Tactual Graphics with Bob Marek – 1 December 2011

Statewide Vision Resource Centre

Introducing young learners to tactile graphics: simple tools for explaining complex problems

Professor Boguslaw MAREK Ph.D. OBE
The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Poland

Thursday 1 December 2011
9.30am to 4.00pm
Workshop outline

“How can you see a tall tree through a small window”?
“Does a stone look the way it feels?”
“I can recognize drawings of people when they are standing but not when they are doing something”

This and other, similar questions are frequently asked by young totally blind learners in an attempt to understand a wide range of concepts based on visual experience. The workshop addresses this problem by offering teachers and parents some practical ideas on how difficult visual concepts can be explained to totally blind learners with the help of carefully designed books and other educational materials with tactile illustrations.
Tactile graphics is one of the most difficult and still underestimated areas in the education of children with a visual impairment. While totally blind learners may have no problems with recognizing different tactile lines and textures, understanding what these lines “mean”, or represent, is an issue which requires serious consideration and a “step-by-step” approach. The experience gained in the use of tactile graphics in the education of totally blind learners in Poland suggests that tactile drawings can greatly benefit visually impaired learners’ development and progress across the curriculum, on the condition that they are introduced as part of a carefully designed programme and with the use of specially designed educational tools

Aims of the workshop
– To address the notoriously difficult problem of introducing tactile graphics to young congenitally blind learners.
– To raise awareness of problems underlying the difficulties which totally blind learners experience with tactile graphics.
– To acquaint parents and teachers with tools designed for young learners, which facilitate understanding of difficult concepts based on spatial relations
– To help teachers explain the relation between objects and drawings and to increase blind children’s confidence with tactile graphics.
– To help design activities involving tactile graphics, which will be both meaningful and enjoyable for young totally blind learners.
– To show how a meaningful contact with tactile graphics may increase the child’s independence, orientation and mobility skills.
– To show components and stages of a step-by-step course in tactile graphics
– To show how tactile graphics can be used to make a braille course more effective and more entertaining

Specific problems to be discussed
1. Gaps in the knowledge of the “sighted” world. Evidence from the language of totally blind children.
2. Concepts related to space and visual experience.
3. Why some VI children show no interest in drawing (or in drawings.)
4. Developing a step-by-step course in tactile graphics for young totally blind learners.
5. Stories, toys, games, puzzles & tactile drawings – useful and enjoyable educational sets.
6. Explaining the relation between three-dimensional objects and two-dimensional drawings
7. Drawing/interpreting outlines of simple objects. Using a magnetic board
8. Outlines of complex shapes. Working (or playing?) with the Space Manager
9. Human body – recognizing drawings of persons.
10. Raised lines and textures – before a blind child can read a map.
11. Transfograph, Symmetrograph, Rotograph and Space manger – simple tools (with difficult names!) for explaining complex problems – projection, symmetry, rotation, “sighted” convention of drawing three-dimensional objects and geometric shapes.
12. Introducing a tactile graphics primer.
13. From table mat to “outer space” – designing tactile graphics for orientation and mobility activities. Introducing the concept of a map.
14. Listen and touch books – tactile activity books.
15. Tactile playing cards.
16. Adding sound to tactile graphics: ‘talking’ touch screens, PenFriend and Smart pen.
17. Literacy and numeracy – entertaining, effective activities involving tactile graphics (games, Braille and graphics crossword puzzles etc)
18. Multiple choice frane for Braille and tactile graphics activities.
19. TCL board and Multiple choice frame – stress free “exams”
20. Is tactile graphics always the best solution? Analysis and evaluation of “good” and “bad” tactile adaptations of illustrations.
21. Designing leisure activities involving tactile graphics.
22. Discussion.

About the Presenter
Boguslaw (Bob) Marek is a professor of English at the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Poland and founder of “Hungry Fingers” – a small organization specializing in designing educational tools for young learners with special needs. Bob is particularly interested in teaching English as a second language to children and students with a visual impairment, in tactile graphics and in designing educational tools which help totally blind learners understand difficult concepts based on visual experience and spatial relations. He has run workshops and seminars for teachers working with VI learners in Poland, Lithuania, Finland, Estonia, UK, Ireland, Canada, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. In 2002, in recognition of his English for the Blind programme, HM Queen Elizabeth II honoured Bob Marek with OBE – the Order of the British Empire.

The cost for this Masterclass is $22.

Registration is essential. A light lunch will be provided. Please let us know of any special dietary requirements.

Phone 9841 0242, fax 9841 0878 or email svrc@svrc.vic.edu.au.

Student Wellbeing Professional Learning 2011


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