Using Laptops To Aid Low Vision Learners

I was extremely shocked to learn that only .06 out of every 1000 births has a child with severe visual impairments. While I have never had a student with known visual problems, I figured the number was much higher. Given my interest in integrating technology into the classroom and my new knowledge about students with disabilities, I sought out an article that would talk about how technology is being used to aid students who are of low vision capability. This article, which discusses the use of portable CCTVs, holds great promise for schools and teachers who want to ensure all of their students are successful.

A CCTV, or Close Circuit Television, serves to magnify images on a screen. Most commonly, CCTVs are stationed in one room where students must visit to look over teacher lectures, directions, watch movies shown in class, etc. This obviously poses a great deal of hastle for a student with low vision. One has to leave the classroom to go to the room with the CCTV, watch lessons/lectures that have already taken place (which means you're missing what is taking place in real time), and reinforcing this "difference" or isolation feeling that many visually impaired students experience. Now, imagine a camera mounted on a light-weight laptop that records a lecture in real time so the student is directly involved. The following account of the possibilites portable CCTVs provide is amazing:

"a student can watch an instructor work math problem Number 1 on the blackboard, take a picture of it and save it to the laptop as notes to review later, and then turn the camera down to view problem Number Two in the textbook and copy it onto a sheet of paper. After class, the student can fold up the CCTV and put it into its own carrying case or the laptop case to take with him or her to the next class, the local library, or home."

This technology is important for teachers, administrators, and parents alike. The major obstacle is, of course, affording the technology. A laptop CCTV can cost between $2400.00 and $3500.00. However, with the increasing focus on technology in the classroom and grants provided by the U.S. Department of Education, these CCTVs could drastically improve the way visually impaired students are educated and included in a classroom.

The article can be found at :

Submitted by Jeffrey Tomlinson