Innovative tactile learning
The use of RFID technology provides a cost-effective easy-to-use alternative to making tactile and 3D information accessible. Dräger & Lienert in co-operation with Bartiméus has developed an RFID learning system, enabling teachers to easily adapt tactile and 3D learning materials for independent learning. Moreover, this technique helps bridge the gap between 2D and 3D tactile representation. The system has been prototyped among the teachers and pupils at the Bartiméus School for the Visually Impaired.
RFID works by labeling tactile materials with special tags. Each tag corresponds to information stored in a database. The RFID reader 'pen' can then be used to scan the object, retrieving the information and announcing the labels. The student can then explore the content by selecting each tag in turn. The system is easy to customise; the student and teacher can decide which information will be linked with each tag, how many tags to use and where these will be located. Using this technology, it is possible to guide the student through a tactile model, providing audio instructions and explanations while pinpointing the part of the model the student is touching. These RFID 'templates' are then stored on an open learning-resource platform for widespread quick and easy use; this means that the same content can be applied in different contexts i.e. to both 3D and 2D learning materials (including the IVEO talking tablet) when representing the same educational content. This solves the problem of duplicity of effort; traditional labeling techniques require each tactile article to be labeled individually.
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