Archive for the ‘iPad/iPod’ Category

Switch Access and the iPad – Get the Scoop from Jane Farrall

Jane Farrall knowledge on AAC, switch access and AT brings me to her blog often to glean her expertise on any of the those topics (and more…). Here is a recent post about switch access and the iPad that helped sift and winnow what the current options were for iOS.

How do I use a Switch with an iPad? – Jane Farrall’s Blog Post

Jane also has other recent posts on specific switch components that I recommend you peruse if you are interested in switch access for iPad on her blog.


Managing Your iDevice for the Young Learner – 101

Children love using the iPod or iPad and with a single touch can explore games and stories and lots of things, sometimes much more than you want them to! The iDevices ease of use can be a two edged sword with children/students easily getting to places you don’t want them to go.

I have heard repeatedly from fellow OT’s ” I wish I could hide the home button”. As a OT who frequently thinks about adapting things a number of things go through my mind, none which has come to fruition yet and chances are may not end up being esthetically pleasing. Good news, now there is something inexpensive and esthetically pleasing out there to help with hiding the home button and keeping the kids from escaping the app or activity you intend for them to complete.

BubCaps are home button covers for the iDevices that deter young fingers from pressing the home button. Available with different amounts of rigidity, BubCaps come in Regular, Ultra and Max depending on the age or strength of the user. Inexpensive, they come in 4-packs of a mixture or 4 of one kind for $5. BubCaps are available at their website (see link above) or through

The making of BubCaps seems to come from experience (necessity is the mother of invention, right?). The company’s blog features a great overview of how to prepare your iDevice for toddlers. Check our their recommendations on protecting your iDevice on PaperClip Robot’s blog. It is worth it if you are new to using an iDevice and work with users with busy hands!

Another review of the BubCaps is on the great resources of I Education App Review .

Anyone else have any methods of protecting the home button or management tips for young users?

Happy Apping


Splashtop App and Splashtop Remote

Thanks to Suzanne Feit and the QIAT listserv, I was introduced to Splashtop app that can remote into your computer to operate Win based or Mac based software on your computer. Suzanne’s example of accessing software as Intellitools Classroom Suite sparked my interest in how this might work.

Splash App installs on your iPod Touch or iPad and makes connection to your computer when complimentary software is installed on your computer. Using WIFI you can connect from your iDevice to your computer to operate software installed on your computer as remote desktop access.

Although I have only used it on my iPod Touch (which due to size of the device is somewhat limiting to access), found it easy to install on my computer and iPod Touch and after turning off my firewall easily connected to my computer displaying my desktop. I was able to type into Word, open a Blio book to read and navigate on my computer remotely. The software has great supports in its set up to get you connect with your IP address and ports easily.

I am excited about the possibilities of using our bread and butter Windows software available on our desktop or laptop extended to the highly portable, accessible and “cool” (kids love cool, we love our special needs kids to be cool like all other kids!) iDevices for learning opportunities for our students.

Splashtop is available for iDevices and Android and supports WIN and MAC OS.

Check out a video on You Tube about Splashtop with Classroom Suite:

Amazing! Have you tried it?


First Grade Math Apps for iPod/iPad

While considering possible accommodations for a first grader who struggles with writing math problems, I started exploring high and medium tech possibilities that would support the student in the classroom. Generating of problems using Intellitools Classroom Suite  (ICS) is a possibility using an on screen keyboard, customized tool bar is available however would require some creation time and require her to understand another computer program when working away from her desk at the student computers. Although this is a very feasible answer given the available software and support to a tech savy teacher however it also requires “different” at the computer and time to generate the templates using ICS.

Having been afflicted with case of iThing-itis, of course, I started researching apps that might be available on an iPod that would allow the student to remain at her desk to perform the same type of task using the touch input of a handheld device (…and can you hear the refrain of other first graders saying “why does she get to use that?”). Many students write answers with ease, however for some handwriting is a barrier in expressing what they know and masks what their real abilities are.  My search resulted in finding the following math apps, most customizable for the students needs and appropriate for learning math facts for first grade students:

Math Magic –  $.99 – Provides customizable simple math fact addition and subtraction. Objects to support use of visuals to assist students who are at the being stage of math computation. It has an easy to use interface and is appealing to young students.  For iPod/iPhone and iPad.

Kids Math Fun 1st Grade – $1.99 – This app provides addition and subtraction practice in a traditional format with timed practice, type of feedback to problems completed and scores. It provided a kid friendly user interface for easy access however there were no customization features for selecting addend maximums/minimums or sum for problems. The Kids Math Fun Kindergarten app provides practice for students beginning to learn their math facts. No  visual manipulatives are provided with the app. For iPod/iPhone and iPad.

 Math Smart – $.99 – 1st grade math app containing addition, subtraction practice and number sequencing tasks. Easy interface for early elementary school children. For iPod/iPhone and iPad.

Kid Calc–  $.99 – 7 in 1 app for kindergarten to first grade students including counting, number tracking, math puzzle, calculator and flash card challenged. The flash card challenge shown below allows customization of numbers used in flash card presentation. For iPod and iPad.

