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The Use of BlindSquare to teach compass directions

A lesson plan to teach students and adults who are visually impaired or blind compass directions using the BlindSquare app.

I attended the High-Tech O&M Workshop (Perkins School for the Blind Professional Development) at the Governor Morehead School in Raleigh, NC in November, 2016.  We learned about BlindSquare, VoiceOver, accessible maps, and other GPS and daily living skill apps.  BlindSquare is an app available for iPhones and iPads ($39.99) that uses GPS and the compass to relay information about the user’s location and the location of points of interest either set by the user or available in Foursquare.  Foursquare is a search app that makes recommendations of places to go based on user interests and input from other members.

This lesson plan focuses on the use of BlindSquare to teach compass directions to high school students and adults. 

Goal

Learn how to use compass directions to identify direction of travel and directional corners of a building. 

Equipment:  iphone with BlindSquare app

Steps

1. Set the Filter to My Places only.

2. Set the BlindSquare app to give you cardinal directions while traveling.

3. Using a square or rectangular building with sidewalks on all sides, help the student to set a point of interest on each corner.  Begin by traveling with the building to the student’s right.

To confirm that it has been added, go into My Places.

(In order to remove a place: go into My Places, go to Edit in the top right hand corner, go down and hit Delete… BlindSquare will not operationalize the change until you go to app switcher/ close BlindSquare/ open it back up again)

4.  Determine facing or traveling direction.  You can use another phone with a compass with voiceover, a talking or braille compass, or begin walking with BlindSquare, and it will announce the heading direction.

5. Assist the student in setting Tracking for the closest directional corner.

6. Begin walking toward the destination, and BlindSquare will announce your location as you walk (eg: Destination Southeast building 1, 40 yards east, heading east)

7. After you have located the first corner, assist your student in setting up tracking for the next corner.  Help him/her to recognize the “heading” direction report by starting off in the wrong direction once or twice.

8. After you have located all 4 corners of the building by traveling in one direction, turn around and attempt to locate all 4 corners with the building on your left.

Notes

Encourage your student to integrate travel skills with the BlindSquare announcements.  It will help if he/she understands that BlindSquare cannot always be 100% accurate (several times we turned and passed the destination before it announced that the destination was behind us).

It would also be fun to try one trip around the building after your lesson, switching back to Clock Face.  The student may prefer traveling with Voiceover off due to the competing voices.

 

By claire03

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