Today I presented with Fiona Barron from Malkara Specialist School at the AGOSCI 2013 Biennial Conference. Last year Fiona had a whole class of students who used iPads with Proloquo2Go as their high technology communication device – and the presentation today was shared the journey in her classroom with the delegates at the conference.
The presentation is below (minus videos) and I’ve also put the links from the presentation underneath the slides for easier access.
The Zybox for iOS is a new switch interface from Zygo that uses VoiceOver to control the iOS and VoiceOver compatible apps on your iPad or iPhone. The most significant advantage of this adapter is that it is the first one I have tried that plugs directly into the port on the iPad. This will help in some situations where Bluetooth adapters have proved impractical (e.g. some hearing aid loops seem to interfere with the Bluetooth switch adapters).Continue reading →
This is my second post in a short while about Tar Heel Reader – but I just wanted to take a look at some of the great new (and old) features while Tar Heel Reader’s new look is still fresh! The second of these features is full screen or app mode – which is a perfect option for some students and for any of us who just want easier access to the site.
I’ve written recently about a way to select Tar Heel Reader books and import them into iBooks with speech support. But there are also times that we want a student to have access to the whole Tar Heel Reader website – to search for their own books and find the ones that will inspire them to do repeated self-selected reading or to do research. To help with this, the Tar Heel Reader site has been designed to take advantage of the full screen mode in your iPad’s Safari web browser – which is often referred to as app mode. I’ve also found it really helpful for myself to have this setup as it makes it faster for me to go to the site and start browsing for books straight away.
To get Tar Heel Reader running in full screen mode on your iPad, the first thing you need to do is to add a shortcut to Tar Heel Reader on your home screen. To do this, you need to open Safari on your iPad and navigate to www.tarheelreader.org. Once the site is displayed, then press the arrow that is up on the top menu bar of Safari. You should see several options appear as in the picture below. Select the option “Add to Home Screen”.
I am a HUGE fan of Tar Heel Reader – and have blogged about it before. However, Tar Heel Reader has had a big upgrade and has some great changes that I am going to write about over a few blog posts. Today, I’m going to focus specifically on the ability to put your Tar Heel Reader books into iBooks with speech support as I think this is the most useful new feature!
A user can go into Tar Heel Reader and search for a book on a wide range of topics. I was working in a classroom today that is doing a theme on “People Who Help Us”. The teacher, Christina, was actually using a Tar Heel Reader book to introduce the topic so I am going to use this as my example and take you through the steps to get this book into iBooks.
This is a very quick blog post to share a great resource from Bill Ziegler, Apple Distinguished Educator and Assistive Technology Consultant.
Bill has created a very informative Vimeo about how to use a USB switch interface for a computer to access switch accessible apps on your iPad. This is a question I often get asked about – and I’m so pleased that Bill has figured out how to do it and has also shared the solution with all of us. Please check out the video below!
It’s a time of the year when we do lots of writing – cards, thank-you letters, emails, Facebook status updates, Tweets, reports and (apparently) blog posts! Since I am spending so much time writing at the moment, I thought it was time to write about my very favourite writing app for the iPad – Abilipad.
I last blogged about Abilipad in November 2011. At that stage version 1.0 was out – and I was pretty impressed. Last week Version 3.0 was released and now it ticks even more boxes. There are some great new features plus lots of old ones that are worth revisiting.
If you haven’t used Abilipad, it is a very flexible writing app for students who may need different levels of support and accommodations in the writing process. Abilipad lets you create a blank document and then type into it. As you type, you can get speech support and there are also options for word prediction and real-time spell checking. Different keyboards come with the app, such as QWERTY and AZERTY – but you can also create your own custom keyboards.
I last blogged about overall switch access to the iPad/iPhone/iPod touch in June – and there have been quite a few changes in the meantime. So – time for an update!
At this stage, there are two sorts of switch access to the iPad – switch access to individual apps which have built-in scanning and switch access to iOS through VoiceOver.
And to paraphrase what I said in my last update - I just want to quickly explain that when I talk about switch access, I specifically mean an external switch that someone can press to make a selection on an iPad or iPhone (or an app which allows me to use the iPad screen as a switch). Switches come in all different shapes and sizes. To read more about switches and switch access click here. To read more about VoiceOver check out Luis Perez’s excellent website or David Woodbridge’s podcasts on the Vision Australia website.
I spent most of yesterday updating my AAC Apps list, which is hosted by the lovely people at Spectronics. There were a lot of changes to the list this time – over 60 app updates and 27 new apps. Three of the new apps were additions to the series of Fat Cat Chat apps and that had me considering these clever apps once more and how they often get us to think outside the box in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC).
When I am rating AAC apps for the list, I have a series of criteria for a well designed, full functioning AAC app – and those receive 3 stars. The Fat Cat apps don’t meet those criteria and therefore get 1 star – but despite this they are clever apps that have a valuable place in the options available to us.
Last week I was lucky enough to team up with Luis Perez and deliver a webinar for the International Society on Technology in Education (ISTE) Special Education Technology Special Interest Group (SETSIG).
During the webinar Luis presented first on inbuilt iOS accessibility, focusing on the new features included in iOS6 including Guided Access and the new features in Assistive Touch. In the second part of the webinar I presented information about alternative access – switch accessible apps, switch interfaces and switch/joystick access through VoiceOver.
Hope you find these resources useful. It’s very generous of the ISTE SETSIG to make these resources available beyond their members and if you check out their wiki you will see a host of other resources available there too.