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Soaring to New Heights: Monarch Teacher Trainings Spread Across North America

Four rows of smiling people, most sitting behind long tables each covered by a white tablecloth, and a few standing, hold their Monarch boxes up.

A new piece of access technology is soaring across the United States and will be coming soon to a classroom near you! From Florida to California, APH staff conducted five, two-day teacher trainings to train educators on how to use the Monarch. Topics included creating tactile graphics, understanding the file manager and braille editor, as well as word processing, graphing, and math. Monarch Masters Program graduates agreed to submit three activities for use on the Monarch within six months of their training to be shared with other Monarch users.

After returning home with their Monarchs, participants shared how its features benefit users of all ages. One person said, “As a braille instructor of blind adults, I can see that the Monarch is going to grow with them, especially for learning to track while reading on a multi-line braille display. The Monarch is also going to help blind adults who are going to college as they will be able to access all of their class materials at the same time as their sighted peers.”

Other educators mentioned how the Monarch’s tactile viewer app assisted with their younger students’ learning experience. This app connects to APH’s Tactile Graphic Image Library (TGIL), which contains tactile graphics for all school subjects. “My kiddo was amazed at being able to manipulate the size and rotation of graphics. I loved that the device seemed to instill some incentive to make independent steps towards using their technology devices that are already available,” said one teacher. Another added, “My first-grade student was quickly able to learn how to search for the graphics and view them. One instance that really stuck out to me was when he typed in ‘bike’ and found a graphic of a motorcycle. He began exploring it, and then said, ‘Where are the pedals?’ This led to more conversation and expanding on vocabulary and concept knowledge that motorcycles do not have pedals like a bicycle that he had been able to previously interact with. This student had so much joy to be able to feel these graphics that his pure excitement brought a tear to my eye and solidified even more the importance of tactile graphics for our students. While I know this student knew the basics of what a motorcycle was, the graphic provided him with a deeper understanding that would have been hard to explain without concrete representation.”

The Monarch can also connect to a monitor so teachers can visually see what a student is feeling on the display. One teacher discovered having both visual and braille output was helpful for her student. “We had the Monarch connected to a large monitor so my student could look at pictures from the TGIL. As soon as he pulled it up, he jumped out of his seat to look at it on the screen, too. He has very minimal vision, but using a lit screen of this size allows him to just make out the general shape, and he was thrilled to get to see the picture as well as feel it. This is one of the benefits of the Monarch. Being able to pair visual and tactile feedback in this way is going to make a huge difference in the way students can develop concepts and create mental images.”

The APH Monarch can benefit all learners. Join our Monarch waitlist today so you can utilize this revolutionary device in your classroom.

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