Thursday, August 12, 2010

These are a few of my favorite apps!

Okay, so I've taken some time off, but after a friend made me watch "Julie and Julia" I feel motivated to write again. Okay, she didn't force me to watch it, but I have this thing about Meryl Streep. Anyway, I have been totally obsessed with my iPad, this technology has the power to change the world! I am fascinated with looking for Apps, considering whom they work for, why, and what else needs to be done to improve accessibility. Other than the obvious lack of switch interface (which I know RJ Cooper is working on) I have found it to be amazingly durable and useful for a wide variety of students.

A not so quick aside: On the topic of switch access, I often hear, “Well, it’s a touch screen, why would you need a switch?” Many of the students I work with can activate the touch screen, but due to their physical challenges cannot see the screen in a location that they can actually activate it. Imagine having the one area of your body that you can control being your toe or your chin; you may be able to activate the iPad with it, but not see what you are doing. For some of my students this is still wonderful as there are tons of great music and cause and effect Apps! Usually these students struggle to activate the screen with accuracy also. “Why use an iPad then, when there are other tools already adapted?” Well, the iPad is awesome! The iPad is light, easy to carry, has WiFi and 3G (optional) access, an excellent high def screen, and thousands of fairly cheap apps. It is something very approachable already has multiple Universal Design and Access features and has tremendous battery life.

Anyway, I thought I would share with you some of my favorite, and on occasion, total fail, purchases and freebies from the App Store!

Today’s selection: Make Dice by hnm
Price: currently on sale for $.99 usually $2.99 (8/12/10)
Dice games are very popular in the classroom, and I have made more than my share of paper dice, put stickers on wooden or plastic dice, and used the dice in Intellitools or other computer based tools. Real dice for kids with gross or motor impairment, attention issues, or mouthing behaviors are very challenging; I love the concept of these! Still a motor component, still a sound, and this App allows you to create your own custom dice. Make them for story starters. PT/OT routines, language games, sight word activities, “Simon says” games, the possibilities are endless! Another option that does not offer the customization but has standard number dice and is free is MotionX Dice HD, great for Yatzee, no dice rolling off the table, although I find the randomization a little suspect sometimes.
Let me know what you make with it!

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