Presented by Anna Christal, Science Teacher, Royal Blind School
Today what we are going to do is we’re going to have a look at how we can use Velcro boards and use them with print and braille labels. Now Velcro boards such as this one here are really useful with lots of visually impaired pupils. The Velcro has a big advantage that pupils can keep things in place. One of the big difficulties they have is that if you put a whole load of cards or bits of information down on the table, it’s very easy for them to lose them. This is the Velcro board that I am going to make today. You can see that it’s made from a piece of black card which has been laminated in a sort of matt laminate sleeve and then we’ve got some white Velcro, soft Velcro on the front. So I’ll show you how to make it.
This is the black card I’m going to use to start off with. Its A3 size and we’ve chosen the black because of the contrast with the white Velcro that I’m going to use. Obviously maximum contrast is a benefit to everybody with low vision. So we take our black card and the first thing I’m going to do is I’m going to mark it up because I’m going to place some strips on here and I want them evenly spaced. For this size of card I’m going to use four white strips of Velcro. So I’m just going to divide up card into four lines. I’m just making faint pencil lines so that when I come to put the Velcro strips on I’ve got a good idea, a rough guide where I’m going to put them. So what you do with this black card is that you need to get it laminated. So using one of your heat laminating machines. You just put it into the plastic sleeve and pass it through the laminator. That will fuse the plastic onto that, make it a longer lasting board. The Velcro here you can see is the white Velcro and I’m going to use the soft Velcro to go onto the board. So our board is now complete and we are ready to move onto making some print and braille labels.
I’m going to show you two different ways of doing this. The first one is like this were we’ve got our print and our braille on the same page. I’ve used a basic programme like Word to prepare the labels using table in Word. I’ve printed off my words, obviously in a large print, for the low vision pupils I work with and I’ve got braille labels there as well. The advantage of doing it in this way is that you then can prepare a second page which has just got the braille labels on it. What I’ve done with this is I’ve printed it onto some special paper that you can then pass through a heat fuser. Anything that is black type is then raised up so obviously this is then tactile and a braille user can then read these labels. Once your labels have been laminated we then need to cut them up. Obviously you can use a pair of scissors or I tend to use a guillotine as it’s quicker. The next step is to match our braille label with our printed braille label. So I’m going to cut this to proper size with a pair of scissors and then I should be able to stick that onto our label here just using some glue. So the next step is just to cut a corner of the card. I always cut off the top right hand corner. That just helps the braille user orientate the card to know which way is up. Finally, to finish off, all we need to do is put a little bit of hard Velcro on the back.
So here’s an example of one way in which we can use the boards. Here we’ve got planets in order from the Sun. So what can happen in class is that you can maybe give the pupils this set of cards, they would then put them down on the board just in the order they pick them up and then they can arrange them in the correct order down one of the other columns. They can then pass that to one of their sighted peers who can then mark that for them.
I’ve got some larger boards here as well. I work with pupils who have low vision and pupils who are blind so I have to use really quite large print labels. So these boards sometimes suit the work I do better. Here we’ve got obviously the photosynthesis equation. The pupils have been given the cards and they then are having to rearrange the cards in the correct order to make the correct equation.
So I hope you can see from what we’ve shown you that these resources are really useful for our visually impaired learners in the classroom. It enables them to be fully included in things like peer assessment and peer learning where they can share their learning and also be able to mark and assess others in the classroom.
Read more about velcro print and Braille boards.