacity really, did indicate, how. Well and dictate, how well they were able to maximize. Their, intervention. In a short period of time so, thinking. About having those technical advisors, not, not just remote technical advisors but really in the context, and with that ability to be. Reactive. To challenges, that you're seeing in the schools and it went with the parents, and teachers I think it's critical and then we saw that and, and those differences, really played out in these projects, the, second thing is organizations. Need to be sure there's a close match between the needs and the intervention, this is also kind of a clear just project good. Projects, do this but. We did see that there was a real. Different. Projects, approach this differently and I think really, trying to figure out in. Each case what, is needed to help these students in in the case of what C 2 and the Philippines, these, are teachers who are producing, materials, by themselves. To help each of their students mainstream, into the classrooms, in grades, four five and six so these are teachers that really need to be able to produce a, lot of materials, every, day to be responsive, to those kids needs in the case of India these, students, didn't need that they weren't mainstream, they were in these classrooms so, they needed dayz players and other things that the project provided, but, but trying to figure out where, is the gap for these students and how best to provide either. The resources, for the students themselves to. Be able to address. Their reading needs or is, it for the teachers, and doing. Both of those at the same time can be really critical so thinking about kind of a multi multi. Prong approach I think would be really helpful in some cases the projects did one, or two of the pieces but there were other glaring, areas that might need it might have needed more support for the students to maximize, the, gains I think. This was one of the things that we see also in projects, kind of across the board not just students with disabilities, but the, people that picked up and use the technology that best were the students, you know in the in the case of the teachers they.

Wanted, To use it and they were willing and they would try but they were definitely adopted, it's lower and had more challenges adopting. It whereas, in the end of student end of project surveys. Students. In less suits you over 70 percents of the technology, was helping them learn, to read better in the filler over 90 percent scuse me in the Philippines, it was seventy-seven, percent of students were saying that, they were very comfortable with the technology, that they were provided, and they could use it in their classrooms, in, the case of India students, overwhelmingly. Said that they were highly engaged and, comfortable, with the technology that was provided, to them so, we really see that students. Are happy, to use that they adopt, it quickly they learn how to make it work for them teachers. On the other hand project, struggled to get teachers to adopt. A new technology, even if it was helping. Them be more efficient, producing, materials, for their students they, still desk didn't necessarily adopt, it well and they really struggled to use it they they preferred sometimes, their old approach because it was comfortable and they knew what to do even though it was slow so really thinking about you know where, can you maximize the game and what kind of support you need to provide to teachers or other adults, if they, are gonna use technology, I think it's critical because they definitely don't adopt it and absorb, it in the same way that we saw students, doing um. Lesson, for this is again, I think you'll see a theme, with all of these these are sort of critical in all projects, but, specifically. For these students, there's a lot of stigma in the with parents. Home and at, the community level are around sending their students to school and believing, that their students can be good readers we. Got a lot of feedback from parents that said you, know their. Kids are absent, often, and they don't think of them in the same way as their other students, in their in their home and so really. Trying to have a project, think, about that aspect as well our behind the Phillipines did a lot of sensitization, with, the parents, and we, saw that that really did decrease, absenteeism. For, those students, and also, meant that at home those parents, were actually trying to read with their students and and believe, that they could be a student, as their other other, children, are and that, was, critical I think for the kind, of success we saw in, other places unless you - the kids are in. A boarding school so you don't have access to those parents in the same way but, we did see that when they go home not, all of them return at the next, term I think because there are some areas where, there's stigma and other barriers so thinking, about how to really engage at that level I think it's critical because these students are facing a lot more that, challenge them than, just the, reading materials, and so thinking about how to address that can, be critical for them to be, able to then take that technology and make the games that we want I. Mentioned. This a little bit earlier but there's. A lot of push, towards having technology. It may be a district, office or a regional office but, really when you move the technology all, the way down to the parent, to the teachers at the school then. You can provide teachers. The ability to produce material, that day that meet their, sciency, that day to meet, their math, needs so rather than waiting for you. Know the production, to be done at the district level and sent to the school when, you are able to get the right kind of Brailler and the right kind of printer, at the school level you allow, teachers to be very responsive.

