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Aristotle once said, "For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them."

"We are not teaching skills; we are activating neurology."  - Daniel Kish

Active Learning is an approach developed by Dame Lilli Nielsen to aid visually impaired and deafblind individuals develop tactile skills and build foundational skills in other critical cognitive, physical and emotional development.  Based on typical child development, this approach targets individuals of all ages who function under a developmental age of 3 when real learning only takes place by "doing".  To learn more about this approach, explore the resources listed on this page.

Dame Lilli NielsenDame Lilli Nielsen (1926-2013)

Dame Lilli Nielsen passed away in June of 2013 only days after the Active Learning Conference in Houston.  We honor her life and work and mourn her passing. 

Active Learning Theory was developed by Dame Lilli Nielsen, sibling of and teacher to individuals with visual impairments and deafblindness in Denmark.  Her approach has been widely used throughout Texas, the nation and the world to address learning for these children.

In an effort to promote the use of Active Learning theory with students who are visually impaired, visually and multiply impaired or deafblind, Outreach Programs has collected relevant articles and information to share with professionals and family members.  What follows is a listing of training events, articles, books, videos, websites, and other materials on this approach.

Recent Additions to this Page

Active Learning Study Group Webinar for October is now archived on the Distance Learning site.

Instructional Strategies for VI Students Under the Developmental Age of 3 - TETN 20440 - A videoconference from 2013 that addresses specific instructional strategies including Active Learning, the van Dijk approaches, and more.

Sophie's Resonance Board - YouTube video of a toddler in an Active Learning environment

56 Tactile Math Ideas: Ideas and Suggestions for Development of Early Maths Skills - Math activities that include an Active Learning Approach on the Paths to Literacy website.

Pre-Braille - From Paths to Literacy information about important concepts, motor skills, auditory skills and tactile skills needed for developing literacy skills in children with visual impairments.  All of these skills can be worked on through Active Learning approaches.

On this webpage:

Training Events

Articles and Fact Sheets

Books

Forms

Archived Handouts

Websites

Videos, Webcasts and Webinars

Other Materials

Training Events

Active Learning Study Group 2014-15

A series of webinars focusing on Active Learning will take place during the 2014-15 school year.  Individuals who are currently using Active Learning at home and in school settings as well as those who are considering including Active Learning approaches, are encouraged to join in to these interactive webinars.

The basis of our discussion will be Dr. Neilsen's book, Early Learning Step-by-Step, and we will reference other of her books such as Space and Self, The Comprehending Hand, and the Functional Scheme assessment and FIELA Curriculum.  All of these books are available through Lilliworks at www.lilliworks.com.  If you are unable to purchase these books, handouts will be shared at each of these webinars that will give you some of the basics of this approach to support your participation.

All of the webinars will take place between 3 and 4 PM.  The dates for these webinars are listed below:

  1. September 9th
  2. October 7th (archived webinar)
  3. November 4th 
  4. December 2nd
  5. January 6th
  6. February 3rd
  7. March 3rd
  8. April 7th

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Articles and Fact Sheets

An Introduction to Dr. Lilli Nielsen's Active Learning

This article discusses some of the basic strategies of Dr. Lilli Nielsen's Active Learning Theory.

www.tsbvi.edu/seehear/fall03/lilli.htm

Active Learning and the Exploration of Real Objects

This article describes some of the techniques of Dr. Lilli Nielsen's Active Learning Theory.

http://www.tsbvi.edu/seehear/winter04/active.htm

Incorporating Active Learning Theory into Activity Routines

This article focuses on Phase IV and V of Lilli Nielsen's five educational phases of educational treatment outlined in her book, Are You Blind?, and how the Active Learning principles can be incorporated into activity routines.

www.tsbvi.edu/seehear/winter06/learning.htm

Five Phases of Educational Treatment Used in Active Learning 

This article focuses on five phases of educational approaches that teachers are to use in working with children if they are using an Active Learning theory approach. It summarizes the information first published as part of Dr. Nielsen's book, Are You Blind?

www.tsbvi.edu/.../2151-five-phases-of-educational-treatment-used-in-active-learning-based-on-excerpts-from-are-you-blind-by-dr-lilli-nielsen

