Dİnçer Ateş, the General Director of Innovation and Education Technologies Department (YEĞİTEK) under the Ministry of National Education, announced in Wednesday that the department will buy special devices for students and teachers with visual impairment to transform books into audio files along with recorders and listening devices.
Ateş told that the directorate organized the event "Engelliler için Dijital Eğitim İmkanları Çalıştayı" (Digital Education Opportunities Workshop for People with Disabilities) overseen by National Education Minister Nabi Avcı this week in Ankara. They asked the opinions of NGOs, students with disabilities, academics and teachers on how to benefit from education technology opportunities. The ministry previously prepared audio book CDs for students with visual impairment, but is working on new education technologies. Based on an open tender procedure, 1,600 special devices will be purchased soon. Ateş said new education technologies can instantly transform a PDF file into an audio record for visually-impaired students. It is possible to use the devices with audio commands. He underscored that Avcı pays particular attention on the education of students with disabilities. "When Avcı learned about this technology, he asked us to introduce it in Turkey. Our directorate conducted studies on digital education technologies for people with visual impairments all around the world. We will bring more advanced devices for our students," he continued.
The devices will also allow students to listen to over 4,000 audio files and books available on the Education Information Network (EBA) anytime and anywhere. "When an audio file is put on the system, students can listen to it through their device," Ateş added. There are also ongoing initiatives in Turkish universities on the field of new digital education technologies. "There are studies on a new technology that will transform an image into sign language by using artificial intelligence. The current technology only allows us to transform an article into sign language if someone reads it," he concluded. The directorate continues its efforts to render efficient service to students with disabilities.