Blindfold Games at Baruch College

I was invited as a guest speaker to Baruch College in New York earlier this week.  Baruch houses the Computer Center for Visually Impaired People and offers a High School Enrichment Program to teens; this class is focused on how to enhance the lives of visually impaired high school students in terms of life and possible career options.

students at civic at baruch college

A handful of high school students and teachers attended.  I first talked about what lead me to create the Blindfold Games: it grew out of a S.T.E.M. app club at my daughter’s middle school, and the 4th, 5th and 6th graders and I created the first game, Blindfold Racer.

The high school students installed  Blindfold Racer on their iPhones and iPads and played the game for a half hour.  I knew the game was a hit when the room became very quiet: everyone was concentrating on attaining their best score.

I explained why blind people are better when playing this game than are sighted people, and we talked about how this game was designed.  For example, each sentence narrated by my daughter (the voice behind Blindfold Racer) took about 10 “takes”; I’ve included some of these hilarious bloopers in prior blogs;  the bloopers are also featured in the game.

These high school students are learning to program, starting with web page design using HTML and javascript.  When asked if they could have a career in programming, I mentioned the guys who created RS Games: several visually impaired people who developed a great cloud-based game server.  They are currently employed by some of the largest software companies, doing web accessibility testing, quality assurance and project planning.  Other blind people I have met through these games are employed as software engineers, or have their own company where they provide I.T. and networking consulting.

If you would like to have me speak at your event or meeting, feel free to contact me.

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Blindfold Games Holiday Special

We would like to thank the thousands of Blindfold Games fans for their appreciation and help of the past year by offering one free game from the following list:

Bingo, Breakout, Connect, Dominoes, Hearts, Phrase Madness, Snakes and Puzzles, or Shuffleboard

wrapped gift box

To get your game, send an email to holiday@blindfoldgames.org, and you’ll receive your coupon.  Based on the number of emails we get, you might not your coupon right away.  This offer expires on December 20, 2017.

Please specify in your email which  one of the above games you want, and we’ll send you a coupon.  The coupon must be used the same day we send it, and that will activate the game.  Make sure you download the game prior to asking for the coupon, to make sure you like the game.

Perkin’s Path To Technologies

Diane Brauner recently posted the following to the Perkin’s blog for Teachers of the Visually Impaired.

elearning-logo_1

Blindfold Games are auditory-based games specifically created for students and adults who are visually impaired or blind. Many of these games are accessible, auditory versions of popular mainstream board games, TV games and apps. There are currently 70+ Blindfold games and growing!

Did you know that a number of these games were designed to specifically to be used by TVIs for educational purposes? Several games were created specifically to address tech skills needed by students who are visually impaired in order to learn and practice specific tech skills required to be successful in the digital classroom and to be successful in taking online assessments. Marty, the developer of Blindfold games, creates games that are requested by blind users and requested by Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVIs).

Blindfold Games used for Educational Purposes

Below are Paths to Technology posts about using Blindfold Games for educational purposes. Some of these games are very basic games that can be used to introduce young children to technology while other games are created to teach specific tech skills and educational goals.

Blindfold Bop Game: Teach VoiceOver Gestures (now called Blindfold Bop Gesture Game)

Blindfold Tic Tac Toe: Digital Math Grid Game

Blindfold Sea Battle: Accessible Battleship Game that Reinforces Grid Concepts

Digital Transitions #2: Math Grid Activities (explains need for students to learn how to navigate digital grids & activities include several Blindfold games)

Blindfold Bowling: iOS Spatial Concepts App (also great for O&M!)

Blindfold Sound Search (sound matching game)

Blindfold Barnyard: an iOS App (cardinal directions – also great for O&M)

Blindfold Hopper (introduction to sonification – sounds and pitches have meaning!)

Blindfold Games: Braille Spin & Solve (teaches/supports learning braille contractions)

 Blindfold Word Games: Word Ladder, Word Flick, Hangman and Unscramble

Blindfold Games start off as free games with additional levels, coins, etc. that can be purchased within the app for a nominal fee. As a TVI, I thoroughly appreciate that I am able to try the game myself and/or with a student before making a purchase. Previewing the game provides insights as to whether the game is appropriate for my student and/or whether the game can be used to teach a specific educational skill.

Blindfold Games User Survey Results

There were hundreds of responses to the recent Blindfold Games survey. Most people have downloaded 26 or more games and have purchased around 5 games. More than one-third of the survey takers have purchased at least 10 games.

