Blind SA students receive e-braille computers and MP3 players

Computing

Two schools in the Western Cape have received portable computers and MP3 players designed for blind users, in a R1 million (US$113 million) investment push by the Western Cape Education Department to improve education for blind students.

The Athlone School for the Blind in Bellville South and the Pioneer School in Worcester received e-braille computers which scan texts and allow blind users to read by mechanically raising braille bumps against a flat service, while the keyboard allows users to type in braille.

They also convert texts to audio, allowing users to listen to texts through computer-generated speech, while the MP3 players feature a number of keys which enable blind users to navigate the device and listen to texts and music files.

The Western Cape Education Department has invested the money in order to be able to provide the Athlone School with 10 BrailleNote Apex computers and the Pioneer School with five, as well as providing a number of the Victor Reader Stratus 12M MP3 players for both schools.

In order to enable the efficient use of the devices, the Education Department has pledged to make electronic versions of the relevant educational and teaching materials available. It will also ensure teachers have the necessary training to enable them to monitor students’ use of the devices and educational progress.