8 Useful Apps for Visually Impaired Students

August 30, 2015
We received a few requests in the past from teachers inquiring about apps for the visually impaired. Below are  some of the popular apps we would recommend for teachers. We have also included a list of some useful resources where you can access  a wide variety of other apps to use with the blind and the visually impaired. Check them out at the end of this post.

1- ViA- By Braille Institute

‘Braille Institute is proud to introduce ViA (Visually Impaired Apps), a fully accessible app for iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad.  ViA has been designed to help identify apps that are useful for adults and children who are blind or have low vision, including those with additional disabilities.  Users can easily sort through the 500,000+ apps in the App Store and locate those that were built specifically for, or provide functionality to, the user with a visual impairment.’

2- Be My Eyes- Helping Blind See

‘Be the eyes for a blind person in need of help remotely through a live video connection if you are sighted or be assisted by the network of sighted users if you are blind. Be My Eyes is all about contributing to and benefiting from small acts of kindness, so hop on board and get involved!’

3- TapTapSee - Blind & Visually Impaired Camera

‘TapTapSee is designed to help the blind and visually impaired identify objects they encounter in their daily lives.Simply double tap the screen to take a photo of anything, at any angle, and hear the app speak the identification back to you (Note: Spoken identification requires VoiceOver to be turned on).’

4- Talking Calculator

‘A comprehensively featured calculator that has become a favorite among adults and primary schools around the world. Designed for a wide range of users, this calculator has large colorful buttons, optional high contrast, full VoiceOver support, and unique to this calculator; the option to use speech for answers, button names and formulas!’

5- SayText

‘SayText reads out loud the text in the image. It is intended for the visually impaired users. SayText is a free spin off product from the DocScanner team.’

6- AccessNote

‘AccessNote is the first notetaker for the iOS platform designed particularly for VoiceOver users looking for a highly efficient, feature-rich note taking experience. In addition to being a low cost alternative to traditional note takers, AccessNote will allow users to combine efficient note taking with the countless other features and functions of the iOS devices. This will allow blind and visually impaired people in classroom or business settings to use the same popular iOS devices that their sighted peers are using.’

7- Visual Brailler

‘Visual Brailler is the simple braille editor. It’s a braille writer for your iPad, and it has a place in every braille transcriber’s toolbox. Use it for NLS certification exercises or to practice UEB. Show off your mastery of braille!’

8- VisionAssist

‘VisionAssist is a new category of handheld electronic magnifier that utilizes your smartphone. It is designed to help people who are visually impaired with with Low Vision conditions including AMD (age related macular degeneration), Glaucoma, Diabetic Retinopathy, Cataracts and color blindness. Why purchase an expensive dedicated electronic video magnifier when you can utilize your smartphone or tablet that is always with you.’

More Resources on Apps for visually Impaired 

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Here Is A Great App for Creating Educational Documentaries with Students

August 30, 2015
Videocraft is an excellent iPad app to use with students to create short educational documentaries.The app is both a multi-track video editor and a movie maker. It allows you to combine amazing video content using a wide variety of multimedia materials including photos, clips, audio, text and many more. Videocraft is free today and only for a limited time.

You can combine different video clips into a single documentary. You can also apply various editing features to customize your clips. You can, for instance, trim the clips to play only the parts that interest you in a video,  blur parts you don't want to be displayed and adjust the speed of each video clip to create a slow/fast motion movies. You can even add videos over the main video  with a maximum of 4 videos playing at the same time.

To make your videos more illustrative, Videocraft allows you to add text to images in your videos to make beautiful callouts. There are actually more than 30 images to choose from including callouts and comics. Adding audio track to your videos is another great feature supported by this app. You can create audio tracks from videos and make interesting transitions. You can also record your voice and use it as a voice-over in your clips.

Once your documentary or video is ready, you can export it to your camera roll or share it  on social media websites such as Facebook and Instagram. If you have a YouTube channel you can upload it there or send it as an email attachment.

Courtesy of Apps Gone Free

10 Excellent Google Drive Apps Teachers Should Try This School Year

August 28, 2015
Here is another back-to-school goodie for teachers. This is basically a selection of some of the best educational Google Drive apps to use in your instruction. As is the case with Mac, Chromebook, and Chrome lists, all of these apps have been covered in separate review posts in the past and are also deemed to be among the most popular among teachers and educators based on the feedback we received following their publication.

"This extension allow you to save web content directly to Google Drive through a browser action or context menu. You can save documents, images, and HTML5 audio and video all by right clicking and selecting 'Save to Google Drive'. You can save the currently viewed page using the 'Save to Google Drive' browser action."

MindMeister is a very good tool students can use to create mindmaps and brainstorm complex topics.  Mind maps can include a wide variety of multimedia including: text, images, icons, links, and attachments. It also supports offline editing and syncing.  Mind maps can be exported to Word, PowerPoint, PDF, and in the form of an image.

3- GeoGebra

GeoGebra (www.geogebra.org) is free dynamic mathematics software for all levels of education that brings together geometry, algebra, spreadsheets, graphing, statistics and calculus in one easy-to-use package. Interactive learning, teaching and evaluation resources created with GeoGebra can be shared and used by everyone at tube.geogebra.org.

4- DocHub

DocHub is anther excellent Google Drive tool for filling, editing, and signing PDFs. Compared with similar tools out there in Chrome web store, DocHub is way easier and simpler to handle. You can use it for a variety of purposes including: signing PDFs, highlighting text, inserting images, commenting and adding pages to PDFs and many more.

