It’s often said in the industry that garbage in = garbage out, but what does this mean in practice?
On 17 May 2022, our Chairman Dave Williams held a conversation with Kawal Gucukoglu, who worked for many years as a braille transcriber at RNIB. They discussed the principals of effective braille layout – headings, paragraphs, lists, tables and so on – and how to implement them in electronic file formats to achieve optimum quality.
We know about braille in the UK, of course, and we regularly hear about braille in other developed English-speaking countries – the US, Australia, New Zealand and so on. But there are many other countries in the world about which we hear much less. How is braille taught? How is it produced? How easy is it to obtain? What braille technology is in use?
On Tuesday 4 January, to mark World Braille Day, we explored these issues in detail with three panellists:
Adrijana Prokopenko is a teacher of English and English braille in a school for the blind in Macedonia.
Yanan Yu from China has a Master’s degree in Disability Studies and is currently an intern at Bristol Braille Technology. Prior to this, she worked for a year as an Editor at China Braille Press.
Christo de Klerk is a founding member of Braille SA, the first President of the South African Braille Authority and the Immediate Past President of the International Council on English Braille. He is a former student of the Pioneer School for the Visually Impaired (formerly the School for the Blind in Worcester), where he later returned as a staff member, teaching law and braille and establishing computerised braille production. He qualified in law and practiced as a lawyer before retraining as a computer programmer, and has developed braille tables for ten South African languages in Duxbury, eight in Liblouis, and one for Afrikaans for the Embraille iOS app. His last job before retirement was as an IT Specialist in one of South Africa’s banks.
Care and Usage of your Perkins Brailler (Extra 41)
The Perkins Brailler has been a staple in the lives of braille users ever since the first one was manufactured in Watertown, Massachusetts in 1951. To this day, the Perkins is widely considered to be the most durable braille device on the market, with machines over 50 years old still going strong.
They are so popular, in fact, that it is easy to forget that we need to teach new braillists how to use them! Furthermore, even established braillists do not always know how to diagnose faults when they arise, or how to take the best care of their machines so as to minimise the risks of faults arising in the first place.
On 15 March, we were joined by Alan Thorpe of Eyecan, a certified Perkins Brailler Repair Centre. Alan took us on a tour of the Perkins Brailler, introducing us to the proper names of all of the parts! He explained how to insert paper and write braille, and described some common faults and how to overcome them. He also explained when a professional service or repair may be required and briefly explained the differences between the different models of Perkins Brailler available.
We were delighted to be joined by Scott Davert, one of the most well-known authorities on the use of iOS with a braille display, for the third and final part of his exploration of this winning combination. Scott is the Coordinator at the Technology, Research and Innovation Center, part of the Helen Keller National Center for DeafBlind Youths and Adults, and serves on the editorial team at AppleVis.
In this session, he explained how to re-assign braille display commands and demonstrated web browsing with a braille display in Safari.
Following the first successful Masterclass, we were delighted to have been joined once again by Scott Davert, one of the most well-known authorities on the use of iOS with a braille display, to continue his exploration of this winning combination. Scott is the Coordinator at the Technology, Research and Innovation Center, part of the Helen Keller National Center for DeafBlind Youths and Adults, and serves on the editorial team at AppleVis.
In this Masterclass, he introduced some more advanced navigation commands, including using the rota, and then discussed and demonstrated text editing.
Following our brief introduction to Braille on iOS last year, we’re delighted this year to have been joined by Scott Davert, one of the most well-known authorities on the topic, to explore this winning combination in more detail. Scott is the Coordinator at the Technology, Research and Innovation Center, part of the Helen Keller National Center for DeafBlind Youths and Adults, and serves on the editorial team at AppleVis.
In a series of three Masterclasses, he discussed and demonstrated how to make the most of using your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch with a braille display, from basic exploration to text editing, web browsing and much more.
In the first Masterclass, he covered:
Supported braille displays and how to connect them
We were delighted to be joined by Kim Charlson, Executive Director of the Perkins Library (part of Perkins School for the Blind). Kim is author of the book “Drawing with your Perkins Brailler”, which includes step-by-step directions for creating 36 different drawings including shapes, animals and subjects with holiday and transportation themes.
In this session, she used a drawing of a Christmas tree to explain the concepts behind using braille cells to create pictures. Bring a Perkins and some paper and follow along and, by the end of the session, you will have your very own frilly Christmas tree made entirely of braille dots!
Leisure Reading with Refreshable Braille, Part 2 (Extra 34)
We were delighted to have been joined by Sean Randall for the second in a two-part series. Sean is something of a computing and IT mastermind and now works at New College Worcester, training many of their students in the use of assistive technology including screen readers and braille displays.
This session covered sources of reading material that are more mainstream in nature, including apps or specialist software used to read. These included: