by Deborah Newton

SUBJECT AREA: Switch use, Cause and effect


COST: $89.00

INTENDED AUDIENCE: Teenagers with disabilities

REQUIRED HARDWARE: Macintosh with system 6.0 or higher, IBM/compatible with Windows, Apple IIgs

EDUCATIONAL GOALS: To develop the concept of cause and effect.

DESCRIPTION: This musical cause and effect program provides a selection of songs that can be heard by pressing a single switch or the button on the mouse. While the music plays, animated characters appear on the screen and break dance . Three different modes of operation are available. In the "Switch-user chooses songs" mode the music plays continually and each switch press causes the song to change. In the "Momentary switch play" mode the music plays only while the switch is activated; soon after the switch is released the music will stop. The third mode, "Timed switch play," permits the music to play for a certain length of time after the switch -user releases the switch. The timed interval can be adjusted from as little as 3 seconds to as long as several minutes.

STRENGTHS: Three distinct modes allow this program to be tailored to the needs of the individual user. The ability to control the intensity of the sound enhances this flexibility. These modes, especially "Momentary switch play," very effectively accomplish their goal of establishing and understanding of cause and effect. Quality sound makes this program very appealing.

WEAKNESSES: While generally a strong program, it is a bit tedious to increase or decrease the amount of time the music will play in "Timed switch play" mode; each mouse click advances the timer by just one second. Also, in this mode the timer can be set for lengthy intervals and although the dancers will continue to dance, the music stops after about 2 minutes.

SUMMARY: RadSounds, a cause and effect music program, provides strong auditory feedback, accompanied by amusing animations. It can be activated by a single switch or mouse click. Three modes of play give it the flexibility to meet individual needs. Although targeted at teenagers, RadSounds would be appropriate for individuals in any age group who require strong auditory feedback.
Deborah Newton is a graduate student in the Department of Special Education at Trenton State College.

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