Your thoughts needed for 28 February event in Birmingham

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Paul Sullivan

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Feb 15, 2017, 5:41:27 AM2/15/17
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Hi All,

On 28 February Stephanie Sergeant and I will be representing
The Braillists at an event at Birmingham City University.
Ed Rogers will also be there to demonstrate the Canute.

"The event is being held for the final year FdSc
Rehabilitation Studies (Visual Impairment) students and the
aim is to showcase the different areas of technology for
individuals with a sight loss so that they can become
familiar with the use of and also promote the products on
their practice placements and in their work based settings
upon qualification."

Stephanie and I aim to make the students aware of The
Braillists and hopefully get them to join. we also want to
show them just how important braille is to us and encourage
them to promote it to the visually impaired people they will
be working with. This is where we need your help.

If Stephanie and I are really going to represent The
Braillists, we need to know what you would like us to be
saying at the event about braille. So, please respond with
any thoughts you may have about what braille means to you,
why it is still important to visually impaired people, how
it compares with other ways of accessing written
information, its importance for independence and employment,
etc.
We would also be interested to know your thoughts on just
how difficult braille really is to learn and how it could be
tought most effectively.

All contributions are welcome.

Thanks,

Paul

Dave Williams

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Feb 15, 2017, 7:01:18 AM2/15/17
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Hi Paul


We recorded a short audio package about what braille means to people.
You can download here:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/6425137/WhyBrailleIsImportantIn1Min.mp3


Major blindness organizations around the world, (RNIB, AFB etc) link
braille literacy with the employ ability of blind people. Anecdotally it
appears that blind people with braille skills tend to be more likely to
be in jobs. Certainly many high profile blind people: White, Blunkett,
O'Donoghue, Wonder et al have stated braille has been key in their success.


Spelling, punctuation, layout are all reinforced when you have braille
as well as speech access to content.

Braille in meetings and presentations means ears can be freed to focus
entirely on colleagues or customers.

Practical use cases include: labeling medication, exchanging greetings
cards, finding a particular hotel room, playing cards and board games
with sighted family, etc.

Learning braille can be made easier by:
* Developing strong pre-braille skills with tactile activities as early
as possible.
* Make the content fun and relevant to the learner. What kinds of
reading material would excite you.
* Little and often is much better than the occasional long session.
* Keep braille close by in the environment: labels, cards, letters, etc.
* Create opportunities for shared reading experiences. I'm reading Harry
Potter in braille with my sighted son who is looking at the print. We
can go at our own pace, talk about any plot points as they come up,
trade Hagrid impressions, etc. Stephen Fry is brilliant, but nothing
compares with reading stories with your kids.
* Incidental reading. Draw attention to braille in the built
environment: lifts, hotel rooms etc. Also the co-op stock many own brand
products that have braille on the packaging.
* Set achievable goals. For example recognize your own name from a bunch
of other names, read x number of words per minute by an agreed deadline,
keep a diary, write a shopping list and use it, etc.

Hope this will do as a starter for ten. I live about half an hour from
Birmingham Uni, so let me know if you want to me to come along, or you
are welcome to pop round for a cuppa and informal Braillists get together.
--
Dave

Jackie Brown

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Feb 15, 2017, 7:11:37 AM2/15/17
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I couldn't agree with those sentiments more Dave.

Kind regards,

Jackie Brown
Email: Jackiean...@gmail.com
Check out my website: www.thebrownsplace.info
Follow me on Twitter: @thebrownsplace
Skype name: thejackmate
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Elisabeth Standen

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Feb 15, 2017, 8:23:14 AM2/15/17
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Hi Paul

This morning I found that my cat had chewed through my hearing-aid wire, and run off with the ear mould. I was able to contact Elspeth by dialling her number, but had no idea if she'd heard or not. So I ended my message by asking her to email me if she'd heard and could come round. She emailed that she would be here in half an hour. I read her message on my PC's Braille display.

Braille is also essential, when I am proofreading documents, my novel etc.

Storage jars in my kitchen are all Braille labelled. In fact I have Braille in every room of my house. It is a very important access, used in a variety of ways every day.

Will that do for now?

