Top 10 Posts of 2012

Here are the top 10 posts on the Assistive Technology Blog as rated by number of views. Thanks to everyone who read the blog. Please check back in the new year for more cool posts.
  1. iOS 5 Tips: Use Assistive Touch to Replace a Broken Home Button, Lock Button or Volume Button
  2. What is Assistive Touch?
  3. What does iPhone 5 and iOS 5 Mean for Assistive Technology?
  4. Read PDF Files Aloud with vBooks PDF Voice Reader
  5. iPhone 4S Accessibility Features
  6. iOS 5 Tip: Look Up Any Word
  7. Android Becomes More Accessible With 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
  8. Assistive Touch Improvements in iOS 6
  9. The Kindle Fire Is Not Accessible
  10. Prizmo: Fast, Accurate, Full Featured OCR App for iPhone Review
What was your favorite post of 2012 let us know in the comments.

Favorite Assistive Technology Apps & Products of 2012

As 2012 comes to a close I decided to make a run down of my favorite assistive technology apps and products that I have been using this year. This list is in no particular order.

Click read more view the list.

The Sky WiFi Smartpen is easy to use and seamless. It has a built in recorder and camera that, when used with specialized paper, syncs audio and written notes in the cloud. To read the Sky WiFi Smartpen review click here.

iPad mini is a great tablet because of its size, app selection, and accessibility. The lower price point makes it even more compelling. Most of all iPad mini runs all the apps that the full size iPad does and has accessibility features second to none. Click here to read more about the iPad mini.

While iOS 6 many have been short on mainstream features it has several useful accessibility features including Guided Access, highlighting with Speak Selection, Siri improvements, and VoiceOver improvements. Click here to learn more about iOS 6.

This update included great new voice search feature that I found to be better and faster than Siri. Click here to learn more about the Google Search App for iOS.

This app has a really nice interface and good scan quality which made it my favorite scanning app of 2012. Click here to learn more.

Prizmo is hands down the best OCR app for iPhone that I have used. Just take a picture of a document and it will read it to you in a matter of seconds. Click here to download or learn more about Prizmo.

A great reader of Bookshare books that allows you to read your books portably without a computer. Bookshare is an online accessible library avalible to qualified people. Click here to download or learn more about Read2Go.

Kurzweil isn't new to 2012 but it is a program I use everday. It helps me tremendously and it deserves a spot on this list. Click here to learn more about Kurzweil 3000.

Good app for listening to Learning Ally Audio books. The free app is available for all iOS devices. I would like to see the app include new features such as background audio in 2013. Click here to learn more.

PaperPort Notes App Adds OCR Functionality

Nuance's PaperPort Notes app for iPad received a major update. The highlight of the update is the ability to take a picture of text to add the text to your notes. The Optical Charactor Recongition (OCR) feature is slower than other competing apps but is accurate. The improved cameras on the newest iPads allow OCR to work well. To learn about the other features of the free PaperPort Notes app click here. Click here to download the app.

Click read more below to view screenshots of PaperPort Notes.

Google Play Books Adds Read Aloud Feature

Google Play Books is the Google's ebookstore and companion reader apps. The Android reader app was recently updated to include a text-to-speech read aloud feature. Click here to download the free app for Android. The text-to-speech voice is a little above average but gets the job done. The read aloud feature works with most books in the Google Play store. If you have an Android device be sure to check this app out.

Click read more below to view screenshots of Google Play Books.

Mobile Learning in ELT: Survey 2013

In 2010, after buying my first iPad I decided to do some research into how teachers were using mobile devices in their classrooms and their teaching. At this stage ‘smart’ phones were already starting to make an impact and tablet devices were just coming onto the market.  The research results from this first survey were published in the Guardian Online under the title ‘English language teachers connect to mobile learning’ and the complete results and report can be downloaded from:

I followed this research up in 2011 using the same survey questions in an attempt to see how things had advanced with the intervening period and the results from that survey were  published in May 2011 on the DELTA Publishing blog under the title ‘mLearing and ELT: Are We Mobile Ready?

One of the main observations from this survey was that many teachers were in fact ready and willing to embrace mobile learning and mobile devices, but that publishers seemed to be more reluctantly lagging behind.

Over the last 18 months since publishing the 2011 survey results, mobile learning seems to have made its way into the main stream of discourse surround the implementation of educational technology in our schools and universities, so I have decided once again, thanks to the support of the Bell Educational Services Teacher Training department,  to launch a more extensive survey building on the original one to try to discover the extent to which the ‘talk’ about mobile learning has had any genuine impact and realisation in our schools and classrooms over the past three to four years.

Whether you use technology, mobile learning or avoid it please find time to answer these 20 questions and share your ideas, opinions and reflections and I will once again publish the results for all to share.
Many thanks for your help and participation.

Related links:


Nik Peachey

Green Technology Careers for Veterans

Being part of something great is what sets us apart from the rest of the people. To be able to serve one's country is the most satisfying thing a person can experience. It is hard to be able to go back to the society after going through such an experience. Veterans find this transition difficult because they are used to giving service to the community. Are you one of this people? Have you given all you can to your country and now fell that you cannot integrate back to it? We help you learn the skills involved with of green technology that will help you feel wanted and useful.

The topic of climate change is the most talked about these days. The rate at which emissions of carbon and other greenhouse gases is destroying the ozone is of major concern. Veterans are used to dealing with guns, tanks and bombs. They use this equipment's to protect their countries in times of danger. We help these soldiers relate to such events by showing them the comparison between green technology and war. The rate at which people are producing harmful gases is similar to war. The veterans learn that they are at war with climate change and need to save the world from this greater danger. This makes them feel like they are part of something great.

