[Athen] tactile astronomy resources

Kathleen Cahill kcahill at MIT.EDU
Thu Jan 27 17:43:37 PST 2011

National Braille Press also publishes a book of tactile diagrams related to astronomy called "Touch the Stars" by Noreen Grice. You can look it up at http://www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/TOUCH.html .

It looks like it's a book for kids but if the tactile diagrams are in the book, I'm sure they could prove useful to a student!

From: athen-bounces at athenpro.org [athen-bounces at athenpro.org] On Behalf Of Gaeir Dietrich [gdietrich at htctu.net]
Sent: Thursday, January 27, 2011 8:13 PM
To: 'Access Technology Higher Education Network'
Subject: Re: [Athen] tactile astronomy resources

A professor at Edinboro University did some wonderful astronomy tactiles a number of years ago. His name was Dr. David Hurd and his e-mail was dhurd at edinboro.edu<mailto:dhurd at edinboro.edu>.

You might also try contacting Lucia Hasty. I believe she knew David, and I have a very vague memory that maybe she had access to his tactiles…not sure.

Astronomy is actually a great science for a blind student to take. When it comes to star charts and such, tactile diagrams really do convey as much as pictures do. A sighted student is not going to get much more information with their eyes than the blind student can get with their fingers—and that is unusual in the sciences where observation is so much a part of them. The stars are so far away that none of us can really tell all that much by looking. Mostly astronomy is very theoretical, and that aspect really makes it quite accessible. I know it’s non-intuitive, but I often encouraged blind students to take astronomy—especially if they had never seen.


Gaeir (rhymes with "fire") Dietrich
High Tech Center Training Unit of the
California Community Colleges
De Anza College, Cupertino, CA


From: athen-bounces at athenpro.org [mailto:athen-bounces at athenpro.org] On Behalf Of Wink Harner
Sent: Thursday, January 20, 2011 9:15 AM
To: 'Access Technology Higher Education Network'
Subject: [Athen] tactile astronomy resources

Hi all ATHEN-ites

We need resources for a student who is significantly VI who needs some tactile resources for an intro astronomy class.

The lab portion of the class covers the northern hemisphere winter/spring seasons; the lecture portion of the class covers the whole sky. We have an astronomy dome lab for observation.

We expect to be able to do raised line printing for some of the handouts & charts. The instructor(s) have provided all materials in PDF format which our adaptive lab can either enlarge w/contrast or produce raised-line charts. Student is a JAWS user; instructor(s) use WEBCT for all homework assignments. We are providing a classroom assistant which can also provide out-of-class assistance to read screens as necessary.

Any other suggestions will be most welcome!

Please let us know ASAP about any tactile astronomy resources available…Thanks in advance for your collective wisdom and willingness to share resources & solutions.

Wink Harner
Disability Resources & Services
Mesa Community College
1833 W. Southern Avenue
Mesa AZ 85202

winkharner at mesacc.edu

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