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Influence of Assistive Technologies on Visually Impaired Students' Experiences of Social Inclusion in Higher Education in Qatar

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posted on 2024-06-20, 10:45 authored by Yousef A. Jarbi

The rapid development of assistive technology (AT) indicates that AT will dramatically change the educational and occupational future of visually impaired people. Visually impaired students are at the centre of these digital transformations. This research study evaluated the perceived impact of the use of AT on the experiences of visually impaired students in higher education in Qatar. This was evaluated by exploring the impact of AT on the learning experience, social inclusion, development of skills, and motivation of students, in addition to the challenges facing the use of this technology, especially since Qatar is culturally, socially, and economically different from Western countries, where social culture emphasizes community integration, technology integration into education, and special needs inclusion in education. The study used the qualitative research method for data collection. The sample consisted of 30 visually impaired students, whose ages ranged between 18 and 26 years. Data was collected through interviews, and thematic analysis was applied to report the findings. The findings indicated that AT plays an important role in facilitating the educational experience for students and thus facilitating the knowledge and learning process. The use of AT allows visually impaired students to learn technical and social skills that are applied in academics and other areas of life. On the other hand, there are some obstacles that limit the maximum benefit of visually impaired students from AT, including, insufficient support from the administration and teachers, lack of early intervention services, negative attitudes, etc. The findings contribute to the existing knowledge by helping Qatari and Arab educational institutions to integrate AT and make the educational environment more supportive for visually impaired students, especially since the culture of Qatar, unlike the Western context, is similar to that of its counterparts from the Gulf and Arab countries.

History

Supervisor(s)

Katharine Venter

Date of award

2024-05-10

Author affiliation

Department of Management & Organisation

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • DSocSci

Language

en

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