Reading

3D Printers Can Help Blind Children Learn To Read

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3D printers can help visually impaired students not only learn to read, but learn to write and read maps as well.

Why It's Important

Ever hear your kid talking about playing with an iPad at school and wonder if all this new technology is actually helping your student learn? The answer is, probably, yes. Take 3D printers. Researchers have been looking into the ways these machines can help visually impaired students learn. Printing educational materials in Braille is one obvious advantage to giving teachers 3D printer access, but there are less apparent ones as well. In 2016, a team of scientists in Korea experimented by giving blind students 3D-printed stencils of Hangul, the Korean alphabet. The 3D printed stencils proved more effective and far more durable than the paper stencils the students had used previously, and their writing skills improved.

Other researchers have looked into 3D printing other tactile learning materials for blind students, such as tactile picture books for younger children and replicas of historical monuments and maps for teaching history to older children.

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Why People Should Know About It

Technology has transformed our classrooms, letting teachers enrich every lesson with multimedia and answer student questions with the click of a mouse. But while traditional students certainly get some benefit from technology, students with special needs benefit even more.

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