Saturday, 18 October 2014

Accessible iPad Apps and other software for the Classroom..

Accessible iPad Apps and other software for the Classroom..

note: this list is by no means comprehensive- i will only mention apps here that i have had experience using successfully in the classroom. Here are some links to works by other teachers who have attempted to compile apps suitable for working with children who are blind or have low vision to supplement this document.

Calculator (free, $4 for upgrade to scientific calculator)  
Suitable for Blind and Low Vision

Turns iPad into accessible calculator with colour grouped buttons, large print, talking with voiceover, the price of an accessible calculator is around $400 making this app a fantastic purchase

Talking Scientific Calculator

Reminders and Calendar (Free)
Suitable for Blind and Low Vision
Apple’s standard applications, Reminders and Calendar are accessible apps for the blind and allow our students to have an accessible diary + calendar for setting homework tasks and putting important dates with the calendar. You can also sync the students calendar with your school calendar depending on the software you are running your calendar with.

How to sync with google calendar

Suitable for Blind and Low Vision
Any book purchased on iBooks or epub loaded into ibooks from itunes can become a talking, large print or even a Braille book with a braille display, making this app the preferred app for giving our students access to books.

(Free, premium account available)
Evernote is an accessible app that allows you to have a multimedia diary that is available across virtually any Operating system and as a web client. Evernote is extremely powerful, featuring a calendar, inbuilt OCR of images, time,date and location stamping.

Outside the classroom

These apps empower our blind student outside of the classroom

some links for apps;

Ariadne GPS ($6.99)

“In a world that relies on visual clues to navigate, exploring a city or taking a solo walk is no longer a challenge for the visually impaired. Ariadne GPS is a new app that brilliantly meets the needs of the blind in an easy to use interface. Talking maps allow you to explore the world around you by moving your finger around the map. While exploring, crossing a street is signaled by vibration. It has a favorites feature and can be used to announce stops on the bus or train. Rotating maps keep you centered, with territory behind the user on the bottom of the screen and what is ahead on the top portion. Available in multiple languages, Ariadne GPS works anywhere Google Maps are available. This is a must-have application for the visually impaired .”

For a detailed tutorial and rundown on the available features see

Voice Brief
“Voice Brief is a great utility for anyone, but for the vision impaired it is particularly useful. With the touch of a button Voice Brief reads your email, Twitter feed, weather, stock prices, RSS and Facebook feeds. This time saving app is fully configurable and works flawlessly. The voices are natural and clear. Are you interested but hesitant to spend the $3.99 on VoiceBrief? Then we have great news! There is a free lite version so give it a try at no risk.

List Recorder
“This feature-rich application allows users to record and organize lists using audio or text. List Recorder is designed to integrate with VoiceOver as well as Braille displays. Replay, sort, delete or email recordings with ease using custom gestures such as tilt and tap. The recording quality is excellent and the app has options such as a level meter, optional stereo and your choice of recording formats. The light version, which limits the user to 10 seconds per recording, is a great way to test List Recorder. If you like it, you have the option of buying the full version for $7.99 as an in-app purchase.

Omoby is a free app that allows you to take photos of items and checks the photo with an internet database and tells you what item you are looking at within 5 seconds to a minute-  i have extensively tested this app with various items and it’s a very accurate and useful app.

VizWiz works similiarly to oMoby except that it allows you to attach a specific audio question to the photo you are taking such as “what SPF is this sunscreen?” “do my pants match my shirt?” “How much salt does this product contain” “which of these items is cheaper”.  The photo and the sound recording of your question are then sent to an internet database as well as volunteers- you can also link the app to a twitter or facebook account and recieve an answer very quickly.

Awareness! The headphone app

Blind people who rely on their hearing for awareness and navigation risk losing themselves to the digital world when they wear their headphones- this app will feed audio through the iphone’s microphone from the environment so you will be able to hear sounds from the environment as well as the sounds from voiceover, music, or your app.


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