Fun right out of the box!
A video tour of the BrailleDoodle with text transcript below.

A tour of The BrailleDoodle

Inside the box, you will find the BrailleDoodle and several thin sheets of plastic. These are ‘Doodle Covers,’ which slide onto the device and are cut out like stencils.

One is a picture of a house and trees and the capital H. The other divides the entire surface into Braille Cells. Putting the covers aside, we can examine it as I describe it here so you can familiarize yourself with the BrailleDoodle before you begin to use it. 

On its front,  the word “BrailleDoodle” is centered in raised yellow letters. Each corner, front and back, has rounded legs to raise the device slightly and protect the surfaces. A magnetic stylus is stored in a slot on the side, tethered to the BrailleDoodle with a spring cord. 

The stylus has a rounded magnet on one end and is shaped like a thick pen. The bottom has a triangular grip to help those not accustomed to holding a pen. Just pinch the grip, and you are holding it correctly.

The front of the BrailleDoodle has holes arranged in two sizes of Braille cells (2×3). Each hole contains a tiny metal ball that can be raised to the surface using the magnetic stylus and securely locked in place, creating a tactile dot. The dot is erased using a finger to push it back down.

Starting in the upper-left-hand corner, there are four rows of eight rectangles, each surrounded by tactile ridges. Each of these larger rectangles is divided into four sections with thinner tactile lines. Left to right, the first section has a jumbo braille cell known as the ‘Example Cell.’ 

Here, only the holes specific to that Braille character are functional. This allows learners to repeatedly create that particular character as an example while still being able to feel all six holes.

 Next to that, section two contains the ‘Practice Cell.’ Here, learners can refine their skills by using the six operative holes to practice that character.

Under each ‘Example Braille Cell,’ letters and words are rendered in raised yellow print, allowing sighted people to follow along. Beneath each ‘Practice Braille Cell,’ the Braille character is displayed in standard size on a raised rectangle.  

Along with the Braille alphabet, there is also the capital indicator, the number indicator, and the words ‘and,’ ‘for,’ ‘of,’ and ‘the.’

Beneath the Braille alphabet and sight words, you’ll find two rows of 19 Braille cells separated by fine ridges. These smaller holes and metal balls are configured in 6-dot clusters. These rows of cells allow learners to read and write in complete words and sentences. 

Located beneath these two lines of 19 Braille cells is a recessed rectangle with standard-sized Braille extending the length of the BrailleDoodle. The top row presents the standard-size Braille alphabet with appropriate spacing, while the row below showcases the famous sentence encompassing every letter: “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” This arrangement enables users to experience standard Braille in letter, word, and sentence formats.

Now, let’s turn to the “Doodle Side,” which has an array of 1,333 dots. Each dot can be raised by gently sliding the magnetic stylus across the surface or tapping to select an individual dot. The “Doodle Side” features four notches, two on each side of the doodle surface, securely holding these flat covers in position. You can try the house and tree cover and Braille cell covers into place. 

Soon, the BrailleDoodle will introduce a range of specialized cover options that serve as stencils. These flat covers will encompass guidance in various subjects that are sold separately as sets. They include Braille music, Braille math, contractions, shapes, graphs, art, and Braille in multiple languages.

Directions for Use or ‘The First Lesson’

Please note that these instructions are to be used as a general guide. Once understood, lessons can be modified to match the teacher’s style and the student’s learning style.

Step one – Learn to raise and ‘erase’ the dots

Place the BrailleDoodle and Braille Side up in front of the learner and put the stylus in their dominant hand, having them pinch the triangle grip. When they pinch the grip, the stylus should fall naturally into how one holds a pen. Explain how the stylus raises the dots while the other hand always feels as they work. Move around the surface, practicing raising and pushing various dots back down. Tell the learner that the stylus requires no pressure to make the dots, and touching creations should always be done gently and simultaneously with their free hand.

Step twoIdentify the dot numbers

Starting in the upper left-hand corner, using hand over hand, have the learner feel the first Braille Cell and have them be able to count the dots in the assigned order. Explain – “The braille cell is comprised of six dots arranged in two columns and three rows. Each dot has a number 1 through 6. Beginning in the top left corner of the cell is dot 1. Moving down are dots 2 and 3. In the top right corner is dot 4. Then, moving down the right column is dot 5 and 6.” 

Step three Practice the dot numbers. 

Have the learner move to the second cell, the ‘Practice Cell,’ where all the dots function, and have them lift the numbered dots you instruct them to. “Lift up, dot one. Good, push it back down.” “Lift dot 5. Good, push it back down.” “Lift dots one and three. Good, push them back down.” and so on. Practice all dots and some combos, then move to the bottom rows of 19 smaller Braille cells and practice by continuing the exercise across the bottom.

Step four Start Learning the Braille Letters

First, Guide the learner back to the top cell in the upper-left-hand corner and explain that the first letter they will make is the letter “A.” Have the learner count the dots and then “discover” with the stylus that dot 1 is the only one that functions. (Always use the two-hand method, one hand creating with the stylus and the other feeling as they go.) 

Second, Have them examine this cell closely while they say the letter ‘ay’ aloud. (This is a multisensory learning technique that increases retention.) 

Third, have the learner form an ‘a’ in the practice cell and have them make sure it matches. Mistakes can be fixed right away by pressing down on the dots. Again, they should say ‘ay’ aloud. This should be repeated several times. 

Fourth, below the practice cell, is the letter ‘a’ in standard-sized Braille. Have the learner discover how the jumbo Braille Cells above and this standard-size braille feel similar.

