Tips on Teaching Graphing Using the Braille Note Touch

Technology for the blind and visually impaired has come so far! Just in the last couple of years we have seen amazing new devices and features come out. One of these amazing new devices is the Braille Note Touch. It has so many new features that truly are mind blowing and one of these new features is that it can do graphing!

The Touch is wonderful as it has new KeyMath software with a Nemeth or UEB Math translator that allows students now to input the braille math code into the translator and transfer into a word document that will be seamless and beautiful print math for the teacher to read and grade.

Fall 2017 they released their graphing feature which is still being tweaked. The new graphing feature allows now for a print version of plotted points on a coordinate plane, including graphing functions.

Braille Note Touch screen with the printed equation worked out in the top left and the physical plotted graph.

It can also create a version to either be embossed or read using the refreshable braille display.

Image of Braille Note Touch screen with graph drawing ready to be embossed.

My high school braille student and I have been working with the Touch using this new feature for the last few months and I’d like to share a few tips.

1.   Make sure that you know how to graph the “old fashioned” way before doing it on the Touch. It is important that the student has the foundational concepts down of what the coordinate plane is and how to plot points manually.

photo of APH's Graphing Aid - framed rubber mat with raised grid and push pins.

2.   Make sure your student is able to read tactile graphics efficiently. This is also vitally important before attempting to interpret graphs on refreshable braille.

3.   Use the Humanware videos that have been made to learn features on the Touch, including the graphing feature. They are now all found on YouTube.

4.   Make sure you call tech support and either ask for help with issues you’re having or share your concerns and suggestions. One issue we have found is that in the refreshable braille version and embossed version of the graphic the line that is plotted is very thick. My student was unable to tell where the plotted line crossed the x or y axis as all of the dots jumbled together and it was not clear. We called tech support and he shared this concern with them. He requested that they make the axis lines and plotted lines thinner so that you can tell more accurately where the line is crossing.

Image of graph with very thick line (multiple dots creating a wide line) so that the graphed line touches the axis line in about 6 or 7 continuous spots.

5.   Use an embossed tactile graphic version along with the refreshable braille version to understand the “whole picture”. As we all know students who are braille readers are only seeing part at a time and not the whole in one view like their sighted peers. This is even more so when they are reading refreshable braille one line at a time. This concept is still quite difficult for my student and one way we are working on learning to interpret the graphic on the refreshable braille is by having the matching embossed graphic next to him. We first look at the whole embossed graphic from top to bottom, then refer to the graphic on the refreshable braille. We will refer back to the embossed graphic one line at a time. You can also create a simplified version of the embossed graphic if it is also difficult for them to interpret in the beginning. Start with the rubber board and rubber bands or wikki stix or a braille graph paper version with a puff paint plotted line. Do whatever you need to do to aid your student in interpreting what they are feeling on the Touch.

Photo of the same graph - embossed copy.

6.   Keep up with the updates. The great thing about the Touch is that like a standard Tablet updates are released often and are free. Make sure you are updating your Touch and make sure to check to see what new features are being released in the newest update.

7.   And, last, but not least, be patient. Be patient with your student who is learning brand new technology and be patient with Humanware (or any technology company) as they learn from the users and work to improve the device and the software.

I can’t wait to see what happens next with technology for the blind!

Tips on teaching graphing using the Braille Note Touch


Posted by Penny RosenblumOct 01, 2018

This article is full of some great tips, thank you! You note how important it is for students to be efficient with graphics. We currently are seeking students at the 6th-8th grade math level to take part in a national student to build their skills to accurately and efficiently gather information from graphics. You can learn more at or by contacting Project Director, Penny Rosenblum at

Posted by Nan DeCookDec 17, 2018

I'm trying to help a student use the Braille Note Touch and have a number line printed off with the number symbols of the points underneath the line. Is there an easy way to line this up so it appears correct to a teacher?

Thank you so much! We love the Braille Note Touch and the freedom to do math equations and graphs, but have had trouble with number lines. We use Nemeth.


Posted by ESLMOMJan 17, 2021

Hi Nan,

I saw your question concerning the number line issue, as I am in search of an answer to this same question. Did you ever find an answer to this? If so, would you mind sharing? We're actually stuck on BOTH creating the number line itself, as the BrailleNote Touch Plus graphing instructions seem to point to instructions for an x and y graph, and we are only looking to use the x axis for the number line itself, AND we also will need to print it as you've noted above to make it visible to teachers. Any help is appreciated! 



Posted by tracylee2681Mar 31, 2021

Hello Kelly,

I recently faced this issue myself and reached out to Humanware for assistance. When we create number lines we do it either in the math translator or create them in a separate computer braille brf keyword file. Our issue was that we wanted to find a way to place our curser at a certain point on the number line and have the curser move up or down a line, but stay at that point on the line to input either a point above (line plot) or label the point with a number below. But, we found out from Humanware that this is not possible at this time. So, at this time we figured out two options for number lines. The first is to continue creating number lines on the manual braille writer or when doing number lines or line plots on the BNT+ we are just counting how many spaces to that point and how many spaces between each point. So, then the student goes up a line and counts over the amount of spaces needed to align correctly. Does that make sense? It is more time consuming, but is the best work around we could think of at this time. We did make sure Humanware was aware that this is a feature that is needed by students. 

I hope that helps!