From: robertj@tekgen.BV.TEK.COM
Date: Wed Jul 24 1996 - 15:26:37 PDT

                        TECHNICAL TOY COMMITTEE

     Modern technology has changed the way in which people are
educated. Books with narrative texts, classroom models that showed
objects, systems and concepts have given way to more pictures,
video presentations and even virtual reality. A person who is
blind will not be able to learn and keep pace with his/her sighted
peers in such an environment. As a consequence, a person who is
blind must have access to diagrams and models in order to stay
competitive. It should be noted that some sighted individuals also
benefit when presented with tactual experiences. For example, the
Montessori educational approach is one of the most widely known
methods for teaching with all the senses. Whenever possible,
models should be used in addition to experiences from the real
world. When models, such as animals are used with small children,
the children must understand that a toy cow is not a living cow.
The best way to know what a cow is, is to actually feel a real live

     A model is a three dimensional object. There are several
classes of models. These include scale models, conceptual models
and learning systems. Scale models are models of large objects
such as airplanes, ships, automobiles and anatomical models.
Conceptual models are those models that explain concepts such as
the dissection of a cone and other concepts used in plain and
spherical geometry.

     Learning systems, are the most advanced forms of model.
Examples of learning systems include everything from toy
automobiles, airplanes and boats that can move and construction
sets such as Erector, Mechano, Lego and Fischertechnik.

     A committee has been formed within the Science and Engineering
Division of the National Federation of the Blind, to address the
issue of technical toys for the blind. The purpose of the
committee is to create sets of instructions for construction toys,
suitable for persons who are blind. It is the goal of this
committee that blind children and/or blind parents be able to use
the various construction toys such as Lego, Erector set,
Fischertechnik and others now on the market. Blind people can work
with construction toys if they have accessible instructions. If
you are interested in helping with this project, or for more
information, please contact

Robert Jaquiss
11970 SW 9th Street
Beaverton, OR 97005
Phone: (503) 626-7174 (Home)

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