Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Friday, January 05, 2007

Learn Braille with the Pac Mate

FSBraille Coach is a series of lessons and reading exercises designed to help you learn uncontracted and contracted braille on your PAC Mate BX or QX series, using the PAC Mate's Braille Study Mode feature and a PAC Mate 20- or 40-cell braille display. It's a great resource for students or adults who are beginning to read braille and a comprehensive reference tool for users who read braille, but may not use it on a regular basis. To use FSBraille Coach, you must be running PAC Mate version 4.1 or later, as numerous enhancements have been made to Braille Study Mode.

Please note that FSBraille Coach is not intended to replace a certified braille instructer or curriculum. It is designed as an aid to enhance the braille learning experience.

The PAC Mate's Braille Study Mode is a unique feature that provides audible announcements regarding the meaning of the various braille symbols that appear on the braille display. For example, if you encounter dots 1-2-4-5-6, pressing the cursor router above that cell will cause the PAC Mate to say "er sign." Pressing the navrow button directly above the cursor router will cause the PAC Mate to speak and spell the word that contains this symbol. Braille Study Mode can be activated and used from anywhere in the PAC Mate as well as in both computer braille and contracted braille documents. In each FSBraille Coach lesson and reading exercise, you are instructed to turn on Braille Study Mode to study the various symbols presented in each lesson.

Teachers who use FSBraille Coach with students can easily create their own unique lessons and reading exercises using a word processing application, such as Microsoft Word. Once you have written the text of the lesson, be sure to save the file as a Word (.doc), rich text (.rtf), or plain text (.txt) document. Next, copy the file to the same location where you saved the original FSBraille Coach files. Students use a single keystroke to toggle between computer braille and contracted braille while reading the file.

FSBraille Coach is a free download. There is no charge for this tutorial.

Click this link to download FSBraille coach from

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