Thursday, October 20, 2011

Camera Zoom

With the iOS 5 upgrade release, zooming for the camera changed.  Previously, you tapped the screen to make a slider bar appear (could zoom in/out using the slider).  With the upgrade, you simply use a 'pinching' move on the screen when you are in camera mode.  Again, the slider bar will appear and you can zoom in/out.  Here are the steps again:

If you have the iOS 5 upgrade:
  1. Open the Camera.  NOTE:  You must be using the back camera for zoom to work, zoom will not work if you are using the camera lens on the front of the iPad.
  2. Use your index finger and thumb, use a pinching move on the screen, or pinch then flick them apart...both work. A slider bar will appear, zoom in/out.

If you do NOT have the iOS 5 upgrade:
  1. Open the Camera. NOTE:  You must be using the back camera for zoom to work, zoom will not work if you are using the camera lens on the front of the iPad.
  2. Tap or touch the screen, a slider bar will appear.  Zoom in and out.

    Wednesday, October 19, 2011

    Toca Store and Toca Birthday Party

    I am sure that everyone knows that I am a loving fan of Toca Boca...and they did it again!  Two more really great apps that I have been meaning to talk about for awhile!
    Toca Store (might be my favorite yet) and Toca Birthday Party

    Toca Store: This is a great app for role play.  One person is the store owner (we also use the terms vendor, cashier, etc).  This person is responsible for setting up the picking the items they want to sell.  We talk a great deal about picking items that we think our customer would want (perspective taking, thinking about others, etc). The other role is the customer, who picks items and pays for them.  The options are endless for goals.  I have used this game during many sessions already and each session is different. Some sessions we use all non-verbal communication to indicate that the store is open, bargain/set prices, indicate that we are ready to pay, etc.  Other sessions, the students must verbally bargain for a fair price...we talk about what happens if we set a price too high or too low (losing customers vs. not making a profit).  Of course, since money is involved, there are math goals that could be incorporated as well. I also have the students review their order or explain why they bought certain items.  One of my students had the idea that he wanted to work on his skills of persuasion by trying to convince his 'cheap' partner to buy more items! I could go on and on!

    Here are pics from the Apple Store:

    Toca Birthday Party:  If you enjoy Toca Tea Party, you will love this app as well.  It is a very similar theme.  There is a gift to open, cake to serve and eat, drinks, and some party poppers.  Again, this app is great for turn-taking, role play, non-verbal communication, and it is suitable for both boys and girls. Plus many other goals!

    Here is a screenshot from the Apple Store:


    MexiBall is just the coolest is by Donut Games, who also make some other apps that I use: Spikey,  Ruberth's Kick n Fly, Cows in Space, etc.  There apps are fabulous for higher level language and critical thinking skills. I am able to use their games with my younger students as well as my adolescent students.  Donut Games also has a nice website (click the Donut link) where some of the games are available in an on-line version (no apple device necessary).
    MexiBall is a logic game in which you need to slide colored balls together.  The levels start easy, but quickly increase in difficulty.  Ex: You will need to slide a yellow ball out of the way before sliding the red balls together. Other obstacles are added, such as holes, electric gates, etc.  Not only do you want to complete the level, but you want to do so in as few moves as possible.

    Oh yeah, did I mention it is FREE this week?????  Donut Games offers a FREE app every week, they post the name of the app on Mondays. Here is their Facebook page.

    What Goals Do I Target?
    • Logic, sequencing, and higher level thinking: Students must analyze the puzzle, decide what steps need to be accomplished, solve problems (ex: if a ball is in the way, etc), use multiple strategies, etc.   It was really cool to see my students pre-planning the steps...even talking out a plan before they began!  This game is advanced enough for my middle school-aged students as well. You could increase the vocabulary level for older students: theory, predict, hypothesis, test, solution, etc.
    • Following directions: I can provide oral directions for the student to follow in order to pass a level. Student partners can also work together...Student A tells Student B how to complete a move or level, then they can reverse roles. 
    • Fine motor and coordination: It is great practice for my students who struggle with keeping their finger on the screen and dragging the marbles through the puzzle/maze.  My OT friends would be better at describing the skills needed here! =)
    The one drawback that I have found with this app, is that once you perfect a level, it tells you that you failed when you try it with another group.  I simply explain this to the students and instruct them not to pay attention to the message...but it would be nice if the developer could change this??? (Hint, Hint!)   My students really like seeing that phrase, "You Passed".  I do not want to reset the game either because some student keep track of their level from session to session.

    Here are screenshots from the Apple Store...I didn't use my own shots as the store shots showed the finger moving the marbles, which is nice.

    More Swiping?

    With the iOS5 upgrade, there are some new 'moves' that you can take advantage of.  I like them!

    1. Access the Multi-tasking Bar easier: use 4 or 5 fingers and swipe upwards, your multi-tasking bar will appear.  Previously, you needed to double-tap the home button to access this.  Use the same 4 or 5 fingers and a downward swipe to get rid of it.
    2. Going between different apps: When using an app, use 4 or 5 fingers and swipe sideways to switch from app to app.  This is such a useful tool when practicing during sessions...students can easily use multiple apps (ex: Practice /s/ blends from Articulate It!, switch to Cut the Rope to take a turn at the game, return to Articulate It! to continue practicing /s/ blends, and so on...).
    **I'll add some pics later...or maybe even a video!***


    Ok, so now that iOS 5 is here, there is a long-awaited feature:  Make Albums!  That's right, no more scrolling through hundreds of pictures and videos looking for 'that one picture' or in my case, 'that one speech sample'.  So how do you do it?  You can pre-make albums and drop in select videos or pics...or you can take your videos/pics and make the albums later.  Either way works. **I will add some photos for each step soon.**
    1. Go to Photos (not the camera...go to Photos).
    2. At the top of the screen, you will see a button that has 2 options, Photos or Albums.  Choose Albums.
    3. Now you are in the albums mode...simply hit the edit button in the upper right corner.
    4. To make a new album, touch the New Album button located in the upper left corner. 
    5. Name your album, ex: Articulation or "Making Pancakes", whatever!
    6. Next you will be prompted to select pictures from your camera roll.  Simply touch the pictures or video that you want in that album!  Presto you are Done-O!  Thanks Apple, you just saved this SLP some extra time!

    Wednesday, October 12, 2011

    iOS 5

    Thought I'd post this article link summarizing some of the new features that we can expect with the upgrade to iOS 5!

    iOS 5 by Lifehacker

    Here is the info on Apple's site as well.

    Just some of my favorites and things I am looking forward to:
    • Definitely looking forward to some of the new camera options...making albums and being able to click/drag photos/videos ...oh Apple, you have made me so happy!  No more searching for Speech samples (video), could it be????  Plus lots of other slick camera and photo options.
    • I am definitely looking forward to the Notification Center...all of my alerts in one place, just like my Android-powered phone.
    • Reminders:  Yes!  I love making a good "To-Do" List.   Note to self: IEP 'To-Do' lists here I come!
    • New multi-tasking ways to swipe around the screen!
    • More features in 'Mail' being able to BOLD and underline, yay!
    • And just a variety of other fun features to explore of course....