Do I Need a Braille Display? – TTT Companion

Man using a braille display.

Don’t want to read?

Written By Daniel Geisen

Here at eye.t, Daniel primarily works on providing written resources for TVIs and educators. As an educator himself, Daniel knows how important it is to be able to provide equal opportunities to all learners. This is one of the many reasons, Daniel is all in with eye.t. When Daniel is not working alongside the eye.t team, he really enjoys being outdoors and dabbling in creative writing. P.S. Daniel is also an avid fan of the Cincinnati Reds.

Published on

April 9, 2024

This article is an instructor’s guide to the Tech Tip Tuesday video Do I Need a Braille Display? Use the article to guide your instruction using the checklist and interactive links below.

Introductory Story: Keeping Up With Instruction (Part 1)

✔︎ READ the following story aloud to your learner. 

It’s the start of 1st quarter at Q’s school. Q is anticipating a great start to Seventh Grade and he is excited about the possibility of making new friends and learning new content. As he takes his seat in English class, the teacher makes introductions and has students complete an ice-breaker activity so that they can get to know each other as well. 

The teacher then directs her students to access the class webpage. They are then instructed to click on a link that will open the activity about when it is appropriate to use commas in sentences. Q, meanwhile, is listening to Chromevox cycle through the various clickable objects on his screen. The trouble is, the class has already moved on to further instruction. All of a sudden, Q realizes that he didn’t hear what date this assignment was due! What began as a day of anticipation starts to become a day of simply playing “catch-up.” The question Q considers now is how he can keep up in class while hearing the teacher’s instructions.

This very dilemma is the one we want to address today in our post. Q is facing a tricky scenario and like all students, it is important that he has all the resources he needs to succeed as a student. Perhaps you or a student you teach has faced this very predicament in the classroom. Today, we are going to show you how a Braille Display could be a helpful tool and whether or not it is right for you.

✔︎ DISCUSS the guiding question, “Do you need a braille display?” Talk about some reasons why or why not.

Tip: We know YOU probably have your own insight regarding if your learner needs a braille display. At this point in the lesson, keep those ideas to yourself and bring them up once they have been able to think it through. Allowing them to discover their own preferences and learning style will allow them to be open-minded throughout the activity.

Assessing Your Student’s Needs

✔︎ COMPLETE the Self Assessment. (Preview Below)

✔︎ DISCUSS your learner’s answers to the Self Assessment. Did they have more statements they agreed with….

✔︎ PLAY video from 0:47-1:10

Teacher’s Notes: The Self-Assessment your learner completed ultimately helped organize their learning style into four major categories including their braille skills, screen reader skills, editing skills, and space. The answers your learner provided will help determine if a braille display is right for them. 

Content – Four Considerations

1) Braille Skills

✔︎ PLAY video from 1:33-2:09

Teacher’s Notes: There are important ideas to consider right away when thinking about adding a braille display to the class setting. Thinking about your learner, consider their answers to the Self-Assessment. You might also consider the style of learning that your learner favors. Perhaps they prefer listening. If that is the case, it is worth evaluating what introducing a braille display might do for their daily experience. 

Check-in: Think about your learning style for a moment.
  1. How do you feel as a listener in a learning environment?
  2. How do you feel as a reader in a learning environment?
  3. Do you tend to prefer listening or reading braille?

2) Screen Reader Skills

✔︎ PLAY video from 2:10-2:54

Teacher’s Notes: The Self-Assessment also guided your learner to think about their interactions with screen readers. Chromebooks, like Q’s laptop, use Chromevox. Windows computers use JAWS or NVDA for screen readers. Finally, Macbooks use VoiceOver. Knowing which kind of screen reader your learner uses or could use based on their computer  is important. If you have already established what kind of screen reader your learner uses, then you can begin to evaluate their skills and needs.

  1. Do you know which screen reader you use?
  2. Are you able to turn it on and off?
  3. How familiar are you with your screen reader?

3) Editing Skills

✔︎ PLAY video from 2:57-3:27

Teacher’s Notes: This section of the self-assessment prompts your learner to consider what skills they have in the area of editing. This includes things such as punctuation and grammatical elements of writing. 

  1. Do you find it challenging to catch your punctuation mistakes when editing?
  2. A braille display can provide a lot of clarity here and allow you to write with more accuracy. 

4) Space

✔︎ PLAY video from 3:28-4:00

Teacher’s Notes: The final consideration is important. It might seem like a no-brainer, but being aware of your learner’s physical space to utilize a braille display is crucial. Space comes in many forms. If your learner has a locker or a bag they take with them throughout the day, it is well worth the time to figure out if a braille display will fit in those spaces. Of course, desk space is the other regular consideration that may affect your decision.

  1. Think first about your backpack or your laptop bag. Is there any space to take a braille display along with you? 
  2. Next, let’s talk about your locker (if applicable). What kind of space do you have? What can you remove to make room for a braille display? 
  3. Finally, do you have room at your table or desk for a braille display in addition to your laptop?

Conclusion: Keeping Up With Instruction (Part 2)

✔︎ READ the remainder of the story aloud to your learner.

Let’s retell our story from the beginning of the post about Q’s first day of Seventh Grade with one significant change—he has a braille display. As Q takes his seat in English 7, he thoroughly enjoys hearing his teacher’s passion for the subject and his classmates’ excitement for the upcoming school year. The teacher leads the class in an icebreaker that prompts students to name which author of the past they would have lunch with if they jumped into a time machine. The class, including Q, shares great insight and laughter. 

The teacher instructs the class to open a document for the activity about using commas correctly in a sentence. Once Q reaches his document, he realizes he can’t listen to both the teacher’s instructions and his screen reader, so he turns off speech and begins reading the document in braille. As he follows the teacher’s lesson, Q realizes he has what he needs to make it a great school year.

Activity—For Discussion: 

  1. How often do you utilize braille in your daily life? Is it something you’re comfortable with, or is it more of a last-resort tool you consult only when you need? 
  2. What skills did the self-assessment show that you already have? What skills did the self-assessment show that you want to improve? 

Next Steps

Do you feel like you can now assess whether or not your student needs a braille display? Did Q’s story resonate with your own or your learner’s? If it did, you have to check out our latest course, Diving Into Braille Displays. This comprehensive course provides in-depth guidance on utilizing a braille display effectively and lays the groundwork to master the fundamentals. Be sure to explore our other blogs, and we look forward to seeing you again soon on another Tech Tip Tuesday Companion!!

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