Future Reflections        Winter 2014

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Odds and Ends

RESOURCES FOR TEACHERS AND PARENTS

TEACH Act Updates
Technology, Education and Accessibility in College and Higher Education Act (TEACH), HR 3505
<www.nfb.org/TEACH>

Electronic instructional materials have replaced traditional methods of learning in postsecondary education, but the overwhelming majority of e-books, courseware, web content, and other technologies are inaccessible to students with print disabilities. Current law mandates equal access in the classroom, but fails to provide a prescription to schools or manufacturers for how that mandate applies to technology. The TEACH Act creates accessibility guidelines for electronic instructional materials that will guide the market, give clarity to schools, and protect blind students’ rights to critical course material.  The bill results from a collaboration between the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) and the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and is endorsed by ten organizations of and for people with disabilities. Visit the webpage listed above for updates on the bill’s progress.

Blog for Educators
Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness (PDRIB)
Louisiana Tech University
<www.pdrib.com/blog/subscribe>

The team at PDRIB has compiled a resource for educators, prospective teachers, employers, and anyone else who works with blind children and adults. A weekly blog provides tips and tricks, information about resources, research updates, and more.

Blind Math Gems
<www.blindscience.org/blindmath-gems-home>
Contact: Al Maneki, blindmathgems@earthlink.net

For almost ten years, the NFB has maintained the Blind Math listserv, a lively exchange of worldwide postings on all topics mathematical. By now, finding anything of substance in the Blindmath archives has become a daunting task for all but the most database savvy users. In cooperation with the NFB Jernigan Institute, Dr. Al Maneki has spent the past three years combing through the Blindmath archives, compiling the most interesting and relevant postings. This compilation has been linked to the NFB's Blindscience.org website. Postings have been placed in categories that simplify user searches. At this point the archives have been searched through 2011. 

Kids in the House
<www.kidsinthehouse.com>

This website is full of free video content geared toward parenting and family life. Some eight thousand videos feature experts and celebrities, who share ideas about such topics as bullying, media influence, pregnancy, and more.

Molly Moccasins Online Stories, Games, and Activities for Kids
<www.mollymoccasins.com>

The Molly Moccasins Book Series site offers a digital library of nearly seventy animated story adventures, complete with text highlighting and narration, for emerging and new readers. All content is free, and stories and activities are designed to encourage curiosity and exploration. Molly's magic toe-tingling moccasins lead her to a wealth of problems and mysteries to solve in backyards and museums, on the farm and at the library.

TOYS

Pullypalz
<www.pullypalz.com/about>
(470) 253-0909

This developmentally beneficial toy for babies and toddlers keeps a pacifier within easy reach. The toy uses a pulley device system so that when the child drops a pacifier, another slides within reach. When he/she grabs the new pacifier, the dropped one returns. Pullypalz attaches to most baby carriers and bouncers.

Bicycle Spoke Beads
<www.amazon.com/Sunlite-Bicycle-Spoke-Beads-Set/dp/B000AO9Q92>

Bicycle Spoke Beads are beads that attach to the spokes of a bicycle wheel and make clinking sounds at slow speeds. They come in several colors, so they can be a fun and fashionable addition to the bike. Some blind cyclists find these beads helpful because the sound improves echolocation. The beads can also enable a blind child on a bike to follow an adult cyclist.

BOOKS

Close Your Eyes
by Michelle Friedman, with illustrations by Nicole Fiddler
Bloomington, IN: Abbott Press
<www.abbottpress.com>
ISBN: 978-1-4582-1218-4
Ages four to seven

This picture book, written in simple rhyme, portrays the life of a young girl who is blind. The introduction suggests ways teachers and parents may use this book to help sighted children understand more about blindness.

Running with Roselle
by Michael Hingson with Jeanette Hanscome
<www.MichaelHingson.com>
ISBN: 0-615-90523-4
Ages eight and up

This book recounts how a blind boy and a puppy each grew up, how they became best friends, and how they survived on one of America's darkest days. While the story of their escape from the World Trade Center is an important feature, the book also focuses on how Mike grew up and how Roselle was trained to serve as a guide dog.

For the Benefit of Those Who See: Dispatches from the World of the Blind
by Rosemary Mahoney
Little Brown & Company
ISBN: 0-316-04342-7

This book is the author's firsthand account of her experiences teaching at a school for the blind in Tibet. The book reveals the shocking oppression Mahoney's students have experienced and demonstrates their resilience and strength.

Psychology of Touch and Blindness
by Morton A. Heller and Edouard Gentaz
Psychology Press
ISBN: 1-848-72653-8

This book reviews the considerable body of research that evaluates the touch skills of blind people. With an emphasis on cognitive and neuroscientific approaches, it encompasses a wide-ranging discussion of the theoretical issues in the field of touch perception and blindness. Chapters cover sensory aspects of touch; perception in blind individuals; multimodal relations and their implications for instruction and development; and new technologies, such as sensory aids and virtual touch. The research on touch and imagery in congenitally blind people speaks to the nature of spatial imagery and the lack of importance of visual experience for knowledge about spatial layout and picture perception.

PUBLICATION

The Verge
NFB-NEWSLINE®
<https://nfb.org/audio-newspaper-service>

The Verge is the latest publication to be added to those available through NFB-NEWSLINE®. Founded in 2011 in partnership with Vox Media, The Verge covers the intersection of technology, science, art, and culture. Its mission is to offer in-depth reporting and feature stories, breaking news coverage, product information, and community content in a unified and cohesive manner. To access this publication with Newsline by phone, select Option 5 in the main menu, labeled Newspapers in a Different State. Then select the option for Breaking News Online, which is Option 1. All NFB-NEWSLINE publications are also available on the iPhone and through Web News on Demand.

TACTILE GRAPHICS
Tactile Drawing Tablet
Irie-AT
<http://irie-at.com>
(888) 308-0059

The new tactile graphics system from Irie-AT allows blind and sighted users to draw raised graphics with the Tactile Drawing Tablet, store images electronically, create custom graphics with a mouse, browse an online catalog of pre-made images, and use a graphing module within the software to graph formulas that can be embossed, complete with labels in Nemeth Code.

BRAILLE PEN PALS

Pen Pal Magazine
adrijanaprokopenko@gmail.com

Adrijana Prokopenko, a teacher of blind students in Macedonia, is starting an electronic magazine that will list people who are seeking Braille pen pals. To learn more, contact her at the email address above.

TRAVEL OPPORTUNITIES

National Geographic Travel
<www.nationalgeographicexpeditions.com>
Contact: (888) 966-8687

Trek across mountain ranges to explore archaeological wonders, kayak or snorkel at coral reefs, cross an entire country on foot, or traverse legendary landscapes on the back of a camel. National Geographic Travel offers unique travel opportunities to students and families. Trips are tailored according to abilities, ranging from Easy to Ultimate Challenge. Groups observe local festivals, meet fascinating people, and visit private homes. Trips include the Namibia Culture and Wildlife Adventure, Mongolian Horse Trek, Dog-Sledding to the Ice Hotel in Sweden, Alaska by Sea Kayak, Costa Rica Adventure, and many more possibilities.

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