Students with Visual Disability and Active Touch: Levels of Understanding and Think Aloud Protocols

Abstract

There is a lot of ongoing research regarding the key functions of the sense of active touch and their links to patterns of conception and cognition, with implementations in the education of students who have visual disabilities. The aim of this study is to analyze and categorize different types of active touch by students with visual impairments during the recognition of geometrical shapes. For blind students knowledge of geometry is crucial because it facilitates the formation of conceptual maps - which are very important in their daily life as they move from one place to another - and gives them the opportunity to refine their motor control and tactile skills- also useful in their lives. Twelve students with severe visual impairments participated in the study. The data were obtained by a series of experiments wherein individuals with visual disability actively manipulated by both hands the following types of geometrical shapes: a. 2-D and 3-D geometrical symmetrical shapes and b. non-symmetrical shapes. The findings, based on video recordings, support on one hand the existence of an integrated mapping of the participants' active touch while they were trying to detect and identify 2-D and 3-D figures and on the other the complexity of tactual shape perception and its uniqueness regarding every student's thinking and understanding. This study constitutes a part of the project "Handedness and Braille Literacy in Individuals with Severe Visual Impairments" is implemented under the "ARISTEIA" Action of the "OPERATIONAL PROGRAMME EDUCATION AND LIFELONG LEARNING" and is co-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and National Resources



Author Information
Vasilios Argyropoulos, University of Thessaly, Greece
Sofia Chamonikolaou, University of Thessaly, Greece
Magda Nikolaraizi, University of Thessaly, Greece

Paper Information
Conference: ACE2013
Stream: Education

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Posted by amp21