Tuesday, September 11, 2012

An APP for Google Chrome that a two switch student can use

I am working with a young man that is a two switch scanner. We have developed customized access to websites via PowerPoint, Clicker, SD Pro and other programs just to have the sites no longer available, no one is updating the sites of interest for the student or when the student made a transition to another classroom the programming was left behind and the IT department wiped the system. Sound familiar. And you are probably saying but I am sure you backed it up. Yes, I will assure you that I have backed it up but since I am a consultant and things change or should change, I wouldn’t have the latest information.

So the other day, I was bored and when I am bored I just start randomly searching places and things. My target was the Google Chrome store. I carry an Android phone, tablet and I use Chrome to access the internet but I really don’t spend as much time in the store as I do the iTunes store. Work vs. Personal time. Most of the information that is shared is about Apple apps although there are more Android phones on the market. If you don’t believe me read: http://www.phonesreview.co.uk/2012/09/05/android-vs-iphone-market-share-52-against-33-percent/

I had no real goal in mind which can always be dangerous for time management and getting lost in the details of the web. Today was my lucky day. You know one of those days that the sun shines, the birds are singing and all the right music is playing on the radio.  I found SpeedDial2 (http://speeddial2.com/) for Google Chrome. And I believe I might be in a friendship not ready for love just yet as you know there are some flaws.

Speeddial2 is similar to big picture speed dial except that this is for websites. You can customize the number of row and columns (less on the page the bigger the button). The biggest you can go is 2 columns 2 rows (4x4 squares). The smallest is 20 columns (about the size of a stamp). You also have the ability to add space between the icons (10 point to 50 points). To visualize that it is about the width of matchstick (10 point) and a plastic knife handle (50 point).

You can change the background color. I have come to like sea green. It is comforting to the eyes. Not too bright just enough to pop the icons from the page. There are other options that you can let the student make a choice. For students that love YouTube, you can even make a page of music for the week.

Of course you know that that I must let you down, right. You knew it had to happen.  For students that are using switches and tabbing, there is no way to get back to home in Chrome. This isn’t SpeedDial2 (http://speeddial2.com/) issue but more of a Google Chrome issue. It isn’t a perfect solution but it is better than nothing and better than hours of programming for a few minutes of play. There is an upside if you turn on the side tab and you have a savvy user you can tab through applications, bookmarks and frequently used items.   

For two switch user all you need to do is have your switch interface set up to Tab and one switch to enter. When the student uses enter their page will open in a separate tab.  Once the student opens the website they will need a way to navigate the website. Not all websites work with a tab/enter.  

 You can also get this app as an add-in for Firefox. As I don’t use firefox, I cannot tell you how good it works within the Firefox browser. 

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