Thursday, November 08, 2007

Middle School receives donations for Braille technology for their visually impaired students

Sixth-grader Chris Freeman likes to build things when he’s not in school, and with the help of some new technology, the visually impaired Madison student can work on building his grades.Southern Michigan Parents of the Visually Impaired presented Madison Middle School with a $6,000 check Thursday for the purchase of a BrailleNote 32, a braille keypad supportive of many computer programs.

With the equipment, Freeman will be able to plug a memory stick from the BrailleNote 32 into a computer and print off work in word-processing programs.Freeman said the new device, which also includes a scientific calculator and has Internet capabilities, is a welcome change.
“That old piece of machinery was unforgiving when it came to mistakes,” Freeman said.

Madison principal Brad Anschuetz called the former method, a clunky braille typewriter, an “old dinosaur of a thing.” Anschuetz said the BrailleNote 32 will allow Freeman to correct mistakes before turning in a paper and permit quicker feedback on homework assignments.With the old typewriter, Freeman’s homework had to be sent to the Lenawee Intermediate School District, where it was checked before he could have a chance to make corrections.

Instead of overnight turnaround like other students receive, Anschuetz said turnaround time for Freeman’s work would often be several days.The BrailleNote 32 is the property of the district, but Anschuetz said Freeman will be allowed to take it with him if he moves but stays in Lenawee County. If he leaves the county the BrailleNote 32 will go to another county student who can use it. Although Freeman is currently using the device exclusively at school, eventually he will be allowed to take it home.

“It’s definitely a piece of machinery he will need to grow with,” Anschuetz said.Madison received the money to purchase the device from the Southern Michigan Parents for the Visually Impaired, a small group of Lenawee County parents with visually impaired students. Karen Wood, the group’s treasurer, said on average the group helps two or three children a year. She said Freeman is a familiar face for the organization.

“We have helped Christopher in the past so this is not the first time we’ve worked with Chris. But this is certainly our largest donation.” Wood said. “This is something that he can carry on with him, it’s very portable.”Wood said the organization was the beneficiary of WLEN’s Rally to Ride in 2007 and raised $4,000 from the event. Handing out pencils for donation at TLC Credit Union and Avon Sales make up the group’s other fundraisers.“We’re very small but we do dynamite work,” Wood said.


Post a Comment

<< Home