Auditory Awareness is defined as a person’s ability to perceive and make sense of what is going on around them through sound. Students who are visually impaired can use subtle sounds to pick up clues as they navigate, such as localizing the sound of a toilet flushing to identify where a bathroom is when traveling a route and to identify potential hazards in the environment such as the sound of someone mopping. ObjectiveEd’s Sound Search and Auditory Memory games are fun ways for students to identify and pay attention to a variety of common environmental sounds – the first step in using these sounds for important purposes.
These digital games can also be used to teach tech skills, including learning about the spatial layout of the games and how to efficiently navigate these layouts. Columns and grids are two critical math concepts and are often incorporated into digital games for young students. The Sound Search game requires students to match images (which the screen reader announces) in the left column to sound buttons in the right column. Students with vision can quickly visualy scan the columns and tap on the matching items. However, students who rely on a screen reader, should drag a finger down one column to hear and ideally remember the order of the different options. Then, the student should drag his finger systematically to an item in the other column. When the student finds a match, he selects the item in the column, then drags his finger to select the desired option in the other column. The Audio Memory game has random matching sounds presented in grids ranging from 2×2 up to 4×4.
Note: The power of the iPad is that it is a touch screen device. Critical tech skills for students who are visually impaired is to explore the spatial layout by dragging a finger systematically around the screen and to build a strong mental map of the screen and content. Building strong mental maps supports foundational tech, math and O&M skills.
In the video, Sara and Samir: Sound Identification, ObjectiveEd demonstrates the Sound Search and Auditory Memory games.
By Diane Brauner