An App for Me

Ding ding ding!  Lunch is over and the sound of the school bell signals students at Clara Barton Elementary in Anaheim, California to say their last good-byes and make their way to class for a final round of learning before a well-deserved weekend.   For Tina, the Friday lunch bell has a different meaning.  It signals a time for some fun, or learning if your Tina’s teacher, because Friday afternoon is Reading Adventure Time, an app that is (“finally”) designed for Tina and her fellow classmates with a visual impairments or blindness.

Tina returns to class and places an iPad and a portable Bluetooth braille keyboard with a refreshable braille display on her desk and then taps a series of key commands to open the Reading Adventure Time app.  She decides that today’s game will be the Braille Hunt.  She clicks to begin and is prompted to get started by a funny game show-like voice, “On your mark. Get set.  Go!”  Tina taps in a flurry to find the braille letters M and K.  About a  minute later the game ends with the sounds of children cheering and the announcer congratulating, “Pretty cool stuff!  Good job!”  Tina reviews her score and is stoked to find that it’s even higher than last week’s attempt.  “Even faster this time!” she shares with her teacher, Mr. Christian.  “Nice, Tina.” he replies. “It won’t be long before you’re a braille master!”

Keith w Student

Mr. Christian looks on proudly. “It’s a joy to see her so engaged.  The app is fun and challenging, and it’s absolutely strengthening both her braille and literacy skills.”  Tina chimes in on cue, “It’s also cool because I’m blind and this app is for blind people like me.  My sighted friends get to play all of the fun apps.  I can at least play this one for fun and for learning.  It’s cool.”

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