According to Stuart Ball this free Seeing AI iPhone or iPad app has multiple benefits for those with visual impairments or who are blind. It has been developed by Microsoft so has the ‘swiss army knife approach’ according to AccessWorld to telling you about the world around you. It searches out light sources, identifies colours and money and describes them using text to speech. It will recognise a person is approaching and offer a description. Barcodes can be read and optical character recognition is used for documents etc. Clear handwriting can be deciphered and scenes described.
The free overTHERE iPhone app has been called a ‘game changer’ by Stuart Ball as it allows places to be located via their signs by holding the phone in a horizontal manner. You can then simply turn around on the spot and listen as businesses/shops are brought to your attention. It also tells you how far away they are from where you are standing. According to the app developer it is an “accessibility app that helps blind individuals explore and interact with the surrounding environment by using virtual audible signs.”
“When the phone is held vertically you can use the screen or VoiceOver to review the list of signs around you. By selecting a sign from the list you can access details about a location such as its address, phone number, or web site.”
Google Drive is an online tool which uses your Google account to store files online and can also be used to share files with other people and work on projects together. Being able to join in with a few others to work on a project and be able to take a break and have work still done is really useful.
Google Drive is compatible Windows Vista, XP, 7, 8
Mac, mavericks (10.9), Mountain Lion (10.8), Lion (10.7)
Linux can access Google Drive through the website but the software is not available on the system
android 4.0+ and iOS 7.0+ are able to use Google drive, android 2.3-3.2 and iOS 6.0+ Can only view the files
Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer run Google Drive but require Java script
Siri asked to check appointments on 22nd September
Siri is brilliant for calendar management and time/task management, but underused, you can verbally manage your calendar/ tasks which, I personally find reduces the burden on my working memory and is more intuitive . The speed of which I can set myself a reminder by taking the phone out of my pocket rather than searching for a pen and paper which I inevitably end up losing anyway is astounding! I really like iOS accessibility. I definitely find low maintenance strategies with gainful upsides work well.
“I generally do not take notes in lectures, as I have this problem where I want my notes to make sense, so that if I was looking at them afresh, I would be able to understand them. Also, I want to concentrate on what the lecturer is saying. What I do is I use an Edirol R09HR digital audio recorder [now discontinued] to record the lectures, so that I can listen back to them if I did not get something the first time, and I also monitor the recording by using headphones, so it is almost like I am listening to the lecturer through a personal listening device.”
“I can listen to a webcast and take notes. Previously, this required getting transportation to the presentation and lugging a Braille notetaker. Now I use my netbook for the webcast and my phone with external keyboard and the DraftPad app to take notes.”
DraftPad is free and offers a very accessible interface that can be used with VoiceOver or once the text has been copied, then select ‘Speak’. It allows you to send or share your notes via email, SMS and social networking sites as well as open them in other apps that may be on your device such as DocsToGo for more formatting, Evernote for linking with other notes, DropBox for sharing or backing up file. The app also links with text speaking apps such as SpeakText Free.
Sandra sent an email about her work with links to her TeachTapin blog and there she mentioned her use of iPads and an iPhone “Assistant App is a great new app powered by the Nuance voice technology used for Dragon and other applications. It allows you to organise your time by way of a calendar with all dates and events now added by voice recording. As a dyslexic it allows me to take ownership in planning my time but also means that others can set me reminders. Hearing a voice relay the information to me is a great help.”
This could save the day when you cannot think what to write in certain parts of an assignment or dissertation – the University of Manchester has an Academic Phrasebank.
It is a general resource for academic writers. It aims to provide you with examples of some of the phraseological “nuts and bolts” of writing organised under the headings to the left. It was designed primarily with international students whose first language is not English in mind. However, if you are a native speaker writer, you may still find parts of the material helpful.
“I do not tend to use a calendar. However, for critical appointments, I put them down in my BrailleSense’s schedule manager.”
This works well with a PC and screen reader. It has a calendar and clock for alarms. Appointments can be made very quickly using Braille, whilst having a conversation or in a lecture. It has an internet connection, can be used for social networking and word processing.