Programs & Services
Newsletter - January 2020
In This Issue
- President's Message (Natalie Martiniello)
- BLC Press Release: Braille Literacy Canada commemorates World Braille Day and ushers in new initiatives to celebrate BLC's 30th anniversary
- January 25, 2020 Teleconference: Braille resources - Where to find them and how to create your own
- Save the Date - Notice of the 30th annual general meeting of BLC
- Edie Mourre Scholarship accepting applications until March 31, 2020
- Celebrating Braille 2020
- Exciting update from the 2020 Canadian Vision Teachers' Conference Team
- ICEB 7th General Assembly - Nominations Report and Slate (International Council on English Braille (ICEB) Nominations Committee)
- If I could tell Louis Braille one thing ...
- What braille means to me: From teachers (Daphne Hitchcock (BLC Vice-President) and Glenda Parsons (BLC Director))
- Braille on Display (2020 Edition) by Jackie Brown: A "plain English" guide to braille devices
- UEB Math Online: New advanced math lessons added
- A review of the Canute 360 multi-line Braille Display (Kim Kilpatrick - BLC Secretary)
- Free Braille Books Looking for a New Home!
- Social Media Updates
By Natalie Martiniello
Dear BLC friends,
It was Helen Keller who once said that, "the blind are as indebted to Louis Braille, the eponymous inventor of the tactile reading system, as mankind is to Gutenberg and his printing press." Everywhere around us, we on the BLC board see examples of braille in action -- valued above all else because it is the means through which literacy, participation and independence flourishes for the many blind Canadians who use it. One would have to dig deep and far back to a world before the printed word existed -- before books and pamphlets and scratched jottings on tablets were used to convey and share messages, to tell the story of humankind. But, we need only to look back to the birth of Louis Braille to witness the same for those who are blind. To think that before the invention of braille, blind people lived in a predominantly oral culture -- A world without the beautiful scent of old books! A world without the magic of a physical library. When you consider how fundamental reading and writing is to every aspect of daily living, it is easy to understand what a striking change braille brought about.
We within Braille Literacy Canada know well though that braille is not merely a cherished relic of our past. It is a living testament to people in action everyday -- studying, working, raising families, volunteering, leading!
I want to take this opportunity to thank each of you, on behalf of the entire BLC board, for your continued support of Braille Literacy Canada. It is because of your contributions that we not only meet each goal we set, but surpass them by a long-shot. Over the past two years, we have collectively managed to fund both the Edie Mourre and Brailler Bounce programs into the future, and have had a strong voice both on the Canadian and international braille stage. During this National Braille Literacy month, we want to celebrate not only braille -- but also the vibrant, energetic, wonderful braille community throughout Canada -- Thank you!
In this issue, you will find important information about the launch of the 2020 Edie Mourre scholarship, the upcoming BLC AGM and 30th Anniversary reception, an exciting announcement about new initiatives we are launching to support adult braille learners, information about the outstanding line up of keynote speakers for the Canadian Vision Teachers conference, the announcement for the upcoming BLC teleconference on finding and creating braille-related resources, the 2020 ICEB proposed slate of nominees, and more. You will read about the incredible display that TVI and board member Daphne Hitchcock created to celebrate World Braille Day at the Victoria Public library, and see how our friends and members responded when we asked about the one thing they would tell Louis Braille if they could.
January also marks the start of the membership year. If you haven't already, we invite you to renew your membership by visiting our website at www.brailleliteracycanada.ca or writing to us at firstname.lastname@example.org -- Whether you are a braille reader, learner, parent, educator, transcriber, or simply someone who is curious about those six dots, we are always happy to hear from you.
As we look back on the past 30 years of BLC, formerly the Canadian Braille Authority, we thank all those who were pivotal during those early days, and all those who stand with us as we look forward into another exciting decade ahead. Here's to another successful and happy year to all!
