2002 Conference Proceedings

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Uniting the core curriculum and Braille technology - An Australian Perspective

Mr. Tim Connell, Managing Director and
Mr. Trevor Boyd, State Manager Quantum Technology
5 South Street
Rydalmere, New South Wales, 2116 AUSTRALIA
Phone: 02 96842077
Fax: 02 96844717
E-mail: tboyd@quantech.com.au 
Web site: http://www.quantech.com.au

Many educators of students who are blind or vision impaired, often lack opportunities to gain experience with the rapidly changing tools used in Braille Education. Yet, these same tools, and the skills they help to develop, are essential for Braille using students to access mainstream curriculum. Technology can sometimes be perceived by Educators involved in teaching Braille as hampering the student's acquisition of Braille skills, because of its complicated nature and unfamiliarity. These issues, and many others, can mean that technology moves further down the priority list when it comes to teaching Braille.

The Braille Skills program as implemented by the Statewide Visiting Resource Centre Victoria, Australia is an excellent example of the successful integration of Assistive Technology and the core curriculum for students using Braille. This program has been very successful in applying technology in a student's environment at the commencement of Braille learning. It also seeks the involvement of care-givers, support staff and the students' peers in the process of Braille learning as fully as possible.

The program takes the approach that all involved with the early Braille learner have a firm understanding of and familiarity with Braille and with Braille technology. Professional Development is planned around this approach, including Teacher Aids, other Ancillary staff and parents of the student in all relevant Professional Development activities.

This paper discusses these aspects of the program, as well as introduces emerging technology options in the area of Braille access to the curriculum. It will include a range of topics such as the recognised importance of audio feedback in early Braille literacy, to the use of the Internet, Cd-rom and Email to provide "just-in-time" Braille access to the curriculum.

It will examine the useful medium of multimedia, self-paced training packages which contain online exercises, tutorials and strategies for mastering technology whilst at the same time promoting the importance of Braille.

Summary

Uniting the core curriculum and Braille technology - An Australian Perspective

The Braille Skills program as implemented by the Statewide Visiting Resource Centre Victoria, Australia is an excellent example of the successful integration of Assistive Technology and the core curriculum for students using Braille. It also seeks the involvement of care-givers, support staff and the students' peers in the process of Braille learning as fully as possible.

This paper discusses these aspects of the program, as well as introduces emerging technology options in the area of Braille access to the curriculum. It will include a range of topics such as the recognised importance of audio feedback in early Braille literacy, to the use of the Internet, Cd-rom and Email to provide "just-in-time" Braille access to the curriculum.

It will examine the useful medium of multimedia, self-paced training packages which contain online exercises, tutorials and strategies for mastering technology whilst at the same time promoting the importance of Braille.


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