And Those, kids now have access to the right reading materials, every day at the school rather than a little. Bit on on track, but not necessarily, where the curriculum, is with those teachers and then, finally, you know engagement, with government, stakeholders as we say across, projects, is critical but specifically, here, if projects. Are able to help government. Stakeholders think, about what policies, are using how the identifying, what resources are provided how. They're allocating, teachers, it, can really be successful because, these projects, can't can, exist in a vacuum so thinking about how you tap in to, those inclusive, education, policies, that we see bubbling up now and into, those other resource, allocation, issues those, are the projects, that were, able to be more successful and, we see now have ongoing. Effects. In those schools where the projects that were more separate, from, the Department of Education or ministry you, know aren't able to really maximize what, they were able to provide in terms of technology, another thing so. Thank you. Thank. You Christina and Amy we really appreciate, the background, and the insight that you gave. Us were, thrilled that, you. Having. Was having little precedence, and. We know that. It took a lot of negotiation, around. How, to do that how to documents, it and we're, still learning from everything you did. The. Specifics, of the adaptation, are. Detailed. In each project baseline. Report, on, our website at. The. Webinar, all children. Reading really wants to see the adapted. Agora process. Replicated. And validated. To, ensure that all children are included. In reading assessments, and subsequent. Programming. We, also encourage you that if you have enter. Them in the chat box and. We, will have time for Q&A, after. All the presentations. And I, just want to remind you that a recording, of the webinar will, be available on, our website in all children reading org, with. Closed captioning. So. Next I'd like to introduce Betsy. Bowman, the CEO, of Benetech a us-based, nonprofit. To. Speak about their book share India project. Well, chair is gonna text flagship. Global, literacy project, it's the world's largest library. Of accessible, books for people who are blind have. Low vision or otherwise, print disabled, the. Project, aim to improve early grade reading skills among, students, in grades 2 & 3 who. Have low vision or blinds, books. Your India provided, human narrated, audio and, mp3, formats in. Bharati Braille books that. Were accessed. Directly through, Daisy, audio, players so over to you Betsy, thank you. Thanks. Shelly. So, look. Let's. Talk about the context. First I think you know Shelley gave a really good overview of what we do with, Bookshare, and we've been working in India for. A number, of years but before this project primarily with. Adults. Or older students. So this, was a bit pioneering. For us as well and you. Know we found going into, these schools working. With four schools. Was. Really. These are boarding. Schools basically, and. Often. The, situation was, really you. Know imagine. You're at school you're. A young child and you're reading instruction. And practice is basically, 30, minutes a week typically. Of somebody reading over a PA, system and, that goes across multiple, grades so, the, whole idea that you have story time and that really helps, as you learn to read was. Really, a problem, in these schools and when. They're learning to read you know they're listening to somebody read to them and then also getting. About. One Braille book it buried a little by school.

