ENHANCING ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT IN INCLUSIVE EDUCATIONAL SETTINGS: PERCEIVED INFLUENCE OF ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY DEVICES FOR LEARNERS WITH LOW VISION IN RUCHU AND ITHIRU WARD, KANDARA CONSTITUENCY

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Lucy Ngundo
Waweru Muriithi

Abstract

Inclusive educational settings strive to cater to the distinctive needs of students with low vision, encompassing their physical, social, and emotional requirements while nurturing academic excellence. This study explored the perceived influence of Assistive Technology Devices (ATDs) on the academic performance of students with low vision, a pivotal aspect of inclusive education. The objective was to assess the availability and adequacy of ATDs' influence on the educational achievement of learners with low vision. The study was grounded in Rogers' Theory of Diffusion of Innovations and the Inclusive Education Framework. The study employed a mixed-methods approach targeting 4623 learners, 123 teachers, and 11 head teachers within the public primary schools located in Ruchu and Ithiru Wards, Kandara Constituency. Using purposive sampling, learners in grades five, six, seven, and eight with low vision were selected, resulting in a sample size of 460 students. Additionally, employing systematic random sampling with a kth number of three, a total of 153 learners were selected for the sample. Out of the 64 teachers from Ruchu, 21 were sampled, and out of 59 teachers from Ithiru, 20 teachers were systematically sampled through random sampling, resulting in a total of 41 teachers. The eleven head teachers from the selected schools were automatically included in the study, resulting in a total sample size of 205 respondents. The researchers employed various measures to ensure the reliability and validity of the research tools. Data collection methods included structured questionnaires for students with low vision and teachers, an interview schedule for head teachers, and a checklist. Analysis from the checklist revealed a range of available ATDs, such as braille, large print materials, and magnifiers, but highlighted the absence of advanced high-tech AT devices, like digitally recorded communication tools, alternate adapted mice, and alternative keyboards. Head teacher interviews revealed financial constraints in obtaining specialized ATDs, leading to resource-sharing among students. Research data from the respondents indicated that the scarcity of high-tech assistive technologies and inadequate ATDs significantly affected the academic performance of learners with low vision.  This study recommends increased funding for advanced AT devices, improved resource allocation and access, regular assessment and upgrading of resources, and professional development for teachers to effectively integrate assistive technologies in the classroom. These measures aim to enhance the overall educational experience and outcomes for students with low vision within inclusive educational settings.


 

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How to Cite
Ngundo, L., & Muriithi, W. (2023). ENHANCING ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT IN INCLUSIVE EDUCATIONAL SETTINGS: PERCEIVED INFLUENCE OF ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY DEVICES FOR LEARNERS WITH LOW VISION IN RUCHU AND ITHIRU WARD, KANDARA CONSTITUENCY. Journal of Education and Practices ISSN 2617-5444 (ONLINE) & ISSN 2617-6874 (PRINT), 3(3), 60-70. Retrieved from https://journals.essrak.org/index.php/education/article/view/262