We equip our military veterans with the skills associated with green technology. We believe that this will help them to easily settle back to the society. Green technology activities give you the chance to feel that you can still be able to give back to the society. This will help curb the high rate of unemployment that faces many veterans. The works of green technology equip the soldiers with the skills to help change the environmental decay problem.

The green careers involve various activities that help create a cleaner environment for the society. We give veterans the chance to assist in curbing problems that are associated with climate change and modification. Green technology is a science that comes up with creative energy options. This energy options give better alternatives to energy sources that release harmful toxins in the environment.

We equip veterans with the skills required to deal with green technology. We enrich them with skills of solar energy use, recycling of waste materials and we also involve them in projects such as planting of trees. This type of careers we believe make the veterans feel at home and involved.

We respect and appreciate the sacrifices that our soldiers have given to us. It is only our humble duty to help you find something fulfilling to do after your service. Our goal is to reduce the rate of unemployment in our veterans. Heating, ventilation and Air conditioning equipment are some of the things used at home that consume a lot of energy. We train you to deal with problems of repair and management of such equipment. Green technology careers give veterans the chance to socialize with the society. This is a fulfilling and enjoyable ways to assist you slowly learn to reintegrate in the society.

Green Technologies

New inventions on green technologies have been emerging in recent times. This new inventions are aimed at promoting distribution and implementation of sources of renewable energy. To avoid human activity when carrying out the process of installation of this technology of installing solar panels, robots were introduced. They are expected to help in the construction of solar farms. Green technology saves power costs and it is aimed at conserving the world. They are known for providing environmentally friendly products. It is said to focus on waste, clothing, cleaning products, energy sources and inventions.

They play an important role in changing waste and production patterns. It is aimed at eradicating the methods of waste and production that causes environmental harm. They do so by creating ways for producing the same result but in a way that it is beneficial to the environment. Green technology is all about innovation. It is all about coming up with a technology that does not have a harmful effect on the environment and the people surrounding it. It is about coming up with friendly sources of energy such as solar power. Green nanotechnology is the most innovative section and it means the use of green engineering and green chemistry in perfecting the notion of embracing green.

Green technology was also introduced to cut down the emission of carbon into the atmosphere. The use of it makes environmental sense. They use the same functionality like the traditional technology the only difference being the fact that they guarantee a safer environment. When they are not in use, green technology switches are said to automatically shut down. They do the same work as traditional technology, they cost less and they last longer. The energy that is offered by green technology is clean.

The use of green technology is based on the following principle. First instead of cleaning up waste it is best to prevent it. It is based on the proverb "prevention is better than cure." Secondly, to maximize incorporation of materials in processing the final product there should be a design on the synthetic method. There should be a design of the synthetic methodologies so as to generate substances which do not possess toxicity or have little toxicity to the health of human beings or to the environment.

Humans have been harnessing solar energy for a long time. Solar energy alongside hydroelectricity, biomass and wind are some of the available renewable energy. Solar energy has been grouped into active solar and passive solar. There are clamps for holding solar collectors on roof. The clamp has a pedestal. The pedestal are said to have two parts which an interconnecting wall interconnects them. The clamp top and the clamp base is the space that defines the solar collector's head. At the clamp base's bottom part there are many feet in a barrel tile application. Before installing a solar panel it is important that one should have a basic understanding as to how they are done.

Animation Technology

Animation is an optical illusion. It is a technique of visualization of motion by the rapid sequence of images of 2D or 3-D artwork or model position in order to create an illusion of movement. Each sequence of image contains a little change. It involves the appearance of motion caused by displaying still images one by one. By rapid viewing of the images human eyes fill the gaps and optical illusion movement is complete. The optical illusion is due to the phenomenon of persistence of vision and can be created in a number of ways.

In addition to its use for entertainment, animation is considered as a form of art. Animation picture is often displayed at film festivals throughout the world. Animation has its place in learning and education also. The animated cartoon made first its appearance in the early part of the 20th century.

Most of the animation made for television and film are produced by professional studios because it is not only time consuming but also costly to produce. However there are many resources such as lower cost programs and distribution network that have made the work of the animator much easier.

Frames can be produced by using computers or photographs of images. Frames can also be generated by altering a model unit in small ways and using a special camera to take pictures of the results. Irrespective of method, the animated film or movie fool the eye with the help of continuous movement.

The eyes are fooled by continuity of vision that is not really happens. In fact, brain and eyes together store a mere fraction of a second. The minor interruptions are automatically smoothed out by the inherent power of the brain. Movements are seen uninterrupted as the animation frames are shot in very fast pace.

The incorporation of animation into your own application depends largely on the type of interface your application provides. The applications that create their own user interface, such as educational software, have much freedom in determining how much animation is necessary for their users. When used rightly in your application's user interface animation can enhance the viewers' experience by providing a dynamic look and feel. With the combination of creating new custom controls with special visual effects can produce a cinematic computing experience for the viewers.

Each animation has its target object or a visual element. This target object is displayed to the users. This target object starts and stops the animation. Duration, pacing, and the repeating behavior determine the overall timing of it.

When adding animation to your application you should follow some important things to choose the appropriate technology. Use Cocoa views for the portion of your user interface which only require static, non-rotated, Aqua controls. Use animator proxy support provided by Cocoa views and windows for the portion of your users that require simple animation. Consider using layer baked Cocoa for the portion of user interface.

A number of studies have confirmed encouraging impact of animations when one face the need to understand conceptual processes"." Animation is a technique of visualization"." It is a replicated motion picture depicting movement of drawn objects"." Together with other techniques elaborated as a result of rapidly developing information and communication technologies"." Use of animations has been strongly encouraged as an innovative,constructive and students-centred alternative to the long-established learning approaches in various countries across the world.