Tuesday, May 21, 2019 | ePaper

Lego is making Braille bricks It may give blind literacy a needed lift

Advocates say the product could transform reading for blind and visually impaired children, making the experience of learning Braille more inclusive and helping to combat what has been called a Braille literacy crisis

  • Print


Weekend Plus Desk :
 new effort is underway to help blind and visually impaired children more naturally learn to read Braille, a system based on different configurations of six small, raised dots that blind people read with their fingertips. And it is coming in the form of a favorite childhood toy: Lego bricks.
This week, the Lego Foundation, which is funded by the Lego Group, the Danish toy company that makes the blocks, announced a new project that will repurpose the usual knobs atop the bricks as Braille dots. And because the blocks will also be stamped with the corresponding written letter, number or punctuation symbol, they can be played with by blind and sighted children alike.
The project, called Lego Braille Bricks, is in a pilot phase and is expected to be released in partnership with schools and associations for the blind in 2020.
“When they get Lego in their hands, it’s intuitive for them,” said Diana Ringe Krogh, who is overseeing the project for the Lego Foundation.
“They learn Braille almost without noticing that they are learning. It is really a learning-through-play approach.”
Advocates say the product could transform reading for blind and visually impaired children, making the experience of learning Braille more inclusive and helping to combat what has been called a ‘Braille literacy crisis.’
Though the research is limited, some estimates suggest that just 10 per cent of blind children in the United States learn to read Braille, even though Braille literacy is associated with better job outcomes for adults.
In 2017, less than half of American adults with visual impairments were employed, according to a disability report by Cornell University.
Braille, once widely taught in schools for the blind, has fallen by the wayside since the 1970s, when the law began requiring public schools to offer equal education to children with disabilities. Blind students were able to join their sighted peers in the classroom, but traditional schools, biased toward sight and facing a lack of specialized teachers, often pushed children with any sight at all to rely on magnified print. And an explosion of accessible technologies, including audio-books, apps and screen readers, has strengthened reliance on audio, which advocates say cannot effectively teach critical skills like spelling and grammar, let alone complicated math.
“Audio can give you information, but it can't give you literacy,” said Chris Danielsen, a spokesman for the National Federation of the Blind.

More News For this Category

Some vacation ideas that even your kids will love

Some vacation ideas that even your kids will love

Weekend Plus Desk :Children are a tough crowd to please, especially when it comes to keeping tweens and teens entertained on vacation. Tour operators, hotels and cruises have responded

Monsoon munchies: Satiate snacks craving with these easy recipes

Monsoon munchies: Satiate snacks craving with these easy recipes

Weekend Plus Desk :onsoon is almost here and while sitting by the window and watching the rainfall, as the world goes by, sounds like a lovely idea, getting something

Teen girls more  vulnerable to bullying than boys

Teen girls more vulnerable to bullying than boys

Weekend Plus Desk :eenage girls are bullied more often than boys, and are more likely to consider or attempt suicide, a study has found. Researchers from Rutgers University in

POEM

The Holy Ramzan-Anis FatemaThe whole world is enlightened as the Heavenly 'Noor' is on earth,The noblest desires are blended with joyous Muslims' heart.Let us uphold the flag of whiteness as

POEM

Short StoryJourney for turtleArisha Naveennce upon a time, there was a girl named Lily.  At that time there were no iPhones, nothing to learn if animals were friendly or not,

Great Poet Omar Khayyam

Literature Desk :mar Khayyam, Arabic in full Ghiyath al-Din Abu al-Fat Umar ibn Ibrahim al-Nisaburi al-Khayyami was born on May 18, 1048, in Neyshabur (also spelled Nishapur), Khorasan in

Novelist Shawkat Osman

Novelist Shawkat Osman

Syed Azizul Huq :hawkat Osman (1917-1998), educationist, novelist, short story writer, was born on 2 January 1917 in the district of Hughli, Paschimbongo, India. His real name was Sheikh

POEM

POEM

A poem for 1st May-Sukanta BhattacharyaRed fire flames had spread from one skyline to another,What more can it be while living a dog’s life? How long will you be pleasedAt all

Poet Sukanta Bhattacharya

Anik Mahmud :oet Sukanta Bhattacharya (1926-1947), Marxist poet, was born on 15 August 1926 at his maternal uncle’s home in Kolkata. His paternal home was in Kotalipara in Faridpur.

Hard water can harm  baby’s  sensitive skin

Hard water can harm baby’s sensitive skin

Weekend Plus Desk :n the past few years, environmental factors have become very crucial when it comes to their impact on health, including air pollution or the kind of