Not. A great. Not. A great basis for learning to read well and so, at least according, to teachers. In the target schools the. People that, the students, we were targeting, who are blind and low-vision, were. Only at about 10, to 15% of. Grade. Level reading by second year and so. You, know obviously that's. Very low the. The, region, is, but, these students, have, much, lower. Reading. Capabilities that. That the teachers were seeing prior, to this project. Go, ahead. So, for, the project design is you. Know essentially the goal as Shelley said was how, can we improve these reading skills that are obviously, quite, poor, for. Students, that are blind or low vision and the. Approaches, to, give them more access to materials, so that's access, to Braille materials and, also you. Know guided, reading and more, audio, materials. That, they could actually have access, to hearing. More books in their mother-tongue language. We. In. Total, included 131. Students, across, four schools in Maharashtra. One. Of those schools was a pilot, school so when you see Christina. And Amy talk about the numbers, we. Were really, testing, the intervention. More. On the on a subset. Of those students, at three of the four schools and. You. Know I'll say these are all boarding. Schools but they may not be boarding schools as we as we think about them you know in some cases it means the parents aren't very involved, and the. Students are living, on-site. On the school in the. School. You. Go, ahead so. The. Design, itself, you. Know the classroom, intervention, itself was with a mix of things. And. I, think a little bit as Christina. Was talking about you know we we. Found we needed to, not just do, something like put, technology in students, hands we had to do, multiple. Interventions in, the classroom to make sure that this was going to work so one. Was that we provided, actual, materials. Through low cost audio, devices, and these, are actually, daisy players, so, Daisy being, a. Format. For books. That are that are used for people that are, blind. Or otherwise print disabled, and so. In this case they were human. Recorded. Audio in Marathi. We, also provided, Braille. Materials. So these were Braille books, but, also some, Braille tools like little, little cube, Braille. Learning, tools for, example and and, a very, important, aspect being, teacher training, so you can't, just. Go to the students even though they do adopt. The technology better, overall we obviously had to make sure we were training the teachers themselves. We. Also layered in something, that was a little. Bit new, for this project which, is classroom. Visits. And part of this list was to do. The teacher training piece but also to make sure the students were getting some of that guided. Learning and. In. In. India, they. Became known as the story uncle and story auntie and they, would actually come, by, the classroom, weekly, so in, other words to really.

Implement, This intervention it, was helpful to have you. Know these individuals that, we that. We contracted. With to come. Into the classroom and, what. We really, were striving for is consistent. Dependent, reading as well for. The students every day because again, part of what it really seemed they were lacking is having, some consistent. Time to, not. Only read but, also listen, to stories and then you, know have guided. Reading, time as well. So. What did all that lead to I think you know as Christina. And as Amy showed we. Did see improvement. Across, their, scores on on the Agri subtasks. And. I would love to have had you know a pure. Experiment. Where we could show statistically. Significant. Gains. But it was they, were really, really. Strong. Gains across all of the sub task areas, I, think, the other piece that we found important, was that students, reported. A very high engagement, with the project, with the technology. You, know it, was a very positive, outcome. For, the students themselves, the. Other piece for us is, that as I said this was really kind of new. For, us in India we, do lots of work with young students, in other countries, but in India really, being able to, have. Mother. Tongue language books, and locally, relevant books, that aren't always in, the. Same language in for that region so we. Had a goal of adding, a, fairly. Large number of books in, Marathi. For. Sure but also Hindi. Gujarati Telugu. And English and, we ended up being able to add. 1295. Locally, relevant children's, books so you, know these are kids going from you know one book and a little bit of storytime to having you know a really, large collection, of books available, which. Is useful for these schools but also useful for groups. Around the region and around other parts of India as well, some. Of the other ongoing, benefits. Of the project, and this was important, for us in, what we were trying to achieve is, that. Really. Prior, to this most, of bookshare's, books, and our and our real approach was to put books, in digital. Text and that means the computer, is reading it to you that. Was always a limitation, for us when we got into countries. And regions where, there, was no computer, voice literally. Existing. In that language and that was really the case in Marathi so, these, are human, recorded, audio books, which. So part of this was it just having, that capability and, Bookshare that's now means we can support, every. Language in the world as, long as you can record, a person speaking, in that language, the. Other piece is that a solution, like this, and what was sort of found in the project is that it, is scalable, so well. There was absolutely. You know on-the-ground intervention. Not a pure tech, kind of solution, a pure tech kind of solution is really never, from. What we see the right solution, on its own but that you. Really can scale, this intervention, in terms of the materials, but also in terms of the the actual classroom, intervention. I, think you know as as, Christina. Went through we have learned.

