Learning Skills Visually Impaired Resource Guide
Assistive Technology for Students who use Braille
Braille 'n Speak 640
The Braille 'n Speak 640 is a small computer with a Perkins style keyboard. It allows the student to write in Grade 1 or 2 braille. Feedback to the student is provided in the form of speech output. The Braille 'n Speak 640 is a writing tool which also includes a spell checker, calendar, arithmetic calculator and stopwatch. An internal, rechargeable battery powers the device for 14 hours or more. The Braille 'n Speak 640 has a serial port which can be connected to an ink printer and/or a braille embosser.

If the 640 is going to be used with an IBM (parallel) printer or embosser the district will need to provide a serial to parallel converter. The Braille 'n Speak has about 640K of RAM (600 pages). The optional, portable disk drive allows the student to save (back up) their work to a floppy disk. The disk drive also allows the student to import or export files to or from another computer. Optional programs (including a scientific calculator, print to braille translator and math graphing software) can be loaded through the disk drive. [refer to theVision Resource Teacherin your area for further information] The Braille 'n Speak 640 is reasonably durable, however it is a computer and should not be abused. Unlike the Perkins Brailler, the Braille 'n Speak 640 keyboard is extremely sensitive, so a light touch and accurate finger positioning is essential. This device is highly flexible in supporting the needs of students as they progress through their school years. It can be used initially for basic writing with a young student. As a student becomes more proficient it can be used for a more complex word processsing and calculations.

The following skills for the Braille 'n Speak 640 are arranged in three sections - Introductory, Intermediate and Advanced . The order of presentation of concepts and skills may need to adjusted for individual students. When considering the Braille 'n Speak 640, the reader may find it helpful refer to the Braille Lite Section to review similarities & differences.

Braille
Introductory level

Prerequisites

Skills

The student will be able to:

Strategies

Intermediate level

Prerequisites

Skills

The student will be able to:

Strategies

Advanced level

Prerequisites

Skills (listed in no particular order)

The student will be able to:

Resources

The Braille 'n Speak Manual by Blazie Engineering
Blazie Web Site (http://www.blazie.com)
Blazie-Support Forum on SETnet or the Blazie Techdesk (http://www.blazie.com/~david)
Braille and Speak Tutorial written by Graham Cook (Braille 'n Speak: A Public Domain Document To Assist Teachers; A Pictorial 'User Friendly Guide')
"Teacher's Quick Reference Guide to Braille 'n Speak Commands" written by Kathryn Svendsen

Return to Part 2 - Assistive Technology for Students who use Braille...

Updated May 18/99 © SET-BC