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Inside NBP

All Praise to the Humble Slate and Stylus!

Posted by Rebecca Blaevoet on 10/24/2019


Reflections on technology that stands the test of time

Thirty years ago when computer technology came to the fore, the thinking was that it would liberate the heretofore braille-bound reader from the shackles 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 tool. 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.

Topics: Braille, Braille resources, Running a business, Slate and stylus, Technology, writing