A Bunch, of lessons from this that you know we're taking forward, to, future interventions as, well, and. I think it's it's a value, from. Our perspective, to have participated. In really. Working. With the. With STS and the whole set. Of groups to develop a Negra tool that works for blind and low-vision students. Because. You know this it really is a challenge in. Many countries when, you go in and work with with, students, who are blind and low-vision. Because. A lot of times the education, system just doesn't fully know what to do with this group of students so, I think then now also having both the interventions. And some of the evaluation tools. Is. Really is really key to that so yeah, we're very excited about the outcomes, of the project we're, excited about you know where it is already leading us since, the project ended and you. Know hope to be doing more of this kind of work at, this, grade, level in. Multiple. Other countries. Thank. You so much Betsy, we're always thrilled, to, hear from Benetech and we're so glad that you're. Able to join us and see more about your project, so. Just moving us along next, I'd like to introduce. Amy. Mujika. From. Our, resources. For the blind, team. In the, Philippines, Amy, is the executive, director, of resources, for the blind and she'll be speaking about their, resources, sorry. Reading beyond sight project, which, supported, teachers, students. And their parents to improve, early grade reading outcomes in both Filipino, and English. Students. In. Their, project, who had low, vision or more blind, used assistive, technology, in their classrooms teachers. Received, equipment, to produce large, print and Braille materials and. Participated. In trainings, and parents. Attended advocacy, training to better understand, their students needs and capabilities, so. This approach that kind, of targeted, the entire. Ecosystem. Around the. Students, who were had, low vision or blind really. Produce, games as you saw that. Amy showed, showcased. Earlier and, we're, really excited to hear more from you ami so. Over to you. Good. Morning everyone. Let, me first introduce to. You our office, resources. For the blind is a. Non-government. Nonprofit. Organization. And our, vision. Is to help. Persons. With visual impairment, reach their fullest potential in life this, is why our. Most. Of our activities, is really designing. Activities. That would help, persons. With visual impairment, discover and reach, their fullest potential, can. We go to the next slide please. Yes, that's our mission this. Is why most of our projects, is related, on rehabilitation. And education in. Partnership. With the Ministry of Education or, Department, of Education. Next. Slide please. Regarding, our our. Project. With a, CREP. Hand, side we. Have. Started. Working with the Department, of Education, since, 1992. We. Have helped, them train. Teachers we, also help them provide. Braille. Reading materials, for children all, over the country however. For. The past six. Years we. Started, to defer. Providing. These the, reading. Materials for the school because, we. We, believe that the Department, of Education should, be the main. Institution. Who should be providing, it instead. Of us. We. Also discovered. That in 20. 2011. After, 2014. The, Department, of Education, has already, launched. The. Eco project, or the every child reader program. However. Based. From our observation. And from, input. From the teachers that we work with even. From the students. They. Were telling, us that they are not part of the. Eco project. One. Because, the. Reading assessment, tool, utilized. By the Department. Of Education and, the. Reading materials. Distributed. In the, regional. Division, and district level, is that, available. In accessible, format, this, of course limit. The participation of. Our of, our, students. To, be part of the annual reading assessment. And because. They, are not part of it. There. Is no baseline. Reading. Proficiency. Performance. That we can use. That. The Department, of Education, can use as basis, for for budget allotment. These. Also limits, the. For. Our students, to access the supplemental. Reading materials, are. Posted, by the Department, of Education online. So. Next. Slide. So. We're, happy that in. 2016. We. Were part of the round, 2 cycle, of all children, reading and. The. Main component, of. The. Project is, basically helping. Making. Sure that the early. Grades leaving assessment, is accessible. For for students, with blindness. And low vision because, we. Believe that this, assessment tool should be utilized, by the Department, of Education, then. As. Well as making. Sure that the reading materials. Provided, by the Department, of Education, is also in accessible, format, both. For low vision whether, it's large print, what, type of font or, size of, reading materials, is needed, and of, course Braille.

