ObjectiveEd Apps: Part 1

If you have attend a conference in the last year or so, you have probably met Marty Schultz, founder of the Blindfold apps and co-founder of ObjectiveEd. Marty has been actively seeking input from Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVIs) and Orientation and Mobility Specialists (COMS) as he develops a series of games specifically to address the unique needs of students with visual impairments. ObjectiveEd (OED) combines motivating educational games paired with IEP goals along with powerful performance monitoring and reporting tools that empower TVIs and their students. No wonder there is such a buzz in the VI community about ObjectiveEd! 

In this series, we will dive into the eight games that are currently available in the free version of ObjectiveEd, starting with Part 1, Speed Gesture and Sound Search games. 

General Info About ObjectiveEd Games

  • All games are played in portrait mode
  • All games have progressive levels
  • Players can choose to play the same level again or move on to the next level
  • Quick Interactive tutorials are available for each game (some games have additional interactive tutorials associated with different levels)
  • Some games last 1 minute (Speed Gesture, Sound Search) while other games are two minutes (Barnyard games)

General Game Commands

After selecting a game and hearing the directions for that game:

  • Start the game: One-finger single tap
  • Repeat the directions: Two-finger single tap

Speed Gesture Game

During this fast-paced game, players learn and practice VoiceOver gestures. A verbal command is given and the player is given a short time to create the correct gesture. If the player creates the correct gesture in the allotted time, he receives points. When 10 correct gestures are produced in a row, a special sound and scoring information is given. 

Speed Gesture Levels

Basic Level

  • Level 1: Tap and Double Tap (single finger)
  • Level 2: Swipe left, Right, Up or Down (single finger)
  • Level 3: Mixture of Tap, Double Tap, Swipe Left/Right/Up/Down (single finger)
  • Level 4: Tap, Double Tap, 1-finger Swipes, Twists and Rotate (single finger)
  • Level 5: Tap, Double Tap, 1-finger Swipes, Scrub and Shake (single finger)

Intermediate Level

The number after the action indicates how many fingers to use (Example: Tap 1 is a one-finger single tap; Tap 2 is a two-finger single tap.)

  • Intermediate Level 1: Taps (Tap 1, Tap 2, Double Tap 1, Double Tap 2)
  • Intermediate Level 2: Swipes (Swipe Up 1, Swipe Down 1, Swipe Right 1, Swipe Left 1, Swipe Up 2, Swipe Down 2, Swipe Right 2, Swipe Left 2)
  • Intermediate Level 3: Taps and Swipes (all of the above)
  • Intermediate Level 4: Taps, Swipes, Twists, and Rotations 
  • Intermediate Level 5: Taps, Swipes, Scrub and Shake

Advanced Level

After the Intermediate Leve, the game progresses to the advanced levels. The Advanced Level uses the same gestures as the Intermediate levels, but the gameplay is slightly harder.

Note: Each level has an interactive tutorial on how to produce the new gesture(s) in that level.

The video below introduces the Objective Ed app and the Speed Gesture game.

Note about Commands Used

The Twist and Shake commands are movements designed for iPhones, as a phone can easily - and safely - be held in one hand. However, students frequently have school-provided iPads. When using an iPad with students, I typically require my students to keep the iPad on the desk to minimize the risk of dropping the iPad. The Shake command is easy to perform; however, I struggled with the Twist command in this game when using an iPad. Honestly, I was not successful with the Twist command during the game play; although after numerous tries on the tutorial page, I was able to do the Twist one time. (I realize this might be a 'user error' problem!) For students to safely hold an iPad during game play requires two-hands. With Speed Gesture, it was awkward to transition from holding the iPad in two hands to perform the Shake and Twist movements and then switch to a one-handed hold for the basic taps and swipes. Caught up in the heat of the game, there is a strong possibility that the student may accidently drop the iPad.

FYI: I was happy to see the often-overlooked Scrub gesture included!

