About this site:
This site is based around some common scenarios where the use of a mobile device can provide accessibility benefits. Due to frequent updates in mobile operating systems, the information herein will go out of date fairly rapidly. The decision to focus on scenarios was prompted by the fact that regardless of changes to operating systems or apps the scenarios represent key use-cases where a mobile device can be used to assist with learning of reference needs without specialist technical knowledge.
I have focused on iOS devices as they are the Tier 1* supported devices at the University of Brighton. Also taking a look at the statistics for access to our VLE (studentcentral) over the past month (13/11/15 – 13/12/15) a large proportion of access from mobile devices, is from iOS devices.
Of those devices accessing our VLE, the vast majority are phones. As we can tell from the screensize of the devices; the top three are phones, followed by a tablet at position 4.
With regard to accessibility on Apple iOS devices here is a helpful top tips guide that they have produced: http://www.apple.com/uk/ios/accessibility-tips/
*Information Services page about Mobile Device support at the University: https://staff.brighton.ac.uk/is/computing/Pages/Mobile%20devices/Mobile_devices.aspx
The University of Brighton’s student digital toolkit: http://about.brighton.ac.uk/dt/
A recent article from Jisc about the potential for technology to help Dylexic learners, How technology can help dyslexic learners help themselves: https://www.jisc.ac.uk/blog/how-technology-can-help-dyslexic-learners-help-themselves-05-nov-2015
Chapter: Approaching apps for learning, teaching and research:
Some related app recommendations
Mindgenius (FREE) iOS
Here are some very useful resources related to the Mindgenius desktop app: https://staff.brighton.ac.uk/is/training/Pages/Mind%20Mapping/mindgenius.aspx
University of Brighton have a site license allowing students and staff to install Mindgenius on their home computers.
Timetracking and time organisation apps:
ATTracker (FREE) iOS
Good for tracking spent on projects. Very helpful for measuring time spent per module or time spent on reading versus other study tasks.
Trello (FREE) iOS | Android
Available for all platforms (including desktops via a web browser) Trello is a simple and versatile project management tool. You essentially create lists, for example one list for to-do, doing and done and then you
Goodreader – Price: £3.99 iOS
This app is truly the Swiss Army Knife of apps! It will open zip files, it will allow you to view word documents and it supports reading and annotating PDFs. The main reason why I have included it on this list is because for me, it is truly a live saver. I am dyslexic and GoodReader allows me to open any PDF, such as journal articles and change the background colour to my ideal blue/green tone and it also reads out the text to me at my desired speed. In addition this app makes it possible to manage large document files produced in other apps as you can use it to produce zip files of multiple files for attachment to an email. This app also has a wifi transfer option allowing you to use a web browser on a computer (on the same wifi network) to add to or download files stored within the app.
PDF annotation and instructional mark-up:
Adobe PDF (FREE) iOS | Android
Goodreader – as above iOS
Skitch (FREE) iOS | Android
Skitch is an app created by Evernote which allows you to edit and annotate any image or screenshot and share this through email or social media. Skitch can be used on PC, tablet or phone. You can use it to: annotate images, screenshots or maps; blur out faces or confidential information; share ideas and give feedback.
Referencing and notetaking
RefME (FREE) iOS | Android
Description: RefME has come on leaps and bounds recently adding more functionality to the app as well as adding web browser access and a Google Chrome web clipper extension. RefME is a referencing and citation manager with 7,000, according to their website, supported styles. The app allows you to scan book barcodes in order to generate citations and also to add citations manually using the appropriate form entry fields for your chosen style. The web browser accessible version allows you to export in formats for Endnote, BibTex and MS Word. Speaking from experience the references need a little bit of tweaking at the end when you are fine tuning your reference list or bibliography, but this app certainly saves me a huge amount of time when writing.