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Welcome to the Journal of Special Education Technology (JSET)
A publication of the Technology and Media Division of the Council for Exceptional Children

JSET Articles Index

Volume 27 Number 3

Impact of a Braille-Note on Writing: Evaluating the Process, Quality, and Attitudes of Three Students Who Are Visually Impaired

Cheryl Kamei-Hannan
California State University, Los Angeles

Holly Lawson
George Mason University

Educators of students with visual impairments have long advocated that children who read and write in braille benefit from access to and use of a braille note-taker (BNT) with refreshable braille display. However, little research exists that evaluates whether using a BNT impacts literacy. In this single-subject study, authors investigated if using a Perkins Braille Writer (PBW) versus a BNT would affect students’ engagement during the writing process, the quality of their writing samples, and their attitudes toward writing. Participants were three middle school students who used braille as their primary literacy medium and who participated in a BNT intervention. Students were video recorded writing on either the PBW or BNT. Videotapes were later analyzed for the length of time each student engaged in writing and the frequency with which they reflected and corrected text. As compared to using a PBW, students wrote for longer periods of time using a BNT. A visual analysis of data showed that during writing, participants reflected and corrected more often when using the BNT as compared with the PBW. Writing samples were evaluated using a seven-trait writing rubric. All participants improved in writing on at least five of seven traits when using the BNT, as compared with using the PBW. Finally, interviews with students showed that their overall attitudes toward writing did not change even though their attitudes toward technology were positive.