Audio. Materials. Must also be available for, this group of children we. Also provided, assistive, technology, to the to the 15, intervention, school as mentioned, by by, Kristina and in. There. Are 30 schools involved, and all these, schools. Are, public. Schools, serving. Students with disability, these. Are students are enrolled. In the regular class with recited, classmates. They, were supported. By a trained, teacher for the visually, impaired however, for. The 15 intervention. School most they, don't have this this. Equipment. That would help them. Produce. Immediately. The reading materials, needed by the students, so the, assistive, technology. Provided. To them through the project really helped them. Me. Up the reading materials, needed by the students, and and and, also, for the students, to utilize it and study it and use it on their, own yes, that's that's one of the advantages, that we, really. See. Very useful, for the students. Aside. From providing this equipment, making sure that the system that the reading materials is available, in accessible, format, we. Also, provide. Trainings, for the teachers, we, visit them where, because. As, Christina. Mentioned some of the students, that we have identified in. The intervention, group very, early they. Also have other disabilities, but, we cannot include. Them because they're in the grade level during, grade 2 and a grade 3 but, they can mean they, can read however the, teacher who. Work with them need, to have additional, support. To help. To. Really make sure that the reading materials, the reading procedures. Of. This group of children, are being met so, we, provide. This kind of training we. Also provide. Sensitivity. Training for the parents and for the Guardians and we, also provide, Braille. Braille. Training, for for, for, this for the parents of these children we. Also teach them how to utilize. The low vision devices, because, we want to make sure that after school. They. Can provide the necessary, support, needed, by the children. In. Some. Cases, parents. Are working, so it's, actually the. Guardian the, arm or the grandmother who, attended. The training and who also provide. Support to the children, at home, max. Slightly. So. As. Christina. Mentioned and. And, Amy mentioned after after. The intervention. You, can see that both. From. The comparison, intervention school. They. Really have good. Results, however the. Resource of the intervention, group, is greater, than, the ten the comparison, group both. For English, and poor ability no we. We only use English, and Filipino, for the assessment, tool because, that's. The, major. Medium, of exceptions. In in school although at the time when, we are. Implementing. The project, the, Department, of Education, have started, working with. Implementing. The mother from mother. Town but, which is concentrate, on English, and language and, the, next slide will show you that. We. Also have a good. Result the compares the, the intervention, group has a better result, compared.

To The. Compared. To the comparison. Group and and. And this, is this, is an evidence, that we already. Showed. To the Department, of Education this, is this is a good evidence or. For. The. Sectors, that were working with that if we provide the necessary training, if we, provide, the, necessary. Accommodations. Needed. By this group of children they. Can really excel, and they can they, can cope up and and study. Like. Their sighted. Classmates, the, next slide will show you, show you some of the. Results. Or, feedback. From. From. The. Partners. That we work with one. Is the family. Family. Engagement, after the trainings. Parents. Are telling us that because. They. Now know. How. To read, Braille they, can also transcribe. Braille. To pre in printer, brayer they, become. More active. Helping. Their children at the same I'm advocating. For, the needs of their children in school from. Time. To time we, heard parents. That they also do follow up from, the regular teacher. Asking. The regular teacher if there will be an assignment that. They need to. Transcribe. Into, Braille so that the their child can can. Read. It within their site with within the classroom, along with their sighted peers. Next. Slide, please. The. Next slide shows, actually. More. More, input, from the teachers and testimonies. From this from the students we. Have these students, from Lucerne, that. Happiny. Tell, us that now, I don't need to. Spend. More time with my my, resource, teacher because I can I can, study. Independently. Using the. Technology. Using. The. Braille. Display. Provided. Using, the. The. Computer, that we learn for them using, the CCTV, they can study independently and, and the, resource teacher, can work, can, have more time they both more time to, other students, who needs more, more, of her time so. It's like more. Of. Also. Supporting, other students, who would be needing more support from me from, the teacher the. The, teacher also mentioned, that because of the project she, noticed this, there's. A big. Improvement on the speed and accuracy of the learners weight especially, with, spelling we know that children. With visual impairment. Well. In our case in the Philippines, children with visual impairment spelling. Is really, not. That good but. Because, because. Of the, project. That we have because, of the their. Access, to this, technology, because. They can actually check, the spelling. They. Become better. Speller, at this time and and, the teacher the, regular teacher are quite happy with it. Also. The. Idea of. Enjoying. Time learning.

