First grade student wearing glasses with hands exploring a tactile map and text

Building World Concepts with Tactile Graphics

How family members can share their vacation experiences!

Remember sitting down with the family to watch slides after the grandparents went on vacation? Fast forward to 21st century grandparents – who FaceTime from exotic locations and share daily video clips!

This first grader is learning about the world through his grandma and Noni’s trips!  When touring abroad, Grandma would take video clips with intriguing sounds, such as the canals of Venice or the musicians in Spain. She would send these video clips along with updates on their location to TVI Jessica. Jessica created simple tactile maps so that Logan could follow their adventures on the map.

On this vacation, Grandma and Noni were on a bus tour. Jessica first created a tactile graphic of a bus. Watch Logan’s excitement as he explores this bus tactile graphic! He is so excited when interacting with the tactile graphic. Notice how he already recognizes the tires and knows that they are on the bottom section of the map. Jessia does a super job of verbally guiding him to the doors and naming other features while still encouraging Logan to discover things on his own. Just listen to Logan’s imagination about who is riding the bus! So many incidental concepts were included, like the bangs on the girl. These are reasons WHY young children should have regular access to tactile graphics!

Video of Logan tactually exploring a bus. The bus has three windows each with a head (circle for head, eyes and smiling mouth); the first person has a hat on, the second person has short hair, and the third person has long hair and bangs. Note: The bus was hand-drawn using a marker and lines were raised using a PIAF machine.

Author’s Note: Did you notice the pure joy when Logan had his hands on the tactile bus? Do your students have tactile graphics under their fingertips?

Next, Jessica created a simple outline map of Spain with small circles and braille labels marking the major cities. In the video, Jessica created a tiny tactile bus (less than 2 inches) that Logan slides around the map (from city to city) using his right hand while his left fingers are reading the braille labels. Logan sounds out the brailled city, “Leon” and then drives the bus from his current city to Leon. Not included in this video, Jessica plays Grandma’s video clip of things she heard and did in Leon.

In the last video, Logan continues to explore the map to find another city and moves the bus there.

TVIs, encourage your student’s family and extended family to share their travels, events, and experiences. Encourage them to record quick sounds and quick videos that can be shared with you – use these resources as lesson content. Create a tactile map of a trip similar to Logan’s map of Spain. Create a map that shows where different family members live – the map can be a local map, map of the state, map of the multiple states, map of the US or a world map. Where in the world is your student?

Additional Posts About Logan

Here are additional posts with Logan using tactile graphics and/or Jessica creating tactile graphics:


By Diane Brauner

Drawing of a laptop on a desk.

Technology goals required for the workplace

High school students in an engineering class using various devices with magnification and screen readers.

Mastering Tech Skills: When and What?


Providing app feedback: Bubbly