Elisabeth Standen

-----Original Message-----
From: brail...@googlegroups.com [mailto:brail...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Dave Williams
Sent: 15 February 2017 12:01
To: brail...@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: Braillists Forum: Your thoughts needed for 28 February event in Birmingham

Dave Williams

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Feb 15, 2017, 8:29:35 AM2/15/17
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Thanks very much Jackie. Look forward to reading examples from others.


Before anyone kindly points out that braille didn't prevent the typos in
my quick post, I want to say that any mistakes are my own. That wasn't
the fault of braille. I just didn't take the time to proof it. I believe
the younger generation would say "my bad".


Cheers,

--

Dave

Chris McMillan

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Feb 15, 2017, 11:06:09 AM2/15/17
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I think to be truthful, the alphabet alone and the numbers, make it seem easy, but like any language it takes a lifetime to memorise.  Definitely the younger the better before one's nerve endings get roughed up for whatever reason.  And again just like learning a second or more language, the younger the better from an assimilation standpoint.  If Braille is to be your first reading and writing skill, then print becomes the second language so to speak.  As a PS and not needing braille to exist, I have found it difficult to learn, and am not a finger user, too slow.  Whether the UEB will be easier combining the computer code plus is another thing altogether if you're learning as a young teen (for example).  I do feel for the education lewrner as they get to grips as if it were yesterday with the Braille plus the far foo busy national curriculum, while coming to terms with sight loss and trying to rrmain 'I won't be defined by my sight loss' mantra.  But in order ro make Braille interesting, intriguing, a 'must have' of the blind world, how to find time and no pressure?  I sm not a teacher ..... 
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E M Rogers

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Feb 15, 2017, 1:46:59 PM2/15/17
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Dave, do you mind if I add your text below to the BBT website?

Ed

| Bristol Braille Technology CIC | Tel: +447908 569 214 |
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Lynn Cox

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Feb 15, 2017, 2:05:34 PM2/15/17
to brail...@googlegroups.com, Lynn Cox
Hi Paul

I learnt Braille in two weeks at the age of 17 as I was told it might be useful in the future. It obviously took me another six months to get a good speed and during that time I lost most of my sight and relied on Braille.

Again, I use it all the time around the house, for work and leisure. There isn’t a day go by that I don’t use it.

Love
Lynn

Warmest
Lynn Cox BSc BA MA MAC

Director
Arts Coaching Training (Act)

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Linda Deacon

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Feb 15, 2017, 5:03:37 PM2/15/17
to Dave Williams
The interesting thing is, spelling mistakes heard through a screenreader are amusing. Braille mistakes are annoying most of the time, so a good point to make might be not just braille for its own sake, but good quality braille. Especially for young or new learners. My daughter and I are both totally blind and we both find braille provides so much more than a screenreader ever can. We agree with many of the points already made. We just want to add, also, for learning other languages braille is essential if you want to get the best experience. Not just for spelling which is essential, but for grammar endings and so on which the screenreaders don't always clearly indicate. My daughter's world has opened right up since we got a braille display. She also found it much better in a noisy classroom environment than trying to listen to the screenreader on a headset amongst all the other ambient sound, and it meant that she could participate properly in shared reading tasks. Incidentally I'd be interested to know from anyone here whether they've experienced problems with their ears from constantly having to listen to a screenreadr at high volume on a headset. For me, reading braille is much better if you want to retain information. It engages your brain differently from listening which is passive and half of what you hear can go right past you or even send you to sleep. When my children were little braille was much better for me to use when I needed to keep my ears focused on what the demons were up to but also had stuff I needed to read. It meant I could do both quite easily. That is, until one of them ran off with the book.

From Linda
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YolandaMartí

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Feb 15, 2017, 6:44:45 PM2/15/17
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Hi Paul, and all!,

I learnt braille when I was 6. I slightly couldn't read any printed
caracters (only the bigs and the capitals), which wasn't seen as useful
for my learning and academic/personal development.
Little by little, as my classmates, I learnt to read letters, words,
phrases, texts..., as well as to write them. I used braille in almost
every field of my life (studies, reading, interchanging letters with
friends, some games as cards...) in my teens and first time of my youth.
When technology came up, I didn't leave my dearling braille, although
I've to recognise I use it a little bit less since then as I share
braille and audio reading, for example, (it's not always possible to use
both together); in spite of it, I've never forget reading in braille,
fortunately, now it can be found on a few products as medicines or body
wash gel, and in some museums, or on the walls of lifts to indicate the
different floors of the buildings. At the same time technology provides
different kinds of braille displays in order to be easy and possible our
access to printed texts, to real words and traces.

