[nobe-l] Use of the SVGDraw01 drawing program in STEM courses

David Andrews dandrews at visi.com
Mon Sep 19 03:01:41 UTC 2011

>From: Richard Baldwin <baldwin at dickbaldwin.com>
>Date: Sat, 17 Sep 2011 16:29:46 -0500
>To: BlindMath Mailing List <blindmath at nfbnet.org>
>Subject: [Blindmath] Use of the SVGDraw01 drawing program in STEM courses
>This message is intended mainly for teachers of blind or visually impaired
>students in STEM courses. Of course, this is a public forum and everyone is
>welcome to read the message and provide comments as appropriate.
>Having been the sighted teacher of a blind student for several years, I
>firmly believe that making it possible for blind and visually impaired
>people, and particularly blind and visually impaired students in STEM
>courses, to communicate using accurate printed and tactile graphics will
>improve the quality of life and the likelihood of academic success for those
>I have written a computer program that makes it possible, for the first time
>in history, for blind and visually impaired people to create such graphics
>in an accessible and user-friendly way.
>Version 0.0.8 of my drawing program for blind students is now posted and
>available for free and immediate download at:
>Three components are necessary to accomplish the goal of widespread graphics
>communication among blind and visually impaired students and their teachers:
>    - Availability of a robust and universally accepted graphics standard.
>    - Availability of a robust, accessible, and user-friendly drawing program
>    that allows blind people to take advantage of the SVG standard.
>    - Availability of high-quality, economical, and readily available
>    graphics embossing equipment.
>A robust graphics standard - SVG
>A robust and universally accepted graphics standard is already available in
>the form of Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG). See Scalable Vector Graphics
>(SVG) 1.1 (Second Edition) <http://www.w3.org/TR/SVG/>
>An accessible and user-friendly drawing program - SVGDraw01
>I have written and provided, free of charge, a drawing program that blind
>and visually impaired people can use to draw pictures. To the best of my
>knowledge, no other existing program provides that capability. (If such a
>program exists, it is a well-kept secret.) Thus, for the first time in
>history, your students can express themselves using graphics.
>While many drawing programs exist, they are written for use by sighted
>people and not for use by blind people. My program is designed and written
>specifically for use by blind and visually impaired people.
>Even though my program is still under development, it already provides the
>capability for STEM students to create graphics that mirror many of the
>figures and diagrams typically found in STEM textbooks.
>A graph board on steroids
>As a teacher of blind or visually impaired students, you might think of this
>program as bringing the old-fashioned graph board into the computer age.
>Students and others using this program can create both printed and tactile
>graphics using many of the same thought processes that they would use when
>constructing a "drawing" on a graph board using pushpins, rubber bands, a
>protractor, and a measuring stick.
>For example, one student might use this program to create and send an SVG
>file to a friend with the message "Take a look at the cool floor plan of my
>new apartment."
>Another student might use this program to create and send an SVG file to a
>college professor with the message "This is a free body diagram showing the
>magnitude and directions of forces F21 and F23 caused by the interactions
>among charges q1, q2, and q3."
>Getting an immediate visual output
>I will be adding new capabilities over time. However, I probably won't add
>capabilities that would not be useful to blind and visually impaired users.
>For example, the program does not, by default, produce an immediate visual
>output. The primary output is intended to be a printer, a graphics embosser,
>or both. But, if you are sighted, or if you are blind and using the vOICe
>sonification software to view the progress of your drawing, you can use a
>procedure described in the attached file to view your drawing as it
>  High-quality, economical, and readily-available graphics embossing
>This is the area where we fall short relative to achieving our widespread
>graphics communications goal. Although high-quality embossing equipment is
>available in the marketplace, it is not economical (by computer standards)
>nor is it readily available for the personal use of most blind students.
>I view this as a supply and demand problem. Prior to the release of my
>program, there were no robust, accessible, and user-friendly tools that made
>it possible for blind people to create  accurate graphics for use with a
>high-quality embosser. Thus, the demand for such embossing equipment has
>been very limited. My hope is that by making it possible for all blind
>people to create accurate graphics, the demand for such embossing equipment
>will go up and the costs for the equipment will come down.
>Even today, however, many schools, colleges, and other organizations own
>high-quality graphics embossing equipment that they can make available to
>their blind and visually impaired clientele on some basis. In those cases,
>there is no reason for blind people to hold back from learning to
>communicate using graphics.
>My drawing program is freely available for you and your students to use. As
>a teacher, it is up to you to connect your blind and visually impaired
>students to those available hardware embossing resources.
>The attached HTML file is the User-Instruction file for my drawing program
>named SVGDraw01.
>Richard Baldwin
>Professor of Computer Information Technology
>Austin Community College
>baldwin at austincc.edu
>Content-Type: text/html; charset=US-ASCII; name="Instructions.htm"
>Content-Disposition: attachment; filename="Instructions.htm"
>X-Attachment-Id: f_gsp41hv40
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