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Iain Duncan Smith sees impact of new technology

Local MP and long-time supporter of the school Iain Duncan Smith visited Joseph Clarke School for the visually impaired on Friday, during and saw our BrailleNote machines, which will soon have access to Waltham Forest Libraries' range of electronic books.

Mr Duncan Smith met several students who have been equipped with ‘BrailleNotes’, the next generation of Internet-connected Braille tablets, which are gradually replacing the mechanical type-writer Braille machines.

In addition to offering modern word processing, and the ability convert Braille input to conventional print, the school is in the process of setting up the machines to access electronic books from Waltham Forest libraries, hugely increasing the range of literature open to the young people.

“Until now, Braille books have been a quite expensive and rare commodity” said Isobel Cox, the school’s head teacher. “Giving the students the ability to read the full range of electronic books in the Waltham Forest’s libraries through their fingertips represents a transformative opportunity”.

Iain Duncan Smith looks at a BrailleNote
Iain Duncan Smith meets Hussain at Joseph Clarke School - one of the young people with limited vision to benefit from the hi-tech braillers. 

Each BrailleNote machine costs around £3,500 and funding for the machines has come from the hard work of the school’s charitable trust and generous individuals. “our aim is to give one of these machines to every student who can benefit, Isobel added. “I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed; their donations are having a huge effect on young people’s lives.”

Mr Duncan Smith commented: ‘The BrailleNote machines were very impressive. They provide the opportunity for visually impaired students to interact with technology similarly to their peers which is fantastic.’

Close up of a brailler