Posts with tag: enabling technology

atool enables DDR pad or webcam input

| tags: blind, motor impaired, random, programming, enabling technology

Atool is an extension to our previous CamKeys project. Like CamKeys, atool allows keyboard input based on a cheap webcam. Atool adds DDR pads (or other game controller buttons) as an additional input and it allows playing recorded sounds on input events. My teacher friends in the Progress Education Program over at Asheville wanted to experiment with alternative computer interfaces in their classrooms for kids with multiple disabilities. I demonstrated MusicPad (a simple DDR pad driven sound player) and CamKeys to them. They were excited by the possibilities but daunted by editing files to control it all and depending on keyboard focus to get events to the right places.

So I hacked on CamKeys to add a GUI for configuring all sorts of events. I'll include a few screen shots below. Now the teachers are recording their own speech and music sounds and hooking them to events on the DDR pad or camera.

atool main screen atool create event dialog

The CamKeys roots of this project were funded by the Mozilla foundation.

The source is in CVS at sourceforge uncassist .


Wordpress makes a fine application framework

| tags: programming, enabling technology

I really like using Wordpress for my website and blog but I hadn't thought until recently about using it as an application framework. Karen and I talked about a site to enable teachers to quickly build topical beginning readers for people with varied interests and abilities. I began thinking about the features such a site would have and found lots of overlap with what Wordpress already provides. A blog post by Steve Winton over at NixonMcInnes encouraged me to examine the possibilities further.


Karen notes

| tags: enabling technology, motor impaired, ideas, literacy

Notes from a conversation with Karen. Always great fun. Dec 10-13 Karen at a camp with a dozen or so AAC users in Umatilla, Fl. Kids work about 5 hours per day, rest of the time they need interesting activities. Teenagers. Similar interests to my class. What could my FYS seminar students do to help?

Ideas: Content for Route 66, maybe Nascar? Games that are switch accessible, maybe racing? Maybe some FYS students could go? How does that work? Coordinate with Software Engineering and maybe a parallel ET class for CS students.

Scratch for interactive content generation?

Karen has a group at Forest View elementary, kids are using computers to make content of various kinds. For example recording themselves reading books for 1st graders. They could be a good group to get interested in content for device users. Visuals + Audio and simple text could be exciting to author and use.

Look at A to Z phonics website, content isn't that good but reading level is appropriate, see what books should look like.

Check out Dirty Bertie

Take pictures from good book, get object name and descriptors from teacher and generate really simple sentences like "Butterflies can ______" or "Pirates are ______" to make lots of content quickly. Share on a web site. Make it easy to produce and share content. Patterns like "The noun is verbing" and "The adjective noun is verbing". Generate text for beginning level reader.

Choose a topic, add descriptors, and generate sentences. Makes a "PowerPoint" or whatever for the teacher to use. Pictures from Flickr or somewhere. Teacher provides topic, gets a bunch of pictures, provides descriptors, system fills words into sentence frames. Make adding pictures easy. Site provides text to speech converted to mp3 and embedded. How about sounds for blind kids?

Something like SamiSays for recording "homework" answers from AAC devices that don't interface to computers. Teacher/parent plugs device into line-in and computer records audio to send to teacher. Kid listens to questions and answers using their device, app sends mp3 to teacher with the results. Enables kid to do homework independently. Email access too. Use a VERY small number of words as controls for the computer by recognizing them in certain contexts. Provide independent computer access. email via mp3.


Gretchen ideas on reading aids

| tags: enabling technology, ideas, literacy

Take pictures of the book during group reading (teacher is displaying it to the rest of the class using a projector say). Make it available for self selected reading later. Perhaps create PowerPoint presentation with the pictures and easily recorded audio of someone reading the text for each page. Enable typing in the text so it can be read using TTS either continuously or one word at a time. Make it easy to share these on some closed site. What about the copyright provisions related to people with disabilities? Public Law 104-197 would allow us to do this in a "specialized format". That says to me it couldn't be PowerPoint but that is not problem, we'd just have a specialized player. Very simple to show pictures and play speech. Might even be browser based. Could the whole thing be easily made browser based? Should it be?


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