The PenFriend can be used as an auditory tool for science instruction with students who are blind or visually impaired, including those with multiple impairments. I have just become acquainted with this excellent tool and have begun using it in class. It is a simple device which allows the student or teacher to record audio to re-recordable stickers of various shapes. This audio is then easily accessible using the PenFriend which must simply be turned on and held over the sticker in order to “read” it.
TSBVI teacher Joanne Rodgers suggests mounting the PenFriend stickers on Velcro before use in order to reuse them later in a different setting rather than sticking them to one surface permanently.
My colleague Dany Casey notes that the PenFriend has broad usage for any instance where the student would benefit from receiving feedback by referencing their work. She’s used it for math worksheets, story outlines, calendar, instructions, etc.
The video clip below shows how to place labels on a diagram and notes that PenFriend labels can be added.
The video below demonstrates how to add labels to a Wheatley Kit tactile diagram, using braille labels, as well as labels for the PenFriend.
The video below demonstrates how to use the PenFriend (recording and playing back).
The video below demonstrates how to set up a comprehension activity using the PenFriend.
The video below shows how to set up labels with the PenFriend, using print and braille, and storing all of them when a unit is complete.
The video below demonstrates how to set up a T-chart or graphic organizer for classification, such as of vertebrates and invertebrates.
The video below shows how to set up a two column tactile table using the Wheatley Kit.
Many thanks to Dany Casey and Clare Scallon, both of whom are TSBVI colleagues, for sharing their wisdom on the PenFriend and the ways in which the PenFriend has been used for instruction with their students.
By Laura Hospitál
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