Additional Speed Gesture Goals

While the main goal of the game is to accurately produce VoiceOver gestures, Speed Gesture encourages a number of different goals, including:

  • Increase gesture speed (efficiency)
    • Encourage student to hover hand over the iPad, to use small gestures, and to have a light touch (should not hear the finger(s) tapping the iPad)
  • Increase listening/processing speed
    • Encourage student to listen only to the critical piece of information - not the entire sentence before performing the gesture)
  • Increase muscle memory for producing each gesture

Sound Search Game

This is a fun matching game! Draw a line from the object in the left column to the corresponding sound in the right column. Drag your finger down the left side of the screen to find the first object; the object is announce when your finger is on it. Then - without lifting your finger - drag your finger down the sounds in the right column. When you hear the sound that matches the object, lift your finger. The anticipated way to play the game is to start with the name of the object (left column) and drag to the sound (right column); however, it is also possible to start with the sound and then drag to the object in the left column.

Note: Each level of the game has numerous objects and corresponding sounds that appear in random order. Students can repeat the same level and each game will display a unique set of five sounds appearing in random order. Students cannot simply 'memorize' the location of the answers!

The first level has one object in the left column and five objects in the right column. The next level has multiple objects in the left column and right column.

Sound Search Levels

  • Level 1: Animals (1)
  • Level 2: Animals (5)
  • Level 3: Musical Instruments (1)
  • Level 4: Musical Instruments (5)
  • Level 5: Transportation-related sounds (1)
  • Level 6: Toys (1)
  • Level 7: Toys (5)
  • Level 8: Common household items (1)
  • Level 9: Common household items (5)

The video below demonstrates the Sound Search matching game.

Additional Sound Search Goals

  • Introduce and practice drag gesture 
  • Introduce and practice dragging in a straight line
    • If necessary, align middle and/or ring finger of the right hand along the physical edge of the iPad while dragging the right index finger down the screen
  • Introduces spatial layout/mental mapping
    • Object is in the left column, sound is in the right column
    • Learn the order of the five sounds each new screen and navigate directly to the sounds
    • Navigate directly to the next object in the left (Example: When looking for the last item in the column, start in the bottom left corner)
  • Listening/processing speed
    • Encourage student to listen to the first portion of the sound (not the entire sound) and move to the next if not the desired sound
  • Matching Skills
    • Some sounds are similar (goat/sheep, fly/bee) and some are unusual (exotic animals); learn to match both familiar and unfamiliar sounds
    • Process of elimination

Note: There are an amazing number of sounds to identify; the animal sounds are fairly basic. However, some of the other categories have some unique sounds that a young student may not recognize. This is a great opportunity to teach the process of elimination. When there are five items on the left, the student can match the ones that he knows - which eliminates those answers. (When an correct answer is matched, dragging your finger over that matched sound will activate a chime sound and the speaker symbol will be green, alerting the student that the sound is no longer an option.)

Suggestions for ObjectiveEd

Speed Gesture

  • Include three-finger taps and swipes
  • Add levels that calls out what the action does instead of the actual gesture. Example: "Move to the next item" instead of "Swipe right"
  • Add efficiency hints. Example: "The smaller the gesture, the faster the speed!"

Sound Search

  • Add screen curtain option

General Suggestions

  • Include drag (and drag/split tap) gestures in menus
  • Ability to access the tutorial before playing the game
  • Traditional VoiceOver options (such as accessing the rotor) are not available while playing the game. It would be nice to be able to increase the speaking rate during the game play; however, this game is basically self-voicing which eliminates traditional VoiceOver options.

Download the free version ObjectiveEd from the App Store here. Note: You will need to log back into the free version of the game after seven days. To change your password, go to the Teacher Login on the ObjectiveEd's website.

Summary

These exciting games are motivating and educational! The games are addictive! Students with visual impairments have few options for quality accessible educational games. Students are having a ball playing these amazing games and are learning important skills through game play. Thank you, Marty Schultz, for seeking input from educators, creating exceptional games and for providing the free version for educators to take a sneak peak at ObjectiveEd games.

Stay tuned for a sneak peak at additional ObjectiveEd games!