Find out all about the Braillists Foundation’s new Braille for Beginners On-Demand programme in this archive of the launch event which took place on Monday 10 October 2022.
There are two well-known braille keyboards on the market today, the Orbit Writer and the Hable One. What are the similarities? What are the differences? Which one would suit your needs best?
On Tuesday 4 October 2022, we were joined by a user of each keyboard. They told us more about how their preferred keyboard works and why they like it, and we learnt how they compare against each other.
For further information please visit the Braillists Foundation Media Page.
In our first Masterclass of 2022, Matthew Horspool tackled the hows, whys and wherefores of braille embossers: choosing them, setting them up and making the most of them. The session covered:
- The purpose and function of an embosser and why you might want one
- Different types of embosser
- Different types of paper
- Connectivity options
- The user interface
- The relationship between embosser and computer
- The role of translation software
This session was recorded on Tuesday 18 January 2022. For further information please visit the Braillists Foundation Media Page.
It’s a question we get asked all the time – how can I read braille more quickly? To answer it, we were delighted to be joined on Tuesday 19 October by Kit Aronoff of Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and founder of Main Line Accessibility Consulting. Kit has a background in elementary education and, using principals of teaching literacy to emerging readers and articles from the National Federation of the Blind, she has developed a series of strategies which are sure to benefit even the most competent of braillists.
Our Chairman Dave Williams led the discussion, and he started by asking Kit to describe her braille learning journey.
- Braille Together Mingle is organised by the American Council of the Blind. For more information, email [email protected]
What is computer braille? Are there different flavours? What are all the signs? Why would you want to use it? Is it still relevant now that we have UEB?
The latest occasional Masterclass from RNIB’s braille expert James Bowden answered all of these questions and more.
This session was recorded on Tuesday 21 September 2021. For further information please visit the Braillists Foundation Media Page.
“Most of us who know braille were taught it.” It sounds like such an obvious statement – so obvious, in fact, that it seems appropriate to conclude that the world has an abundance of braille teachers, and the methods and techniques that they use are mature, uniform and understood by everyone working in the field. Presumably, approaches that work well have been iterated over time, those that haven’t worked so well have been abandoned, and the entire process has been well-documented so that future teachers can learn from the mistakes of the past.
The reality is less clearly defined, although certain concepts which have withstood the test of time especially well have become accepted as common knowledge. Pre-braille skills, for instance, feature regularly in discussions about teaching braille, as do the differences between learning braille by touch and by sight and teaching braille to children and adults.
On Tuesday 29 June 2021, we explored this topic in more detail in a live panel discussion with three braille teachers:
- Kirsten Roberts is a life-long braille user, a Qualified Teacher of the Visually Impaired (QTVI), and Deputy Braille Tutor for the Mandatory Qualification for Teachers of Children and Young People with Vision Impairments offered at the University of Birmingham. In addition to her university work, she regularly teaches braille to both primary and secondary-aged children.
- Christine Williams recently retired from Exhall Grange Specialist School and Science College in Coventry, where she held the post of Lead Teacher of the Visually Impaired. In that capacity, she taught braille not only to the pupils at Exhall Grange, but also peripatetically to pupils of all ages in mainstream schools throughout Warwickshire (via the Vision Support Service). Prior to this, she taught French at Exhall Grange for a number of years, where braille also played a significant role. In her retirement, she teaches braille voluntarily at Coventry Resource Centre for the Blind, predominantly to adults who are losing or in danger of losing their sight.
- Melanie Pritchard has an extensive background in teaching braille to adults, either with visual impairments themselves or who are sighted friends or relatives of people with a visual impairment. Most recently, she taught the Braille For Beginners course remotely for the Braillists Foundation.
Resources Mentioned in this Episode
- I-M-ABLE: Individualized Meaning-Centered Approach to Braille Literacy Education, by Diane P. Wormsley, Ph.D published by the American Printing House for the Blind
- The Abi Books: Adventures of a Young Blind Girl, available from the Royal National Institue of Blind People (ABI-BOOKS): full set (formerly TC21432, £115.00), books 1-20 (formerly TC21429, £40.00), books 21-30 (formerly TC21430, £40.00) and books 31-40 (formerly TC21431, £50.00) + Teacher’s Handbook (ABI-TEACHER) available for £15.00 in print (formerly TC21433) and braille (formerly TC21434).
- Fingerprint: distance learning course for touch readers, available from RNIB: course books (TC21439, £39.00) + instructions (TC21439-INST) available for £15.00 on audio CD (formerly TC21439CD), multi-media CD (formerly TC21439M) and in print (formerly TC21439P) and grade 2 braille (formerly TC21439B) + Reference Book (volume 10), available in braille (TC21440, £5.00).
- BrailleNote Touch Plus (18-cell and 32-cell), available from HumanWare
- The Duxbury Braille Translator from Duxbury Systems
- The Braille Primer: a comprehensive guide to contracted braille for people wishing to learn to write braille or who want to become transcribers, available from RNIB for £9.90 (TC21423) in print (formerly TC21423P), large print 18pt (formerly TC21423LP) and grade 2 braille (formerly TC21423B).
- A Braille Reader in the Family (booklet and sheet formats) and Crack the Code (booklet and sheet formats) from the ClearVision Project
- UEB Online from the Renwick Centre of The Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children
- The Orbit Reader family from Orbit Research
- The professional association for the vision impairment education workforce (VIEW)
- Catch These Words, website of Holly Scott-Gardner
- Using a Range of Braille Technologies to Access Adult Life, a paper presented at the seventh General Assembly of the International Council on English Braille by Kirsten Roberts: Video presentation on Youtube, Word version or BRF version
This week’s Masterclass has a more low tech flavour as we take a wander into the heart of the household. If you’ve ever wondered how to read braille recipes without ruining them or what to do when the label is too big for the jar, this session is for you.
Emma Williams led the session – teacher of Independent Living Skills at New College Worcester, and a familiar voice to many from our Clever Cooking events last year. She drew on a wealth of personal experience of using braille in the kitchen, as well as things which have worked well (and maybe some which haven’t) for her peers and her students.
This session was recorded on Tuesday 1 June 2021. For further information please visit the Braillists Foundation Media Page.
This event introduced participants to the various types of braille labels available and how to create their own labels using a range of materials.
The session covered using a slate and stylus, a Perkins brailler and a braille labeller to produce labels, as well as tips for labelling various products around the home. It also took a look at writing greetings cards in braille.
This session was recorded on Tuesday 1 December 2020. For further information please visit the Braillists Foundation Media Page.