I found an app called BrailleVT (braille virtual trainer) that I have been using with a student who is a dual learner. I am using this as an introduction to the braille alphabet and as a way that she can work independently and at her own pace to explore the braille code.
My student has been scribbling on the brailler for a while now, and has recently started to understand the whole “dot” system. She is learning to isolate her fingers on the keys (and is doing a great job!!) and she knows all the dot numbers now (with a thanks to this app)
When the app is opened it looks like the image to the right.
At the bottom there is an option for lower case letters, uppercase letters, numbers and symbols. We are working only on the lowercase alphabet right now, but the options are there for students who are working at a little higher of a level.
I set her up with the brailler, the Ipad on a stand for easier viewing and an APH flip cell, and then off to work she goes!!
- First she chooses her letter, when she touches the letter it will show a picture of the braille cell on the right side. It puts a filled in circle for the dots that are need and leaves the others blank
- With the flip cell closed, she puts the pegs in the corresponding dots
- Then she opens the flip cell and places it in front of the brailler
- Now she braille’s the letters
- Then she starts over with a new letter
- Once done, she takes the paper out and I help her transcribe it so that she can bring it home
I have her make an entire line of the letter to really work her fingers and to get the feel for that letter. Once she figured out how the flip cell worked and how the app worked she really enjoys doing this as an independent activity. When I do sit and work with her we talk about the dot combination and we sing a little song that I made up: It goes to the tune of the leap frog magnetic letter toy:
A is dot 1
A is dot 1
In braille the letters are made of dots
A is dot 1
The song works pretty well for all the letters. I used it first during circle time while introducing letters.