The Touch ‘N Slide Calculator iPad application is a great tool that assists students with visualizing the way numbers increase and decrease in computation problems. Upon opening the app, the student is presented with a number line consisting of 3 bars. The student is then able to drag the top bar to the first addend on the number line (up to the number 20). Then, the student then drags the second bar until he/she reaches the number to be added to the first addend (+2, +3, +4, etc.). The third bar moves automatically to show the total sum by visually combining the first and second bars on the number line. The app also includes the computation problem on top of the number line so students can see the numeric representation of the problem as well. The mode can easily be switched from addition to subtraction by simply pressing the +/- button on the bottom of the screen. The subtraction mode works similarly to the addition number line but now the student is able to move the second bar to the left to demonstrate how the number is decreasing in value and size. The use of color (blue for addition and red for subtraction) give students visual color cues to prompt them to think about what kind of computation they are doing. The Touch ‘N Slide calculator is a great visual tool for students who need assistance in grasping why/ how numbers change with addition and subtraction problems. The triple bars on the number line give concrete meaning to how numbers increase and decrease in value due to addition or subtraction. The Touch ‘N Slide calculator is free to download and other features including the use of negative numbers and multiplication/division can be purchased within the app.
Learning to share and take turns can be challenging for all children. The Sharing Timer app provides a simple interface to keep track of whose turn it is an how much longer they have. When you start the Sharing Timer, users have the option to select the number of players (designated by colored icons), the activity being played, and the time for each turn. Once started, the time provides a visual and numeric representation of the time remaining in the turn. When time expires, the app prompts users to share.
One major limitation to the sharing timer is the fact that it does not keep running in the background. This means that it cannot be used when other apps are being used. This can be worked around by running the Sharing Timer on a dedicated device.
The Sharing Timer is marketed by HandHold Adaptive and is available in the iTunes App Store for $0.99.
In the field of assistive word processing applications, iReadWrite stands out by providing a comprehensive suite of assistive tools with an easy to use interface. Word prediction has become widely implemented on cell phones to assist users who are sending text messages. iReadWrite, however, provides word predictions based on the context of the words already written. As a result, the recommendations are quite accurate. A further enhancement iReadWrite is the inclusion of a phonetic spell checker that will offer correct spellings of words that are entered phonetically.
To support auditory learners, iReadWrite includes a text-to-speech engine that can read aloud the words being typed. This is helpful during the writing process, and also to review the final written product. Users can select from a number of male or female voices, and can also set the reading speech.
Like most assistive word processors, iReadWrite provides the ability to change the foreground and background color as well as enlarging the font if necessary. One of the most important features of iReadWrite is the fact that it supports the use of Apple’s SIRI speech recognition on compatible devices. Apple has made great strides in the field of speech recognition and iReadWrite easily allows this functionality.
iReadWrite is marketed by TextHelp Ltd. and is available in the iTunes App store for $19.99.