LEGO launches braille bricks for blind and visually impaired children to learn
LEGO is going to release a new set of braille building bricks designed for blind and visually impaired kids to learn to read using the tactile reading system.
Do you remember much of your childhood? Many times when we try to recall memories from our past, we remember all the good times. We’re sure one of the best memories you have as a child is playing with LEGO. From role playing to building (and destroying), LEGO holds special memories in each and every child’s memories.
Today, we want to pass on the same opportunities to our kids with their own LEGO sets. LEGO has always been an educational toy of sorts. But now, it wants to take its inclusiveness to a whole new level by introducing braille building bricks.
The bricks will be designed for blind and visually impaired kids to learn to read using the tactile reading system.
What is braille?
Braille is a tactile reading and writing system used by blind and visually impaired people who cannot access print materials. It uses raised dots to represent the letters of the print alphabet.
It also includes symbols to represent punctuation, mathematics and scientific characters, music, computer notation and foreign languages.
An innovative way of learning
LEGO has created a version of its building bricks printed with letters and numbers from the braille alphabet, so blind and partially sighted children can learn to read as they play.
Each braille brick represents a letter or number, and can be placed next to each other on a LEGO board so that kids can learn to read and do simple math.
The bricks also have the traditional, corresponding letter or number printed on them, so that sighted kids and visually impaired kids can play and learn together – along with educators and family members.
There are 250 bricks in total, covering the full alphabet, numbers between zero and nine, and a selection of mathematical symbols. They are also compatible with LEGO’s wider collection, which is great.
They hope that the interactive nature of the design will give children with visual impairments an opportunity to develop new skills.
“Blind and visually impaired children have dreams and aspirations for their future just as sighted children,” said John Goodwin, CEO of the LEGO Foundation.
“They have the same desire and need to explore the world and socialise through play, but often face involuntary isolation as a consequence of exclusion from activities.” he added.
“With this project, we are bringing a playful and inclusive approach to learning Braille to children. I hope children, parents, caregivers, teachers and practitioners worldwide will be as excited as we are, and we can’t wait to see the positive impact.” said Diana Ringe Krogh, who is overseeing the project for the LEGO Foundation.
“When they get Lego in their hands, it’s intuitive for them and they learn braille almost without noticing that they are learning. It is really a learning-through-play approach.” she said.
LEGO is working closely with associations for the blind in Denmark, Brazil, UK and Norway, and have given them samples of the LEGO kits for trial. All free of charge.
The product is currently available in Danish, Norwegian, English and Portuguese alphabets. French, Spanish and German alphabets will be tested later this year.
The final braille bricks collection will launch officially in 2020 and will be distributed for free to selected institutions.
Source: ABC News