I am fortunate to have a K-6 Resource Room and I usually have between 7
and 11 braille students at a time. With a range from beginning to advanced
braille readers, It would be a challenge to find a tool more useful in my
class than the TTT and the accompanying SAL Programs. It is a great way
to give students time for independent practice and improve their braille
skills. Touch Graphics was extremely helpful in providing support when I
needed it. They even replaced some of the sheets like the Snakes and
Ladders game because the kids wore it out!
I also think the Power Chord Keyboard is a must for any TVI. The USB
braille keyboard quickly plugs in to a PC and does not require the
installation of any drivers. It just works.
We use the Power Chord for six key entry in Duxbury and Braille 2000. It
is getting more challenging to find keyboards that allow you to use the
fds and jkl for six key entry. But the Power Chord Keyboard is much more
comfortable and efficient.
In my classroom, students use it with Math Flash from APH to practice
their math facts. Our school uses the Rocket Math program and all of the
addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problems are set as
drills. Students pick the appropriate drill and Math Flash prompts them
with all the problems. Students respond by typing their answer on the
Power Chord Keyboard using Nemeth. A great way to practice the Nemeth
code and the kids like the feedback from the computer that Math Flash
We also use it with Type Ability from YesAccessible to practice writing
the braille code. Another tremendous program with the Power Chord
Keyboard and/or a standard keyboard.
The Power Chord Keyboard can be used with a word processor as a braille
entry device. Load a screen reader such as NVDA and speech output is now
available. Students write in braille and the word processor presents it
as text on the screen. That is very helpful for getting instant feedback
from sighted help. Students need to write in uncontracted braille
(computer braille). I thought this would be a problem but the kids didn't
care. They like using it. If it was possible to use the Power Chord
Keyboard to write in a standard word processor in contracted braille, that
would make it truly amazing.
I think the Power Chord Keyboard with a laptop is also an excellent
combination for itinerant teachers. It is very portable, perfect for
teaching braille input, and assists new braille students in developing the
necessary skills for using an electronic braille notetaker.
Teacher of the Blind and Visually Impaired
I got my TTT a couple of weeks earlier for my 9 year old son. I was really waiting for it eagerly, especially for the tactile maps. I tried it and was impressed to have seen the sheet ids, the direction and arrow keys implementation, and the numeric keypad.
Regular school days have their own pressure, and I was waiting to share the device with my son, who took to it rather instantly. Just to be a little clearer, he uses a jaws enabled computer, and is not an enthusiastic Braille reader. I had my apprehensions about him liking the TTT. But the tactile part in combination with the audio element has captured his attention. He loves playing the world tour game in particular, and inadvertently he has learnt the continents. And there is so much packed into this sheet, the game, the history, the facts that it keeps him engaged there, for an hour each day. And I too am happy that his time is used productively. I would recommend this product to any and every blind child, as part of his geography learning tool.
Thanks again for this device. Looking forward to more such apps coming up.
My name is Paula Brannon and I am the Assistive Technology Resource Teacher at The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind. Your email was forwarded to me by our principal, Mrs. Hofmann-Sitten. I am very happy to respond that yes, we use the SAL 2 Talking Tactile Tablet (TTT) system. We have units in classrooms ranging from Elementary to High School.
Our students and teachers love the system. It provides beautiful tactile graphics ranging in subject matter from Math, Science, Social Studies to leisure games. I think Concentration is one of the favorites around here but Snakes and Ladders trail a close second.
The machine and software do a wonderful job training the user how to use the sets of overlays that come with the software. The manual is very clear and concise if you use the Authoring Tool. This program allows the user to create their own overlay. If you have a Tiger Embosser you can emboss your own overlays exactly as you created it. You can add your voice, a synthesized voice, or other sound effects as well.
The Mangold material is exactly what Sally Mangold developed, except the overlays already mimic each worksheet, sound effects have been added to indicate correct answers, and can even keep track of a student's progress.
We have linked our TTT units to our distributed video system so that our low vision students can access the same materials as their blind friends. We distribute video output from our Smart Boards to monitors at each desk. This permits our low vision students to interact with the overlay visually using the Smart Board (which acts like a TTT, just not tactile) and our blind students use the TTT overlays. This way, the entire class benefits from the same project the teacher created, eliminating creating two separate manipulatives. It helps unit our students into one student body.
As you can tell, I am slightly enthusiastic about this product. As a matter of fact, if you would like to see one of our struggling students use the unit, we have a video on our school website.
Please note that this young man lived for the TTT, so much so that the teacher used it as a reward system for him. Imagine that! He was rewarded by doing work using the TTT! I loved it!
Watch a video of student using SAL2.
Assistive Technology Resource Teacher
Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind
Saint Augustine, Florida
Today I had the pleasure of observing a 6-year old use this game for the very first time. Sierra, who can be quite temperamental", does not always enjoy new things. However, the smiles and giggles while being helped through her first game of Snakes and Ladders were memorable and infectious. She helped count the spaces, loved the auditory feedback, worked on taking turns and even activated the dice roll independently towards the end of her playing time. What a wonderful opportunity this game will provide for peer interaction as her classmates will line-up to play it with her.
Finally, her itinerant teacher of the visually impaired credits the TTT and the SAL2 software with Sierra's newly developed awareness of braille and her willingness to track a line of braille characters to receive the auditory feedback and praise.
Many thanks for this new game.
APSEA Assistive Technology Consultant
5940 South St.,
Halifax Nova Scotia
For the blind student, combining touch and hearing for learning is a powerful combination. Tactile graphics allow for repeated examination of the components of an idea, with relationships clearly represented; auditory feedback enhances the detail provided by the graphics and increases speed of access. This combination makes the Talking Tactile Tablet an ideal tool for presenting complex ideas through a device that allows students to benefit from both senses.
Jane Erin, Professor
University of Arizona, College of Education, Department of Special Education, Rehabilitation and School Psychology
Tucson, AZ, USA
I was amazed at how quickly and easily I was able to create an overlay with the
TTT Authoring Tool. What an awesome experience for a blind learner to be able to initiate active learning instead of being a recipient of what a sighted person is willing to share. With the TTT, the student who is blind is able to really take control of what he/she is learning! Overall, an amazing product that is easy for both teachers and students to use!
Today I cannot even imagine making a tactile diagram without audio labels. The TTT has simplified the labeling process. The scale of the diagram is no longer dependent on incorporating Braille abbreviations. There is no need for extension lines to label small areas thus confusing the original design. With the TTT, layers of information for each diagramed object can convey a wealth of information. Adapting my file of existing tactile diagrams to the TTT means simply to tape them to a template, use the authoring tool to outline regions, lines, and points, then type in audio labels as prompted for each defined object.
Educationally the TTT is a valuable concept development tool. Before the TTT, students associated places with the extent of the Braille label e.g. North America is equal to the label “North America”. With the TTT, students realize that North America is a region. Touching anywhere within that region broadcasts the audio label “North America”. Independently, they begin to explore the extent within raised boundary lines. In the same way the concept of the continuity of rivers flowing into seas is conveyed much better using the TTT.
Sister M. Elaine George, IHM
Teacher of the Blind/ Visually Impaired
St. Lucy Day School for Children with Visual Impairment
Upper Darby, PA
Finally I have the world under my fingertips! The National Geographic Talking Tactile Atlas of the World is simple to use, a powerful work of reference, an essential training tool and even great entertainment. I am blind, 38 years old, live in Norway and run my own business! The tactile world atlas has been helpful when traveling to foreign countries as well as a reference in connection with news, literature and everyday subject of conversation.