Photo of BrailleSense Polaris - a 32-cell notetaker - and text

BrailleSense Polaris: Using Google Classroom

Is your class using Google Classrooms?

Google Classroom, one of the many google suite products available to users of the Polaris, is an app that can be downloaded from the Google Play Store onto any Polaris or Polaris Mini. Once it is downloaded, you can navigate to Classroom by going to “All Apps” located in the Main Menu. The fastest way to access “All Apps” is to simply press the letter “a” from the main menu. Next, press “c” to find “Classroom,” and open the application with enter. Use Tab or Space Tab (tab and shift tab respectively) to navigate through Classroom. Depending on how the teacher configures the classroom, initial letter navigation also can be used to navigate between assignments, comments, quizzes, etc. For example, if the teacher creates a list of new assignments you can use the letter N to move to the next new assignment. If the teacher created a list of assignments, you can press A to navigate from assignment to assignment. It is recommended that teachers introduce the general google classroom layout to students systematically, which involves moving through all page elements using tab. This facilitates a clear understanding of the page layout and will allow the student to confidently move through the application with first letter navigation. This is further true when accessing specific classrooms, as assignments may be in different places, given different element names or otherwise slightly different from instance to instance. A student can use Google Classroom to view assignments and comments, download assignments to complete using the Word Processor of the Polaris, upload assignments to submit to teachers, and take a quiz. 

Once a student has downloaded the Classroom app, he/she needs to join the classroom created by the teacher. The teacher will need to provide the student a specific code to join the classroom. It may end up being more efficient for a student to use the new Google Integration to locate folders and files. Once the student has completed an assignment, he/she can easily copy and paste from the Flash disk to the correct Classroom folder using less keystrokes. However, it is beneficial for the student to know how to access Classroom to read peer’s posts/comments as well as comments on posts from the teacher and peers.

As a TVI, it is my responsibility to teach my students how to use different applications so they can choose how they would like to access and submit materials. In the next month, my student and I will be exploring Google Classroom on the Polaris, a laptop with JAWS, and a MacBook Air with Voiceover and compare efficiency between operating systems. 

How to Download a Document

Select the document and press Enter to open it. Navigate to the top of the document. Press Tab until you get to More Options. Navigate the list of options until Share and Export is selected. Press Enter and then navigate to Make a Copy. You will be asked where you’d like to save the document. Check Device and press Enter. Next, you will be asked where you’d like to save the document. Navigate to the Internal Storage and the folder where you like to save the document. For example, navigate to Internal Storage, Documents folder, and press Enter to save the file to this folder. When navigating this “dialogue box”, you can use initial letter navigation, but my students and I agree that it can’t be used reliably. To prevent the cursor from jumping around, we use Tab to navigate the dialogue box. 

Keys/Commands used in Google Classroom

Collage of BrailleSense Polaris

By R Saladino

Cartoon caterpillar on a half eaten leaf reading a book.

Butterflies part 1: Caterpillars

Monarch multiline braille display

Graphing with the Monarch and Desmos

Cartoon lion sitting beside wrapped gifts, holding balloons and wearing a pointy hat.

Inference activities part 2: Pictures and alt text image descriptions