President, Braille Literacy Canada
BLC Press Release: Braille Literacy Canada commemorates World Braille Day and ushers in new initiatives to celebrate BLC's 30th anniversary
TORONTO, ON, January 4, 2020 --- In celebration of World Braille Day, commemorating the birth of Louis Braille whose system of tactile reading and writing brought literacy to those who are blind, Braille Literacy Canada is unveiling the launch of the Braille Zoomers group -- a new initiative that will provide peer-support, information and resources to adults and seniors with sight loss who pursue braille training in Canada.
"Reading-related difficulties are among the most common reasons for referral to sight loss rehabilitation services. With the prevalence of sight loss expected to double by 2050, there is a growing need to support adults and seniors who pursue braille instruction to regain their independence," explains President Natalie Martiniello.
The Braille Zoomers group will provide adult braille learners -- both those learning and those who have completed learning -- with a virtual platform to come together to provide and receive peer-support and mentorship, share tips, resources and experiences related to learning braille in adulthood. In future, BLC also hopes to provide braille starter kits to adult learners containing items to support their braille learning and independence, such as braille reading materials for adults and labeling tools. As Martiniello explains, "Even with the proliferation of technology, braille provides Canadians who are blind with a means to read household labels, make lists and engage in leisure reading, and functions as a bridge between vision and sight loss to maintain spelling and other writing skills."
The Braille Zoomers group is one of several new initiatives that Braille Literacy Canada will undertake during 2020 (which marks the organization's 30th anniversary) to promote the use of braille for Canadians who benefit from it. In May, the organization will celebrate its anniversary year during a special Annual General Meeting and reception to take place in conjunction with the Canadian Vision Teachers conference.
Individuals who wish to learn more about the Braille Zoomers group, or the upcoming 30th anniversary celebrations can write to email@example.com or call Braille Literacy Canada at 1-877-861-4576.
Braille Literacy Canada / Litteratie braille Canada, founded in 1990 as the Canadian Braille Authority, is a national charitable organization dedicated to the promotion of braille as the primary medium of literacy for those who are blind or visually impaired. BLC is recognized by the International Council on English Braille as the authority for the development, adoption, and establishment of standards relating to braille in Canada. With a membership comprising organizations and individuals, educators, braille transcribers, braille producers, parents of braille users and braille users themselves, BLC represents a broad cross-section of those working with or impacted by braille and is lead by a volunteer board of directors elected by the BLC membership.
January 25, 2020 Teleconference: Braille resources - Where to find them and how to create your own
Looking for braille books, games, or household items? Join us for our first teleconference of 2020 and learn where to find and purchase braille resources.
We will host a lively panel discussion on this topic. If your favourite game or book is not available in braille, our presenters will provide tips and tricks that will enable you to create braille resources of your own.
Date: January 25, 2020
Time: 1-2:30 Pm Eastern time
This teleconference will be held on the zoom platform and is free of charge to all BLC members. If you are a member of a blindness organization which is a corporate member, you can also attend free of charge.
To register or to enquire about renewing or obtaining a membership, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Save the Date - Notice of the 30th annual general meeting of BLC
The annual general meeting of the members of Braille Literacy Canada / Litteratie braille Canada will take place on Friday May 8th, 2020 in Toronto from 4:30 -- 6:00 P.M. Eastern Time.
Location: Sheraton Toronto Airport Hotel and Conference Centre, 801 Dixon Rd, Toronto, ON, M9W 1J5
This meeting will be held for the purposes of:
- Receiving the financial statements of the Corporation;
- Approving the minutes of the 2019 Annual General Meeting of members; and
- Electing the board of directors.
A special 30th anniversary Wine and Cheese reception will follow the meeting.
Note that you must renew your membership in order to be eligible to vote.
Please click on the following link to renew your membership: http://www.brailleliteracycanada.ca/en/about-us/get-involved/become-a-member.
All relevant documents (including the electronic ballot and proxy form) will be sent to you by the 17th of April. If you are unable to attend but would still like to vote on the issues listed above, please complete the electronic ballot and submit it to email@example.com. We are also exploring options for live streaming the AGM.
AVIS EST PAR LES PRÉSENTES DONNÉ que l'assemblée générale annuelle des membres de Littératie braille Canada/Braille Literacy Canada aura lieu le 8 mai 2020 à Toronto de 16:30 à 18 h, heure du l'Est.
