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Spring 2004 Table of Contents
Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)

Technology to Promote Literacy: Ideas for Meaningful Literacy Activities

By Sharon Nichols, Technology Specialist,
TSBVI Visually Impaired Outreach

Abstract: This article offers ideas on ways to use technology to promote literacy skills for visually impaired students.

Key Words: programming, technology, literacy, computers, note takers

Learning to use a computer and note taker is an important skill for today’s blind and visually impairedstudents. Giving students a fun and functional reason to use a computer makes learning much more motivating than simply working through a series of lessons in how to use a word processing program. It is also important to teach your students to use the devices and applications they will need later in life, such as using email, keeping an organizing calendar, writing a journal, keeping a file of friend’s names and phone numbers, and using a note taking device or computer.


In today’s world learning to use email applications is a natural activity for most students. The rewards are almost immediate! Here are some ideas to help your student jump into the glorious world of email.

Phone book

Help your student set up a phone book file using a computer or Braille note taker.


Use the calendar function on your student’s computer (as in Microsoft Outlook) or a Braille note taker. Your student could learn to use this function to keep up with class assignments and projects. All students need to learn to keep an assignment notebook and using technology can reduce the bulk of paperwork your student carries.

Writing a Journal

Allow your student to keep their writing journal in their Braille note taker or computer.


Use technology in the classroom to take notes. Students can listen to or print out note files to study for exams.

Completing Classroom Assignments

Students should use their note takers and computers to complete as many classroom assignments as is appropriate. (Remember that math should be written on a Braillewriter.) Technology allows students to turn in work on time and in a format that general education teachers, parents, and classmates can read.

Warning! Although note takers have calculators built in, the Perkins Braille writer is still the best way to teach math skills. It allows both spatial and step-by-step verification for the Braille student.




Print Resources for technology. Has guides for the Mountbatten Braille writer, Intellitools, ACC devices, and other VI technology.


Margaret Marston, Ph. D. Copyright 2001

http://www.tsbvi.edu/technology/dtb-iep.htm IEP Objectives for Using Digital Talking Books. If you don’t know what these are, check it out!

http://www.setbc.org/projects/virg/p2_09.html Visually Impaired Resource Guide - Assistive Technology for Students who use Braille: Braille Lite

http://www.setbc.org/projects/virg/part2.html Visually Impaired Resource Guide - Assistive Technology for Students who use Braille

http://www.parquesoft.com/emp/altamira.htm Usando Word 2000 - conceptos básicos - tutorial. Tutoriales audio grabados en español que facilitan el aprendizaje para el manejo de las aplicaciones más comunes bajo la plataforma de Windows (teaching MS Word in Spanish).

http://tte.tamu.edu/ Texas Text Exchange - Welcome to the Texas Text Exchange - the first web-based digital library of electronic books for exclusive use by students with disabilities! The TTE has 441 books online and 100 active institutions in the US and Canada.

http://www.pulsedata.com/handlers/display.cfm/8,420,18,24,html Pulse Data Releases KeyWeb, The First Portable Web Browser For Persons Who Are Blind

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Last Revision: September 1, 2010