Our feature this week is from Eric Sailers, a speech-language pathologist and assistive technology specialist who co-creates mobile apps with Jason Rinn at RinnApps. Eric enjoys sharing his passion of the iPod touch for children with special needs. His apps include Percentally (a data collection tool for educators) and ArtikPix (an articulation app for children with speech sound delays on the iPad). Eric has recently presented at two major conferences on the topic of the iPod touch for students with special needs, which is the focus of this article.
I presented iPod touch sessions at the CUE and CSUN Conferences covering the topic of the iPod touch for students with special needs. In this posting, I’d like to share tips, tricks, and tools from my experience. Presenting the iPod touch at conferences is not just about speaking to an audience for an hour, but also involves giving justice to a device with extraordinary software.
The Preparation Includes:
• Procuring the iPods and downloading appropriate apps
• Creating a concept and outline (mine was specifically on the iPod Touch as a learning tool and the SETT framework)
• Building a slideshow (I used ideas by Carmine Gallo, who has great resources for presenting like Steve Jobs in this video and slideshow)
• Making Slides Look Professional with Keynote on my MacBook Pro 13”
• Rehearsals and feedback from colleagues
• Equipment: projector cable with mini-VGA Adapter, iPevo Point 2 View camera , iHome speakers (for rooms without a sound system), iPod touch Thumbtacks mic , and earphones with microphone *Note: Amazon offers low-cost earphones with microphone.
• Handouts and tutorials to accommodate the room capacities for my sessions (see example).
I set up the iPevo Point 2 View camera so the iPod touch had high resolution at a sufficient size. I began by zooming 1.25x with continuous focus, then I switched to single focus after the iPod touch screen was focused. The result was a stable image in focus. The camera image ran in the background, while my Keynote slide show ran full-screen.
Handouts were distributed for the presentation and lab sessions. In the case of labs, the participants also received earphones with microphone, and iPods in exchange for a picture ID. At the end of the labs, the participants returned iPods to retrieve their IDs. My co-presenters helped with distributing iPods, in addition to presenting slides and demoing apps.
During the slide shows, I intermittently hid Keynote to demo apps with the Point 2 View camera, then I returned to Keynote. The trick here is command H to hide Keynote, then run Point 2 View camera in full-screen mode. When completed with the demo, press the esc key, then return to Keynote via command tab.
Prior to demonstrating with the camera, I presented slides comprising screenshots and details regarding the apps. I highlighted standard Apple features that appear in many apps, and features unique to given apps. Additionally, the apps were presented in relation to categories (e.g., communication, organization, reading, etc.) that I determined, so the presentation didn’t appear as a hodgepodge of apps.
Then, using the camera, I showed a couple iPod touch tricks, such as using the search for locating apps, and pushing the home button for accessing the 1st page with settings. I also mentioned more tricks can be learned at Tony Vincent’s Learning in Hand site.
After that, I demonstrated apps that coincided with the categories in my slides (e.g., Proloquo2Go, Percentally, Cat in the Hat). I tried my best to show as many features as possible in 1-3 min. demos per app. Included in the demos were selecting options and settings for apps because those features are often overlooked by users. At the end of the sessions, if they wanted to know about more apps, they could access my list.
As you probably noticed, I spent much more time preparing than presenting. I needed the prep time to carefully think through the details of my sessions. The result was more professional looking and useful information for participants. Plus, it made me feel much more comfortable when speaking. Public speaking has its challenges, but sufficient preparation makes it a whole lot easier. In the end, it enables me to do something I truly enjoy: share with others.