  • What type of game would you like to have more of?
    • Answer: Most popular categories were board games, sports games and TV game shows
  • Pick 5 games that you would like to see next?
    • Answer: Game of Life Board Game, Restaurant Game, Mario Brothers, Puppy Care, Name that Song, Golf, Football, 100,000 Dollar Pyramid, and piloting an airplane
    • Answer: The least requested games were Snooker, Mastermind peg game, Dabble Word game and Risk board game
    • Answer: Request for games already built: Snakes and Ladders (called Blindfold Snakes and Ladders), baseball (called Blindfold Home Run Derby), Family Feud (called Blindfold Feud), Trivia games (Blindfold Jeopardy Match), Blackjack (called Blindfold Blackjack), Candy Crush (called Blindfold Color Crush), Concentration (called Blindfold Sound Search) Basketball (called Blindfold Basketball)

Additional Questions & Answers

Marty shared these tidbits:

  • Most of the games do not require earphones.  Only those that use spatial location, like Blindfold Racer or Blindfold Hopper need earphones.
  • Many people asked for multiplayer games. Blindfold Games launched several a while ago and they were not popular. That’s why we teamed up with RS Games – they make great multiplayer games.
  • I can build more braille and learning games, but I need a distribution partner to sell those games to schools and TVIs (Teachers of Visually Impaired). I have not found a distribution partner yet.
  • Thanks to everyone for your ideas!

How can YOU support Blindfold Games?

  • Are you using a Blindfold Game with your students? Consider purchasing the in-app additional features!
    • Download additional Blindfold Game apps
    • Spread the word about these educational apps
    • It is rare to find individual developers who provide apps for free. The apps designed specifically for educational purposes are being used; however, few educators are purchasing these apps. Purchasing these apps will support the development of future educational apps!
      • Note: Blindfold apps are fun for all students – not just students who are visually impaired! Spread the word to mainstream educators and families!
    • Marty is looking for ways to partner with educators to spread the word!
    • Have an educational game idea? Share it with Marty.
    • Have a lesson plan/activity on how to use a Blindfold game for educational purposes?  Share it with Paths to Technology!

Blindfold Cryptogram Facelift

Blindfold Cryptogram was the third game in the series, after Blindfold Racer and Blindfold Sudoku.  Recently, people were requesting a code-breaking game, so I suggested they take a look at Cryptogram.  They did, and they said it was awful.

cryptogram

Suffice it to say that the Blindfold Games nowadays are far better than the earlier ones, so it was time to redesign Cryptogram to be more fun and more playable.

A cryptogram is a quote by a famous person, where there the quote is encrypted by simple letter substitution. For example, the letter “A” can be represented by the letter “C”, the letter “B” by the letter “X”, and so on. The phrase “Hello there” could be encrypted as “Asttq uasps”, where “a” means “h”, “s” means “e”, “t” means “l”, “q” means “o”, “u” means “t”, and “p” means “r”.

To solve a cryptogram, you first find the most common letters in the encrypted quote. For example, the letter “e” occurs often in words. In the above example, it occurred 3 times. In the encryption, the letter “s” occurs three times, so if you were trying to solve that cryptogram, there’s a pretty good change the letter “s” translates as the letter “e”.

Using the frequency of letters, and trying to solve the short words before the long words, you can eventually figure out the entire cryptogram.

To play the game, you flick left and right to move through the letters.  If you haven’t discovered the decrypted letter, the letter is spoken in a man’s voice.  Once you’ve decrypted that letter, it is spoken in a woman’s voice.

You can vary the complexity of the game from VERY EASY to NORMAL.  In the easiest level, about three-quarters of the letters are already solved for you, and you just have to decrypt the remainder of the puzzle.

The Blindfold Cryptogram comes with about popular quotes by people such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Maya Angelou and Nelson Mandala., and there are more quote packs that you can purchase in categories such as humor, success and happiness.

To download the game, click here:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/blindfold-cryptogram/id921384794?mt=8

 

Blindfold Racer: Video of Teen’s Night

A few years ago, I was in Boston at one of the schools that is committed to providing education and services that build productive, meaningful lives for children and adults. We wanted to hear what visually impaired teens thought about Blindfold Racer.

picture of kids from lighthouse for the blind playing blindfold racer

I’ve attached a short video of some teens playing the game. They were totally engrossed in the game for over an hour.

You can watch it here.  If you are visually impaired, there’s not much dialog until about 30 seconds into the 60 second video.

or here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-Bs7_xT7qA

Nancy Muldrew was one of the volunteers at the event, and she is a member of the Association of Massachusetts Educators of Students with Visual Impairments (AMESVI). She was so impressed with Blindfold Racer thatshe sent an email to all of the other members. Her comment was “Here is a tidbit for those interested in a fun audio game app – Those who have tried it tend to get hooked.”

If you’ve never played Blindfold Racer – whether you are visually impaired or not – it’s worth experiencing.  It’s may be the first time you drive with your ears instead of your eyes.