Photo of a BrailleSense Polaris: a Braille Notetaker with a 32-cell refreshable braille display
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The BrailleSense Polaris: Google Apps – Uploading & Downloading Documents

Information about uploading and downloading documents from Google Docs or Google Drive.

One of the reasons my students use the Braille Sense Polaris is because the braille notetaker uses Google applications to directly access Google Chrome, Docs, Drive, and Classroom when connected to WiFi, which is the platform utilized by each school district. From a professional and personal perspective, using the Android Apps for Google is extremely frustrating. Based on my experience and students’ experiences over the past year, the following Apps work inconsistently: Drive, Docs, and Classroom. When I have contacted tech support or written the manufacturer, I have been told that the Polaris is still in development and that there is no guarantee Google Applications are fully supported. I have been informed the manufacturer is in the process of overhauling the Word Processor and Web Browser, as well as working on improving compatibility with Google Apps.

When using Docs or Drive, you can navigate between elements using F3 (Tab) or Space + F3 and initial letter navigation. When a Google Doc is open, the Polaris often puts the focus on the content of the document (known as the edit field). Press Enter to enter or edit text in the edit field. You can often get kicked out of the edit field, which can be extremely frustrating for students. However, when the application is working, you can easily write and edit text. To read a document, the edit field needs to be activated. Use the scroll keys or Space + Dot 4 to advance to the next line when reading and Space + Dot 1 to go the previous line. The command Space + Dot 1, 2, 3, often works to take you to the top of the text in the document, while Space + Dots 4, 5, 6 takes you to the bottom of the document. However, when you use these commands, you also might be kicked out of the edit field.

To reliably access curriculum materials using the Polaris with Google Drive and Docs, I am in agreement with the manufacturer that it is best to download files from Google Drive and upload files to Drive. Below are steps to complete these actions. However, it is important to understand that as Google updates applications such as Drive or Docs, the step by step process will likely change. Once you and your student are familiar with what elements to look for within the applications, you will both be able to upload and download files as the applications update.

Directions to Upload Files to Google Drive

Direction to Download Files from Google Drive

Documents can also be directly downloaded onto the Polaris using the app Docs following the procedure above.

HIMS has created several helpful Youtube tutorials for using the BrailleSense Polaris. Below is the video about setting up a Google Account.

Additional BrailleSense Polaris Posts in this Series

The BrailleSense Polaris: Using the Word Processor

The BrailleSense Polaris: Terminal Clipboard

By R Saladino

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