Endroit : Sheraton Toronto Airport Hotel & Conference Centre: 801 Dixon Rd, Toronto (ON) M9W 1J5
Cette assemblée sera tenue dans le but de :
- Recevoir les états financiers de l'Organisation;
- Approuver le compte rendu de l'assemblée générale annuelle des membres de 2019; et
- Élire le conseil d'administration.
Une réception vins et fromages en l'honneur de notre 30e anniversaire suivra la réunion.
Veuillez prendre note que pour avoir le droit de voter, vous devez avoir renouvelé votre adhésion.
Veuillez cliquer sur le lien suivant afin de renouveler votre adhésion : http://www.blc-lbc.ca/fr/à-propos-de-nous/joignez-vous-à-lbc/devenez-membre
Tous les documents pertinents (y compris le bulletin de vote électronique ainsi que le formulaire de vote par procuration) vous seront envoyés d'ici le 17 avril. S'il vous est impossible d'assister à cette assemblée, mais que vous désirez exprimer votre droit de vote relativement aux points indiqués ci-dessus, nous vous invitons à remplir le bulletin de vote électronique et à le transmettre à l'adresse suivante : firstname.lastname@example.org. Nous sommes à la recherche des possibilités par rapport à la diffusion en continu en direct.
Si vous avez des questions ou des préoccupations, n'hésitez pas à communiquer avec nous en écrivant à : email@example.com.
Secrétaire de Littératie braille Canada
Edie Mourre Scholarship accepting applications until March 31, 2020
The 2020 competition for the Edie Mourre Scholarship is now open and will be accepting applications until March 31, 2020.
Are you interested in pursuing a certification in braille transcription? Or maybe you have always wanted to study Music braille? Perhaps you have been contemplating pursuing braille studies but the cost has held you back? Your time could be now!
The Edie Mourre Scholarship fund is intended to assist those who are pursuing employment as a braille transcriber or proofreader, or as an educator. Eligible codes include: Unified English Braille, Code braille français uniformisé, Music Braille, or other braille systems.
More information on the program and an application form (in English and in French) can be found online at http://www.brailleliteracycanada.ca/en/professional-development/edie-mourre-scholarship.
Good luck, and we invite you to share this announcement with others!
Celebrating Braille 2020
Once again this year at a public library in Victoria, we have set up a display of braille-related items in honour of World Braille Day.
The display includes a brailler, slate and stylus, several braille books, braille watch, braille jewelry, magnetic braille stickers, and fun facts about braille. Visitors are invited to touch braille on cards posted to the exterior of the cabinet.
Exciting update from the 2020 Canadian Vision Teachers' Conference Team
BLC is thrilled to be hosting our 2020 AGM and 30th anniversary celebration as part of this special event! Here are some updates from the conference organizers you won't want to miss:
The line-up of keynote speakers this year will blow you away! Drum roll please for the video announcement ... https://twitter.com/i/status/1203037321953783810
Didn't quite meet the deadline to present a workshop at @CVTC2020?
We are giving you an extension and letting you sleep in! HAPPY NEW YEAR from your Steering Committee! Remember to submit your Workshop Proposal no later than Jan 20th.
For more information: http://bit.ly/cvtc2020
CVTC has registered as a provider of ACVREP Continuing Education (CE) credits! Participate in engaging and innovative professional development, network with experts in our field and earn your recertification points with us:
- Certified Low Vision Therapist (CLVT)
- Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS)
- Certified Assistive Technology Instructional Specialist (CATIS)
- Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist (CVRT)
ICEB 7th General Assembly - Nominations Report and Slate
By International Council on English Braille (ICEB) Nominations Committee
The Nominations Committee is pleased to propose this slate of candidates for the 2020-2024 term of the ICEB Executive Committee. Each of the individuals listed below has agreed to stand for election and is supported by the braille authority of his or her member nation. We sincerely thank each member for their willingness to serve ICEB during the 2020-2024 term.
