Build a Better Book NSF Video Showcase 2018

Build a Better Book NSF Video Showcase 2018


I grew up in India there weren’t too
many resources for blind people. My mom played a very important role in my STEM
education, she made all my STEM graphics for me with craft materials like foam
and twine, we used Wikki Stix a lot and we used raised graph paper and just like
different textures and different you know different textures that we could
find around the house to create these diagrams. I think that having a
tactile representation actually allows a blind person to like build models
and actually use their hands to kind of create things which could give them even
a better understanding of a concept The build a better book project is designed to engage youth in Making in library and community maker spaces by
connecting them to the current global need for tactile learning materials
including books, games, and STEM graphics. The better book project is I think
a really awesome opportunity for young designers and young students to be
introduced to the notion of Universal Design and accessibility and multimodal
literacy in a way that engages them in using all of their senses to be
exploring the world but then also really learning about different people’s
abilities and how design can really support people in different ways. The key
points about a tactile diagram is: One, it needs to be bigger
because we as blind people feel with our fingertips and we want to have enough
room to kind of explore a diagram we don’t want it to be too crowded or
cluttered the second point is that we want different textures so just as for
sighted people color is really important textures are really important for
someone who’s blind. The first prototypes of the laser printing, like, that we kind of
tested on, we’re super shallow and she was like okay so you need to make the
cuts more deeper and make them bigger. So, we’ve learned
about how how you have to think from a different point of view and like instead
of colors and shapes you have to see texture.
The technology was an opportunity to build empathy and so we did a lot of work
dedicated to empathy building but they’re also leaving with these amazing
skills that they can take into their lives in all sorts of different ways.
Interested in contributing to the Build a Better Book project, we are now
expanding our network using a combination of training workshops with
makerspace facilitators and with our online resources housed on Workbench
Platform. Their further intent is to make a town, a city, and the world, a better
place and people understand each other and of course we all know that that’s
what we need in this world.

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