Technology

Digital device makes learning easier for 500 blind students

BRAILLE

St Lucy’s School for the Blind students Susan Akwiya uses the Orbit Reader during the hand over ceremony at the Kenya Intitute of Special Education in Nairobi on February 25. PHORO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

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Summary

  • Visually impaired learners no longer need to struggle with costly braille paper following development of a portable digital device.
  • The device dubbed Orbit Reader 20 has the capability to take notes, saving e-textbooks and enables communication between braille users.
  • This saves the blind learners costs on expensive braille paper and the tedious process of retrieving notes and other reading materials.

Visually impaired learners no longer need to struggle with costly braille paper following development of a portable digital device.

The device dubbed Orbit Reader 20 has the capability to take notes, saving e-textbooks and enables communication between braille users.

This saves the blind learners costs on expensive braille paper and the tedious process of retrieving notes and other reading materials.

The Kilimanjaro Blind Trust Africa (KBTA) first introduced the digital device to learners in 2018 and has since distributed 500 units to Grade three and four learners under the new Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC).

“So far we have trained more than 100 class teachers and school-based technicians on the use of the Orbit Reader 20 as well as their basic repair and maintenance,” said KBTA chief executive Suparna Biswas.

Users of the Orbit Reader 20 can switch easily and instantly between modes that include book reader, note-taker and braille display.

The device comes with 20 eight-dot refreshable Braille cells, where the Braille display can either stand alone or be connected to a mobile device/computer.

Ms Biswas said the Trust is collaborating with the Kenya Institute for the Blind (KIB) and the African Braille Centre (ABC) who are responsible for the production of Braille curriculum textbooks in Kenya.

The two state agencies have provided the CBC curriculum textbooks in digital Braille for Grade three and four learners with visual impairments.

Last month, Unilever donated digital Braille devices worth Sh22 million to the KBTA for distribution to leaners with visual impairment in secondary schools and colleges.

The 300 multi-functional digital devices can aid the visually impaired to read books, take notes and save textbooks in their memory card.

“This donation is an example of how we are bringing our commitments of building a more equitable and inclusive society to life,” said Unilever Kenya managing director Luck Ochieng.

The KBTA is an international charitable Trust mandated to support learners with visual impairment access quality education and digital literacy skills.

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