Math Tappers – Free – Early elementary school app that uses visuals to learn math addens of a sum.  For iPod.                                         

Math Drills –  $1.99 – Another math fact drill app. Provides numerous features to customize the fact drill set for a student including number of problems top and bottom numbers of the addends, arrangement of the problems and more. Gathers scores on user drills and tests. Provides reviews assistance including block manipulatives, a number line or facts chart. For iPod/iPhone and iPad.


Math Fact Drills – $1.99 – This math app creates the ability to set “game parameter” such as number of questions, top and bottom number limit, length of timed test for provides a lot of customization for a user. It does not appear to collect data over time but provides final results of a “game”. Provides addition, subtraction, multiplication and division practice. For iPod/iPhone and iPad.   

If you were a 1st grader which one would allow you to learn in your best learning mode?

What are your favorite first grade math apps? 


iPod Touch/iPhone Apps with TTS for AAC

A recent search for an app that could be used on an iPod Touch or iPhone as a portable AAC device that has features of text to speech, word prediction, a high quality voice  and ability to store phrases for easy access found a few interesting options available. There are many picture or image based systems out there currently however that was not the need for this individual who had basic typing and spelling skills, good motor abilities to access a small handheld device but also was  also was interested in having an AAC app integrated into a phone.

Although there are probably more out there (or will be tomorrow…) I found these two Apps that I thought could be appropriate choices:

Assistive Chat

The voice qualities of this app I thought were very good using the text to speech output for communication. AssistiveChat has word prediction available (alphabetical not phonetic but did pick up new words entered) and will store recent sentences or communication written as well as “favorite” phrases it does not have the ability to categories phrases. I really liked the speech quality and the ease of use of the interface to pick up and use right away!  Although it does not have a lot of customization available, at $24.99 this app would be well worth it for the right individual with good fine motor and functional spelling skills needing a simple text based AAC system. Exploring a speaker system for additional amplification of a voice might be needed if in a large group or noisy environment.


Check out the website for videos and application of Assistive Chat!

PredictAble – This is a new app that does more than just text to speech, word prediction and provide phrase banks for the iPhone or iPod Touch. PredictAble also provides tools for scanning and switch access as well as  direct access capabilities for the iPhone or iPod Touch. Greater choices of high quality voices by Loquendo are available as well as other customizable features.

Predictable - tbox app

At a much higher cost of $159.99 this AAC app provides the ability to customize categories of phrases spoken to enhance the rate of vocalizations. Images can also be added to the categories for access by users needing visual supports. Although I did not trial this app, it appears to have great features, promise of a high quality voice for many different types of AAC users including those with access challenges. With as much promise as Proloquo2Go has for the right individual, PredictAble appears to have wonderful features for a variety of other AAC users.

Both website have videos for more information on features of the apps


Digital Storytelling Tools and Tutorials

 With the use of iPad apps for student learning and for communication, additional questions arose regarding apps to make stories for students. Although there are a more here are two free digital storytelling apps for the iPad and iPod Touch:

  • Storyrobe
  • Story Kit

These apps are easy to use and the links below will provide you with tutorials for how to use the apps. The tutorials are each 3-6 minutes long so it does not take much to get you going with the use of these apps. Both Apps allow use exiting photo stored in your Photo folder or Camera Roll on your iPad or iPod, so before you start make sure you have uploaded or saved photos to your device. (A post on the steps to upload pictures to your device will be coming.)



This is apps is quick and easy to use to create a story using  existing photos or images you select from your Photos folder and then record a story line. It does not allow writing text on the pictures in the story. Simple and easy to use, you can have a photo story slide show going in no time. Seriously! A 3 minute Storyrobe tutorial is included in the Tutorial link below.


 Story Kit

 This iStory KitPad and iPod app provides the tools to create a story book you can digitally narrate as well as type the text into to create a book using photos stored on your Photos folder on your device. You will need to have the pictures available on the device to use in the story. Story Kit also provides a simple drawing tool that can be used to draw a picture while creating the story. Story Kit is also simple to use with a few more authoring tools. Find a 6 minute tutorial on the link below that will get you started being a digital storytelling author! 

Tutorial Link:

More Storytelling Resources:

Karen Janowski, on her outstanding EdTech Solutions Blog, recently reviewed storytelling apps. Visit her blog for a review on above apps as well as for purchase storytelling apps for iPad and iPod Touch devices.  Check them out at .

Have fun storytelling!


FreeAppAlert App

While attending the SLATE Conference in Wisconsin Dells,  teachers from the Pulaski School District in Wisconsin presented their use and experience of integrating iPods and iPads into their curriculum. One of the many gems they shared is an app for the iPod and iPad called FreeAppAlert .

FreeAppAlert is an app for the iPod or iPod that alerts you of yesterdays for pay app available for free! Daily updates of free apps are posted with linked descriptions of the apps, the app website for review and purchase. Information is updated regularly on the status of the offered free apps. Categorized by iPad and iPod, the website is clean and easily navigated for perusing.


Whether using the FreeAppAlert app on your iDevice or searching the FreeAppsAlert website, this is a great tool and resource that can save you time and money (we all know those are some of the greatest challenges in education)!

So, check it out – it is well worth it! And thanks to Pulaski School District for sharing their resources! If you know of more websites or apps that provide regular, updated information on free apps please share!