2003 Conference Proceedings

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SAL - A NEW ERA IN BRAILLE INSTRUCTION

Presenter
Sally S. Mangold, Ph.D.
Braille Curriculum Specialist
20102 Woodbine Avenue
Castro Valley, CA 94546
Phone: 510-581-5451
Email: smangold@earthlink.net

An exciting new braille learning station is now changing education of the blind. It is the brain child of Dr. Sally Mangold. A new era in braille instruction has begun.

With Speech Assisted Learning (SAL), blind students always have a braille tutor at their fingertips. Press on a word to hear it spoken. Press again to hear it spelled and contractions described. Speech, full page paper braille displays and a barcode driven operating system are combined to maximize individual or group instruction.

There are no commands to learn as students study basic literacy skills of reading and writing. When an answer is requested and the student presses his selection, a spoken message indicates if the answer is correct or incorrect.

Blind children in the primary grades can now be instructed in literacy skills that have been traditionally postponed until the student learns computer keyboarding. The next generation must be proficient in both uncontracted and fully contracted braille for most languages. Most braille notetakers and editing programs require uncontracted braille for accessing or deleting files. The option of either uncontracted or fully contracted braille is given in reading and writing modes on SAL. Delete, replace, mark, and tab for column formats can be practiced on SAL with concrete examples.

Once the skills have been mastered, the students may utilize the advantages of a host of adapted electronic devices that utilize braille and/or speech features. The student must master the production of braille in many media that will include braille embossers, dynamic braille displays, voice activated web browsers and more. It is hoped that a greater percentage of the next generation of blind students will move from hard copy paper braille to computerized Web access more easily and with more confidence. The ultimate goal is to maximize abilities and thus minimize disabilities. Literacy skills are the key to independence in private and professional life.

Since the time of Louis Braille, each generation has developed innovative ways to use braille in the home and in the workplace. Many of these techniques created by blind adults have never been documented. They are sometimes shared over the Internet or telephone. There are common threads of introspective views being expressed. Blind people who feel satisfied and content with their lives have many tools from which to choose. They feel skilled with the braille slate and stylus, braillewriter, personal computer, optical scanner, and live readers. They have learned to maximize their efficiency in the workplace so that they still have time to fulfill their personal aspirations. The skills that are vital to independence for blind people can now be taught on SAL.

There is a universal consensus that technological devices need to become more intuitive. SAL is the most friendly and intuitive device that has ever been available to the blind population.

REFERENCES:

Exceptional Teaching Aids, Inc.
http://www.exceptionalteaching.com 

Freedom Scientific, Inc.
http://www.freedomscientifc.com 

Duxbury Systems, Inc.
http://www.duxburysystems.com 


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