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ERIC Number: EJ1121182
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
A Comparison of Subjects' Reading and Writing Performance and Preference While Using Various Portable Electronic Magnifiers
Matchinski, Tracy L.; Winters, Janis E.
Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, v110 n6 p454-460 Nov-Dec 2016
The ability to read print to help maintain independence and quality of life is a primary concern of people with visual impairments. One option for reading is a CCTV (closed-circuit television) or, using a more specific term, electronic magnifier. An electronic magnifier uses a camera to enlarge images onto a screen. The aim of this study was to gain an understanding of preferences, and reading and writing performance of subjects with visual impairments using different portable electronic magnifiers. Performance was measured by assessing reading rates, writing speeds, and equivalent power used. Preferences were determined by having subjects rank ease of writing tasks with portable electronic magnifiers. This study assesses trends and provides information that practitioners may find useful as they demonstrate and prescribe portable electronic magnifiers. Fourteen subjects were tested. Subjects had no previous portable electronic magnifier experience, but they frequently used a desktop electronic magnifier for reading and writing. All subjects were employed at one of three agencies that serve people who are visually impaired (that is, those who are blind or have low vision). Eight portable electronic magnifiers were classified into large and small categories. Subjects read text and performed three different writing tasks with all eight portable electronic magnifiers and the desktop electronic magnifier they used daily. Testing was done over two sessions; each lasted 60 to 90 minutes. Reading speed was measured using articles from a standard print-size "Time" magazine. Subjects were asked to read aloud for three minutes, and they were informed they would be timed. Subjects were asked to sign their name, fill out a check, and print a paragraph. The subjects were informed that the task of printing the paragraph would be timed. For mean reading rates, desktop electronic magnifiers were the fastest at 61.8 words per minute. Three of the large portable electronic magnifiers had faster rates than all but one of the small portable electronic magnifiers. The average of the mean reading rates of the large portable electronic magnifiers was 46.2 words per minute versus 38.1 for the small ones. The averages of the mean writing rates were similar between the two portable groups, with larger portable electronic magnifiers at 61.0 and smaller portable electronic magnifiers at 59.3. Writing rates of desktop electronic magnifiers were the fastest at 85.5.
Descriptors: Assistive Technology, Writing Achievement, Reading Achievement, Comparative Analysis, Visual Impairments, Preferences, Handheld Devices, Performance Based Assessment, Reading Rate, Writing Ability, Difficulty Level, Usability, Task Analysis, Reading Tests, Writing Tests, Likert Scales, Electronic Learning, Electronic Equipment, Statistical Analysis
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
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Identifiers - Location: Illinois
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