Date of Original Version

2007

Type

Conference Proceeding

Abstract or Description

Less than 3% of the 145 million blind people living in developing countries are literate. This low literacy rate is partly due to the lack of trained teachers and the challenges associated with learning to write Braille on a traditional slate and stylus. These challenges include writing from right to left, writing mirrored images of letters, and receiving significantly delayed feedback. Extensive conversations with the Mathru School for the Blind near Bangalore, India, revealed the need for a robust, low-power, low-cost Braille writing tutor. We present an iterative and participatory design process resulting in the creation and refinement of a prototype Braille writing tutor system. This system uses a novel input device to capture a student’s activity on a slate using a stylus and uses a range of techniques to teach Braille writing skills to both beginner and advanced students. We report on lessons learned from the implementation of this project and from a six-week pilot study at the Mathru school, and outline future directions for improvement.

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