An age old issue that TVIs face is the matter of general education teachers providing students who have low vision with regular sized, print worksheets. The TVI might work hard to emphasize how important it is that enlarged or large print copies are made because they are more easily read and have larger spaces to record answers on, but the next time they visit the classroom it is more of the same thing, regular sized materials that their students have difficulty reading and writing on.
One first step for sure that I would recommend in these situations is that students employ some form of magnification that can assist with the task of reading. A dome magnifier is one thing to try, as is a video magnifier. Some limitations may occur with even these devices, however, because a dome magnifier can't help a student see his or her handwriting any better, and a video magnifier can be a larger device than what a student would like to use on a day to day basis.
Enter the iPad or Android tablet, mobile devices that are becoming the epitome of preset day education. These smart devices are so versatile, providing access to millions of apps in addition to traditional web browsing; they even allow for drawing/writing on the screen with a stylus or fingers, and keyboards can be paired with them for a standard typing input experience.
Today, I want to highlight the Fill and Sign app, made by Adobe (the pdf company), as a great free app available on both iOS and Android. With it, students can easily use their iPad or Android tablet to take a picture of a print worksheet and type responses on it. Here's how it works:
- When you open up the app, there is a large main image of a sheet of paper with a plus sign. Underneath it a label says "Select a form to fill out." Tapping on the image will give you options for where you are selecting the image from. For the purposes of this post I will select "Take a Picture." I am then taken to the camera.
- Take a picture of your worksheet, making sure that the entire paper is in the picture. If you are satisfied that you have taken a rough image of the paper, tap "Use Photo" at the top right of the screen. Otherwise, tap "Retake" on the bottom right of the screen. From there, you have the option of taking more pictures if your document has multiple pages. When you are finished, tap "Done" at the top right of the screen.
- Fill and Sign will automatically crop and adjust the picture so that the paper shows up filling the screen. If this process doesn't work perfectly, you can adjust the settings manually. You can additionally adjust settings like contrast and brightness. Press "Done" when you are happy with the quality you are working with.
- At this point, the paper should be pulled up. Pinch zooming in and out is the easiest way to zoom on parts of the document for better viewing. Locate the space in which you want to input some information and tap there. A text book should appear with a pop up above it, in which you can immediately start typing your answer. The pop up provides the option of adjusting font size, as well as switching to various symbols like check marks or X's. In general I recommend a separate keyboard for typing, since then you can turn off the on screen keyboard and retain all of your screen space for viewing.
- When you have completed your work for the moment, press "Done." You will find your form at the bottom carousel. To give it a name, tap and hold on the picture, select the "More" option at the bottom right, and then select "Rename."
- When you are done with your document and want to share or turn it in, tap and hold on the picture and select "Share." From there, all of the options you have for sharing the document will be pulled up, including emailing, printing, and uploading to cloud storage.
And that's it! I hope you find this to be as simple a solution as I did for my students! Using this awesome app, students who have low vision can easily complete their teachers' print documents digitally and then share the work back to their teachers. I'd love to know if you think this will help your own students!