Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Increasing Your Switch Access Activities a Thousand Fold!

Hey Tek-Ninjas! I am really excited to share with you some new finds (new for me anyway).

The folks at UNC are busy writing code, creating easy, free switch accessible, online software.

For example, they have a terrific site called Accessible Youtube. Accessible Youtube does require that someone can type the initial search.  Once the search is typed in, navigating the controls is relatively intuitive

When I stumbled on Accessible Youtube, it was exciting, but not quite what I was searching for.  I was looking for the ability to embed Youtube videos into some "magical" interface that would work like the old latch timer, so a student would hit the switch, get some video, and then it would stop, thereby motivating the student to hit the switch again. Yes, we are working on early "Cause & Effect" switch access.

So, I emailed the help link on Accessible Youtube, and very quickly got a response from Gary Bishop.  Gary is a Professor of Computer Science here at UNC-Chapel HIll.  Gary and his students create software to enable folks with disabilities participate fully in education, literacy, and play. He and his students may be my new heroes.

Gary sent me a link to that "magical" interface I'd been seeking: Tar Heel Gameplay (THG) It was as though the programmer made a project just for me! 

Customizable Switch Prompt
On the surface THG seems simple, which is evidence of good design. But there is so much going on here. The teacher/therapist/parent can make a one-off activity, grading the amount of support dependent on what the user will benefit from; single switch, cause & effect, to multiple choice responses with many different outcomes (play, start over, rewind, etc). In addition, if the caregiver wants to utilize the service more than once, they can create an account (free) and save their "games".

Please take a look at this site, and be sure to share with your friends!


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