5- WeVideo

WeVideo is good app to use for editing videos. With WeVideo you can import media files you have stored on Drive, Dropbox and edit them the way you want. You can trim clips, split long clips into smaller ones, insert text for titles and captions in different languages, record voice-overs, add professional themes to your videos, add music, transitions and many more.

6- Pixlr Express

“Pixlr Express is a fun and powerful photo editor that lets you quickly crop, resize, and fine-tune any picture, all in a completely ad-free experience. Choose from over 2 million combinations of free effects, overlays, and borders to further personalize your images. Pixlr Express makes you look like a pro, even if you’ve never edited a photo before. ”

7- PowToon

“Powtoon is a video animation software and a presentation animation software.  You can easily create a simple animated video and then convert it into an animated presentation!”

8- RealtimeBoard: Whiteboard for Collaboration

“RealtimeBoard is your online whiteboard for visual team collaboration. Add pictures, mockups, drawings, videos, sticky notes, office documents and Google Drive files on an endless canvas, discuss it with your colleagues, and enjoy the smoothest real time visual collaboration without emails.”

 9- Drive Template Gallery

You can use the Google Drive Template Gallery to create your document, spreadsheet, presentation, or form. Whether you need a resume and cover letter, an invoice, a birthday card, or any of a wide variety of templates, our gallery can help you get your doc started. After connecting this app to Google Drive you will be able to access the Google Apps Template Gallery directly from the "Create" menu inside Google Drive.

Lucidchart is an HTML5-based visual collaboration tool that makes drawing diagrams fast and easy. Work together with an unlimited number of others to create and edit diagrams in real time, with changes merged and synced instantaneously -- great for team collaboration.

Zondle- Another Great Platform to Help you Integrate Game-based Learning Approach in Your Teaching

August 28, 2015
Zondle is another great web tool and mobile app to use in a game-based learning approach. Zondle allows you to create, play and share educational games to support teaching, learning and assessment. Zondle works with different age groups and is available in many languages. As a teacher you can create a topic (sets of questions) to meet the learning needs of your students. There are over 20 different types of questions you can use and you can even include images, audio and video to support your teaching. Some of the things Zondle offers to teachers include:

Zondle Team Play
‘zondle Team Play sessions alternate between the teacher using PowerPoint-style teaching materials to introduce new concepts, and the students playing game rounds that enhance their understanding of those concepts. The game rounds exploit the neuroscientific principle of ‘uncertain rewards’.

‘In zondle, the same topics (sets of questions) can be set as formative assessment (for students to play in games, to consolidate their learning) and as summative assessment (in a plain question interface, to measure exactly what your students know). Assess exactly what you want to assess, view results for individual students or whole classes, and output results (to Excel and other systems) - all without any marking!’

Behaviour Rewards
‘With zondle, you can easily reward good classroom behavior (even when students are not playing zondle games)!Rewarding good behavior helps promote a positive learning environment, can help focus students on their learning, and can add some extra fun to the classroom!’

‘Monitoring student achievements and progress is easy with the zondle Gradebook.
In one powerful tool, you can see what topics (sets of questions) that you’ve set, who has played those topics and when, what they achieved and what their progress has been over time (all without any marking!).’

Check out Zondle website for more features. Zondle is also available for iOS. While Zondle is free, there is however, an updated notice in the site announcing that the folks in Zondle are considering turning their platform into a low-priced subscription service at some point.

2 Wonderful Apps to Turn Your iPad into A Second Monitor

August 28, 2015
For those of you asking about apps to turn your iPad into a second screen monitor, the best app we would recommend here is Duet Display ($18,99). Duet works seamlessly with zero lag and offers a wide variety of powerful features that include Retina display resolution with 60 frames per second, touch-enabled screen, works in different modes ( landscape or portrait) and many more. Also the process of setting up Duet Display is very simple, you simply install the app and connect you iPad to your Mac or PC using a USB cable (Lightning or 30-pin cable) and there you go.  Duet is compatible with all desktops ( OS X10.0+ or Windows 7+), all iPads running iOS 7.0 or up and all iPhones with iOS 7.0 or up. Watch the video below to learn more about Duet Display.

Air Display 3 ($16,99) is another good app to use to convert your iPad into a second monitor. Unlike the previous versions of Air Display that supported only Wi-Fi connection and causing a lot of lagging, This new version supports both USB and Wi-Fi and so far the use of USB cable proves to be a huge improvement. Air Display 3 is available for both iOS and Android. Watch the video below to learn more about this app.

New App Turns Your iPad into A Second Display for Your Mac
The Best Second Screen App for iPad

A Good Google Drive Tool for Real-time Collaborative Diagramming

August 27, 2015
Cacoo is a web application that allows you to create and collaborate on diagrams. It offers some powerful drawing tools to use for drawing all kinds of diagrams including site maps, wire frames, flowcharts, network charts and many more. The great thing about Cacoo is that it supports real-time collaboration allowing you to work on the same diagram with various collaborators simultaneously. Multiple collaborators can edit a diagram in  real-time. There is also a chat functionality integrated into Cacoo editor that enables users to get direct feedback from their team.

Creating diagrams in Cacoo is only a matter of drag and drop from the stencil panel to the canvas. You can also use flexible connectors to connect objects together to create  mind maps and flowcharts. Once your diagrams are ready, you can choose from the various sharing options: use an HTML code to embed your diagram in a blog or a website or export your diagram in various vector forms such as PNG, SVG, PDF or as presentation slides.

Cacoo is also integrated with Google Drive meaning that you can design and save your diagrams right into your Drive and access them across different devices. ‘You can use Cacoo with no charge in the Free Plan. For $4.95 a month, you get additional functionality that makes Cacoo more useful.’

Watch the video below to learn more about Cacoo

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