Swoon! 27 Tried +True Diverse Apps for Learning: Via The ATIA 2016 "App Smackdown"

ATIA16 App Smackdown Team

Karen Janowski, Brian Wojcik, Mike Marotta, and Kirke Behnke act on the principle that sharing is everything—especially where apps for mobile devices are concerned. 

Packed House  They all have professional roles in assitive technology and as a team reserved a huge conference room, set a show and tell format, and delivered another successful "App Smackdown" at ATIA 2016 that did not disappoint a packed house. 

Favorites Participants shared proven favorites for learners with and/or by individuals with disabilities. The hour flew by. The list that follows were shared live by contributors who hooked up their app choices on a big screen. Praise to all the organizers and thumbs up to Brian, my hero, for including the links.

Showcase 2016  ATIA is the largest international annual conference showcasing excellence in assistive technology.  A diverse audience gathers to learn about advances in assistive techology (AT), keep up on best practices and trends, and network with others in the AT industry. The list that follows are this year's best bets. Thanks to the App Smackdown Team for permission to post: 

  1. Magnetic ABC (Lite and Paid Versions as well as add-ons) Virtual refrigerator magnets.  Can be used to work on early literacy skills with students.  Can also be used for math as it does have math symbols.  
  2. ModMath ( free; in app purchase for advanced maths) Graph paper app that can help students set up math problems.  It does not solve the problems for the students but allows students to construct the algorithm and then go through the solving process.  Interfaces with Google Classroom/Drive.  Good for students with dysgraphia.
  3. ClassKick (Free) Basic white-board style app that teacher can set up and share with students. Can add drawing, text, pics, voice, etc.
  4. Easy Spelling Aid ($4.49 ) Dictate a word that one wants to have spelled and then will print out the word using manuscript or cursive on line paper in both capitals and lowercase.
  5. Word Wizard ( $4.99 ) Can create spelling lists for practice.  Can scaffold so only the letters that part of the word are emphasized on keyboard, scrambled letters, or as a spelling quiz.  
  6. Rocketbook Wave (Indiegogo link ) There is a physical notebook that integrates with the app by taking a picture of the page.  Physical notebook can be erased in the microwave and a cup of water.  It is on amazon and on Indigogo.  Digital pics integrate with GDrive.
  7. G(math) (free ) Add on to Google Docs.  Can be used to create math equations in Google Docs.  Reveals a side menu with different math symbols and notation.  Can also be used to create handwritten entries as well with a touchscreen-based device using a stylus.  Applications for higher math.
  8. Mycalm Beat ( free ) Visual imagery to model guided breathing.  Good for anxiety.  Provides a timer for breathing period.
  9. LaserFocus ( $7.99  )Works with apple watch.  Set a time, pick an activity, and then app shows the time that work is occurring.  After 25 minutes provides a 5 min break, after 4 cycles it will prompt for a 20 min break.  Pomodoro technique.
  10. Fingerpaint with sounds ( free ) Can be used with or without music, single touch/multitouch.  Can be used to encourage a student to maintain connection as it plays music as the student is fingerpainting until the finger is withdrawn from the device.
  11. Drawing Pad ( $1.99 ) Provides realistic looking tools which encourages generalization to real tools. Many choices of pencils, pens, markers, stickers, paintbrushes, etc.  
  12. Claro ScanPen  OCR app.  Takes a picture of text, translates to editable text, and then it will be read aloud.  Easiest OCR app he has ever seen.
  13. Newsela (free ) Current event articles.  Very simple to use with good areas of information.  An article can be chosen, a lexile level is calculated BUT WAIT THERE’s MORE - The user can adjust the lexile level and the article is adjusted accordingly.  Interfaces with iOS screenreader.
  14. ClassDojo (free ) Behavior management - online sticker chart.  Can be used to reward students for targeted behaviors.  Have just released videos on Mindset - worth checking.
  15. AIM-VA (blog) Blog content features news and resources about accessible educational resources including apps, extensions and websites that support students with print disabilities. Oriented high incidence.
  16. Playground Buddy ( free ) If you have small children and are travelling, app can be used to find local playgrounds.  You can add information if information does not already exist.  Integrates wth Google Streetview.
  17. Aida Reminder ($.99 ) App can be used to set one-time alarms, recurring alarms, reminders...Integrates with a built-in calendar.  Can create custom alarms by associating audio recordings (Wake up now it is time to go to class!) as well as custom pictures.  Can also set snoozes, pre-alarm, and post-alarm.  Can adjust snooze time as well.  
  18. Bubltap ($2.99) “Funkadelic” - as the screen is tapped it creates various aninmations that can be used for exploratory play.
  19. CrazyGears ($.2.99) Problem solving by linking gears together in order to ‘make it work’.  Has multiple levels that progress in difficulty.
  20. RelaxMHD ( free, with in-app purchases ) Sound machine that can be customized with a variety of environmental (ocean, wind) and music sound combinations.  Can also be set with a specific sleep timer so that the app only runs for a specified time.  
  21. Planbook.com (website, $12/year) Teaching plans that creates online planbooks.  Can link standards and resources for the plans.  Can then be used online (shared) or printed out.
  22. Metamorphabet ($3.99 ) Can tap letters and have the letters morph into letter related objects (C - cone - car - catapillar - etc).  When student is done exploring then the student can choose when to go to the next letter.  
  23. Nutshell ( free ) Take a sequence of pictures that can be labelled with text.  The app stitches them together to make a quick video.
  24. iBrainstorm (iPad only, free ) Whiteboard that works with multiple iPads allow users to record ideas and then ‘fling’ the ideas to another iPad.
  25. StayFocus (chrome app;  ) Blocks different websites during a predefined period of time to help Ss from surfing websites.   
  26. Popflux (free, not currently available in US store) Uses augmented reality to allow people to virtually pop bubbles. Good for body awareness, crossing mid-line, etc.
  27. SeeSaw  (website) Digital portfolio that can be comprised of video, audio, pics, and hyperlinks.  Student self submits work and can be teacher moderated.  Good way of taking different pieces of students’ work home.

We Are AIM-VA  Accessible educational materials (AEM) help to create access to the curriculum for students with dyslexia, learning disabilities, vision or physical challenges, and others. A federally funded program in every state assures that books in alternative formats are provided free of charge to eligible students with disabilities whose education teams take action. The AEM program operates under a legal exception to federal copyright law. Check out the AIM-VA home page to learn more about eligibility in Virginia. In other states, contact a special education teacher or school administrator for guidelines, or download the list of AEM state contacts.External Link to download the list of AEM state contacts (New Window)

Follow AIM-VA on Facebook External Link to Facebook (New Window)Pinterest External Link to Pinterest (New Window), and Twitter at @AIMVirginia.External Link to @AIMVirginia (New Window) and/or follow me @aimnoncat.External Link to @aimnoncat (New Window). Subscribe to AIM-VA's new monthly newsletter. Sign up here.


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June Behrmann

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