Do you have a toddler, preschooler, kindergarten/early elementary student or student with multiple disabilities who is learning to use an iPad? The I Hear Ewe app is a perfect app to teach basic gestures – including VoiceOver gestures! There are two pages each with 12 clear, colorful headshot images of animals and a third page with various types of transportation images. When you select an image, the image becomes larger and the other images disappear, making the app even better for many students who do best without visual clutter or with a magnified picture. In the options menu, you can choose to turn on/off Verbal descriptions and you can choose these languages: Chinese, English, German, Japanese, Korean, Spanish. When the sound hints are turned on, a man says, “This is the sound a ___ (name of animal/type of transportation) makes.” This award-winning iOS app is FREE and is fully accessible with VoiceOver.
Students can explore and choose which image they would like to select. Encourage the student to say the name of the image. The teacher/parent can name the image and ask the student to find a specific image. The teacher/parent can make the image’s sound and the student can find the correct image. Students can listen and learn the name of the image when the sound hints are turned on.
In the video below, a toddler taps on various images and listens to the sound of each image. This toddler knows the names of a few images, such as the bee. In this video, the sound hints are turned off.
When VoiceOver is on, VoiceOver will state, “___” (name of the animal/vehicle), button, image”. Note: VoiceOver will always announce the image, even when the Sound Hints are turned off; otherwise, the student would not be able to know which image has the VoiceOver focus.
There are many educational goals that can be taught with this app! The main tech goal, is learning how to create the right touch to activate the command. Preschoolers quickly learn how to do a light, quick tap (or double tap) to activate the image. Students using VoiceOver learn how to do a one-finger and three-finger swipe. Encourage your student to explore the screen by dragging around a finger around the screen. Actively teach dragging in a straight line left/right and up/down. If necessary, provide a straight edge using Wikki-Styks. Be sure to point out spatial concepts and terms, such as the bee is located in the top left corner, the pig is located at in the middle of the bottom row, etc. Even if the student does not consistently know spatial terms, he/she should be exposed to these terms and will develop a general idea about spatial concepts. Shout out an animal and have the student quickly find the animal. When calling out animals that are in the corners, have the student use the edge of the iPad to quickly and directly find the corner. For students who are in kindergarten, include additional terms such as 1st, 2nd, 3rd.
Teacher Hint: Please rate this app in the App Store – be sure to mention that you use the app with VoiceOver! As a VI community, we can and should support developers who create accessible apps!
By Diane Brauner