Sonokids Apps Introduce Space, STEM, and Sonification to Kids Who Are Blind
Sonokids has been creating accessible learning apps (cleverly disguised as fun game apps) for kids who are blind or visually impaired for years now. You may be familiar with their Ballyland universe where cute ball-shaped characters teach kids basic assistive technology skills like how to interact with a touch screen or how to use voiceover.
- Ballyland Stay Still, Squeaky!
- Ballyland Magic Plus
- VO Lab (Ballyland Magic for adolescents)
- Ballyland Rotor
- Ballyland Sound Memory
- Ballyland Code 1: Say Hello
- Ballyland Code 2: Give Rotor
- Ballyland Code 3: Pick Up
Ballyland CosmoBally in Space is a free app that follows the story of Ballyland’s astronaut, CosmoBally. Throughout the game she gives the Ballylanders – and users of the app – interesting snippets of information about the planets in our solar system.
CosmoBally on Sonoplanet is also free and continues the space theme while also introducing children to a groundbreaking new technology called sonification.
On Sonoplanet everything is sonified, meaning that all the information is turned into sound.
In four audio games, you can hear the difference between shapes, make a drawing in sound, trace a sonified track to scoop up strange items from the planet’s surface, and finally, search for the resident aliens, or ‘Saliens’ as they are called. Their location is indicated by a pair of sound indicators: the first gives you the Salien’s horizontal position in a grid, and the second its vertical position. By combining the information you hear, you can find the exact position of the Salien – and hear a fun alien sound when you find it!
Sonification is an emerging mainstream technology with huge potential for access to information by people who are blind or vision impaired. It is particularly used in astronomy and astrophysics, mathematics, biosciences, health, and much more.
CosmoBally on Sonoplanet the app for Early Learning of sonification concepts and skills, is supported by a dedicated website. This website has download links, instructions and lesson suggestions, links to other educational sonification projects, and also an anonymous user survey.
‘CosmoBally on Sonoplanet’ is the very first app in the world that gives children who are blind or have low vision the opportunity to freely explore and learn sonification concepts. This can prepare them for the use of sonification tools for future access to math and science or for becoming an astronomer by using sonification to access and analyze research data.
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