These candidates are to be elected at the Seventh General Assembly in London in May 2020. Further nominations may be made to the Convenor of the Nominations Committee by the end of the first day's session on Monday 11 May 2020. The nomination must be accompanied by the consent of the nominee and a brief biography indicating the candidate's expertise and experience in the braille field. Elected candidates take office at the close of the General Assembly on Friday 15 May 2020.
- President: Judy Dixon, United States (Please note that the President is deterritorialized upon election.)
- Immediate Past President: Christo de Klerk, South Africa. (Please note, if a proposed change to the Constitution is adopted, the Immediate Past President will become deterritorialized upon election.)
- Code Maintenance Officer: Kathy Riessen, Australia. (Please note that the Code Maintenance Officer is deterritorialized upon election.)
- Vice President: Ilka Stäglin, Ireland.
- Secretary: Frances Mary D'Andrea, United States
- Treasurer: Jen Goulden, Canada
- Public Relations Officer: Maria Stevens, New Zealand
- James Bowden, United Kingdom
- Jordie Howell, Australia
- Ntshavheni Netshituni, South Africa
- Vacant, Nigeria (We very much regret that, at the time of writing, we have not been able to establish communication with Jean Obi's member organisation in Nigeria.)
For more information (including the biographies of these candidates and details of the proposed constitutional changes), please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will share the full nominations report with you.
If I could tell Louis Braille one thing ...
In honour of World Braille Day, we asked our followers on Facebook to complete this sentence: If I could tell Louis #Braille one thing, I would say... Here are some of their responses!
Cay Holbrook: You wouldn't BELIEVE what a difference you've made!
Kerry Kijewski: You have given me something, and so many others like me, a gift of equal access, great beauty and unmatched value.￼
Lee Ann Nimmo Armbruster: Your gift of literacy has opened the world to so many. Thank you.
Susan Vollmar: Thank you for changing lives.
Kim Kilpatrick: Braille gives me confidence and is part of every aspect of my life. I could not imagine life without those six magic dots!
Jen Goulden: Did you know that these six little dots would change the lives of millions? I would not be where I am today if you had not persevered.
What braille means to me: From teachers
By Daphne Hitchcock (BLC Vice-President) and Glenda Parsons (BLC Director)
Read what Daphne Hitchcock and Glenda Parsons, two of our board members and both teachers, have to say about what braille means to them. Thank you to teachers everywhere for all that you do!
I think of braille as the open door, inviting those who read it to enjoy the power and freedom that braille gives. There is nothing that is more exciting to me as it is to watch and hear a youngster read their first dots of braille, to see their finger tips glide over the page and hear those first words being sounded out.
Braille is opportunity, it is a powerful tool that gives the gift of literacy.
I am so thankful that I was given the opportunity to learn, to read and to teach braille.
- Daphne Hitchcock, Vice-President, Braille Literacy Canada
When I reflect on the braille code there is an endless list of values that go through my head. I am not a braille user but a teacher of the code, and also a former teacher of literacy in the public school setting. With that in mind -- braille means access and equality and possibilities -- which makes success an easy road to travel. It allows a student to build knowledge and progress through the school curriculum enabling success as all students would. It allows a student to build their skill of writing while expressing their thoughts and ideas. It levels the playing field.
These are just a few thoughts - ultimately in my mind whether an individual is a braille user or a print user my goal as an educator is to foster success in the lives of students and braille enables that ability for some students.
- Glenda Parsons, Director, Braille Literacy Canada
Braille on Display (2020 Edition) by Jackie Brown: A "plain English" guide to braille devices
Editor's Note: There was a time when many people predicted that technology would cause Braille to die out. How wrong they were!
Freed by the restrictions of bulky hardcopy Braille volumes, people can now carry a device with them that gives them access to thousands of books. When used in combination with smartphone technology, it's even possible to get instant transcription from print to Braille. Braille is more vibrant and relevant than ever.
Sadly, Braille devices are expensive, so Choosing the right one is a significant technological decision. How can you be sure you're choosing the option that best meets your needs?
"Braille on Display 2020 Edition" by Jackie Brown is here to help. It's a useful guide to many of the Braille devices on the market today, in plain English.
