Bridges News — Tablets & SmartPhones

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iOS 7 Switch Access -- First Impressions 0

To much fanfare, iOS7 has added switch settings to its many other accessibility features.  Recently I had a chance to play around with the switch settings in iOS 7. 

[to see the latest in accessories to help you with iPad switch users  -- mounting, cases, storage, charging, and training -- visit the Bridges' iPad page]

In general, I found they are really good for accessing all the menus and desktop icons.  If a program already has scanning built in- it runs great. If the program does not have scanning built in, it will look for the hot spots and scan groups or single items, depending on the settings you choose.

One nice feature in the new iOS 7 is that there is an available on screen scanning menu. While using switch control, when a user selects an item they will encounter a pop-up menu that contains a variety of advanced functions. If a user selects Scroll, Gestures, Device, or Settings from the pop-up menu, they will be presented with a second menu of options that have more advanced actions and settings for Switch Control. Those popup menus have all the feature options that a touch user would have.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="287"]Image cover of iO7 switch control book For a great resource download iOS 7 Switch Control The Missing User Guide by Ablenet[/caption]

Some of the features you can customize for scanners are:

  • Auto Scanning
  • Auto Scanning Time
  • Pause on First Item
  • Loops
  • Auto Tap
  • Move Repeat
  • Hold Duration
  • Ignore Repeat
  • Group on
  • Group off

I have not played with all the features and I am sure there are some additional good ones. Overall it is pretty good. Sometimes when it is looking for hot spots to scan, I did not understand the logic of how it grouped items but I think that would just need some playing with to figure out.

Overall a nice addition to iOS 7. In my testing, I used an Applicator switch interface and the new Piko extra durable switches from Finland.  In previous iOS's, switch interfaces piggy-backed on top of the Voice Over features designed for visually impaired users. With the new iOS 7 it looks like any Bluetooth switch interface for the iPad (including the coming soon Blue2™ switch shown in the video above) will be able to deliver a rich array of switch scanning features.

--Claire MacLaren

Alberta Sales Consultant, Accessibility Specialist, Bridges

clairem@bridges-canada.com

Co: Writer 7 and Co:Writer iPad App now here! 0

Co:Writer has a 20-year history of helping students write even after nothing else worked.    Now, for 2013 Co:Writer is even better with the new iPad App and Co:Writer 7. cwa_devicesThe Co:Writer iPad App uses the same word prediction engine as Co:Writer desktop with many of the most important features students rely on like FlexSpell and Topic Dictionaries. Some of Co:Writer 7 new features include: Over 4 million Instant Topic Dictionaries through unique “web scraping” technology.  No searching, pasting, saving – just get writing on practically anything from “Canadian Confederation” to “Wonders of the World,” in seconds. Testing Accommodation Supports:  Quickly restrict features (predict ahead, grammar, Topic Dictionaries, etc.) during the big test. Data Reporting  that tracks time spent writing and vocabulary usage of individual students and groups. USB Flash Drive Support  On-screen Keyboards built into your Mac and Windows operating systems Read the DJ article “Word Prediction—What’s Good Enough?“ to learn the difference between Co:Writer and other word prediction programs.

Zinguis Get New Operating System 0

All new Zingui devices will be running version 4.1.3.1141 of Mind Express as their operating system. This version of Mind Express is now almost identical (including add-ons such as Agenda) to the version running on the Mind Express 4 for PC used in the Tellus 4.   The few minor differences are listed below. The Zingui is a popular small tablet communication aid, that is fully bilingual (English and French).  Durable, purpose built, with long battery life and powerful sound, the Zingui has proven particularly popular with children in schools. You can now use a regular Mind Express 4 to import/export communication boards onto the Zingui (see File > Import from Zingui and File > Export to Zingui). A full version Mind Express 4 will now be delivered  with each Zingui. As well as a  Mind Express 4 user manual, users will also receive an updated Zingui user manual (with specific Zingui related information). A few differences between Mind Express 4 for PC and for Zingui:
  • There is no media library on the Zingui. All images and sounds are transferred using the PC version.
  • No support for multiple users.
  • No Windows control functions (as the Zingui is a dedicated Mind Express device).
  • No video support (MP3 is supported though).
  • No Camera support.
  • No E-mail support (this may be added in a future version).
  • The Agenda editor is a little different.

SymbolWorld -- Free Symbolized Articles and Stories On your PC, iPad or Mac! 0

SymbolWorld is a wonderful resource from Widgit that we constantly share in our training sessions and workshops.  SymbolWorld has short articles – science, social studies, recipes, jokes and more -- carefully symbolized and written in a clear, simple style.  eLive magazine pages have current events, reviews, sports stories from around the world also symbolized and considerately written. Teachers have told us they use SymbolWorld articles for research, class discussions and modeling writing.  Readers of SymbolWorld vary from adults with cognitive challenges, to kids with reading disabilities to students who are new to English. Web-based SymbolWorld works beautifully on any browser, including iPads or other tablets. [slideshow] Now the eLive magazine is better than ever! New stories will be published instantly  and other popular categories such as 'People', 'Entertainment' and 'Sports' will be updated regularly.  All supported by the regularly updated 40,000+ Widgit symbol vocabulary. If you haven’t checked out SymbolWorld in awhile you may not have realized that you can now customize the settings for greater accessibility including colour, size, page layouts and heights for scrolling. Just register for free and you can change settings and even print symbolized articles.