Posts Tagged ‘switches’

Northern Grid SEN Switcher Switch Games

a text blockSEN Switcher is a specifically designed website which offers a range of switch accessible games designed to help teach basic ICT skills through cause and effect methods. The range of games is simple and designed by the team at Northern Grid.

Northern Grid SEN Switcher games and activities can be used to help build up basic IT knowledge and can be accessed via single switch or keyboard.

Introduction to SEN Switcher

Northern Grid is a small team of education specialists based in the North East of England. They specialise in providing support and solutions for schools and local authorities in their local area and SEN Switcher is one of their products which is accessible to all and free to use.

SEN Switcher has been described as a progressive teaching and assessment tool and there are also notes provided for use by teachers or carers. SEN Switcher is regularly used in school and education environments as well as home and there are also assessment records and checklists. SEN Switcher can be accessed online or downloaded.

Key Features

SEN Switcher features 15 different switch activities. There are seven different sections into which these activities are split:

Each of these sections of games has different complexities, allowing the user or their teacher or carer to select games of the right difficulty. The games are designed to help develop ICT skills and utilise a range of sensory and switch skills including basic clicking, row scanning and also timed targeting.

SEN Switcher can also be customised, once the panel is opened, to utilise different colours. Colours can be setup to support users who are visually impaired or may have difficulties with specific colours as this video shows:

SEN Switcher uses a range of different graphics from simple lines and shapes to more familiar objects and animals. There are sound effects as well as images and the Targeting and 5 Press sections of the suite also involves some scenes, placing objects in context.

Limitations

SEN Switcher is a far reaching and well developed suite which offers games with a progressive feel, allowing users to graduate from one activity to the next as their skill set develops. All the games teach simple but important cause and effect skills.

SEN Switcher Switch Games Homepage

SEN Switcher Homepage

Conclusion

SEN Switcher is a highly educational switch activity suite which is also entertaining and enjoyable. It can be used in a classroom environment but many people also enjoy the games at home. The related notes and additional materials give teachers and parents the opportunity to track progress and help understand the development the skills that the games are designed to work on.

Northern Grid SEN Switcher has been designed to ensure a wide range of different people with different abilities can develop their basic ICT schools in a straightforward and fun way. These switch games are designed with switch use in mind, although they can be accessed via computer keyboard.

 

 

 

Educational Activity Suite Apps – Part 1

If you child is comfortable using touchscreen devices such as iPads, we’ve found a collection of expansive, high quality educations suites that can teach a number of subjects using a range of simple activities that are all switch compatible.

Chooseit! Science

Icon for Chooseit! Science app shows an illustration of a conical flask with green bubbling liquid inside.First in the range of Chooseit! activity suites is Science – an award-winning app that hosts over 160 different activities related to learning about science. The concise and simple to navigate activities are especially designed for those with disabilities and special educational needs. There are over 3000 simple multiple choice activities to choose from, and the entire app is brimming with accessible features that allow everyone to enjoy learning more about science.

The app has been created in cooperation with experienced teachers who truly understand the needs and obstacles that can sometimes be encountered by children with special needs in an educational setting. The app supports touch navigation, along with single or two switch scanning, and the full audio support provides clearly spoken questions that are presented in straight forward language.

Chooseit! Science features bright and appealing graphics that will instantly appeal to children, and the layout of the app is consistent and clutter-free, helping to keep distraction to a minimum so children can concentrate on learning.

Image shows a screen shot from the Chooseit! Science app - black text on white background reads "Find the metal object" below which is a photograph of a ladder and a wooden tableChooseit! Science covers four key areas of learning, which include:

Foundation Living Things – a simple introduction into the exploration of the world around us, including humans, plants and animals.

Living Things – a more challenging look at the world for those who have comfortably completed the first section.

Forces and Electricity – 30 graded activities that take a look at electricity and physics.

Materials – 30 activities that helps children study familiar materials and their properties.

Light, Sound and Space – Space is a popular area of study for children, and often a great place to start if you want to pique their interest in the sciences. This section includes 31 activities that look into the basics of Earth, space, sound and light.

Interested in more educational activity suite apps? We review the Chooseit! Numeracy app as part of our Lego Bricks & More post, and the Chooseit! Literacy app as part of our Ginger Tiger switch activities post.

CBeebies Switch Games

CBeebies Switch GamesThis is the third of our posts looking at the Top Ten Websites for Online Switch Activities. Please check out our previous post about the HelpKidzLearn range of switch games and apps.

This post is looking at the range of games available through the CBeebies website which have been designed for switch users as well as some other games which can be accessed via switches. Someone will be needed to setup the CBeebies game for access but once it’s been launched it can be played freely through switches.

