Technology Provides New Tools for Blind Students in Kenya
In Kenya, blind students and those with poor eyesight were still using Braille books for their studies until recently.
Their books used the Braille system of raised dots to represent words and numbers. Those with limited or no eyesight can "read" by touching those markings.
But Kenyan schools for the blind are now beginning to use technology that provides material in an audible form. This has expanded possibilities for the students and taught them new ways to interact with technology.
Seventeen-year-old Lucas Mwanzia is visually impaired. For the past two years, he has been attending computer classes at the Thika School for the Blind.
Lucas Mwanzia is in eighth grade. He started school at a later age because of his poor eyesight. But using the new technology, he can search the Internet for biology class. He says the technology has opened doors that once were closed.
He says that Braille books are costly and you have to spend a lot of money to buy one. With computers, he says, the books are available at little or no cost. "So we download the books to read and when are done we just close the program," he says.
The school started using assistive technology six years ago. It enables blind and visually-impaired students to get information from computers and iPads.
Zachary Muasya was born blind. He is now one of the school's teachers. He has been teaching the students how to use the technology for about two years now.
He says the technology opens up possibilities that can level the playing field for his students.
"Assistive technology equips the learners with very many skills that really make them independent in life," says Muasya. "They can read materials like books, magazines, newspapers by themselves. And apart from that -- assistive technology equips them with employable skills."
The assistive technology costs $1,000 to set up. But a non-governmental organization called InAble has provided it to the schools at no cost.
Peter Okeyo, the program manager at InAble, says blind students using the technology may still face difficulties when they move to higher education.
He says students who have used the technology up through high school might not have it at the university they attend. Those students might have difficulties if they have to go back to braille, he adds.
Four out of Kenya's 11 schools for the blind are using the technology. Inable says it will provide the financing for the remaining schools to join the effort.
I'm Mario Ritter.
1.poor eyesight 弱视；视力不佳
Poor eyesight is a handicap to a student.
2.interact with 与...相互作用
There will also be many chances for all the children to interact with world leaders during the conference.
3.visually impaired 视障
This organization provides equipment for the blind and visually impaired.
4.no cost 无代价；免费
Of course. You save five lives at no cost.
1.He says the technology opens up possibilities that can level the playing field for his students.
open up 打开；开辟
After a few drinks he began to open up a bit.
They decided to open up an office in town.
2.Those students might have difficulties if they have to go back to braille, he adds.
go back to 返回；追溯到
He'd like to go back to private life.
The bulk of the railroad workers voted to go back to work.
他们的书籍是用盲文系统的凸点来表示文字和数字 。这些视力弱或失明的人可以通过触摸这些标记来“阅读” 。
不过肯尼亚盲人学校现在采用了可提供声音材料的新技术 。这扩大了学生们感知世界的可能性，而且教他们用新的方法与科技互动 。
17岁的卢卡斯·玛瓦西亚（Lucas Mwanzia）视力受损 。过去的两年里，他一直在锡卡盲人学校学习电脑课程 。
玛瓦西亚现在上8年级了 。因为视力障碍他上学比较晚 。但是有了这项新技术，他可以在互联网上搜索生物课程 。他说，该技术打开了一扇扇曾被尘封的窗户 。
他表示，盲文书籍价格不菲，而且一本书得花很多钱 。但是有了电脑后，这些书籍就变得很便宜甚至还能免费使用 。“我们下载这些书籍来阅读，读完后只需关闭程序就可以了 。”
六年前，这所学校开始使用辅助技术 。这样盲人学生和视障学生都能够通过电脑和iPad来获取信息 。
扎卡里.穆莎（Zachary Muasya）先天性失明 。他现在已经是该学校的一名教师 。过去两年里，他一直在教学生们如何使用这项技术 。
穆莎还表示，“辅助技术可以让学生获得多种技能，从而能够真正地独立生活 。他们可以自己阅读书籍、杂志、报刊等材料 。此外，辅助技术还培养了他们就业的技能 。”
这项辅助技术的启动资金为1000美元 。而一家名为InAble的非政府组织免费向该校提供了这项技术 。
InAble组织的项目经理彼得.奥凯耶（Peter Okeyo）表示，目前使用这项技术的盲人学生可能进入到高等教育时仍然面临着困难 。
他解释道，念完高中课程的学生在大学里可能无法再继续使用该技术了 。他补充说，让这些学生重新使用盲文又不太现实 。
肯尼亚11所盲人学校中有4所正在使用该项技术 。Inable组织表示，该组织将为余下的几所学校提供资金，让他们也能使用这项先进的技术 。