Saturday, May 2, 2015

Utilizing the ‘Pinch Out to Zoom in’ Feature of the iPad

I had mentioned in a previous post (04-06-15  - When to Add  Symbol Support in a Mixed Ability Lesson) that I liked to enhance my Animated Step-by-Steps with symbol support.  I typically alter the animation sequence to fade in the symbol support automatically after all the animations on the page have been triggered. This provides an opportunity to ‘re-read’ a page using the symbols … a strategy that is especially valuable for students with special needs. 

When adding symbols to the Animated Step-by-Steps, I size them to .8 to ensure that they fit ‘comfortably’ between the lines of text. This size works great for the majority of children using the app, but what if you wished the symbols were a bit larger?

Inherent in the iPad’s operating system is the ability to use a gesture to zoom in on an area of the screen, i.e., using your thumb and index finger to pinch out. 

To move further down the screen, to view the next line of enlarged text just swipe up with your index finger.

When you wish to return the page to its normal size, just pinch in with your thumb and index finger. These handy gestures allows you to ‘re-read’ the page using enlarged symbols.

There are a variety of reasons why it is advantageous to zoom in to create enlarged symbols. The obvious, of course, might be to better enable children with visual impairments to see the symbols. An equally valuable reason, however, would be to help students with emerging symbol skills to better see the symbols in order to derive meaning, especially when you occasionally add commentary as to why that symbol is representative of that concept.

Regardless of your reason for using this ‘pinch out, to zoom in’ feature, it is a great tool to add to your ‘therapy tool box’.   

…’til the next post …

© 2015  Carol Goossens’, Ph.D.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Navigation Roadmap

I am thrilled with how well the Microsoft PowerPoint app works with the Animated Step-by-Steps. Not only do they look great in the app, but the app is a free download in the App Store.
Can't get any better than that!

To get you up and running, I've created a visual roadmap to help you internalize the motions necessary for navigating through an Animated Step-by-Step when the app is in 'presentation mode'.

There are actually three different ways to trigger animations when using the Microsoft PowerPoint app. 

1. remote switch access (see previous blog post 02-09-15 - Establishing Remote Access),
2. slide your finger or stylus to the left on the screen 
3. tap the invisible bar on the right

The fact that there are three different ways to trigger animations is a big plus. It allows you to tailor your presentation to the needs of individual students. 
Here's some thoughts re: a range of motor access:

I really like remote access using a wireless switch especially when using a large switch such as RJ Cooper's Bluetooth Super Switch. It conveniently provides a large target when using the hand.  Because I want to nurture the connection to the star, I have found it helpful to attach a star decal to the switch. If a student is unable to access the switch using their hand, however, the switch does have a port that allows you to plug in a personal switch allowing the animations to be triggered using a different body part. 

When I'm not using a remote access switch to trigger the animations, I often encourage students to use the second option, sliding their finger to the left.  This method has the cognitive advantage of physically reinforcing the connection between the star and its corresponding animation. 

Not all children, however, will be able to swipe to the left, so it is fortunate that the program has available a simpler screen option, i.e., tapping an invisible bar on the right to trigger the next animation.  

Don't forget the manner in which you present your iPad, i.e., flat on table vs angled on table vs elevated on a stand can also effect motor access. The benefits of considering these variables is well worth the effort.

... 'til the next post ...

© 2015 Carol Goossens’, Ph.D.