Together With their sighted, peers I, think, that's. That's. That's. Something that's a joy that we. Really. Treasure. To. The project. Next. Slide. So. If. You, need more information from us you. Can also visit. Our, website or, send us email so. Thank You Shelly. Thank. You AMI ACR this one so much from, resources, for the blind about how to effectively, support children, who are blind or have low vision. You've. Really ensured, that the environment, around each of these students. Supports, their individual. Needs and their success. So. We're, really grateful that you shared. Your time with us I know, it, is is not the, opportune, time and the Philippines right now so we're really grateful for, for. Your time, so. Again for more information, please visit. So. Next we'd like to move to answering, questions please, continue, to put. Your questions in the chat box and, we'll try to answer as many as possible we, also are going to pose some to the participants, as so. I will turn the Q&A, over to Michelle thank. You I. Have. A couple of questions but again just a reminder if if, you want to type them in the chat box we'll get, to as many as we can over the next few moments but our. First question, is for both Betsy. And ami. If. Regardless. Of cost, if you had to select one particular. Assistive. Technology. To use in a school, or household. Of. Course for impacting, reading outcomes what. What, would you choose. Do you wanna go first, okay. Thank you. Well. I think as, a teacher first you have to determine what is the learning style of the student yeah if. The students are daily tactile, learner, then you have to make, sure that you have this assistive, technology, that would help them. Access. As much as possible. Braille. Reading materials so it could be a Perkins, Brailler or it could be an embosser, if if. Your student, is both tactile. And visual, learner. Because, they have some remaining vision, then you have to have, both, if, the students is an. Audio, learner and, an. Active. Learner, at the same time then you have to have the Daisy player, and, then, the, Braille Braille, embosser. Yes. You, have to, it's. It's an, individualized. Perspective. You really need to make. Sure that, this. Is the. What's. The learning style of the students and and how they how, they can really. Access those information. Whether it's a visual. Tactile. Of, audio. Learner. Betsy. Yeah. I guess, what I'd add to that I mean I completely, agree, that, one. Size does not fit all I think. Particularly, when we're talking about students. Like. We, had in, our all children, reading project you also have children with multiple disabilities. So. In some cases you you, not only have to think about the fact that this child was blind but this child may also have, you. Know other learning. Challenges, so the. Tools you use are. You, know, if you if you don't have a cost limitation, and you can be very specific, to the student and do. Individualized. Learning that's the best I will say that, technology. Wise. One. Of the kinds. Of devices that's, pretty, much still out of reach in any of the schools we were working in and in most developing, countries our.

Electronic. Braille displays, that also do, audio, so you can get audio and Haskell, Braille and it's all electronic, in one device those. Can be pretty tricky, for little. Kids like we were working with when you're first learning to read it tends to be better to have a full page and today, these. Devices, have sort, of one line of Braille. And then you go line by line what. Is in the what's, in the works which, is great, is. Is. Having. Full page displays, so that you could actually have tactile. Graphics. As well as, Braille and and, have audio with that so that, gives you the opportunity, to have kind of all of these multimodal. Things. In one, and. That's the that's, back to the regardless, of cost question, part of the question because, right now those. Are very, very. Early, and very, very expensive but. That's. Where we'd like to see things going so that any of these learning styles really have technology, to support them. And. I would sorry I'd add that what we find say. In the US for example is, that students, will jump around so if somebody has you. Know a mobile, phone and, they, have a computer, at school maybe they have a Braille device they'll actually jump between all, of those devices depending, on where they are so again. If you get to a point where you're talking about cost not being a barrier having. The right technology. For the right student, and the right technology, for the right situation, the, students in at the time all, come. Together. Thank. You Betsy another, question, also for ami or Betsy. I, know Chris, in Cristina's presentation, she mentioned some of the stigma, that. You, were addressing these, projects. But one, of our participants. Has a question, about what to what extent, were the beliefs or miss beliefs around. Children. With disabilities. Reduced. Capability. To learn a barrier. To your implementation. And. And maybe some thoughts about how you address that. Maybe. Army if you'd like to go first. Hello. Michelle, yes, I'm. Sorry if I didn't. Sir. If. You just would like to address maybe, to what extent, beliefs. Or miss beliefs around. Children. With