Students and educators are clamoring for educational apps that are accessible – especially apps that teach skills that are unique to students who are visually impaired. Ballyland Sound Memory is an exciting sound-matching iOS game that is fun for everyone! The app encourages good listening and memory skills to locate and pair matching sounds. The game is fully accessible with its self-voicing mode – VoiceOver is turned off when playing the game. This memory games incorporates screen reader tech skills by introducing players to spatial relationships along with rows and columns – the foundation for math grids and tables.
On the Home screen, turn off VoiceOver. Turn on the self-voicing menu with a one-finger swipe up. Double tap anywhere on the screen to load the game.
The default settings:
Encourage students to listen carefully to the initial hint of how many rows and columns in this particular game. (Choose the desired number of cards in Settings. Your options are 4, 6, 8 or 10 cards. Swipe left, right, up or down to navigate to the desired card; be sure to listen to the row and column numbers, as this will reinforce the spatial concepts of the game! Move to the desired card and double tap to select the card. Listen to the card’s sound and mentally note the location of the card (row and column numbers) and the sound. Then, move to the card that you anticipate to be the match. Double tap to select. If the cards match, you will hear a reward sound and the paired cards will be removed from the board. Now when you swipe to the empty spot in the grid, you will hear a whistle sound. Match all the pairs to complete that round.
Does your student struggle with spatial concepts and/or with grid concept? Go to Settings, select Mode and select Drag. Select Back to Settings. Then, select Okay. Now the student can physically drag his/her finger around the screen when playing the game. Dragging encourages students to explore the physical layout of the screen. Be sure to associate the card locations with spatial terms, e.g. “top, left corner”. These spatial terms are critical terms used daily by students – including preschoolers – who are visually impaired or blind.
Teacher Note: When the student uses right swipes to navigate the grid and does not listen to the row and column announcements, the student often thinks the cards are in a straight line across the screen. The student will often lose the spatial concepts such as two ROWS and three columns, as well as the spatial relationships such as ‘top left corner.’ These spatial concepts are not only helpful when playing the game but also build foundational math and O&M concepts.
Students can explore the screen and listen to each card’s unique sound (without selecting the card) in the Open Sounds & Flick Mode. To activate this mode, go to Settings, select Mode, then select Open Sounds & Flick. Select Back to Settings. Then, select Okay. This option is great for students who may be learning how to match/pair sounds.
Choose sound sets that are motivating to the student. Your choices are:
Note: Matching the Ballylander sounds is a direct match meaning the helicopter sound is matched to the identical helicopter sound. In the Animal sound game, the barking sound is matched with the word, “dog”.
Teacher Note: You want the student to be successful when initially playing the game. If needed, change the number of cards to 4 cards (2 pairs) in a deck. As the student’s skills improve, challenge the student by increasing the number of cards in the deck.
For more advanced players, increase the number of cards in the deck. For users with functional vision, turn the screen curtain on. The screen curtain eliminates the visual aspect of seeing the grid and the spatial relationships of the cards in the grid. This encourages students to rely on good listening skills!
Teacher Hint: The screen curtain is a great feature when sighted peers are playing against a blind student!
Ballyland Sound Memory in the App Store
Read these Paths to Technology posts about other Sonokids apps for students who are visually impaired:
Read more about the transitioning students from traditional tactile graphics (grids/tables) to accessible digital graphics:
Digital Transitions #2: Math Grid Activities
Editor’s Note: A big “Thank You!” to Sonokids for creating apps for students with visual impairments and specifically for listening to TVI requests. Ballyland Sound Memory addresses the critical need of introducing basic grid skills to young students within this fun game!
By Diane Brauner