Degrees and Certifications:
3D Tech Doves
We are an awesome team from CDSA! There are 5 of us and we are determined to build an awesome product! We chose our name, 3D Tech Doves, because we are all girls who are strong and wise like Athena. We also like technology. Most of us spend a lot of time on technology. We have learned about TinkerCad, a site that does 3D design. We used this site to make our project and also learn about 3D printing. It was not easy to learn, most of us struggled to get it done, but we all tried our hardest.
Learning About Challenges
- Ms. Rice helped us learn about numbers and how a visually impaired student learned in our building.
- Ms. Verheijen walked us through her classroom and showed us adaptations she made to her room to make it easier for the student to be independent.
- Being visually impaired in an elementary classroom presented a lot of challenges!
- Our big take-away was that visually impaired people want to be able to independently do everything sighted people can do.
- Games in the classroom:
- Glasses and equipment
- Machines and possibly lasers
- Lunch count
- Job Charts
- Outfit picker
- Doll house/Mansion
- Braille Markers
- Lego kits with Braille
- Braille glasses
- Braille pencils
- Braille paint
- Braille globes
We had to research about whether any of the ideas had already been made, which took up quite a bit of time because we had to search many websites and compare our ideas.
- We researched games and noticed that they were already made.
- We researched the glasses and other machines and realized we didn’t have the equipment or skills to make them and to make them work.
- We decided that the markers, pens, and paint wouldn’t work because using them might make them useless and visually impaired people couldn’t see them.
- Researched showed the calendar options weren’t all available, some were, but some weren’t. We went around the school again and the teachers had ideas, like drilling holes in tongue depressors for lunch choices, but nobody had a single solution. We couldn’t find anything solving it online, either.
Selecting Our Product Focus
- We noticed many of our solutions were for classroom use. They were things that kids needed to do when they came into the classroom at the beginning of the day.
- Teachers said that they were good ideas and would be very useful.
- One of our teammates said they had a daily calendar schedule thing at home they used for their family. We looked it up online and got excited. There were no Braille adaptations, so we decided we could add onto it and make it useful for visually impaired people. We continued to brainstorm.
Using teacher comments and needs, the calendar idea, and the picture we found online, we came up with categories that would be useful in class. Some worked, some didn’t when we went back and asked the teachers.
- Lunch Count
- Summer stuff
- Class Rules
- Number Chart
- Block Counters
Once we knew what we wanted, we drew it out on paper and then we looked at each other's papers and worked together to make one single way. We looked at magnetic boards and magnets and talked about how strong a magnet would have to be. We talked about and identified all of the categories we wanted and all of the things that would go in the categories. We had to learn and write down the Braille alphabet and learned how to create the base alphabet in Tinkercad. We did end up finding a pre-made alphabet on Thingiverse from 3D_issues that we used as a base piece and made a lot of alterations to. We created number pieces using what we had learned and changed the letters to fit our design. We printed several base plates and single letters to see what size we needed and to see about spacing and making words. If we had more time, we would build the block from scratch and print on a higher quality print choice. We think that we might not be able to feel the differences in the letters, but someone with practice probably will be able to.
More Research and Design Feedback
- Once we had a working idea and prototype, we presented it to Braille and visually impaired teachers. They gave us feedback and we found out that we needed to find a way to show capitals and lower case and punctuation. *We didn't have time to fix all of the challenges we now see. Spacing, print quality, and correct punctuation are areas we could still improve.
- They also showed us visually impaired tools and taught us about how they help students.
- We went back to tinker with our design.
Our final item is a teacher classroom kit that has categories for important information students need to know in class. This is mostly for elementary classrooms, but we made a lot of adaptations where it could be used for older grade levels or scaled down for fewer needs. We put words in the visual alphabet and Braille so both teacher and student can use it. The teacher or student could set it up. Younger students or students less familiar with Braille can have the teacher set it up, those who are more capable can set it up themselves. This allows students to be more independent. We used PLA on our FlashForge printer, four metal cookie sheets, heavy magnet strips, and yarn to make our final product.
- Parents and families
We tried to make a lot of options so many people could use and change it to fit what they needed.
- Add lowercase
- More categories
- Individual letters
- Magnetic white boards for background
- Different colored categories
- Different sizes
- Make the prints cleaner and prettier