Study 1 | Eliciting Requirements: Learning from teachers and pupils

A large proportion of visually impaired children in the UK are educated in mainstream schools, typically in the form of one or two learners in a class of fully sighted peers. We are interested in developing technology that can make group learning activities in mixed classrooms more inclusive of visually impaired pupils.

If you are from a mainstream school that includes visually impaired pupils, a teacher, a SENCO, or part of a support service, if you are a visually impaired or sighted pupil (or their parent), then we need your help to learn more about the experience of inclusive education. Your input will help us gain insights into how novel inclusive learning technologies should be developed

This first study is part of the CRITICAL project (Crossmodal Interactive Tools for Inclusive Learning), which aims to design, implement and evaluate novel learning technologies that can be used by both visually impaired and sighted children during group learning activities.

The CRITICAL project is organised around three stages:

  • Stage 1: First, we would like to learn from SEN specialists,  teachers, children and parents of children who learn in mixed classroom settings about their experience with current technology and best practice when it comes to supporting group learning involving visually impaired and sighted children.
  • Stage 2: Then, we will aim to design new learning technologies that support group learning activities between visually impaired and sighted children.
  • Stage 3: In the final stage, we will aim to deploy and evaluate the technology we develop in schools that provide mixed-classroom teaching and learning.

This Study

So, we are in Stage 1 of the project at the moment, Stages 2 and 3 will start from January 2017.

We would like to invite people from mainstream schools, teachers, SENCOs, support services, visually impaired and sighted pupils (and their parents) to help us learn more about inclusive education. The study runs until December 2016.

We would like to find out about your experience when teaching and learning in a mixed classroom. In particular, we would like learn more about teachers’ approaches to supporting children living with visual impairments during group learning activities with their sighted peers, and about children’s experiences in mixed classrooms.

You can take part in this study in one or more of the following ways:

  • Interviews: We can meet with you face-to-face to talk about your experience when teaching and/or learning in a mixed-classroom, this would be an informal chat that can take between 30 minutes and one hour of your time.
  • Questionnaires: We can send you a questionnaire that you can fill either online or as a physical copy that you will then return to us. Filling the questionnaire can also take up 1 hour of your time.
  • School visits: A member of our team will come to your school and attend one or more teaching sessions.

Please note that our aim is not be to evaluate your teaching or learning abilities, but rather to see your experience first hand and to gain a better appreciating for the benefits and challenges of teaching and/or learning in a mixed classroom. Your input will help us gain insights into how novel inclusive learning technologies should be developed.

If you would like to take part in this study, or want to find out more please contact Dr Oussama Metatla on 011795 45144 or on email

This study has been approved by the Faculty of Engineering Research Ethics Committee at the University of Bristol, Ref: 37681. All researchers involved have DBS clearance.

CRITICAL is an EPSRC-funded project led by Dr Oussama Metatla at the Department of Computer Science, University of Bristol.

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