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Braillecast: Connecting the Dots for Braillists Everywhere
64 minutes | 6 days ago
What has the Federation ever done for Us? with Everette Bacon (Extra 20)
On Friday 28 August 2020, Everette Bacon joined a Braillists Foundation Stay Safe: Stay Connected call to talk about how the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) promotes braille literacy across the United States. Everette is a member of the Board of Directors of NFB and President of the Utah State Division. He told us how he has personally pushed to make assistive technology more widely available and explained the kinds of resources and programmes that NFB provides for its members, including the work it has done to promote equality of distance learning for blind students during lockdown. We also heard about some of the most exciting projects NFB has supported through the Dr Jacob Bolotin Award.
35 minutes | 13 days ago
Ed Rogers on Braille in Southern India (Episode 24)
If you’ve been following Braillists Foundation events recently, you’ll be aware that we’ve been hosting a number of sessions thanks to a grant from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. But why is the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust interested in the Braillists Foundation? In September 2017, Ed Rogers, Managing Director of Bristol Braille Technology CIC and himself a Fellow of WCMT, undertook a four-week trip around India to discover more about braille usage in that part of the world and to ask the question: What can we in Britain learn from the Indian experience with braille? The trip was well-documented at the time on the Braillists Forum, was presented in a paper at the CSUN conference in 2018, and subsequently reported back to WCMT. Nearly four years on, the findings from that trip are continuing to shape the activities of the Braillists Foundation. We recently discovered an unpublished recording of Ed’s CSUN presentation in our archives, and are delighted to be able to present it on this episode of Braillecast, with apologies for the small amount of interference which can be heard from time to time. Download Ed’s full report in PDF format.
78 minutes | 20 days ago
Your Braille Library Questions Answered (Extra 19)
RNIB, which operates one of Europe’s largest braille lending libraries, has recently announced changes to the way books will be produced from April 2021. Since the announcement, there has naturally been much discussion about what these changes will mean for braille readers in the UK and around the world. The Braillists Foundation and colleagues from RNIB explored these changes and answered questions from the public on Tuesday 23 March. RNIB Braille Library – important update Dear RNIB Braille Library Customer, I am writing to let you know that from April 2021, RNIB’s Braille Library will be upgraded to offer Braille Library books on demand, a new personalised braille reading service designed to substantially increase access to hardcopy braille books for readers across the UK. While you do not need to take any action to benefit from the new service, I want to share some of the changes you will notice in the coming months. You will begin receiving freshly produced pristine Braille Library books that are recyclable. Your braille books will be more hygienic as you will be the first person to read them. Plus, your book is much less likely to be damaged or unreadable due to squashed dots. You will have access to a larger braille collection delivered straight to your door free of charge. You will notice Braille Library books will be a more convenient format that will fit through more letterboxes, is easier to store and carry around. The smaller lighter volumes are much more comfortable for children and anyone with physical difficulties handling older heavier books. Braille Library books on demand also means books are never out of stock. You will no longer need to wait for another Braille Library member to return a book you have requested. Multiple readers can receive copies of the same title simultaneously, ideal to meet shifting demand for new releases, best sellers and prize winners while preserving access to rarer books of special interest. If you are already an RNIB Braille Library member, you will start receiving books in the new format automatically. You can continue to manage your book lists online or over the phone. You can change how often you receive books. If you manage a Braille Library membership on behalf of someone else, you can continue getting support via the RNIB Helpline or manage booklists online. Unlike traditional library books, Braille Library on demand books are designed to be recycled and should not be returned. You can keep books for as long as you need them. You can also share your books with other braille readers. As passionate readers ourselves, we appreciate braille is a vital literacy medium for tens of thousands of readers across the UK. Sadly however, the Braille Library in its current form is increasingly out of date and excludes some readers. Large parts of our current collection are in old braille formats unsuitable for new braille readers. Many books are rarely borrowed, most of our collection has not left the warehouse in the past two years. Braille books occupy miles of shelving that is complex and expensive to maintain. Older braille library books are bulky, heavy, and difficult for some readers to return. These books exclude some readers, especially those with physical difficulties. After careful research and evaluation of braille library services around the world, we have found producing braille library books on demand offers the best opportunity for sustainable access to hardcopy braille for the widest number of readers for as long as is needed. Please be assured that older books in our warehouse will be donated to customers and schools in the UK. We will then donate books to our sister organisations overseas. If there is a particular book you would like to keep, please contact the library with your request. Special braille items of cultural significance will be preserved as part of RNIB’s Heritage collection based in London. Children who would like to keep a few favourite braille books in the old format are welcome to do so and we can arrange this by calling RNIB’s Helpline on 0303 123 9999, or via email firstname.lastname@example.org although they may find the new format easier to hold and read. Combined with RNIB’s growing collection of electronic braille library books available to you on an SD memory card and download from our website, the braille library upgrade represents a renewed commitment to braille literacy and offers readers greater choice than ever before. In 2020 RNIB invested over £100,000 in providing electronic braille equipment and books to meet changing reader requirements. However, we recognise the continued value of hardcopy braille for many and plan to offer both services in parallel. However, if you would like to explore also receiving books electronically please contact the library. If you have any questions about the Braille Library, please call our Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or email us at email@example.com. Yours sincerely, James Bartlett RNIB Reading Services Manager
63 minutes | a month ago
Advocating for Braille in the Wider World (Extra 18)
This session talked through advocacy strategies that you can use to facilitate access to braille in the wider world. This includes having healthcare and other personal communication sent to you in braille, as well as advocating for braille signage in public places. This session was recorded on Tuesday 16 March 2021. For further information please visit the Braillists Foundation Media Page.
