3 smiling O&Ms in rain gear learning to use the BlindSquare navigation app around the Perkins School for the Blind campus.

Sharing Secret Locations Lesson: BlindSquare Lesson Plan

Secret Location Orientation and Mobility lesson plan teaching how to create a Point of Interest using the BlindSquare navigation app on an iPhone.

This lesson was originally taught at the Perkins High-Tech O&M Workshop with Ed Summers and Diane Brauner.  The Lesson Plan post is written by Kristin Zottoli.


  1. Learn how to create and share a Point of Interest (POI) using BlindSquare
  2. Understand that a GPS will take you to general area

Teacher and Student(s) will use BlindSquare to create their own “Secret Location” on their School Grounds using the Point of Interest Feature. They will then share this location with a peer or teacher who then has to find the Secret Location using BlindSquare.


Bone conduction headphones or portable wireless speaker with Bluetooth connectivity are helpful but regular headphones will work as well, iphone 4s or later with data plan – it is estimated that on average BlindSquare uses 1 mb of data per hour while active. BlindSquare app, a partner(s)/student(s) that also have an iPhone with same app and equipment


Review this section prior to going outside.

Have students explore BlindSquare basics such as the Tool bar options and home screen in a quiet indoor setting prior to this type of lesson. O&M Hint from Diane Brauner: When using BlindSquare hold the phone flat (parallel to the ground) with the Home button closest to your body.  Point the phone the direction you are traveling.  VoiceOver will announce the direction of the destination using clock face terms; 12:00 is straight ahead.  

Make sure you have exchanged phone numbers with your partner before this lesson as you will be sharing a location with them via a text message.

Understand Two O&Ms setting a POI at Beechwood St and entrance to Perkins parking lot.

GPS typically gets us within 15 feet of a location and this tool can be used to get to a general area but is not meant to pinpoint exact locations or environmental features such as a doorknob.

Adjust settings

Adjust settings first in OTHER Menu.

OTHER Menu Looks like a gear – (this is what we did for this lesson but settings can be changed based on student preference/need) Adjust speech rate to meet student needs, adjust volume.
-Shake Gesture settings: turn all off
-Turn Announce address on and all others off
-Distance unit: Set for yards
-Directions style: Clock Face

Filter My

Filter MY (to right of OTHER Menu) – select streets only which will states parallel/perpendicular streets for this lesson to reduce audio input.

At this point you should be good to go and ready to head outside!


Create POINT OF INTEREST POI (this sequence assumes VoiceOver is On) 

This is a great POI instructional video created by Ed and Diane:

SET POINT OF INTEREST (POI) 5 O&Ms in rain gear walking on a Perkins sidewalk searching for their Secret Location.

Set Point of Interest (this sequence assumes VoiceOver is Off)


To Share POI (this sequence assumes VoiceOver is Off)

If in vehicle consider changing alert distance when approaching to 500-1,000 yards.
Note: When you are on the Share this Place screen right below Name of This Place text field you will find an Optional Comment text field. This is where you can add in additional cues and clues to assist in locating Point of Interest.

To Share POI (This sequence assumes VoiceOver is On) 

Note: When you are on the Share this Place screen right below Name of This Place text field you will find an Optional Comment text field. This is where you can add in additional O&M cues and clues to assist in locating Point of Interest.

End Two smiling O&Ms successfully using the BlindSquare navigation app on the Perkins campus.

Make sure you close out of BlindSquare; double click home button when on iPhone home screen and swipe up to end running apps.

Fun Content

When labeling POI’s consider using labels that are creative and fun for the student depending on age: location where student waits to get on bus could be ‘Platform 9 and 3/4’ (Harry Potter), ‘Percy Jackson’s lookout’ could be a playground equipment area, Hunger Games theme based places/names for example.

Backup Strategies

If student/teacher arrives close to Secret location (or POI) but isn’t quite sure if they are there they might: take a photo to verify location when they re-convene with partner, FaceTime peer friend or teacher, message, call, or request assistance.

Repeat Lesson

We found that when running through the lesson the first time informed us through the experience that the GPS was meant to get us to a general location and not to “place our hand on a doorknob”. Repeating the lesson and supplementing the route with orientation landmarks coupled with navigation notes available when you share a location additional layers of information and foundational Orientation and Mobility skills sets that are essential when pairing travel with GPS.


O&M Page on Paths to Technology website.

Pinterest collage of BlindSquare lesson

By Kristin Zottoli

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