Thursday, 25 April 2013

Sharing a Braille Computer

When a student is using his or her hands to operate a braille computer, it's impossible for the teacher to read the refreshable braille strip, or even to see which keys are being pressed. It is extremely frustrating for the learner if the teacher has to keep asking the writer to lift their fingers clear. That's where connecting a display screen can be very helpful.

The two models of BrailleNote used at New College Worcester work in slightly different ways when displaying text on a screen. The older mPower uses a serial lead to send data to a windows laptop (on which KeyView software emulates a "dumb" terminal mode). The newer APEX sends information directly from a VGA output (via a cable) to a standard computer monitor screen. Each system requires some basic training for both student and teacher, but the payoff in the classroom in terms of a more productive learning environment is really worthwhile.

In schools where smartphones and other tablet or mobile devices can be used legitimately, a Bluetooth pairing with an APEX model can be set up to achieve the same result "wirelessly".

Serial lead from BrailleNote to Terminal Emulator on laptop.

VGA lead from BrailleNote to standard display screen.

Braille code is automatically translated to on-screen "print".

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this relatively simple method. I use this with a student who I am teaching Braille and literacy skills using a Braillenote. This method allows me to literally give my student space whilst still monitoring their progress closely.