Monarch multiline braille display
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Graphing with the Monarch and Desmos

Tactile graphs on the go!

The Monarch, APH’s multiline braille display, is capable of rendering lines of braille and tactile graphics simultaneously. Applications that are loaded on the Monarch are HumanWare’s KeySoft Accessibility suite, including a Word processor supporting Math ML and .docx files, KeyMath, which is a partnership with Desmos that enables students to graph tactile functions on demand. Also included is the Tactile Viewer, a tactile graphic viewing app which connects via WiFI to APH’s Tactile Graphics Image Library.

The Monarch is currently being field tested and a waitlist for purchasing the Monarch is available. It is anticipated that the first round of Monarchs for purchase will be available around May 15, 2024. Check APH’s website for the actual count down!

I am super excited about students being able to read multilines of braille in paragraph format and access to tactile images which will help build concepts and increase engagement. However, the most exciting Monarch contribution is for math. Imagine students being able to type in an equation and instantly have access to the tactile graph! This is a game changer!

Graphing with the Monarch

Since I have only had a few minutes of hands-on time with the Monarch at conferences, I am going to share what others have to say about the Monarch:

“By selecting KeyMath from the Monarch’s main menu, students are brought into the Desmos graphing calculator. The symbol selector, accessed by pressing backspace with dots 3 and 5 gives students a list of categories of symbols, such as fractions, trigonometric symbols, etc. to choose from and add to any problem. The calculator can solve basic scientific calculations and even create tactile graphs. “You can write 2x^2+3x+7 = y, and when you hit enter, there’s an indicator telling you if that equation can be graphed or not,” said Greg Stilson, APH’s Senior Director of Global Innovation. “If it can’t be graphed, you made an error. You can click on that error, and it’ll tell you why it’s not graphable. If it is graphable, you can press enter with G to enter the tactile graph mode, and a tactile graph of that equation will pop up.” Students can see the X and Y axes along with the line from the equation. In this example, a tactile parabola would appear. Students can point and click on any part of the parabola to display the coordinates of that point. This is helpful for finding the X and Y intercepts.”

A TSVI who is field testing the Monarch has this to say about using the Monarch with her student:

“Being able to push into a math classroom and being able to provide graphics in the moment which the teacher creates on the board visually. We have worked together with the pre-calculus teacher to create graphs for sine, cosine, and tangent which were almost impossible to do before. The student is now able to input the equation with support, activate the graphing function, and be able to feel the graphic in the moment to explain it to myself and his educator.”

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