Synergy between 2D and 3D materials in education of visually impaired students: Experience of Latvia
ELIZA:: Visual information contributes to about 90 percent of all the sensory data transmitted to our brain daily, it forms a basis and a content of a visual perception which is of utmost importance for human development. To illustrate the importance of visual perception. We should remember that the human brain can process images that last for just 30 milliseconds. Eyes can register 36,000 visual messages per hour. Humans can get the sense of a visual scene in less than one tenth of a second. And visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than textual information. Deprivation of visual information and visually impaired in the blind persons can vary from a few percent to 100 percent, a total loss of sight, including loss of life perception. The term legal blindness or legally blind is used in many countries, which in general means that the person is legally blind if the visual acuity, central vision, corresponds to 20/200 or worse in the best, seeing eye, or a visual field for peripheral vision is limited to only 20 degrees. If visual aids, like the glasses or contact lenses can correct persons vision to 20/20, they are not considered legally blind. Legal blindness is not applicable in the Baltic states, including Latvia. For construction of the visual images in visually impaired, alternative methods of perception, sound, touch, taste and smell should be used. Touch contributes about three to five percent of all information that humans actively use, such as length, both the concepts of tactile and haptic perception and can help partially compensate deprivation of the visual information and sense of purposeful acquisition of the new information and knowledge. Tactile and haptic perception, again, is linked to the concepts of graphic literacy (graphicacy) and multimodal translation. Graphicacy is in general, an ability to understand and present information in various non-textual and non-audio formats in education of the visually impaired. A preparation and use of technical analogs of visual information in various stages of the education process. Multimodal translation is a way to transfer information across modalities, vision, sound, touch, taste and smell. But a minimal loss of meaningful data. Graphicacy is based on 2D and 3D graphics that can be represented in single objects, scale models of buildings, animals, machinery, etc. Parts of the inclusive educational material like books, worksheets, interactive materials, charts and puzzles, 2D and 3D materials are very important in development of graphic asea and severally visually impaired and blind students, and thus their ability to follow the general educational agenda along with their sighted peers. Synergy between 2D and 3D elements are also crucial in adaptation of a wide range of visually based educational materials and maintenance of proper education level and quality for visually impaired students. With more than 10 years of experience, the Center for Braille and Tactile Graphics at Strathmore Secondary School, Latvia's only specialized institution for visually impaired adapts all necessary learning materials for use of visually impaired students works at the methodological research and optimization of tactile reading and image making processes. We have a privilege to present you with a few examples that demonstrate synergy between 2D and 3D elements in educational materials adapted to the needs of visually impaired created by the professional team of our school, two dimensional to three-dimensional ABC for the blind young students. Alberts is a curious, smart little boy, age 10, who unfortunately was born blind, so he has never had a mental concept of the so-called visual world. Now he is in second grade and very interested to explore new things. Here, Albert is exploring 2D, 3D, ABC book with an assistance of a teacher. Let's see what we got here. Can you tell me what we have with a letter A. Yes, I do. It's a key. Alzag, in Latvian Here is a real key and there, on the opposite side of the page is a drawing. Can you feel a drawing in the real key when you put your hands on both sides of the page simultaneously? Oh, yes, I can. With what we have on the next page, with a letter B. "With a letter B?" Okay, let's check. It's a pear, bumviest in Latvian. Look, it's a pear here, isn't it? Yes, I guess. But can we eat this pear? No, we can't. It was printed on the 3D printer, you know, it's plastic. And here is just one half of a pear because we cannot put edible or whole pears on the page of the book. Do you agree? Yes, I think so. Can you tell me where half of the pear is and where is a drawing? Yes, the pair is here and drawing is here on the opposite side. When we put both hands on the page, we can touch a pear and a drawing at the same time. And you told me that today we will explore one more letter, which is? It's a C. Where is it? Can you tell me? No, it's not far away from B. Yes, here it is. Here is a new object for you to explore. Put your hand on it and tell me what it feels like. It's a bit like a pear, but not exactly. Can you tell me what fruit it might be? Its name starts with the letter C and it's sour to taste. I know, it's a lemon, citrans in Latvian. Here again, you can feel that one side of the page there is a 3D printed half of the lemon, which is not edible. And on the other side, a drawing, a printout. Can you tell the difference between a pear and a lemon? Yes, I can, a pair does not have a little bump on the top, which lemon has. And pear is rather thin on the upper half and thick on the lower one. Yes, it is. The original concept of the 2D 3D textbook for the blind young students presented here was developed in the year 2000 as a result of ongoing cooperation between applied designer Amelia Miserait and the professional team of Strassmujh secondary school. The textbook is designed to help young blind students aged five to seven to learn Braille and develop ability to perceive various tactile materials in parallel. It has well thought out, clear and organized structure. The page layout is designed in a way that encourages students' activity, desire to participate and explore the world around them. The textbook was developed as a non-visual multimodal learning material for a simultaneous development