iPad tactile overlays

I attended a tactile graphics workshop at the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) on April 12 and 13.  There were so many exciting workshops I could attend and not enough time.  I will be sharing some of my experiences and thoughts on the workshops I attended.  Tactile graphics is an emerging area to improve experiences for people who are blind or visually impaired in all areas of life.

One workshop demonstrated creating tactile overlays for the iPad.  The company has created algebra 1 lessons based on the common core standards.  Hopefully, in the near future, we will be able to purchase packets of the overlays so blind students can use the iPad to work on many skills in math and other subjects. 

Ed Summer from SAS Institute INC. had a tactile overlay of a graph showing change in altitude of a 13-mile race.  Participants used the information from the graph to answer questions and received immediate feedback about their answers.  Since iPads are used in, many schools this could allow blind students to immediately participate in class.

Makerbot 3D graphics

I attended a tactile graphics workshop at the National Federation of the Blind (NFB)on April 12 and 13.  There were so many exciting workshops I could attend and not enough time.  I will be sharing some of my experiences and thoughts on the workshops I attended.  Tactile graphics is an emerging area to improve experiences for people who are blind or visually impaired in all areas of life.

Makerbot is a mainstream company that makes affordable 3D printers used in business and education.  It has a library of over 36,000 3D images ready to print.  The printer uses filament to create the tactile graphic.  This could be used in science to create a 3D graphic of a cell, protron, plant….  I went to their exhibit table and looked at some of the items they created with the printer.  These included the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, an apple and the Taj Mahal. It has many uses.  After returning from the conference, I heard about using a 3D printer to make paintings accessible to people who are blind.

The cost for a Makerbot 3D printer is around $2700.00 and has many uses in education other than only for students who are blind.  If your school has a 3D printer talk to school staff about having 3D graphics created for you.  Unfortunately, parts of the program are not screen reader friendly at this time but the company is working to change this.      

Graphics Workshop

I will be attending a tactile graphics workshop at the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) in Baltimore, MD this weekend.  There are several presentations on creating graphics for blind and low vision students.  I plan to attend presentations on American Printing House for the Blind (APH) Tactile Graphics Library and Tiger Embossers by ViewPlus Technologies. In addition, I will learn the rules for creating tactile graphics developed by the Braille Authority of North America (BANA).  They will also demonstrate how to create graphics quickly using the Sensational Blackboar

iPad Training

On March 25 and 26, I attended a workshop on using the iPad with VoiceOver and a braille display.  There are many accessible apps to help students.  If a teacher of the blind knows how to use the iPad and VoiceOver, the student can learn to be very productive in school. 

One of the discussions was the iPad verses the iPod Touch.   A student with low vision would benefit from an iPad because of the size of the screen. 

If you are interested in finding accessible apps go to www.applevis.com.  People who are blind and visually impaired evaluate apps and provide good information about their accessibility.

I have created a list of apps designed for people who are blind or visually impaired.  To check it out go to

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