Saturday, May 24, 2014

Assistive Technology in the Classroom with "Dollars and Cents"

This week we read chapter seven in Bryant and Bryant's book Assistive Technology For People With Disabilities.  In the chapter the authors described ways of integrating asistive technology into academic instruction.  Our task was to take a look at the various software options listed and describe what they do and list some of the pros and cons of the application. I chose to review the math software called "Dollars and Cents"  The program is available on both PC and as an iPad app.  I downloaded the free app and experimented with the features.

Below is a description of the software right from the company's homepage .
Dollars and Cents Software is a great way to integrate functional activities into your math curriculum. Ideal for adolescents and adults with developmental disabilities, including autism. United States and Canadian currency is included.
Counting Coins has four activities: Naming, Matching, Sorting, and Vending Machine.
In Spending Money, students shop for items and pay for them with computer cash, using the exact amount or the next-dollar approach.
In Making Change, the most advanced program, students function as store clerks, entering purchases and giving back change.
All of the programs feature clear, realistic graphics and an easy-to-navigate interface. Plus, this money talks! Personalize each program: select activities, determine which coins and bills are presented, choose U.S. or Canadian currency, and set scanning options.
Standout Features:
  • Realistic graphics
  • Age-neutral content
  • Speech supports
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Unified management system
  • Select coins and bills for each user
  • Choose between U.S. and Canadian currency
  • Access Dollars and Cents with single or two-switch scanning
Here are some Pros and Cons which I found after trying the free version.

  • the graphics are very clear and simple
  • the voice is clear
  • for many of the activities if I selected an incorrect answer the number of possible answers would diminish so that success was guaranteed, the voice would state " try again" or "not quite" 
  • there was an increasing level of difficulty as you progress through the activities
  • there were some good sound effects
  • the cost is high for example, 1 app is $39.99; 5 apps= $150.00 and 20 apps = $$400.00
  • the CD Rom is $99.00 or 5 for $249.00
  • The last level entitled "Vending" may be engaging due to the sound effects but I am not sure the mathematical processes are scaffolded enough to stimulate learning
  • the naming activity shows three was to name each coin, for example 
    • penny
    • 1c
    • 1 cent
Generally speaking I could see that this app can be supportive to students in the classroom.  A headset or ear buds would be needed.

Bryant, Diane Pedrotty., and Brian R. Bryant. Assistive Technology for People with Disabilities. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2003. Print.

No comments:

Post a Comment