of the Braille literacy and graphicacy of the blind students aged five to seven. It also is an attractive way to demonstrate a path between 2D pictures and 3D objects, which is crucial in information of holistic, mental and experimental image of the surrounding world. Different kinds of 3D objects are attached to one side of each page of the book. As on the other side, a corresponding tactile picture of the object is placed. The textbook is used vertically, so both sides of a page are simultaneously explored by a student under a teacher's guidance or without it. During the work, the designer actively cooperated with the staff of the school and took into account all the constructive recommendations for improvement of the book's quality and methodological integrity. Before the book was completed, testing of individual pages was carried out with participation of several target group students. The information contained in the textbook helps to form mental images of objects of the visual world, which are one of the crucial elements in stimulation of cognitive processes. It also helps to prevent a development of verbalism usage of words without understanding their meaning, naming things and phenomena without corresponding meaning, which might be rather challenging in education of the young blind students, especially those who were born blind or have no memory of visual world before vision loss. My name is Eliza, I create educational materials for visually impaired students of the Riga Strazdumuiza Secondary School. A few of the educational materials we often use are 3D models designed and printed especially for the visually impaired students at the school. After discussing the features of the necessary model with a teacher, I design the object in 3D modeling and animation software Blendr 3D. To prepare the objects for printing, I use 3D simplify software. I adjust the size and placement of the 3D model to make sure the object is suitable for students. Many of the 3D models used in the Strazdumuiza Secondary School are created especially for geometry and physics lessons. For example, pyramids, prisms and other polyhedrons that are quite complicated to understand. Some of the objects are made for younger students to develop their ability to perceive information by touch. These models are designed for recognizing and exploring various shapes and forms and finding distinctions between them by comparing different angles, sizes of the objects, counting verticals and various elements. Some of the objects used in the education process is scale models of, for example, animals and buildings. This is an example of 3D models designed to help understanding friction, force and physics lessons. Ernests creates a route from the bus stop to the school, according to a schematic sample. To perform this task, Ernests uses a set of originally designed 3D elements, colored squares with combinations of dots that can be arranged in order to get geometric shapes, different lines and directions. If residual vision is presented, tasks can be performed with colored objects. The task encourages creative combination of elements telling one's own story, inventing different situations, commenting on them. These tasks develop spatial orientation in 2D micro-space, improving the understanding of directions: straight ahead, turning to the right and to the left. They, among others, can be used in math, foreign language, art and orientation and the mobility classes. Exercises, for example, include but are not limited to: finding a route, creating a route, finding a similar object, counting the dots, creating various shapes, forms and ornaments. Ernests arranges the figures from the lowest to the highest and finds a place corresponding to the height of each figure in the box. The task helps to develop graphicacy, practice the fine motor skills of the fingers and practice the orientation in the plane. It also contributes to the understanding of 3D figures and practical application of logical and critical reasoning. In the 10th grade physics class, a 3D printed boat is used in order to demonstrate the Archimedes’ law.
TEREZA: My name is Tereza. Welcome to my Workplace, Center for Braille Print and Tactile Graphics at the Riga Strazdumuiza Secondary School. My daily routine involves multimodal translation, adaptation and modification of various learning materials such as books, worksheets, maps, tests and even exam papers. In order to prepare tactile pictures, I normally use graphic design program, mostly CorelDraw. This program allows usage of textures, various lines and shapes, which are needed in order to create tactile graphics, swell paper, and Braille printer. This program, Elpics Print, is used for the production of tactile pictures, a wide range of tactile graphics is produced in our center and teachers at the school use them on their lessons every day. For example, my textbook for first grade content contains a lot of visual information which is suitable for students without visual impairment only. So, in order to adapt adapted content for students with severe visual impairment and blindness another approach to the material is needed. My colleagues and I look for the most suitable solutions of every task. So, each first grader with severe visual impairment, who has no mental images or visual objects, can successfully use tactile analogs of textbooks, visual information in the learning process. Here you can see maps, pictures of objects and diagrams, flags, various tactile graphic materials are developing graphical competence of visually impaired and blind students. The main idea of this task is to analyze the tactile picture and then find the right box for the ball to be put in. For more than 20 years, my professional life and interests are closely related to tactile graphics and ways to improve that informational output for students with severe visual impairment and blindness. Ideas of distinguished scholars in search of tactile graphics and haptic perception, Like Polly Edman, Evan Ericsson, John Kennedy, Boggs Lamarck, and others have been a basis of both my research activities and practical work. As the first tactile reading conference was a great experience, and I hope that the current conference will bring even more creative inspiration and new ideas from all around the world to professionals of our field.