Tactile Cartography Courses in the Continued Education of Teachers from Latin America
CARLA: Hello, my name is Carla Sena and with my colleague Waldirene Carmo, we will present a little of our work in the area of tactile cartography. We are Brazilian researchers from two public universities in Sao Paulo and we have been conducting research in this area for over 20 years. The title of this presentation is Tactile Cartography Courses in the Continued Education of Teachers from Latin America. One of the objectives of the International Cartographic Association, ICA, is facilitating the transfer of new cartographic knowledge inside and among nations, especially in developing countries, by providing specialists to lead workshops and courses when requested. In this sense, the Commission on Maps and Graphics for Blind and Partially Sighted People offers diverse courses in partnership with researchers from Tactile Cartographic Centre at Universidad Tecnologica Metropolitana de Santiago de Chile. The faculty is multidisciplinary, formed by cartographers, geographers, special education teachers, designers, among others. Approaching theoretical questions related to the introduction to cartography and tactile cartography and also the development of practical activities, such as the construction of tactile instructional materials, in collage and aluminium, which prioritise the use of low-cost materials to assure they are affordable to all groups. But also demonstrating alternatives based on digital technologies, like 3D printers and the user dynamics of these materials in schools. The main goal of the courses is to demonstrate construction techniques of tactile graphic representations inside an inclusive education policy, as well as to make participants aware of the importance of tactile graphic representations for the teaching/learning of geography and other areas in an interdisciplinary perspective. In general, they are presented to heterogenous groups, teachers of students with special education needs, teachers of regular groups, of geography and other subjects, cartographers, et cetera. The courses, which are one week long, started to be presented in Santiago de Chile in 2003 and there were other additions in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2013 and 2018. And they always had participants from several countries from Latin America: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, Uruguay and Venezuela. And later, the team was invited to run the courses in Argentina and Mexico, 2004, Costa Rica, 2016, Ecuador and Dominican Republic in 2019. The picture shows the course participants exploring some tactile maps. And this slide shows the construction of an aluminium tactile map, one of the hand-made techniques that are worked in the course.
WALDIRENE: The experience with the courses demonstrated the importance of continuing education for teachers in different education stages and for professionals who assist peoples with special needs. And the possibility of exchanging experience, highlighting the inclusion of disabled students in the regular classroom. Primarily, in what concerns geography teachers, it was noticed that there is the little or no knowledge about the specificities of visually impaired students and their needs in relation to geography teaching and the use of graphic representations. One the other hand, teachers who have specific education to teach students with special education needs and are located in multifunctional resources room or some of the remaining special needs. School make specific knowledge about the geography and cartography. These teachers need to assist the demands of all subjects and many times, despite their efforts, they end up making inappropriate adaptations of materials because they ignore the principles of must be observed in this position of visual digital printed materials in the tactile format. The organizer team developed the basic structure of themes and that are approached to meet the participants' expectations and the themes are organised in the models. Geographic concepts, techniques for preparation and reproduction of maps and real-life illustrations, application for maps and tactile instructional materials to education. With a figure of about 300 participants, it was noticed how the practises stimulated the teachers' creativity and encourage team to create activities and group exercise for the classroom. Besides the courses provides, there was reflection on how cartography can help teaching when it is done in a way that is more dynamic and meaningful for the students. For more information, please contact us. Thank you.