[AERNet] Direct manual Braille slate

Carol Evans braillepsych at yahoo.com
Mon Jul 4 15:11:08 EDT 2005

I was hoping you'd catch this, FM! So it would not be
worth mentioning in a textbook chapter, eh? 

--- FM D'Andrea <literacy2 at mindspring.com> wrote:

> Oh goodness, Carol, I can't believe that quote is
> still floating around. That article was written a
> long time ago, wasn't it? The Hawk direct slate is
> still available--in fact, I think there was
> something on AERNet about it a while ago. 
> At any rate, Wayne Gardin and Larry Hawk invented
> the Direct Slate. According to a TVI friend of mine
> who is related to one of the inventors, it is still
> available. The cost is $24 each. 
> Larry and Wayne can be contacted at:
> lhwk at esper.com
> or phone is (865) 986 - 6174.
> Address is: 1683 Cattleman's Drive
>            Lenoir City, Tenn. 37772
> I will say that AFB's literacy center has one of
> these slates and while I know a number of teachers
> who have found it useful, it has a very different
> "feel" than other slates. The stylus is hollow, and
> the slate itself has tactile braille cells on it.
> The braille dots must be punched out by having the
> stylus punch the paper down around the cells
> sticking up underneath. (Ugh, this is a terrible
> description--someone help me out!) What I'm trying
> to say is that the stylus has to be held straight up
> and down and you must punch the dots precisely so
> that the stylus fits around the dot in the cell
> underneath--it's not as "forgiving" as a regular
> slate where you punch a solid stylus into a
> depression in the braille cell under the paper. (I
> hope this makes sense!) 
> Personally, I think it's a lot faster to use a
> regular slate because you don't have to be so
> precise in the placement of the stylus. And I never
> think of writing on a slate as being "backwards"
> (nor did I teach my students that way) so that isn't
> an issue with me. The direct slate is a tool that
> isn't for everybody, and I wouldn't think it would
> replace the good ol' slate and stylus we're all used
> to, but, once again, it's another tool that is
> available, and if it allows someone to be able to
> write braille who had had difficulty with the more
> "conventional" slate, then that's a good thing! It's
> an option for someone who wants an inexpensive
> braille writing device if they have trouble with a
> regular slate. 
> Has anyone else ever used one?
> --FM
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Carol Evans <braillepsych at yahoo.com>
> Sent: Jul 2, 2005 8:53 PM
> To: aernet at lists.aerbvi.org
> Subject: [AERNet] Direct manual Braille slate
> I have been asked to find out more about this slate,
> invented a number of years ago by Lawrence Hawk.
> There
> is an article on the web at
> http://rotaryor.org/braille_slate/ that quotes
> Frances
> Mary D'Andrea as saying that "she sees a real use
> for
> the slate, particularly for older adults who have
> lost
> their vision. And user Bea Hodgkiss, a blind
> architect
> from Minnesota, says her direct Braille slate "is
> just
> the thing for me. I can write as I think: forwards."
> I saw something like this a number of years ago, but
> am under the impression that it has not come into
> widespread use because of the quality of braille
> that
> it produces. Is that correct, or is it being used?
> Thanks in advance for replies!
> Carol Evans

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