Instructions Ballyland™ Rotor ©Sonokids 2016

Double tap with one finger to start the video tutorial. Three finger flick left to start the game.
The video Tutorial demonstrates a number of alternative ways to do the Rotor gesture, so that you can support and guide the child in exploring the gesture that works best for him or her.

Note: If you have Zoom enabled in the Accessibility Settings of your iDevice, please turn this off before starting the app.

To contact the Sonokids Ballyland team,
Email: support@sonokids.org

Download User's Manual as an accessible Word document ↓

Touch Gestures used in this app:

Ballyland Rotor is an iPad game that is designed to enable children with vision impairment to learn and practice the Rotor touch gesture and concept for VoiceOver, Apple’s built-in screen reader for iOS Devices. The Rotor is a relatively advanced concept and gesture, and it is recommended to first play Ballyland Magic, which has demonstrated great value in supporting the development of blind children’s foundation touch gesture skills and conceptual understanding of VoiceOver.

In iOS VoiceOver, the Rotor is used to select settings that adjust the way VoiceOver works, such as how fast it speaks. In Ballyland Rotor, the Rotor is used to change the storylines in the amazing audio story of Ballicopter’s flight adventure through Ballyland.

Ballyland Rotor not only supports children’s understanding of the concept of selecting options and settings by way of the Rotor: it also offers them a safe platform to explore and practice the different ways the Rotor gesture can be performed. The app offers a fun learning experience for all involved and is a great tool for sighted siblings of children with vision impairment to learn about VoiceOver alongside their brother or sister.
The 3D printed model of Ballicopter is a great learning tool that enables the child to explore the spinning propeller and practice the different ways to do the Rotor gesture, before performing it on the screen. The model also allows the child to get tactually familiar with Ballicopter, the main character in the app. You can get a free license to print and download the file.

General Rules VoiceOver Rotor:

The Rotor will show up when you put two fingers on the screen and start turning them. The Rotor image will always show up in the center of the screen, no matter where you place or move your fingers.

To turn the Rotor, you need to use two fingers, held slightly apart.
There are many different ways to perform the Rotor gesture, and it is best to explore and find what works best for the child. Send us your innovative ways to do this, and we will share them. Videos would be great!

As you turn the Rotor, the first Rotor option will be spoken. Keep rotating your fingers to hear more options. It is a loop and you can turn clockwise or counter clockwise.
Lift your fingers to choose an option.
Then flick one finger up or down to choose a setting. Lift your finger up to select this setting. An alert sound indicates top or bottom of list of settings.

For full information on how the Rotor can be used to change the way VoiceOver navigates and reads text, please visit the Apple Accessibility website: “About the VoiceOver rotor on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch” https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204783

App Rules:

Turn on the volume. Both the video tutorial and the game app require audio.
You can use a “cheat” gesture to skip through certain parts of the app, including the songs. The gesture is: triple two finger tap.
In each part of Ballyland Rotor the child needs to listen and follow instructions to set the Rotor to the correct Option and move the story on. If the Rotor is turned to another Option than instructed in the app, you won’t be able to flick up or down through any settings. The Rotor doesn’t become active until you hear out the instruction “You can start when I say now, NOW”.
After selecting a setting, you can do a three finger flick left to move to the next page (and send Ballicopter on his way). Or, if you regret the selection, you can simply resume flicking up and down to make a new selection.
Each choice the child makes by setting the Rotor will impact on the rest of the story. The variables result in 24 different endings of the story. The selection of an instrument determines the intro of the final song. The Ballylander who is selected for a visit from Ballicopter will sing a solo in the final song, and determines its music style.
After the final song, a three finger flick left takes you back to page 3 to start the game again. Encourage the child to make different choices so that the story will develop differently. Playing the game multiple times will support the child’s development and understanding of the Rotor gesture.
When you close down the app completely, it will open on the Instructions/tutorial video.

VoiceOver is enabled on the landing page and in the tutorial video. The app uses self-voicing to improve the learning experience and learning outcomes. A wrong gesture gives no response, making the app a safe and encouraging learning environment.

Using the Ballyland Rotor app if you are a parent or educator with vision impairment and rely on VoiceOver

The Rotor app plays in "Landscape Mode". The landing page of the app is VoiceOver accessible. It provides instructions on when to turn VoiceOver off in order to avoid mingling with the app's built-in speech. You can turn on VoiceOver again before you quit the app. Additional tips can be found here: Tips and Tricks for blind educators. From there you can also download the on-screen short instructions in an accessible format.

Supporting the child’s learning

Although it has been demonstrated that children can be left to play with the app on their own, supervision is recommended, by a parent, carer, teacher, or older friend/sibling. All the movements on a touch screen device need to be very small, fine and light, and touch gestures need to be precise. The Rotor gesture is generally not easy to do. Using two hands can make it easier to perform this gesture, and is ideal when children do this on the iPad. If you are holding an iPhone, you need to perform the Rotor with one hand of course.
Support may be required to help the child to perform the touch gestures correctly. The app offers a short, one minute tutorial video, demonstrating different ways to perform the Rotor. Live interaction data tracks the child’s progress, and short instructions are provided in the text box at the bottom of the screen. This will help you to provide the best support for the child to successfully progress through the app.
Please note that Ballyland Rotor app is designed to give a non-response (not a negative response) to the incorrect performance of a gesture. Correct performance of the gesture results in positive feedback. When the child tries to make a requested touch gesture and nothing happens, please try to assess what the child is doing incorrectly, and gently guide him or her along, to achieve the best learning outcome.

If you use Guided Access, note that the audio of the video may continue until finished (1 min), even if you move on to the game. This only occurs when you start playing the video before turning on guided access, or when you start playing the video after turning off Guided Access. This will be resolved in an update.

Tips for using the iPad with a child who has vision impairment

Development of other skills before starting with the app

It is important to be aware of possible limitations in fine motor skills of very young children, who need practice and support to develop these skills. In preparation of starting Ballyland Rotor, we recommend playing Ballyland Magic app first, as this app helps the child to develop a number of touch gesture skills, including the three finger flick (left) and also requires he child to already learn a number of intellectual concepts and basic understanding of what VoiceOver is. For the Ballyland Rotor app you should also introduce the up/down directional concept – on a flat surface. Playing a musical instrument such as a piano can help develop dexterity and finger isolation. A three finger setting may be practiced in preparation of the three finger flick left.

The 3D printed model of Ballicopter is a great learning tool that enables the child to explore the spinning propeller and practice the different ways to do the Rotor gesture, before performing it on the screen. The model also allows the child to get tactually familiar with Ballicopter, the main character in the app. You can get a free license to 3D print and download the file.

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