Introduction to CBeebies Switch Games

CBeebies offers four distinct switch compatible games at present, the website allows these games to be located through a specific category search. There are other games which can be used by switch users but they need to be sought out as they don’t appear in the category.

CBeebies characters are bright, exciting and popular. Many of the games are educational as well as entertaining and many of the games are designed to be as simple as possible, to ensure no high level of mouse or keyboard skill is needed and a switch or a pair of switches can be used in isolation.

This video shows off some of the features of the games in the CBeebies range and how they can be accessed via switch:

Key Features

The four games currently listed under the CBeebies switch compatible system are:

Some of these games such as Something Special Out and About will also make use of a webcam or microphone for some games, allowing the user to use bodily movements rather than a switch for some games such as Pop the Bubbles. Tumble Faces within this game is also simple and fun as it uses a single click to make Mr Tumble pull a funny face.

Teletubbies Switch Games

Teletubbies Peek-a-Boo Switch Game

Peek-a-Boo is equally simple and uses single switch presses whilst Star-tastic Captain Jake requires a degree of scanning, but only through the use of a single switch. The rocket will move across the screen and the user needs to press their switch at the right moment.

Tiny Tumble Bubble Art is another game which uses the webcam. Users paint pictures with Tiny Tumble through popping bubbles through movements of any size. As the bubbles pop they spread paint across the screen.

Limitations

A number of games in the CBeebies range can be adapted for switch use but there isn’t any information to find them and they aren’t included in the category. As in the video above there are a wider choice of games than those made available through selected the right category.

Many of the games also rely upon webcam technology which is great as it is interactive and entertaining but doesn’t necessarily mean the game is switch accessible.

Conclusion

CBeebies has a wide range of recognisable characters which make their games popular. The fun interactive elements and the ability to play games and see your own face on the screen is a great addition which may appeal to a wide range of players.

Within some of the games available there are further choices and therefore the range is wider than it may initially seem.

 

Touch-Screen CBeebies Apps

There is also a growing-range of CBeebies apps available for both Apple and Android, and although many do not cater specifically for switch use, they are ideal for children who are comfortable using touch-screen devices such as tablets and iPhones. We’ve picked out a few below that will really appeal to children who love the various characters on the CBeebies channel:

Icon for In the Night Garden app shows all the characters on a green backroundIn the Night Garden

The wonderful, colourful world of the Night Garden is now available for your children to explore with this simple yet fun-filled app. In the Night Garden app has tons of interactive and familiar scenes that will provide hours of fun – each character has their own sub-game, and the app’s high-quality audio and HD graphics are visually stirring and immersive.

 

 

Icon for Waybuloo app, shows Waybuloo logo with Nok Tok and De Li on a sky blue backgroundWaybuloo

The official Waybuloo app really does have something for everyone – it includes a fun music scene where children can interactive with Yojojo to make him play instruments. There is also a gardening scene, where children can help De Li to plant flowers and fruit, to then water them and watch them grow! The app also includes a very simple art studio and the classic “Peeka” game.

 

 

Icon for Woolly and Tig app, shows Woolly the spider on a blue backgroundWoolly and Tig

There’s a real charm to the story of Woolly and Tig, and this app brings Woolly to life for children to play with. There are 10 motivating activities that children can take-part in, which include brushing Woolly’s teeth (great for kids who might struggle with routines such as this) and fun-filled activities such as Dress-up Woolly and Play in the Rain! Lovely, lush graphics, and a-must for any fans of the CBeebies series.

 

 

Icon for Dipdap app shows Dipdap stood on a curly line, on a yellow backgroundDipdap

The Dipdap app is a drawing game that promotes expression and creativity, without forcing children to be too structured with their creativity. Ideal for developing puzzle-solving and motor skills, Dipdap is full of imaginative interactive scenes that are high-contrast in colour by nature. Dipdap invites your child to draw in a familiar scene, which is then animated before their eyes and can be shared with friends and family.

Owlie Boo Switch Games

Owlie boo Switch GamesThis is the second of our Top Ten Websites for Online Switch Activities post. We’re looking in depth at Owlie Boo, which offers a range of switch games.

Owlie Boo is a website which was designed by tech savvy parents who wanted to teach their young son how to use computers in a fun and entertaining way. It is packed with a range of educational games designed initially for young children but many of the games are ideal for switch users because of the simplicity of their design. Many of the games are activated through pressing any button on a keyboard.

Introduction to Owlie Boo Games

Owlie Boo games offer a combination of entertainment and educational. Their range of games is expansive and they also have a range different apps for Android and iOs use specific to different games in their range:

The games are ideal for switch users as many of them involve only the pressing of a single key, any key, which means once they’ve been setup (as cursor use is necessary to setup the game) they can be enjoyed through a single switch. Many of the Owlie Boo switch games are also available to work with Eye Gaze technology.

