The game features adjustable colour contrast, spoken feedback, zoom, as well as easily recognisable sounds and images. It requires no assistive technology and is described on the Ballyland website to help young children “develop essential foundation keyboarding and keyboard ‘mapping’ skills that will benefit their future use of computer technology”.
The game disables the standard functions of the keys and instead when pressed they produce sounds and images, or mini animations. There are different game options that introduce different keys, including the use of the Enter key, the Spacebar, Escape key and left and right arrowkeys. This is designed to teach children who will in the future rely on the keyboard to navigate and control the computer, particularly if they are using screen reader software.
Ballyland was presented at the Roundtable on Information Access for People with Print Disabilities conference in May this year and was developed with the support from the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children in Sydney.
Sonokids, the producer of Ballyland, is an international not-for-profit organisation that designs accessible education tools and applications for children. Their products are specifically designed to be compatible with assistive technology such as magnification software or screen readers and are said to be fully accessible to users who are blind or vision impaired.
Ballyland is available to be purchased as a personal licence for $49, as well as a group, professional and a district or regional licence. More information on prices as well as a free trial of the game is available on their website.
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