Editing using the Orbit Reader 20 and iPad

The Orbit Reader 20 is a refreshable braille display with a 20 cell display, panning keys on the left and right side of the display, Perkins style keyboard, and arrow keys with a select button located in the middle.

I have four students who are learning to use the Orbit to access digital accessible materials. One is learning to use it as a backup refreshable braille display (RBD) when her braille notetaker is not working. My students have had no difficulties pairing it to an iPad, using iOS braille display commands, and using it to read. However, two of the students were never taught how to write or edit with it by their previous TVI because they could not figure out how to move the cursor. I honestly held off using this braille display because it lacks cursor router keys. This summer, I have taught two students how to edit their work by using the Orbit with the Voiceover rotor. 

Students can navigate the rotor using Voiceover gestures or braille display commands. To move the rotor clockwise, press Space + dot 5, 6. To move the rotor counter clockwise, press Space + dot 2, 3. The rotor can be set to characters or words so the cursor can be moved to the appropriate place when editing. When looking up what keys on the Orbit move the cursor, I found little or incorrect information. Once the rotor is set to characters, push the up arrow to move the cursor back one cell and the down arrow to move it forward one cell.

My middle school student knew the commands to adjust the rotor, so he quickly picked up using the up and down arrow keys to move the cursor on the display to the correct location in a word to remove or add letters and punctuation. 

Below are example activities I used with my students to learn the rotor and how the up and down arrow keys move the cursor.

  • Editing dictated sentences for spelling errors
  • Editing paragraphs about topics of interest with spelling, grammatical, and punctuation mistakes
  • Editing their own writing
  • Playing games to find specific words by setting the rotor to words and using the arrow keys to navigate by words. Once the student located the word, she would check the spelling and set the rotor to characters to correct mistakes. 

The two students who have previous experience with an RBD or a braille notetaker with cursor router keys, prefer using cursor router keys because it is more efficient for moving the cursor to edit their work. Even though it might not be a preferred method, I am glad my students have skills to route their cursor using RBDs with and without cursor router keys. Learning to edit using multiple RBD’s can be very enabling so a student is not limited to writing with only one specific device. 

Video: Here is short video demonstrating how to move the cursor on the Orbit Reader 20 when it is paired to an iOS device.