The Ballyland Rotor App by Sono Kids is an educational app designed for students who are blind or visually impaired to learn and practice rotor voice over skills.
In the app, the main character, Ballycopter, (a red helicopter) is on an adventure through Ballyland. The student makes choices that change the outcome of Ballycopter’s adventure.
As stated in the app, “Where Ballycopter will go and what he will do is up to you…”
Example of how the student makes a choice between animals that Ballycopter will visit in Ballyland:
Turn the rotor to find the setting for “animals,” then flick up or down to listen to the choices and select an animal.
The ability to make choices that change the outcome of Ballycopter’s adventure makes this game fun and exciting. Each time the student plays, he or she can make a different choice and wait for the outcome.
As pictured in the photograph below, my first grade student, Layla, has chosen to rotate the rotor clockwise by moving her left pointer finger up on the screen while moving her right pointer finger down. After practicing the rotor gestures frequently, this is her preferred way to control the rotor. Read my previous post, Simple Tactile Representations of iPad Features, to explore another option for the rotor voice over gesture.
The Ballyland Rotor App is also great practice for listening skills. There are a lot of verbal directions that the student must follow in order to complete the Ballyland adventure. The first time Layla played the game it took about 20 minutes to get through one Ballyland adventure. Now it takes her about 10 minutes so she often chooses to play again.
“It’s fun to play a lot of times because each time I play it’s different. You get to pick a different friend for Ballycopter to talk to and he goes to different places when you pick a different friend. You also pick if there is good or bad weather in Ballyland.”
From a young child’s viewpoint, it’s a fun game! From the teacher’s viewpoint, the student gets repeated practice using the voice over gestures required to control the rotor. I highly recommend this app by SonoKids, it is definitely worth $2.99!
By Rachel Harris