Fifth-  The learner can move down to the rows of Braille cells and be instructed to make 19 ‘a’s across.

Lastly, guide the learner’s hand down to the rows of standard-size Braille letters at the bottom of the device. Help the learner find the letter “A” in the row with the alphabet and then in the row below that has the sentence, “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” 

(Please note that for younger children, one should heavily emphasize the phonics of each letter. Sounds and words that start with that sound should be repeated: 

‘A’ for ape. 

‘A’ for at. 

“A” for an, like an igloo, etc. 

Step 6. Complete the alphebet 

Repeat step four until the letters ‘a’ through ‘j’ are mastered. Learners may write different letters or combinations in the lines below. Then, introduce the Braille patterns to complete the alphabet. 

Be sure to pile on lots of praise; “This is just amazing work!” “Wow! You are learning this so fast!”

This will be continued with some of the following lessons: 

  • Learn how the capital indicator works.
  • Learn how numbers are written and read.
  • Understand some contractions for sight words.
  • Start with 3-letter, rhyming words: cat, sat, fat, mat. 
  • Form short sentences. “The fat cat sat on a mat.”
  • Form longer words and sentences.

Now, we will discuss Using the Doodle side.

Guide the user to the doodle side and allow free play to become accustomed to raising the dots to the surface and pushing them back down. Have them make lines, shapes, and random dots. These dots can be ‘erased’ by being pushed back down with the finger or swept down quickly with the stylus. Remind the user that the stylus requires no pressure to make the dots; simple taps and swipes raise the dots, and touching creations should always be done gently.

Next, guide the user to slide the house and tree cover onto the Doodle Side. Built-in notches will hold the cover in place. It is best to have the learner fill in the entire shape with gentle strokes of the stylus. The cover can then be removed, and the creation can be felt and discussed. 

A dashed tactile ridge goes horizontally and vertically across the center of the Doodle Side. This way, an x and y axis is already in place on the device. Therefore, the learner can graph points and equations. 

Future lessons with customized covers will include:

A grid for addition and subtraction, multiplication, and division. Contracted Braille. 

  • Shapes. 
  • Graphs. 
  • Art. 
  • Orientation and Mobility instruction.
  • Braille music.
  • Maps.
  • And Braille in multiple languages.

 Detailed description or “Alt text” to explain the BrailleDoodle: 

The BrailleDoodle is a two-sided tablet designed for braille learning and creating tactile images. The dimensions resemble that of a standard laptop, and it is constructed with durable dark blue plastic.

MEASUREMENTS

– Length: 12.8 inches (325 mm)

– Width: 9.25 inches (235 mm)

– Thickness: 1.1 inches (27 mm)

Alt text is below

On its front side, the ‘Braille Side,’ the word “BrailleDoodle” is centered in yellow, and the TPPF logo is positioned to the right. This side is adorned with an array of holes arranged in two sizes of Braille cells. Each hole contains a tiny metal ball that can be raised to the surface using a magnetic stylus and securely locked in place, creating a tactile effect. The magnetic stylus is stored in a slot on the side, tethered to the BrailleDoodle via a spring cord.

Prominently featured are four rows of eight rectangles, each demarcated by substantial tactile ridges, housing examples, and practice spaces for each individual letter. In the ‘Example Braille Cell,’ only the holes relevant to that specific letter are functional, allowing learners to repeatedly create that particular letter as an example. Adjacent to it, within the ‘Practice Braille Cell,’ learners can refine their skills by using the six operative holes situated beside it to practice that letter. Complementing the Braille Alphabet, there is also the capital indicator, the number indicator, and the words ‘and,’ ‘for,’ ‘of,’ and ‘the’ presented in Braille.

Directly beneath each ‘Example Braille Cell,’ letters and words are rendered in yellow print. Underneath each ‘Practice Braille Cell,’ the Braille letter is displayed in standard size on a raised rectangle. The four sections are divided by slender tactile lines. The Braille cells in the upper section feature larger holes and metal balls for enhanced legibility.

Beneath the Braille alphabet, you’ll find two rows of 19 Braille cells separated by fine ridges. These smaller holes and metal balls are configured in 6-dot clusters, facilitating the composition of complete words and sentences. In this picture, in Braille, a sentence reads, “The BrailleDoodle is awesome!!! Yes!”

Located beneath these two lines of Braille cells is a recessed rectangle extending the length of the BrailleDoodle. The top row presents each standard-size Braille letter with appropriate spacing, while the row below showcases the famous sentence encompassing every letter: “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” This arrangement enables users to acquaint themselves with standard Braille in both word and sentence formats.

Alt text below

Turning to the “Doodle Side,” an array of 41 by 31 holes awaits exploration, totaling 1333 dots in all. Each ball, when raised, maintains a consistent distance of 6 mm from center to center. As depicted in our primary image, the surface is adorned with raised silver dots, creating tactile representations of a house, a capital letter ‘H,’ and the word ‘house’ in Braille.

In the near future, the BrailleDoodle will introduce a range of specialized cover options that serve as stencils. The BrailleDoodle features four notches, two on each side of the doodle surface, securely holding these flat covers in position. These flat covers will encompass guidance in various aspects, including Braille music, Braille math, contractions, shapes, graphs, art, and Braille in multiple languages.

The stylus is 4.6 inches (117mm) long and has a rounded magnet on one end and a hole for the tether on the other. It is shaped like a thick pen and is .5 in (13mm) wide at its widest point. The bottom has a triangular grip to help those not accustomed to holding a pen. Just pinch the grip, and you are holding it correctly.

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