Sonokids delivers another wonderful app for young students! CosmoBally, an adorable Ballylander astronaut shares fun planet facts in this simple interactive story. Through the radio communications, CosmoBally shares information about space and the planets with her Ballyland friends on earth.
Students listen to the story and wait for instruction on when to touch the screen to turn to the next page. Intriguing sounds and familiar characters make this story fun! Each Ballyland character asks CosmoBally, the astronaut, a question about space.
The video below is a sneak peak at the story.
After the story is a song about the planets.
At the end of the story, students can play a bonus sequencing game. The game is a 4×4 grid. Follow CosmoBally through space, past two planets. Instructions are given along with the specific order for three items (two planets and CosmoBally). To play, the student listens for the sequence and then systematically drags his finger across the grid to locate the first item in the sequence. Once the desired item is found, the student holds his finger on the item for the backwards count of 3, 2, 1, ding. (Be sure to hold until you hear the bell ding!) Drag to find and select the second planet, then drag to find and select CosmoBally. The game records the amount of time that it takes the student to select the three items in the sequence. Students can play this game five times to find different planets in different locations. The planets are placed in random positions, so the student cannot memorize the locations if the sequencing game is selected again.
Note: The sequencing game works best when dragging slowly; if the student drags too fast, the planet/CosmoBally is not announced.
The video below demonstrates the sequencing game. Before the story begins, students have the option of starting the story or going straight to the sequencing game.
As always, the Ballyland games do a terrific job of engaging young students and encouraging these students to carefully listen to instructions. The student cannot turn the page or start a game until after the directions/verbal command that states what gesture and more importantly, when that gesture can be made. Then, the student is given as much time as needed to make the gesture or start the next portion of the game. The Ballyland games are also simple in nature, meaning that the student does not need to be proficient in using a variety of VoiceOver gestures. These apps teach and provide opportunities to practice only a couple of the most basic gestures.
Grids are an important part of math and students with visual impairments need opportunities to be introduced to digital grids through game play and opportunities to practice digital grid skills. Several of the Ballyland games include digital grids and as an educator, I am pleased that this simple app also includes a digital grid! It is important that students are introduced to the concept of grids (rows and columns) through tactile grids before exploring digital grids. When introducing a young student to dragging across a row in a digital grid, Wikki Sticks can be used as a guide line, if necessary. Note: It is recommended to use a tactile guide for a short time only, as the student needs to learn how to drag in a straight line. A teaching trick for some students, is to have the student place his right index finger on the right edge of the iPad (off the screen itself) and then dragging the left index finger to meet the right index finger. Another trick is for the student to place his thumb off the bottom edge of the iPad and drag the thumb along the edge while dragging the index finger along the row. The student maintains the gap between the thumb and the index finger; the thumb traces the physical edge of the iPad, making the index finger move in a straight line across the iPad.
Teachers: Ballyland CosmoBally app provides the opportunity for the student to learn and practice grid skills; however, it is up to you – the educator – to teach the student about grids, dragging in a straight line and how to systematically move through a grid. On his own, the student will often randomly explore the grid – without a systematic search pattern and without honing digital grid skills!
Note: The Ballyland Code games have 3D printer files that can be used to support those games. See this Ballyland Code 2: Give Rotor post for details.
Sonokids has created another incredible accessible app for students with visual impairments! An interactive story, song, and sequencing game designed for young students to teach basic iOS gestures, tech skills, digital concepts, academics and space-themed fun facts. The combination of learning while having fun is gamification at it’s finest! Young students will have a blast with this game and educators will be thrilled with all the skills that can be taught through Ballyland CosmoBally app.
Download the currently free Ballyland CosmoBally App here.
By Diane Brauner