As an Assistive Technology Specialist and Teacher of the Visually Impaired, I am regularly perusing apps geared towards students that are 0-7 years old developmentally. In order to ensure that I am using apps that are helping my young students with low vision increase the use of their functional vision skills, I have started rating each app using my own rating scale based on the functional vision skills all individuals with low vision need according to Low Vision Online.
According to Low Vision Online, these skills include
- Awareness of attention
- Control of Eye Movements (tracking)
- Control of Eye Movements (scanning)
- Discrimination of Objects
- Discrimination of details to identify actions and match objects
- Discrimination of details in picture
- Identification and perception of patterns, numbers and words
Based on the above criteria, I have been evaluating the app “ Peppa Pig's Holiday ".
The app is appropriate for kids as developmentally as young as 2 and kids as old as 7. Each player can have their own profile to chart their progress on the activities featured in the app, which is nice for Itinerant teachers, classroom teachers or parents who want to use this app with more then one student or child. Each players profile features five vacation themed activity that Peppa and her family do while they are taking a holiday.
The games and challenges within the app features the following:
- Gives students exposure to helping Peppa and her family complete a swimming race.
- Make a Pizza with Peppa to help students get exposure to the language and process behind cooking (Teaching Tip: Add real objects in or follow up by actually making pizza to make this an active learning activity).
- Increase independent living skills with Peppa and George for the beach by teaching our students how to sort out clothes they would wear to the beach from clothes they would not be beach appropriate. (Pro Tip: Do this activity with your students in real life to add that active learning aspect to it).
Here is how I have rated Peppa Pig's Holiday based on Low vision.com’s visual skills:
Rating Scale: 5: Thoroughly integrates visual skills 4: Somewhat integrates visual skills 3: A few visual skills are present 2: Very few vision skills are present 1: no vision skills are present
Awareness of attention
4: This app is designed with simple high contrast colors that are simple in presentation.
Control of Eye Movements (tracking)
4: The swimming pool, airplane, cooking and airport activities give students with low vision to practice basic tracking and eye hand coordination skill development.
Control of Eye Movements (scanning)
3: The menu page of activities gives students with low vision the opportunity to visually scan to find their preferred game. The pictures aren't particularly big or colorful but they would give students an opportunity on using their hand held magnifiers to scan these photos.
Discrimination of Objects
5: There are several familiar objects presented in this app, espeically the airport games, that students can identify including: swimming suits, rolling pin, suitcases, clothing items, to name a few. (Teaching Tip: Bring in real objects and have students match the real object to the illustrated ones within the the app).
Discrimination of details to identify actions and match objects
3: There are a hand full of opportunities within the app for the adult or Teacher to ask students to identify what action a character is doing in the app. For example, in the swimming portion of the app ask student (s) what action the characters are doing.
Identification and perception of patterns, numbers and words
1: There are not very many opportunities for students to learn how to perceive patterns, numbers and words.
Discrimination of details in picture
4: There are ample opportunities for a child with low vision who can use a low vision tool to discriminate details in pictures using this app. This would be a good app to teach students how to use the Zoom Features on the iPad to identify details.
My two cents
This is one of the best apps I have used with my students to help increase their functional vision and visual motor skills. The images are high contrast but simple in presentation. The games are simple, engaging and fun for everyone. This would be a great app to teach students how to use magnification and zoom features on the iPad. Some of the activities in the app could easily be done in real life with students as well which would add the child's learning and sensory experience.