Jackie will tell you about the features found in most of today's popular Braille devices, and offer her opinion on their pros and cons.
You'll learn about full Braille note takers, devices that act as Braille displays for your computer and smartphone, and devices that fall somewhere in between.
A handy table at the end of the book allows you to perform a feature comparison on all the products covered.
It's hard for many of us to get our hands on all these devices. So why not purchase a handy guide written by someone who's done all the evaluation work already. It's a small price to pay to ensure you get the best device for your needs.
Learn about the latest technology from all the major vendors, including
- Handy Tech,
- Freedom Scientific
- and Orbit.
The book costs 35 USD, and is available now from http://Mosen.org/BrailleOnDisplay.
UEB Math Online: New advanced math lessons added
Editor's Note: this announcement appeared in the December 2019 issue of the International Council on English Braille (ICEB) newsletter.
UEB Online is a free online training course for print and touch readers to learn Unified English Braille. We are pleased to report that ten new lessons have been released this month covering Advanced Mathematics, the symbols and expressions encountered during the junior years of secondary schooling. This module is an extension of Introductory Mathematics, which must be completed first.
Extension Mathematics lessons covering mathematical symbols and expressions used in the senior years of secondary schooling are in development, with an expected release date in the first half of 2020.
Thanks are extended to the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Students, RIDBC Renwick Centre and Macquarie University for their support in producing and administering this course for braille learners worldwide.
A review of the Canute 360 multi-line Braille Display
By Kim Kilpatrick - BLC Secretary
I have had the great pleasure of testing a Canute 360 multi-line braille display for the past few months. This is a revolutionary device because it allows you to read nine lines of braille. For anyone who has used an electronic braille display, you know that up until now they have only been able to display one line of braille at a time.
This display does not currently connect to a computer. It is like a standalone e-book reader and does not include a braille translator, or keyboard for taking notes. The Canute is extremely easy to use. The braille is crisp and it is a pleasure to read. The spacing of the lines is between a usual single spaced and double-spaced document. This makes it easy to use for readers of all levels and abilities.
I have downloaded and read BRF books from the CELA library and have translated word documents with brailleBlaster (free software developed by the American Printing House). I have read music braille, math, and other files as well. Books can be loaded onto the display via an SD card or a memory stick. The unit requires documents to be in BRF (Braille ready format). It can set bookmarks and can go to pages within a book or document. The menus are easy to use, and it is easy to update the software.
This device is now being pre-ordered for sale in Canada through Canadian Assistive Technologies at www.canasstech.com.
The Canute 360 marks a new era in electronic braille technologies, and I am sure we will see many more low-cost braille displays soon. Congratulations to Bristol Braille technologies for creating this wonderful new display. www.Bristolbraille.co.uk
If people have questions about how I have used the Canute, feel free to send them to email@example.com.
Free Braille Books Looking for a New Home!
Last year BLC received requests to find new homes for a wide variety of braille books.
We still have several books that are free for the asking. Some were donated because their owners no longer needed or wanted them and others have been donated by provincial resource centres updating their materials to UEB. Unless otherwise specified, all of the books in the list below are in contracted pre-UEB braille.
If you would like to adopt any of these books please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
From RNIB in the UK
- Peter James Dead like You
- Peter James Dead Man's Footsteps
- Peter James Not Dead Yet
- Peter James Dead Man's Time
- Peter James Dead Simple
- Peter James Looking Good Dead
- Peter James Not Dead Enough
- Peter James Dead Tomorrow
- Peter James Dead Man's Grip
Carolyn Keene -- Nancy Drew
- Mystery At Moorsea Manor 150
- Whispers in the Fog 153
- Mystery By Moonlight 167
- Music Festival Mystery 157
- Mystery on Maui 143
- Mystery in Tornado Alley 155
- The mystery of the Mother Wolf 164
- The Wild Cat Crime 141
- The Missing Horse Mystery 145
- The Mistletoe Mystery 169
- The Secret of Candlelight Inn 139
- The Bike Tour Mystery 168
- The Secret of the Fiery Chamber 159
- The Secret in the Stars 166
- A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
- The Carnivorous Carnival Book the Ninth
- Magic Treehouse -- Mary Pope Osborne
- High Tide in Hawaii #28
- Walt Disney's 101 Dalmatians
- Roald Dahl's Revolting Recipes by Josie Fison and Felicity Dahl
- Jamaica Inn by Daphne DuMaurier
- The Family Under The Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson
- Do You Want Fries With That? by Martyn Godfrey
- Earwitness: A Jessica March Mystery by Mary Ann Scott
- Horrible Harry and the Christmas Surprise by Suzy Kline
- Dad, Jackie and Me by Myron Uhlberg
- Stuart Little E. B. White
- Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr
- The True story of Pocahontas by Lucille Penner
- The Sorcerer's Companion: A Guide to the Magical World of Harry Potter by Allan Zola Kronzek
Social Media Updates
Here are just some of the gems posted on the BLC social media pages since the last issue. To receive these updates instantly, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!