Braille is essential for the blind and the hardly sight impaired because
it is our only way to the literacy (very short time ago it was the only
way to communicate with the world and to get any type of information
from it, too). Also, as some of you said, our 6 magic points are
necessary for realise about writing mistakes, for languages, maths,
music, physics and chemystry...
I feel it's more than that, I feel braille is not only spelling or a way
to understand grammar, but it involves give different voices and roles
to characters of the novel you're reading, braille means understand by
yourself what you're reading.

I consider essential family can take part of their children's braille
learning, which doesn't emply leave screen readers, but go together.

Kind regards!

Judith Furse

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Feb 16, 2017, 9:24:43 AM2/16/17
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Hi Paul and everyone,

I will repeat some points already made but that just goes to show how
important braille is to so many of us.

I use braille every day.

I use it in my job as a braille transcriber and proofreader. There are also
some documents which are easier to follow on a braille display than just
listening to sppeech.

I use it continually to write notes to myself, including train times, phone
numbers, cooking instructions, diary entries, sending cards and letters to
VI friends, reading magazines including radio and TV times and labelling
CDs.

Braille enables me to participate in a poetry group where we read poems and
a book group where we read plays out loud.

It means I can participate in church as a reader and leader of Bible
studies. I have a braille hymn book and transcribe the orer of service each
week so I can play a full part in the service.

I chair a number of groups and I couldn't do this without having a braille
agenda, minutes and any other accompanying documents. A braille watch is
also essential in these circumstances.

I shop at the Co-op because they have braille on their own-brand goods.

Braille labelling on medicine has made my life much easier and allowed me to
be more independent in this regard.

ClearVision books with braille and print enabled me to share books with my
sighted nieces when they were young. I was also able to play card and board
games with them. This was an important part of a bonding process which has
allowed me to have a close relationship with them even though they are now
grown-up.

I have bank statements, phone bills etc in braille.

I have a feeling if I sat here long enough I could think of many more
instances but I think that has covered the main points.

Regarding teaching braille, I think the more fun you can make it, the
better. I also agree with the contributor who said little and often is
better than long sessions occasionally. I fear children integrated into
mainstream schools may sometimes miss out on this.

I hope this is helpful.


Kind regards,
Judith
Tel: 01793 976196
Mobile: 07403 646773
Email: info.swin...@talktalk.net
Web: www.swindonbraille.co.uk

-----Original Message-----
From: Paul Sullivan
Sent: Wednesday, February 15, 2017 10:41 AM
To: brail...@googlegroups.com
Subject: Braillists Forum: Your thoughts needed for 28 February event in
Birmingham

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Lisa Jones

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Feb 17, 2017, 2:28:25 AM2/17/17
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I agree with all comments about how useful Braille has been for me over the years.  I too have used it to learn a foreign language besides those taught at GCSE.  I take things in much better reading Braille than listening to a speech synthesizer or reading with magnification.  It’s ideal when taking part in groups drafting or amending the Rules or Constitutions of organisations.

However, until last May when my husband’s Guide Dog retired I met an amusing stumbling block.  If he and my previous dog thought I’d been reading too long they would come and place their noses on my fingers hard enough to stop my hands moving across the page.

For further comments on my experience of Braille type “Lisa Bhogal” (spelt L I S A B H O G A L) into Google and you used to be able to find a post from 1998 – I hope you still can.

Regards

Lisa Jones

Chris McMillan

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Feb 17, 2017, 10:43:02 AM2/17/17
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I tried that, Lisa, but it didn't give me a working link.  
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sheilamargaretfoster

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Feb 17, 2017, 3:12:19 PM2/17/17
to Elisabeth Standen
Hello.

Whilst in my 30s, I was made redundant from my job. I was losing my sight and, would soon not be able to read print quickly enough with a new employer.

A friend taught me braille. I hated it, it didn't seem logic to me.

Due to lack of patience, I never progressed to reading using both hands.

