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Thursday, August 13 • 2:10pm - 2:35pm
Hello? Whatsup? Can You Teach English to Blind Students via Mobiles?

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Due to the lack of expertise in the teaching of English as an additional language to blind students and the usage of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in this environment, we aim at investigating how technology is related to the teaching/learning of the English language, especially ICT used as Assistive Technologies, with the population of twenty visually impaired students. In order to begin the investigation, a Basic English Course for Blind and Low Vision Students was conceived at the end of 2013 and started in March 2014 and is currently in course. Within the Multiliteracies paradigm (Cope and Kalantzis, 2000, 2001,2004, 2005), this study was framed within Vygotsky’s (1978) socio-cultural theory that states that human learning and development is mediated by historical and cultural artefacts in the socialization process. The investigation design adopted for this study is classroom ethnography with data generation based on qualitative methods including classroom observations, collection of Whatsup and text messages, field notes, and guided interviews. The analysis has emerged from the triangulation of the data and relationships on the most common themes/topics have been tracked. Partial results show that, after six months of formal language instruction, most of them had bought a cell phone and were able to use the podcasts, the Whatsup and text messages in Portuguese, their native language, and in English. Some of them have chatted in a North American Facebook Group called The Visually Impaired and two others will start a course to become tourist guides for the blind in the city of Curitiba. Students with visual impairment have improved their communication skills through digital inclusion and English language skills to socialize with others from different parts of the world.


Vera Lúcia Lopes Cristovão

State University of Londrina

Miriam Sester Retorta

Federal University of Technology-Parana

Thursday August 13, 2015 2:10pm - 2:35pm EDT
Holden Chapel Holden Chapel, Harvard Bus Tunnel, Cambridge, MA