CEC Theses and Dissertations

Title

Technology-Based Training for Teachers of the Visually Impaired in the Use of Speech-Supported Telecommunications

Date of Award

2000

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Getrude W. Abramson

Committee Member

Laurie Dringus

Committee Member

George K. Fornshell

Abstract

There is a shortage of training opportunities for teachers of the visually impaired in assistive technology, and specifically, telecommunications with speech software. The investigator produced a multimedia tutorial for teacher training purposes in speech supported telecommunications. The tutorial included an in-depth demonstration of the installation and features of a talking Internet browser. The tutorial contained a menu system in which the user had the choice of training with video demonstrations, written instructions, or vocalized explanations.

The purpose of this developmental study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a multimedia tutorial for training teachers of the visually impaired. A pre-tutorial questionnaire determined the teachers' exposure to and experience with speech-supported telecommunications. After three months to one year of training with the multimedia tutorial, the teachers completed a post-tutorial questionnaire to assess their feelings about the tutorial and their expertise in speech-supported telecommunications. Several teachers in the study and a few of their blind students were interviewed and observed by the investigator. The data from the questionnaires, observations, and in-depth interviews were compiled and analyzed in anecdotal form.

The research question for this study was, "Can a multimedia tutorial effectively train teachers to use speech-supported telecommunications with sufficient skill and confidence to use this tool with their students?" The answer was a qualified yes. The successful teachers were motivated to learn speech-support telecommunications, received support during the study, had equipment available for their students, and used the tutorial efficiently. The teachers who did not complete the technology-based training did not have blind students, support during the training, computers available for student use, or extensive computer experience.

The investigator made recommendations for improvement of the multimedia tutorial developed for this study and for future multimedia tutorials on assistive technology. The implications from this study may be the advancement of training strategies for teachers of the visually impaired.

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