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Finding the Right iOS Apps for Your Students with Visual Impairments

scared child wearing glasses, using a tablet device

This is an excerpt from the book iOS in the Classroom: A Guide for Teaching Students with Visual Impairments by Larry L. Lewis, Jr. It is available from AFB Press at www.afb.org/store.

With tens of thousands of apps to choose from, how do you decide which apps are best for your students?

  • First and foremost, involve your students in the process of selection. Create a chart with a TASKS column, a SEARCH column, and an APPS column.
  • Under TASKS, list all of the classroom-related tasks that the student is expected to complete.
  • Under SEARCH, associate key phrases that come to mind for each task as potential search criteria. For example, “note taking,” “book reading,” or “money identification.” Next, perform searched in the App Store.
  • Identify a minimum of three possible APPS for each task. Write these apps in the Apps column of your chart.
  • Once you have a list of potential apps, do some research to determine whether they are accessible for Zoom and VoiceOver users. For this you may use the ViaApp, which you can download. Keep in mind that just because an app exists in the App Store doesn’t mean it works well with iOS accessibility tools.
  • Another effective means for selecting apps is to ask your peers what apps their students and children are using. Also, you can find specific reviews on apps at the AppleVis and
    http://www.maccessibility.net
    Maccessibility websites. These websites are also a way for your students to connect with other visually impaired users of Apple products.
  • Finally, while using a book like iOS in the Classroom is a great starting point, lots of questions will invariably arise as you and your students begin to explore iOS devices. Getting connected to one of the iOS online forums or blogs is an effective way to network and get answers to individual questions.

For more information about using iPads in the classroom with students with visual impairments, read iOS in the Classroom: A Guide for Teaching Students with Visual Impairments, available in the AFB Store in print, e-book and online formats at www.afb.org/store.

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