64 minutes | a month ago
Getting the Braille you Need in Work or Education (Extra 17)
This session covered how to obtain braille through the Access To Work and Disabled Students Allowance schemes. We talked about how to advocate for the braille you need and what options you have. We also looked at advocating for braille textbooks and braille signage in work or education. This session was recorded on Tuesday 9 March 2021. For further information please visit the Braillists Foundation Media Page.
62 minutes | a month ago
Notetaking: Making Notes for Yourself (Extra 16)
Led by Holly Scott-Gardner, this session looked at how to take effective notes in braille for your own personal use. We covered increasing your speed when note taking, ways to organise your notes and the tools that you may wish to use. This session was recorded on Tuesday 2 March 2021. For further information please visit the Braillists Foundation Media Page.
62 minutes | 2 months ago
Notetaking: Making Notes for Others (Extra 15)
If you are required to take notes as part of a team, whether that’s in a meeting or for group projects, this session is for you! Led by Matthew Horspool, it guides you through using braille to take notes that are also visually accessible. We talked specifically about taking notes using a braille display, and writing Markdown in braille to format your notes. This session was recorded on Tuesday 23 February 2021. For further information please visit the Braillists Foundation Media Page.
61 minutes | 2 months ago
Braille for Public Speaking (Extra 14)
Led by Holly Scott-Gardner, this session guided participants through using braille to present more effectively, especially useful if you need to deliver speeches for work, school, or as part of one of your interests. We covered writing a presentation script, using cue cards and the best way to set up your braille display or hard copy braille when speaking. This session was recorded on Tuesday 16 February 2021. For further information please visit the Braillists Foundation Media Page.
64 minutes | 2 months ago
Using Braille as a Presentation Tool (Extra 13)
Led by Holly Scott-Gardner, this session covered using a braille display with Microsoft PowerPoint and Google Slides. We guided you through how braille output works with these applications and the ways in which braille output can enable you to deliver more effective presentations. This session was recorded on Tuesday 9 February 2021. For further information please visit the Braillists Foundation Media Page.
61 minutes | 2 months ago
Using Braille on iOS (Extra 12)
Led by Matthew Horspool, this session explained how to pair a braille display with an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch and how to get the most out of using braille with these devices. This session was recorded on Tuesday 2 February 2021. For further information please visit the Braillists Foundation Media Page.
61 minutes | 3 months ago
Using Braille on Windows (Extra 11)
Led by Holly Scott-Gardner, this session explained how to pair a windows PC with a braille display, which screen readers support braille output and some tips and tricks for using braille output. This session was recorded on Tuesday 26 January 2021. For further information please visit the Braillists Foundation Media Page.
76 minutes | 3 months ago
An Introduction to Unified English Braille (Extra 10)
Led by James Bowden, Braille Technical Officer at RNIB, this session answered questions such as: How does UEB differ from Standard English Braille? Where can you learn about the changes? What tips and tricks are there for switching to UEB? This session was recorded on Tuesday 19 January 2021. For further information please visit the Braillists Foundation Media Page.
49 minutes | 3 months ago
Judy Dixon on Braille, More Braille, and the World’s Largest Collection of Slates and Styluses (Episode 23)
Judy Dixon is something of a braille icon. She is Consumer Relations Officer at the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, part of the Library of Congress in the United States; President of the International Council on English Braille; and has written a myriad of books for National Braille Press relating to braille and assistive technology. She also owns what is widely considered to be the largest collection of braille slates and styluses, containing over 280 unique designs. On Friday 7 August 2020, the Braillists Foundation joined the dots on Judy’s incredible story as part of its series of Stay Safe: Stay Connected calls. This episode is an archive of that call.