This video gives a quick overview of how the games work for a switch user:

Key Features

PC or Mac based Owlie Boo games are broken into three key sections:

  • Pressing Keys
  • Moving the Mouse
  • Clicking and Dragging

The games in the pressing keys section are the simplest and easiest to access via switch technology. There are 12 bright, vibrantly coloured games to choose from including Shells, Dolphin, Crazy Monkey and Animals and they are all accessed by simple clicking a button on the keyboard or a single press of a plate switch or similar device. Pressing the switch will cause the animation on the screen to react in some way be that through animation or sound.

The other two groups of games aren’t designed for switch gamers and involve the use of more sophisticated controls. Some users may be able to configure a switch system that works with them but most users recommend sticking to the twelve Pressing Keys games.

Limitations

Owlie Boo Switch Games Screen

Owlie Boo Main Screen

Owlie Boo has advertisements and doesn’t play in full screen mode which may be problematic for visually impaired gamers. It is possible to purchase a subscription to Owlie Boo without advertisements and larger game interface on three different plans: $5 a month for three months, $12 a year or $25 for an institution subscription for up to 30 devices.

We also suggest investing in the apps – these are ad-free, fullscreen and are available at a one-off cost, rather than subscription.

The Owlie Boo apps currently available are:

Animals

Owlie Boo 1 (includes Animals, Jungle, Leaps and Egg)

Owlie Boo 2 (includes Marine, Flying, Shells and Hidden)

Owlie Boo 3 (includes Crazy Monkey, Frog, Dolphin and Dog)

Owlie Boo 4 (includes Bugs, Deep, Bubbles and Kids)

Conclusion

The educational element of Owlie Boo makes it especially popular as the games have a purpose as well as being fun. The interface is simple and the games work quickly and seamlessly. The wide range of games is another plus point as it means users can play for longer and try a range of games before getting bored or moving on.

Owlie Boo is a great choice for encouraging further activities and learning. The games are simply cause and effect but there is scope to discuss what happens and even what we think might happen before the switch is pressed.

For further reading, please have a look at our reviews of the Shiny Learning switch games website and the Special Bites online activities website.

How to Determine the Correct Switch Positioning

How to Determine the Correct Switch Positioning

The world of accessible switches is extremely complex and there are a range of considerations that need to be taken into account before

A Switch safely and correctly positioned on a Trabasack mount

choosing and positioning the switch for a user. It is important that the switch is positioned correctly and securely but it is also important to keep in mind that there may be occasions it needs to be moved so it can’t be a permanent attachment. The switch needs to accessible but equally needs to be secure against any potential damage or risk of being knocked off.

Before you can consider positioning the switch you need to think about what type of switch to choose. Here are some simple criteria which you need to consider before choosing your switch:

Which muscles/appendages will be used to control the switch?

If the switch is to be accessed via the elbow it needs to be position in such a way that it can be reached and this will be different than if it is going to be accessed by hand or wrist.

What kind of switch can be used by these particular muscles/appendages?

There are a range of switches on the market designed for specific usage by specific muscles so pay close attention when considering your switch.

How much force can be generated to activate the switch?

Switch sensitivity can be altered so depending on the force able to be exerted you can choose a switch with corresponding sensitivity.

Where and how is the switch to be mounted?

Before you can think about positioning your switch, you need to consider what mount you are going to use. We of course recommend using a Trabasack, a fantastic multipurpose lap tray and bag which acts as a useful mount for all different types of switch.

Back to positioning, when you’ve ascertained the answers to these questions you can begin thinking about the location of your switch. Here are some basic factors to consider when setting up your switch on your Trabasack mount:

How much force can the mount sustain without moving or breaking? With a Trabasack mount you have the added bonus of a cushioned under-surface meaning it can comfortable sustain any exertions needed to activate the switch.

A Trabasack with Switch safely mounted upon it.

Does the switch mount have any “give” so it can be adapted for users of different strengths? Again, as your Trabasack mount has a beanbag cushion it can handle the amount of pressure needed by any user to activate the switch. It isn’t particularly “tight” and you can mount the switch so it isn’t difficult to use.

How expensive is the switch positioning system? Trabasack is an extremely affordable product, not only because it is multifunctional but also because there are no other products on the market with the same benefits. As well as a functional bag and lap tray, you have its third switch mount functionality.

If you choose to use a Trabasack as your switch mounting device, you will not be disappointed. Extremely versatile and flexible there is scope for switch mounting in a number of ways to suit a range of users.