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# Field test SkippyNums: an accessible skip counting app

## 'Skip' through this fun accessible math app! Practice skip counting by twos, fives, and tens!

“2, 4, 6, 8, who do we appreciate?” SkippyNums! SkippyNums is an accessible iPad app that helps young students learn to skip count. Skip counting is defined as a method of counting numbers by adding the same number every time to the previous number.

## Why do we teach skip counting?

Learning to skip count helps students see patterns in numbers and is a foundation for number sense. It also helps students increase their fluency in regular counting and adding, boosts confidence when it comes to making money transactions, and is a precursor for multiplication and division.

## SkippyNums app

While there is a plethora of educational apps that reinforce skip counting, these mainstreams apps are visual in nature and are not accessible with a screen reader. Created by a tech savvy recent high school grad who is visually impaired, SkippyNums has been designed specifically for students who use VoiceOver. This app works best with VoiceOver on!

### Game Play

• Choose to skip count by twos, fives, tens, or ‘mix it up!’
• Choose the game length: 1 minute, 2 minutes, or untimed.
• VoiceOver announces the number of groups and how many objects are in each group. Example: 4 sets of cows.
• The player can drag and split tap (or swipe and double tap) on each group to hear the associated sound for each object in the group. Example: Split tap on a group of two cows to hear the cows moo two times. This enables the player to literally count every cow on the screen.
• As the player’s skip counting skills increase, he/she can choose to drag or swipe right through the groups to count the groups without activating each group to hear each individual object in the group.
• Once the player is ready, swipe or drag to the bottom of the screen to find a row of four answer choices in random order. Select the desired answer.
• If the answer is correct, a screen pops up with “correct”. Swipe right to the Next question button and double tap to move on to the next question.
• If the answer is incorrect, a screen pops up with “incorrect! Try again!” Right swipe to “Try Again” button and double tap to go back to the previous question.
• After three incorrect tries, the correct answer is announced.

SkippyNums video

Note: SkippyNums can be played without VoiceOver. The announcements are VoiceOver announcements and are not given if VoiceOver is off. You can tap on each group of objects to hear and count the object sounds.

### Scoring

The game automatically keeps track of the player’s score and the number of tries; the score is available on the question screen. If playing the timed games, when the time is up, you have the option of Next Round (which accumulates the scores even when a new round begins or after choosing a different skip count number) or Reset Score. The Untimed games have unlimited rounds and the scores continue to accumulate. Select the New Game button to restart the scoring.

### 10-frame layout

The layout of the groups is intentionally designed to mimic a 10-frame. As students begin to build spatial concepts, this layout subtly helps students learn there can be up to five groups in a row. One student mentioned his personal shortcut – to start counting with the number six in the second row (instead of counting through 1-5 in the first row before moving to six in the second row).

### Earcons

Earcons are sounds that have meaning. Did you notice the subtle sounds used in this app? There is a subtle tone for each group of 2s, a two-note chord for each group of fives, and a three-note chord for a group of ten. Earcons are designed to provide more information quickly – without the use of longer descriptions/words. Once the student understands the concept (in this case skip counting) and what the earcon represents, the students can learn to listen for the earcon and move quickly to the next group without listening to the full VoiceOver announcement.

## App Feedback

SkippyNums is still under construction but is ready for field testing and feedback. The app is designed to be used with VoiceOver and what has been built is fully functioning. The current next steps might be to develop a teaching level, where each step is broken down; the student is given one step, completes the step before being given the next step. What would like to see added to SkippyNums?

Interested in field testing? Student requirements:

• Student is learning/practicing skip counting
• Student is familiar with VoiceOver (basic skill level)

Contact: [email protected]

Note: SkippyNums has NOT been released in the App Store. Currently, it is only available to field testers through the TestFlight app.

## App development

The developer of this app is a recent high school grad who has always been interested in coding. You may remember Tyler from previous posts:

By Diane Brauner