It is the only Braille-writing device that has the same portability, flexibility, and affordability as a pen and pencil. When away from home, all of us need to jot down a note from time to time. Just as the pen and pencil are not likely ever to become obsolete, the blind person who can use the slate and stylus is more flexible and often more competent than the one who cannot. The teacher who feels that teaching the slate and stylus is difficult or not worthwhile conveys this attitude to his or her students, whether the students are children or adults. Lets put this attitude behind. A first step can be to stop describing writing with the slate and stylus as writing Braille backwards. This terminology is neither accurate nor helpful.
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(you can see the impression of the dots from the back of the page just as well as from the front.). You now have yourself a guide you can use to write a braille note with a slate and stylus to a braille reader. Just remember to start at the right-hand side of the paper and move progressively to the left as you write. You have to develop some dexterity with the stylus and some new muscles in your wrist and arm. This comes with practice. I recommend that young children start with a board slate instead of a pocket slate. (For some children, the hardest part is gaining skill in moving the pocket slate down the paper.). Today most people do not need to write out long items with the slate and stylus. This is a fact. Nevertheless, the skill can be invaluable.
They choose to use computers to write lengthy documents. But they dont complain that writing with a pen or pencil is hard because it isnt. I submit that learning to write with a slate and stylus is easy. If you are sighted and have a slate and stylus handy, try a simple test. Find a copy of the Braille alphabet* (in real Braille dots, not simulated print dots) or have someone write one out for you on an index card. Turn it over so that the dots face down. Begin at the right-hand side of the card, and write the print letters below the Braille ones.
Using them, blind people can truly compete on a basis of equality with the sighted. I submit that using the term backwards is far worse. Not only does it smack of inferiority, but also of difficulty and for confusion. How mother many times have you heard a teacher say to a braille student that he or she must write backwards with the slate and stylus? How many times have you heard teachers and students say writing with the slate and stylus is difficult? Could there be some correlation? How many times have you heard sighted people say how difficult it is to write with a pen or pencil? They complain about poor penmanship.
Independent travel with a white cane or dog guide is an alternative technique; using the computer with Braille or voice output is an alternative technique; and Braille itself is an alternative technique. We object to calling these techniques substitute, because that connotes inferiority or an abnormal approach. Granted, the techniques are not always perfect. Computer access for the blind lags behind access for the sighted. There isnt enough material available in Braille. You cannot read signs with a white cane or dog guide. Yet they are excellent techniques.
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You still form the letters the same. Dots 1, 2, and 3 are on the first side of the cell as you write it, and dots 4, 5, writer and 6 are on the second side of the cell. To read that line, you turn the paper over and begin reading from left to right. The words are still spelled the same when you read it as when you wrote. Dots 1, 2, and 3 are on the first side of the cell as you read it, and dots 4, 5, and 6 are on the second side. Anyone with this information and knowledge of Braille can readily understand how to write with the slate and stylus if they have not been confused by someone saying it is backwards. Yes, you push the dots down onto the paper with the stylus and, yes, the dots point up when you turn the paper over to read.
That is normal and obvious. Nobody says you write upside down, and you dont. The next question is: does it really matter? And I submit that the answer is yes. It matters a great deal. In the federation, we use the word alternative to describe the set of special techniques used by the blind.
Wearing clothes backwards is wrong. Only someone who is incompetent wears clothes backwards. Walking backwards is difficult, for the sighted because they cannot see where they are going, and for the blind because it is hard to use the cane or dog. If you are traveling south, you do not say that north is backwards. North is opposite from south, but not backwards. If something is correct, it is not backwards.
You can spell a word backwards, but it is wrong. You can count backwards, but that is not the normal way. A car can move backwards, but you do not drive it backwards. You put it in reverse and back. For all these reasons, i submit that you do not write Braille backwards with the slate and stylus. When you write with the slate, you start at the right side of the line and move across the page to the left. You still spell the words the same.
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S department of Commerce, national Bureau of Standards. Writing with a slate and Stylus is Easy! Future reflections Special Issue: a celebration of Braille ( back ) ( contents ) ( next ) by ramona walhof, editors Note: Ramona walhofs credentials and experiences as a leader, a teacher, a mentor, a mother, and Braille expert are legion. A from long-time national and state leader in the federation, walhof has a special passion for Braille. When she sent me the following article, she expressed some concern that readers who knew little to nothing about the Braille system would not have the necessary background to follow her argument. However, i think there is enough information included in this issue about Braille-including a simulated print Braille alphabet on page 10-that I dont think that will be a problem. Here is what Ramona says about writing with a slate and stylus: Backwards means awkward and wrong. A backward somersault is harder than a forward one.
6 see also references robert. Pierport, Slate roofing, apt bulletin, vol. Standard sizes of Blackboard Slate,. S department of Commerce: National Bureau of Standards (1966. peter davies, writing Writing Slates and Schooling, australasian Historical Archaeology, vol. External links davies, peter (2005). "Writing Slates and Schooling". Standard sizes of Blackboard Slate.
the first to the fourth century. The slate used in roofing had to be of very high quality, as the material is prone to cracking and can break if not handled with great care. Slate used for writing slates also had to be of good quality because of the thinness required. Mining slate of this quality is a straightforward process since slate splits into nearly perfectly flat surfaces. The difficult part of the mining process is sorting out the quality slate from slate with cats or flaws. Properly sorted slate can be made into any required size. Roofing slate is still in use, primarily for the restoration of eighteenth and nineteenth century buildings, as it is fairly expensive.
References to its use can be found in the fourteenth century and evidence suggests that it was used in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The central time period for the writing slate, however, appears to begin in the later eighteenth century, when developments in sea and land transport permitted the gradual expansion of slate quarrying. Wales and the growth of a substantial slate workshop industry. 4, by the nineteenth century, writing slates lab were used around the world in nearly every school and were a central part of the slate industry. At the dawn of the twentieth century, writing slates were the primary tool in the classroom for students. In the 1930s (or later) writing slates began to be replaced by more modern methods. 5, however, writing slates did not become obsolete. They are still made in the twenty-first century, though in small quantities.
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Slate with sponge (1950 a slate is a thin piece of hard flat material, such as the rock also called slate, that is used as a medium for writing. The rock is a metamorphic rock created by the recrystallization of the minerals in shale from clay to parallel-aligned, flat, flake-like minerals such as mica. 1, the writing slate consisted of a piece of slate, typically either 4x6 inches or 7x10 inches, encased in a wooden frame. 2, a precise date range for writing slates of this type has not been established. Usually, a piece of cloth or slate sponge was used to clean it and this was sometimes attached with a string to the bottom of the writing slate. The writing slate was used by children in America in one-room schoolhouse s to practice writing and arithmetic during classes or at home and in multi-room schools until the twentieth century. The writing slate was sometimes used by industry workers to track goods and by sailors to calculate their geographical location at sea. Sometimes multiple plan pieces of slate were bound together into a book and horizontal lines were etched onto the slate surface as a guide for neat handwriting. Contents, history, the exact origins of the writing slate remain unclear.