disabilities, reduce capability. To learn how. Were those barrier. To your implementation. And perhaps some thoughts about how you address, that. Ok. Huh. That's. A very difficult. Question. Here. In the Philippines, most of cumulative barriers. That we have encountered. On. A stigma, is. Persons. Persons, with disability, or persons, with visual impairment. Can be cannot. Learn alongside, with, sighted. Peers because they don't have vision because of their, disability. And. They thought that because. They, have disability. Because. They have as. Blindness. Basically. They're also difficult. To, teach and, and, would be typical, to learn things, that the teachers, would say and, at, the same time because they're they have difficulty. Of learning they, have. They. Jump, into conclusion. That they need to have. Expensive. Educational. Tools, needed, so that they can learn the. Teachers, will have to be. A. Doctoral. Degree and, have this all. Thing, all kinds, of training before they can actually provide, effective, training to them or, our effective. Learning environment. To the students and and. The the parents, would have to be reached because they have to they. Have to buy all those equipments. Needed by the. But but, front front from, the project, and from the trainings, that we have especially. Including. The parents advocates, for visually, impaired children in the project, there, are testimonies, of, parents, who are really poor who. Have who. Have. Experienced. That they if they can also, learn, and understand, the situation's, of their children, and if, they can also learn blind, skills, they can provide, the. Needed support, by the children, and most. Of the time, that. Support, is. How. Do we say it the wings beneath the wings of these children, that, that really, push them to continue, going to school and then from from. Our observation. Also. There. Are so many teachers right now who, do, not actually have. Doctoral. Degree, special. Trainings, to help children with visual impairment but, but, because of the. Available. Toolkit that we have provided, for them a two. Days, orientation. As to how they can provide. Necessary. Accommodation. For the, group of students that they have in school they, can actually. Provide. The, the support needed by the students, and and, they. Were led, asked that. Yes. I'm having. An MA. Or doctoral degree to support this group of children is good for poor, promotions, but. But. Because of the experience, that they have more than the promotion, it's more on, commitment. And recognizing. That. This. Is also the rights of these children, that that because.

They Are educators. It's actually, the responsibility, whether, they have an MA, doctoral, degree. The idea that, it's. My responsibility is. The rights of the children so. I have to give them this right, and I have to provide the intervention needed, I. Know. We're at a time, here though but Betsy, I don't know if you had something you wanted to add quickly, otherwise. We'll, close up but I did want to give you enough to respond. Sure. I just you, know really quickly I think you know what we saw in India is is, very typical which, is students, with disabilities, being sort. Of separated, and I think Ami's, project, is. Kind. Of a trend that is happening, where there's, inclusive. Education, where more kids with disabilities, are put in regular classrooms. That, obviously, changes, lots of things about how you approach, the teachers the schools and. You. Know can, lead to better outcomes. It can also however lead to less. Specialized. Support sometimes in. Different, countries, so I. Do think that but. There's lots of stigma and there are a number of barriers these children, face, whether. They're in specialized, schools or if they're, mainstream, so just it varies by location, country. And what the trends. Are in the education system I. Know. There's a lot more questions here, including, some great ones about, how. Ami, has, scaled, and worked with the Department, of Education. And, and. The, equipment, around the equipment that they use there. I would, encourage you to continue, to reach out to our presenters, today to get your answers they've got some good responses some, good learnings, that. They can help move this forward we'd also particularly. Be interested, to hearing from any of you who are maybe doing assessments. With children. Who are blind or low vision or, including. Deaf and hard of hearing which, we haven't covered today but ultra2 really also works in that area. So. Reach out to them to get your questions answered now turn it back to Shelley to close us. Sure. Thanks, Michelle thank you Amy Thank, You Betsy, thank you Christina and Amy for your time today we're. Really grateful for this discussion, and hope to have many more discussions, in the same light. I hope. Our next webinar will be able to hear from everyone. That's using. Assessments. Adapted, assessments, to to. Really capture the learning, abilities, of, all, children, so with, that I. Will leave you with our website and, we will send out the presentation. So that you can get the email addresses to contact, the presenters, and. We. Look, forward to hearing from all of you soon thank you. You.

2018-12-20 08:57

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