How to Make a Texture Board to Scratch, Grab, Hold & Release (NEW)

http://www.tsbvi.edu/attachments/article/3415/HowToMakeTextureBoard.doc

Job One for Educators: Becoming a Good Playmate

If children learn through play, then we must become better playmates in order to facilitate better learning for the child.

http://www.tsbvi.edu/resources/2152-job-one-for-educators-becoming-a-good-playmate

Resonance Board and Little Room Design Information

http://www.tsbvi.edu/attachments/article/3415/ResonanceBoardLittleRoomDesign.doc

Tactual Skills for Students with Visual Impairments (NEW)

http://www.tsbvi.edu/attachments/article/3415/TactualSkills.doc

Taking a Look at the FIELA Curriculum: 730 Learning Environments by Dr. Lilli Nielsen

This article is based on a book by Dr. Lilli Nielsen titled The FIELA Curriculum: 730 Learning Environments and lists the developmental behaviors in three-month increments as described in this book.

http://www.tsbvi.edu/seehear/fall05/fiela.htm

Touch: A Critical Sense for Individuals with Visual Impairments (NEW)

http://www.tsbvi.edu/attachments/article/3415/TouchOnePage.doc

What My Daughter Taught Me About Active Learning or Whose Goal Is It?

A parent shares her journey in encouraging her daughter's learning through play—on her own terms at home and at school.

www.tsbvi.edu/seehear/fall06/active.htm


Books

Dr. Neilsen's books are published in the United States and sold through LilliWorks.  These books include:

  • The FIELA Curriculum: 730 activities
  • Functional Scheme:Functional Skills Assessment
  • Early Learning Step by Step
  • Spatial Relations In Congenitally Blind Infants
  • Educational Approaches
  • Are You Blind?
  • Space and Self
  • The Comprehending Hand

One of her colleagues, Dr. van der Poel, has published a book of interest to those seeking information on Active Learning.

  • Visual Impairment - Understanding the Needs of Young Children

Forms

Active Learning Forms used by staff at TSBVI Outreach Programs

Active Learning Planning Sheet is a form created to capture information about the child's preferences and responses for use in planning Active Learning instructional activities. NEW!

Attractive Objects includes a list of objects that might be used in Active Learning activities and environments suggested in Lilli's book Space and Self.


Archived Handouts

Notes from Previous Study Group Dates

Notes from the study group meeting held on October 1, 2013 from 8:30-9:30 AM

Kate's Notes from 11.26.12 Study Group

Handout from 1.14.13

Handout from 3.4.13

Handout for Active Learning for Students with Visual and Multiple Impairments Conference (NEW)

 

Websites

 LilliWorks

Narbethong State Special School

Penrickton Center for Blind Children

PBS Parents, Child Development, Baby & Toddler Milestones

Site of Senses Project


Videos, Webinars, and Webcasts

Videos

Perceptualizing Aids:  How, Why and When

Instructional Strategies for VI Students Under the Developmental Age of 3 - TETN 20440 - Archived broadcast from 2013 on the TSBVI Distance Learning site.

Sophie's Resonance Board - YouTube video of a toddler in an Active Learning environment

 

Washington State Services for Children with Deaf-Blindness videos on Active Learning and Hand Under Hand 

http://wsdsonline.org/video-library/deaf-blind-videos/

http://www.wsdsonline.org/video-library/deaf-blind-videos/hand-under-hand/hand-under-hand-videos/

 

Zoe in the Little Room on YouTube 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7_S4dfN_-U

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=BOn6E8C0kb0&NR=1

Webcasts

Advisor website video on  Active Learning Play Space

http://www.e-advisor.us/PPS/use.php?fontsize=normal&hicontrast=&media=quicktime

Webinars

Active Learning Study Group 2013-14

Other Materials

Active Learning Equipment

New Braille Literacy: Back to the Basics - An article on teaching tactile skills from Paths to Literacy website.

56 Tactile Math Ideas: Ideas and Suggestions for Development of Early Maths Skills - Math activities that include an Active Learning Approach on the Paths to Literacy website.

Pre-Braille - From Paths to Literacy information about important concepts, motor skills, auditory skills and tactile skills needed for developing literacy skills in children with visual impairments.  All of these skills can be worked on through Active Learning approaches.

Downloadable catalog from LilliWorks with information on purchasing all of the Active Learning equipment.

Lily Voekel Foundation makes Resonance Boards for families who need one in their home and are unable to get it through typical channels.  Learn more about this resource.