Impact of assistive technology intervention on visually impaired students’ performance in Kiswahili in public primary teachers’ colleges in Kenya
The right to education is universal to all including those with disabilities. Students with visual impairments can struggle with a wide variety of challenges in a mainstreamed classroom setting. AT intervention by use of assistive devices in teaching, use of assistive teaching methods, taking care of VI severity and boosting positively the student-teacher related factors improve their performance. The purpose of the study was to examine the impact of assistive technology intervention on visually impaired students’ performance in Kiswahili in Public Primary TCs in Kenya. The specific objectives were; to determine the impact of assistive technology device in teaching VI students and their performance in Kiswahili; impact of use of AT on students’severity; relationship between use of assistive technology on student-teacher related factors as well as establishing the relationship between use of assistive teaching methods and performance of VI students in Kiswahili in Public Primary Teachers’ Colleges in Kenya. The study adopted quasi experimental design by use of a pre test and post test. It was appropriate to analyse the treatment effect of using AT in teaching VI students in one group while applying the natural teaching methods on the control group. The target population comprised of three teachers’ college in Kenya (Asumbi, Machakos and Mosoriot), that deals with students with visual impairment. The findings show that the Braille prints were available and adequate. The AT devices were critical in teaching VI students in order to improve their performance in Kiswahili and therefore their adequacy in college determined the rate of students’ performance. The study found out that the attitude of the Kiswahili teachers in teaching VI students was positive but the challenges in ensuring quality teaching of Kiswahili Language included the students having a negative attitude towards languages, teachers have a negative attitude towards their career and lack of adequate teaching and learning materials. The study found out that the most significant methods that the teachers used to teach Kiswahili Language to students with VI were: lectures, assignments and group discussions. From the findings, there is a significant relationship between AT device in teaching and performance in Kiswahili, with an associated P value = .019. In addition, there is a significant relationship between AT on VI students’ severity and performance in Kiswahili with t-test statistic with an associated P value = 0.00. There is a significant relationship between use of AT on student- teacher related factors and the performance of VI students in Kiswahili with an associated P value = .000. The study concluded that while using the natural teaching methods, most of the totally blind students had a slight increase in performance while majority of the partially blind students had high increase in performance. The findings inferred that the partially blind students were better suited for the natural teaching methods than the totally blind students as they performed higher when taught using natural teaching methods. The study recommends that the management of tertiary institutions should invest on interventions like the assistive technology in enhancing their academic performance. The study further recommends that other strategies for teaching VI students like use of peer consultations between the VI students with sighted students, use of quieter rooms, teacher assistance teams; extended exam time for VI students and shorter assignments to the VI students should also be employed to enhance Kiswahili Language to students with visual impairment. The significance of the study is that AT device intervention such as use of digital recorder in teaching can improve students’ academic performance.