Notetaking: Making Notes for Others (Extra 15)

If you are required to take notes as part of a team, whether that’s in a meeting or for group projects, this session is for you! Led by Matthew Horspool, it guides you through using braille to take notes that are also visually accessible. We talked specifically about taking notes using a braille display, and writing Markdown in braille to format your notes.

This session was recorded on Tuesday 23 February 2021. For further information please visit the Braillists Foundation Media Page.

Braille for Public Speaking (Extra 14)

Led by Holly Scott-Gardner, this session guided participants through using braille to present more effectively, especially useful if you need to deliver speeches for work, school, or as part of one of your interests. We covered writing a presentation script, using cue cards and the best way to set up your braille display or hard copy braille when speaking.

This session was recorded on Tuesday 16 February 2021. For further information please visit the Braillists Foundation Media Page.

Using Braille as a Presentation Tool (Extra 13)

Led by Holly Scott-Gardner, this session covered using a braille display with Microsoft PowerPoint and Google Slides. We guided you through how braille output works with these applications and the ways in which braille output can enable you to deliver more effective presentations.

This session was recorded on Tuesday 9 February 2021. For further information please visit the Braillists Foundation Media Page.

Using Braille on iOS (Extra 12)

Led by Matthew Horspool, this session explained how to pair a braille display with an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch and how to get the most out of using braille with these devices.

This session was recorded on Tuesday 2 February 2021. For further information please visit the Braillists Foundation Media Page.

Using Braille on Windows (Extra 11)

Led by Holly Scott-Gardner, this session explained how to pair a windows PC with a braille display, which screen readers support braille output and some tips and tricks for using braille output.

This session was recorded on Tuesday 26 January 2021. For further information please visit the Braillists Foundation Media Page.

An Introduction to Unified English Braille (Extra 10)

Led by James Bowden, Braille Technical Officer at RNIB, this session answered questions such as: How does UEB differ from Standard English Braille? Where can you learn about the changes? What tips and tricks are there for switching to UEB?

This session was recorded on Tuesday 19 January 2021. For further information please visit the Braillists Foundation Media Page.

Judy Dixon on Braille, More Braille, and the World’s Largest Collection of Slates and Styluses (Episode 23)

Judy Dixon is something of a braille icon. She is Consumer Relations Officer at the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, part of the Library of Congress in the United States; President of the International Council on English Braille; and has written a myriad of books for National Braille Press relating to braille and assistive technology. She also owns what is widely considered to be the largest collection of braille slates and styluses, containing over 280 unique designs.

On Friday 7 August 2020, the Braillists Foundation joined the dots on Judy’s incredible story as part of its series of Stay Safe: Stay Connected calls. This episode is an archive of that call.

A Celebration of World Braille Day (Episode 22)

On 4 January, people across the world celebrated World Braille Day. This day, which marks the birthday of Louis Braille, is an important one for blind people and those connected to the blind community, so the Braillists Foundation couldn’t let it pass without recognising it and the significance of braille.

The Foundation hosted a panel discussion, inviting three braille users to speak about their lives with braille. More importantly, perhaps, they also shared their thoughts on how braille may adapt to the changing needs of the blind community in future.

The session also included a short audio presentation sharing the voices and perspectives of braille users from around the world, from the UK all the way to New Zealand.

We would like to extend our thanks to the Braillists Foundation for allowing us to publish this recording, and to the three excellent panelists for giving up their time to be part of the session:

Stephen Anderson on the Louis Braille Museum, and Should Partially Sighted People Learn Braille? (Episode 21)

Happy new year, and happy World Braille Day! Today (4 January 2021) is the 212th birthday of Louis Braille, inventor of the code that revolutionised literacy for blind people all over the world. In spite of intense opposition in Louis Braille’s lifetime, the code has been adapted for use in dozens of languages and disciplines and is widely recognised throughout the world as the most effective means by which blind people can read and write. There’s even a braille chess code!

But what about people who are partially sighted, who can just about read print if it’s large enough? Stephen Anderson is one such person: a self-certified “Braille Muggle”, he’s the proud owner of an honours degree in Politics from the University of Leicester, a fluent French-speaker, and Director of Music at the Parish Church of St Thomas, Kensal Town, where he also plays the organ. He has also played in the presence of two Bishops, at two Church of England Cathedrals, one Royal Peculiar and several other high profile churches and Cathedrals in the UK and overseas.

He was kind enough to agree to join me on the podcast to talk candidly about his experiences growing up and his thoughts about braille. He also talked about the Louis Braille Museum, which he recently visited.

Other Links of Interest

Index Braille (Episode 20)

Index Braille is synonymous the world over with braille embossers. Founded by Bjorn Lofstedt and Torvald Lundqvist as Polar Print Production in Sweden in 1979, its first incarnation was as a university project to develop a braille typewriter with copy function. The company took shape in 1982 and, by 1984, a small batch of Index Computer Braille Printers (known as “Index 3.7” embossers after the firmware version) were manufactured in Bjorn’s garage. The current premises were obtained in 1985, financed by distributing assistive technology around Sweden. This distribution arm continued as Polar Print Production, and Index Braille became its own brand in the late 80s with the introduction of the Index Blue Bar, which took tractor fed paper. The Everest, for cut sheet paper, followed in 1992, then came the version 2 platform (Basic and Everest) in 1995, the 4X4 Pro for booklet printing in 1998, the version 3 platform with USB and network connectivity in 2002-4, the 4Waves Pro high speed production embosser in 2005, the version 4 platform with embedded translation and high speed cut sheet production in 2011, and the version 5 platform with wifi printing and printing directly from USB memory stick in 2016.

We caught up with Bjorn to find out more about Index Braille, its embosser line and its new annual Donation Programme, drawn on World Braille Day each year.