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Image©2013 ABS Screen shots of scanning settings in ICS
Scan This Or Not?

By default, everything is set to be part of a scan in IntelliTools Classroom Suite®. But we want the interface as uncluttered as possible for kids who are using switches, whatever their age and academic level.

Extraneous scannable items and layout features slow them down. So it’s a good idea to consider whether you want to change that default scan setting on some items. Here are some things I keep in mind while setting up an activity.

You can download this tip in PDF format from a link at the foot of the page. There is also a link to an online version of the PDF, which may be easier to use for a workshop.

Toolbars: Use All Or None

If it’s possible, set up EITHER all toolbars OR all page buttons to control the activity. If your activity requires lots of toolbars, definitely consider finding an alternative to scannable text boxes (see below) if students will be reading rather than writing in them.

Why? Because if a page has both toolbar and page buttons, or if toolbars plus scannable text boxes are present, the scanning process treats the page like a toolbar, rather than going into it directly. Students need an extra click to get into the page, and then must scan through the page items.

If you need different buttons available on different pages, see if you can toggle toolbars on and off using Page Actions. But try to have either all toolbars or all page buttons plus scannable text boxes on any given page.

Alternates To Scannable Text Boxes

If there are many text boxes on a page, or if having a single scannable text box on the page would cause that extra click situation described above, consider an alternative way for scanners to access the text. Set the text boxes NOT to scan. Then use a button to read out all of them. The text boxes can still Respond To Mouse for direct selectors, and still be chosen via IntelliKeys®. There are two basic situations you might have.

Goal: Control Everything Including Reading The Page From Toolbars

If you aim to avoid having any scannable items in the actual page area, the Read Page button should be in a toolbar. In this case, scanning from toolbar to toolbar and then through buttons in a chosen toolbar will control every action needed for the activity. The toolbar Read Page button would have the following actions, if there is only one text box on every page:

Select Object “Text Box”
Read All

IMPORTANT: This assumes you used the default name for that text box, and the name is the same on every page.

If you have multiple text boxes on the page, you still can have them all read out from a single toolbar button. In that button’s actions you would repeat the above two actions as many times as you have text boxes, taking extra care to enter the exact name of each text box. Your actions list might look something like this:

Select Object “Text Box”
Read All
Select Object “NextText Box”
Read All
Select Object “ThirdText Box”
Read All

You can use a list of select and read actions in a toolbar button to control having the text read out, IF you are certain that the exact same set of text boxes, with the exact same names, are on all the pages. Otherwise, consider using a custom page button to read each page.

Goal: No Toolbars, Control Everything Within the Page

If you don’t have any toolbars, but you do have multiple text boxes on various pages, use a page button to read out all of them at one click. Create a button named Read Page on the first page using the Page Button tool, and give it the following actions:

Select Object “Text Box On This Page”
Read All
Select Object “Another Text Box On This Page”
Read All

…and so on. Note that each text box name must be typed in exactly, because it’s case sensitive, and that you need two actions for each text box on a page.

Same Button Name, Different Actions

On the next page, if it has different text boxes, you should make an entirely new page button but still name it Read Page. That way, even though it has different actions, the same IntelliKeys button will activate it. That’s because the the action of the Read Page button on the overlay you make will simply cause the Read Page button on the current page to be clicked.

Copy and paste?

Once you get the page button on the first page constructed, you can copy and paste it onto any other pages that have the same set of text boxes. You may also find that it saves time to paste it onto pages with more or fewer text boxes, and either delete or add pairs of actions. But for pages with none of the same text boxes, make a whole new page button.

Caution: When you copy an item from one page to another in ICS, the item name gets a number added, even if it’s the only item with that name on the destination page. For example, if you copy and paste Text Box, the pasted one becomes Text Box #2. Be sure to check the text box name and remove the number on both text boxes and the Read Page buttons, so that your Read Page button still works and you only need it once on the overlay.

Most Pages Alike, Some Different

What if in your activity most pages need toolbars but you have one or two pages where you don’t need any toolbars but do have some unique text boxes? A typical example might be a title page with multiple text boxes in an activity where all the other pages had three toolbars, one text box, and an area where items are inserted from the toolbars.

In that case, use both strategies. On the title page, have a Page Action to hide all toolbars, and a page button with a list of actions to read out all the text boxes. Use Page Actions on the other pages to show the toolbars you need, one of which must have a Read Page button. Then make sure nothing on the page, including the text box, is part of the scan.

Special Case: Writing Activities

If kids need to enter text in a text box, make it scannable, even if that means having both page and toolbar controls. Otherwise, the tab function won’t find it on IntelliKeys©. Note that tab on IntelliKeys also won’t find hidden buttons, although you can make an IntelliKeys button to directly click a named button that is hidden.

Tame Those Graphics!

Make sure any graphics added do NOT scan, unless a student really needs to click on the graphic to make something happen. Actually, I remove Respond to Mouse also, unless the student needs to interact with a graphic. I think this is less confusing. Logically, students ought to see a result or be able to do something whenever they select something.

By removing the Automatic and Step Scan checkmarks and turning off Respond To Mouse, you create a piece of clip art that behaves like the background, and yet it could still move in an animation or be repositioned when you need to edit. You could even have a button not scan or Respond To Mouse throughout an animation until the very last time point, then turn on Scan and Respond To Mouse. That way early extra clicks won’t interfere.

Tip: With Respond To Mouse inactive, you can’t control-click on an item to select it and get into Properties. Instead, look under the Edit menu for Select Object… Once you have selected the object you want to edit from the list, go under Edit again and choose Properties…

Just For Fun

I’ve posted a set of custom Read Page clip art files for various button shapes that you can download from a link at the foot of this page. Download and decompress the file, which is a folder of jpg images. The numbers in the file names are the pixel dimensions of each image.These images can be used with both toolbar and page buttons, of course.

Applications needed: Acrobat Reader, IntelliTools Classroom Suite.
Subject area: Tip.
Level: Author.

Download-Printable Tutorial

ScanOrNotScan.pdf (1.3 MB) To Scan Or Not To Scan In ICS tutorial in PDF format. Acrobat Reader.

Online Link-Tutorial

CLICK HERE to preview the To Scan? Or Not To Scan? In ICS tutorial online.

Downloads-Resources (538 KB) Read Page clip art in various shapes and sizes in jpg format.

November 2nd, 2013 at 5:38 pm


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