All Praise to the Humble Slate and Stylus!

Thirty years ago when computer technology came to the fore, the thinking was that it would liberate the heretofore braille-bound reader from the slate and stylusshackles of outmoded, bulky, and pedestrian forms of reading and writing—especially that lowly-of-low slate and stylus. What? Learn to write braille BACKWARDS?

Well, I’m as computer-literate as the next person, but I still keep my secret stash of slates. Indeed, I keep adding to it, covertly, clandestinely, cryptically. As a co-owner of Tactile Vision Graphics, my slate and stylus remains an essential business tools. It’s no lower than a pen and paper, which I notice people still carry around, and for the same purposes:

• It identifies business cards
• Labels file folders
• Jots down phone numbers and addresses on the run
• Makes an excellent signature guide
• Brailles Welsh flash cards for my evening classes
• Takes notes when the Braille Note Apex isn’t handy
• Marks a conference leaflet for future reference
• Sends braille notes to vision-impaired customers.

So, I say, All praise to the lowly metal or plastic “pencil and paper for the
blind!” No technology has yet come close to matching its versatility or
universality—and it never requires beta-testers or a software update!

Rebecca Blaevoet and her husband, Emmanuel, co-own Tactile Vision Graphics in Ontario, Canada.

1 thought on “All Praise to the Humble Slate and Stylus!

  1. Yes, praise the slate and stylus! I’m a braille enthusiast, transcriber for English and Spanish. Even though, I’m sighted (poorly) I do transcriptions for friends, and currently trying to strongly introduce abreviated spanish braille to the masses. Hard, too hard.
    For the work I do, 98% is made on a computer, but for the daily runs, nothing better than my slates and styli. Nothing more reliable and versatil. Even to bring attention out of sighted individuals is more convenient; they all get amazed not just for the fact of watching braille being developed in front of their eyes, but also for the way is being writen: Backwards. It never fails to bring attention and curiosity. Then you get the chance to talk and explain a little more about it.
    It is just fascinating!


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