2002 Conference Proceedings

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Using Teacher's Pet to Create Interesting and Accessible Multimedia Tests and Drills

Larry Skutchan and John Hedges
American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.

Accessible educational software is among the rarest type of software available. American Printing House for the Blind is addressing this problem by developing accessible educational software, and Teacher's Pet is among the latest of its offerings.

Teacher's Pet is a multimedia capable program that provides a platform for teachers and parents to create their own content for presentation in a variety of formats. These include fill-in-the-blank, multiple choice, matching, true/ false, and essay type questions. These types can be combined into one test or they can all be used in a drill and practice format. Each of these question types is demonstrated and features and capabilities of each are discussed.

This presentation uses Teacher's Pet to create two tests during the session. These two tests are a spelling test, and a test that asks for the letters made up from braille dots. The presentation shows the process of importing images and sounds into the test content and shows how to use some of the advanced features of the program to create unique presentations that keep students engaged for hours at a time. The presenters show how to actually directly record content into the program when the sound is both the entire question and when the sound as played as part of the written question.

The presentation shows how the student actually takes the test or drill and practice session and shows some of the features used to navigate from question to question, review questions and answers, and manipulate images and font sizes to make low vision users comfortable with the presentation. (The program is HTML based, so a discussion on style sheets is included that apply to each test the student takes.)

Timing options are also demonstrated. The teacher has the option to apply time limits to any or all of the test and drills.

The program also supports a "continuous" mode that is used for presentation in a public place where students will be attracted and encouraged to participate with the software. This feature works by continually repeating questions and offering the student the opportunity to answer. If he does not answer in a specified amount of time, the program displays the answer and moves on to the next question.

The program also grades the student's performance (except for essay type questions), and this capability is demonstrated and discussed. Techniques for including all the possible answers for fill-in-the-blank are included in the program, and this feature is also demonstrated.

Once the test is created, the presenters demonstrate Teacher's Pet student record keeping and student management features. These include the complete records of the student's responses to each test question, date and time of the test, and the percentage of questions answered correctly. The program's student management functionality is also demonstrated including the password protection features, automatic addition of new students, and student deletion at the end of the semester.

Speech synthesis and large print features are also displayed. These features include flexible image manipulation, font size and style adjustment, and complete speech adjustment capabilities.

Participants are provided with a demonstration version of the program to take back to their home or classroom. The demonstration acts exactly like the registered version, except that it runs for only 15 minutes at a time.

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