[games_access] Any thoughts on adding a "teacher mode" access to software for Special Ed (cognitive) software?

Barrie Ellis oneswitch at gmail.com
Sat Jan 29 04:13:18 EST 2011

Hi Tim,

Re. "teacher mode" - It depends on the activity/game and user interface... (to state the obvious).

If the activity/game uses a pure mouse-pointer or switch based interface, hiding unnecessary controls will of course help (e.g. keyboard).

Full screen mode and disabling the right-click as a way of bringing up contextual menus will help further. Giving an Teacher the option to disable any on-screen/in-activity "quit activity" powers (meaning that the only way to quit is via an alternative method).

Allowing the teacher/enabler to user-define what key/joystick combination will bring up the Teacher settings menu.

Having an external control (might be a switch triggering a particular key or key combination on the keyboard - or perhaps a simple USB joypad used as an external control) could do the trick.

Include very clear instructions for the teacher/enabler as to how this works, perhaps at the start up of the software.

I have to say, some of this is very useful for all PC games too. Without that full-screen mode, and without a way to disable the right-click, many leaning-disabled players can have problems with getting lost in the PC windows environment (game loosing focus, bringing up baffling contextual menus, etc.). It's also a problem with many joypads, especially now with the XMB and Xbox menu buttons.

What are you working on by the way, if you can say?


From: Tim Holt
Sent: Saturday, January 29, 2011 12:17 AM
To: IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List
Subject: [games_access] Any thoughts on adding a "teacher mode" access to software for Special Ed (cognitive) software?

I've been wondering about ways to add access to a "teacher mode" or setup mode for software used by those with cognitive disabilities. By teacher mode I mean access to settings and configurations that you'd not want the student to open by accident.

Any thoughts on ways to do this beyond making it a keyboard shortcut that only the teacher knows? The downside in my mind to the keyboard shortcut idea is that even if you put a nice little prompt on the screen that says, "Press Ctrl+T to access settings", some people (teachers) won't figure it out.

A few things I've thought of is requiring one to hold down the Shift key while clicking an access icon. E.g., have a "Gear" icon for settings, and when moused over, a tool tip text says "Hold shift and click to access settings", the assumption being that the student probably can't read or understand the instructions.

Tim Holt
Product Technology Architect
PCI Education


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