Braille is literacy: National Network of Equitable Library Service: https://nnels.ca/news/braille-literacy?fbclid=IwAR2cAnF-_0GHdNppGhc1QBJzxgIC3mmnrITTFDfKE5tGoK9zQlO65n-DGqw
From the Australian Braille Authority - Includes papers on #braille and #tactile literacy: https://www.spevi.net/jspevi/?fbclid=IwAR28fdiMACHfYg1Kv9PiYdcpRXakJCFMwueJtgzTdB-jUe4bOm3xlNcm8
Four reasons why #braile still matters in the age of Alexa and the iPhone: https://www.perkins.org/stories/four-reasons-why-braille-still-matters-in-the-age-of-alexa-and-iphone?fbclid=IwAR1pwcvQtWKsu8noLxZeutG2ypdCZzWw0yVPh4zecOJdgoZPZfo3FGBcCgQ
The association between #braille reading history and well being for blind adults: https://www.nfb.org/images/nfb/publications/jbir/jbir18/jbir080103.html?fbclid=IwAR2qLGOyvi8yMO5Ph8TUdtlgEVZT3uYy0Zzs8PQmIWz1B-Qh9HsAUOwno
Louis #Braille: A Touch of Genius: https://www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/LB.html?fbclid=IwAR1UVr8qOR9WM6viZleWiBuKzsJeIx8hgYbxeZM0P8mWxyhFaxNad3-84No
We must continue to invest in #braille: https://carroll.org/news/we-must-continue-to-invest-in-braille/?fbclid=IwAR1AqYo7pe1-bDmvGQ7SRixnctEFwrB6dB17H2RItwKHlmoVzbZBJc9ps9k
Interview With Braille Creative Writing Contest Winner Zachary Abdallah - CNIB Because #Braille podcast: https://soundcloud.com/becausebraille/interview-with-zachary-abdallah?fbclid=IwAR0lynF3BoKfqKm0tnZisVnJiHrciRO4vv4V04bkZ5jEuJAiUVILAhQ4T-A
We are delighted to share that RIDBC has released the second online mathematics training program in Unified English Braille (UEB): https://uebonline.org/?fbclid=IwAR1QkdGwUTmnNmzitdYlEds9GdYAeF6QAdkZsi_btEgKTWYBbVHd3ao656g
Now accepting applications - Vision Impairment Rehabilitation Masters program at University of Montreal: https://admission.umontreal.ca/en/programs/masters-in-vision-science-option-visual-impairment-and-rehabilitation-english/?fbclid=IwAR1E1u6j9Ndgw0MmRSlqA0TBl4M8wTegDw64cC2rHlsSPgkbStVUZEdwpnw
Check out the latest edition of the ICEB newsletter (December 2019)! http://www.iceb.org/?fbclid=IwAR0ltP3kiCBgjPMaPiKDe072AEhQwCHY9d3WX3-kKYiG0uG3dza8OHdE_Nk
Welcome to the Braille Bug: http://braillebug.org/?fbclid=IwAR1KTyoAGrwai4B80k0e9xWrIXBnHFgyz9JP0Jsuu2WeHH87QvRdYO9I5y0