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Conference Papers Year : 2011

Supporting the learning process - More than a Braille transcription


Objective. This article gives an analysis of what a good automatic Braille transcribing tool should propose to be suitable to inclusive education. We criticize existing technologies and present NAT Braille, a free software solution designed to respond to pedagogical specific needs. Main content. We describe the situation of inclusive education for visually-impaired students and recall the main existing solutions. We then focus on two major facts : most teachers are not skilled in Braille and only few solutions are designed to teach Braille inside a classroom. Moreover, teachers and students need to communicate directly without the support of transcription centers, which produce high quality transcriptions but are inadequate during a lesson or to communicate between students working together. NAT Braille is a transcribing tool that has been designed to limit the time disability which is prejudicial to the visually impaired, especially during the learning process. It includes features allowing teachers to transcribe automatically composite documents following pedagogical scenarios, particularly for the contracted Braille learning (i.e different steps corresponding to the student’s level in contracted Braille, also usable by a non Braille reading teacher). It contains a simple Braille and black interface where students and teacher may interact directly and produce instant Braille to black or black to Braille transcriptions, including mathematical and contracted Braille ones. Therefore NAT Braille allows immediate corrections, group work and mutual assistance between students. Moreover users can read and write with their own modalities and language. NAT Braille uses a high customizable set of rules instead of dictionaries and adapts to each profile. Results. NAT Braille has been tested in real environments and will now widely be distributed in classes. Feedbacks are promising and raise new challenges, especially to make the software even more simple to use. Some features could be combined with other existing solutions to improve the understanding of formulas, to ease the transcriptions’ edition or to include NAT Braille in publishing chains in order to produce adaptable documents. Conclusion. We show that NAT Braille is a good solution for inclusive education, particularly in the case of non Braille reading teachers. In this idea we are developing foreign partnerships to propose NAT Braille into other languages. However it remains a tool and would be advantaged if combined with other assistive solutions. We must see it as a first step towards developing other assistive tools for Braille learning and transcribing.
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hal-01354438 , version 1 (18-08-2016)



Bruno Mascret, Alain Mille. Supporting the learning process - More than a Braille transcription. Everyday Technology for Independence and Care - AAATE 2011, Aug 2011, Maastricht, Netherlands. pp.640-647, ⟨10.3233/978-1-60750-814-4-640⟩. ⟨hal-01354438⟩
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