58 minutes | 3 months ago
A Celebration of World Braille Day (Episode 22)
On 4 January, people across the world celebrated World Braille Day. This day, which marks the birthday of Louis Braille, is an important one for blind people and those connected to the blind community, so the Braillists Foundation couldn’t let it pass without recognising it and the significance of braille. The Foundation hosted a panel discussion, inviting three braille users to speak about their lives with braille. More importantly, perhaps, they also shared their thoughts on how braille may adapt to the changing needs of the blind community in future. The session also included a short audio presentation sharing the voices and perspectives of braille users from around the world, from the UK all the way to New Zealand. We would like to extend our thanks to the Braillists Foundation for allowing us to publish this recording, and to the three excellent panelists for giving up their time to be part of the session: Saima Akhtar, recent graduate in English and Creative Writing from Birmingham City University Gary O’Donoghue, Washington Correspondent at the British Broadcasting Corporation Dr Fred Reid, Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Warwick
37 minutes | 3 months ago
Stephen Anderson on the Louis Braille Museum, and Should Partially Sighted People Learn Braille? (Episode 21)
Happy new year, and happy World Braille Day! Today (4 January 2021) is the 212th birthday of Louis Braille, inventor of the code that revolutionised literacy for blind people all over the world. In spite of intense opposition in Louis Braille’s lifetime, the code has been adapted for use in dozens of languages and disciplines and is widely recognised throughout the world as the most effective means by which blind people can read and write. There’s even a braille chess code! But what about people who are partially sighted, who can just about read print if it’s large enough? Stephen Anderson is one such person: a self-certified “Braille Muggle”, he’s the proud owner of an honours degree in Politics from the University of Leicester, a fluent French-speaker, and Director of Music at the Parish Church of St Thomas, Kensal Town, where he also plays the organ. He has also played in the presence of two Bishops, at two Church of England Cathedrals, one Royal Peculiar and several other high profile churches and Cathedrals in the UK and overseas. He was kind enough to agree to join me on the podcast to talk candidly about his experiences growing up and his thoughts about braille. He also talked about the Louis Braille Museum, which he recently visited. Other Links of Interest St Vincent’s School The Royal National College for the Blind Priestley Smith School Panthéon
80 minutes | 4 months ago
Index Braille (Episode 20)
Index Braille is synonymous the world over with braille embossers. Founded by Bjorn Lofstedt and Torvald Lundqvist as Polar Print Production in Sweden in 1979, its first incarnation was as a university project to develop a braille typewriter with copy function. The company took shape in 1982 and, by 1984, a small batch of Index Computer Braille Printers (known as “Index 3.7” embossers after the firmware version) were manufactured in Bjorn’s garage. The current premises were obtained in 1985, financed by distributing assistive technology around Sweden. This distribution arm continued as Polar Print Production, and Index Braille became its own brand in the late 80s with the introduction of the Index Blue Bar, which took tractor fed paper. The Everest, for cut sheet paper, followed in 1992, then came the version 2 platform (Basic and Everest) in 1995, the 4X4 Pro for booklet printing in 1998, the version 3 platform with USB and network connectivity in 2002-4, the 4Waves Pro high speed production embosser in 2005, the version 4 platform with embedded translation and high speed cut sheet production in 2011, and the version 5 platform with wifi printing and printing directly from USB memory stick in 2016. We caught up with Bjorn to find out more about Index Braille, its embosser line and its new annual Donation Programme, drawn on World Braille Day each year.
59 minutes | 4 months ago
An Introduction to the Abacus (Extra 9)
What is an Abacus and why would you use one? In this session, led by James Bowden, participants learnt about the various features of the Abacus and why it is ideal for use as a blind person. The session covered: Physical description and orientation The beads and their meaning Setting numbers Basic addition Overflows and carries If you have an Abacus, you might find it helpful to have it with you so that you can follow along. This session was recorded on Tuesday 8 December 2020. For further information please visit the Braillists Foundation Media Page.
63 minutes | 4 months ago
An Introduction to Braille Labelling (Extra 8)
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.
62 minutes | 4 months ago
An Introduction to Braille Music (Extra 7)
This session was a practical introduction to braille music. We covered basic music notation and where to access braille music. This session was led by James Bowden, Braille Technical Officer at RNIB. This session was recorded on Tuesday 24 November 2020. For further information please visit the Braillists Foundation Media Page.
71 minutes | 5 months ago
Using Braille for Language Learning (Extra 6)
This session introduced participants to the many ways of using braille when learning a language. Knowledge of English braille would be helpful when listening, but is not essential. We took a look at using braille in conjunction with various language learning apps, where to learn other language codes and accessing books in other languages. We also heard from blind people who have used braille when traveling and how this has helped them. The session was led by Holly Scott-Gardner. This session was recorded on Tuesday 17 November 2020. For further information please visit the Braillists Foundation Media Page.
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