Braille definitely helped me in my new job. I couldn't have been employed as a telephonist, receptionist without it, as I was constantly looking up numbers and info.

I use it for labelling, writing out song lyrics for a choir and, lots of other things.

I also read magazines for pleasure.

I too learnt German using braille. Although, I was a bit freaked out, when the braille came with some basic German contractions, that I had never seen before.

I could not write, or speak about braille, without mentioning UEB. With todays technology, why oh why, can't we have UEB for educational purposes and, S E B, for those who prefer using it for pleasure reading?.

Anyway, that's my four penny worth.

Regards,

Sheila F.






Edward Green

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Feb 18, 2017, 2:13:50 AM2/18/17
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Hi Sheila,

I'm not sure if you read for pleasure using hard copy braille or a braille display, but if you have a display, then you can set it to output SEB instead of UEB.

Cheers,

Ed
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Paul Sullivan

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Feb 18, 2017, 5:11:37 AM2/18/17
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Hi Everyone,

Thanks so much for all the brilliant replies to the message
below. We have got some great stuff from them to take to the
event in Birmingham on Tuesday week. I am sorry for not
replying to you individually so far. I've been a bit
distracted by 60th birthday celebrations this week. However,
please be assured that I have all your comments safely
stored in my Braillists file and I'll be going through them
all again in detail this week.

Thanks again and if you have any more comments please feel
free to send them.

Paul


----- Original Message -----
From: "Paul Sullivan" <pdsul...@blueyonder.co.uk>
To: <brail...@googlegroups.com>
Sent: Wednesday, February 15, 2017 10:41 AM
Subject: Braillists Forum: Your thoughts needed for 28
February event in Birmingham


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Paul Sullivan

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Feb 27, 2017, 10:54:04 AM2/27/17
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Hi Dave,

Thanks for this and apologies for not replying sooner. I
gather that you will be joining us tomorrow afternoon, so
look forward to chatting more about braille and The
Braillists then.

Paul

----- Original Message -----
From: "Dave Williams" <ho...@davewilliams.co.uk>
To: <brail...@googlegroups.com>
Sent: Wednesday, February 15, 2017 12:01 PM
Subject: Re: Braillists Forum: Your thoughts needed for 28
February event in Birmingham


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Sandy Bannister

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Feb 27, 2017, 11:50:42 AM2/27/17
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I agree with all the benefits and points Dave lists! Sandy

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Janet

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Feb 27, 2017, 11:58:48 AM2/27/17
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Is it ok for me to promote this MP3 Dave? Sometimes it's so difficult to convince children, especially with degenerative conditions, of the value to be had when learning Braille. Also sometimes the parents of these children are the ones we need to convince.

Thanks

Janet

> On 27 Feb 2017, at 15:54, Paul Sullivan <pdsul...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
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Dave Williams

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Feb 28, 2017, 3:05:19 AM2/28/17
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Janet

By all means feel free to use the MP3 in any way you can to promote braille.

Thanks.

Dave W


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Steph Tyszka

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Mar 21, 2017, 9:03:34 AM3/21/17
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Paul Sullivan's report on the technology day he attended with fellow Braillists Stephanie Sergeant, Dave Williams and Ed Rogers in Birmingham is now on our website here http://braillists.org/news/technology-day-in-birmingham/

Thank you to everyone who gave such inspiring and astute feedback - it was great to have all your voices there.


Steph

Steph Tyszka
Braillists
st...@braillists.org

Dave Williams

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Mar 21, 2017, 12:53:08 PM3/21/17
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This is a lovely write up. Thanks to Paul, Steph and Steph for getting
this to the website. Great example of how the Braillists can do some
outreach promoting the value of Braille.


Good stuff. Cheers,
--
Dave W



On 21/03/2017 13:03, Steph Tyszka wrote:
>
> Paul Sullivan's report on the technology day he attended with fellow
> Braillists Stephanie Sergeant, Dave Williams and Ed Rogers in
> Birmingham is now on our website here
> http://braillists.org/news/technology-day-in-birmingham/
>
> Thank you to everyone who gave such inspiring and astute feedback - it
> was great to have all your voices there.
>
>
> /*Steph*/
>
> /Steph Tyszka/
> *Braillists*
> <mailto:braillists+...@googlegroups.com>.
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