O&M Instructional Guide to Incorporating Technology and Apps into Lessons- Part 3

Contributed by: Jennifer Freeman, Orientation and Mobility Specialist 

Goal: This blog post will be a series of recommended tips and tricks on how to incorporate free and paid for apps into instruction.

The focus of part 3 is to introduce apps regarding money concepts, budgeting and banking into your daily life or O&M instruction.

Appropriate for ages: The apps can be used for all ages but the budgeting, banking and the wallet apps are for people who have some understanding of math skills or money management.

Materials needed:

App Store: to purchase or add apps
IOS or Apple device: to upload apps on

The best in O&M related apps and step by step details on how to incorporate them into O&M Instruction

Banking & Money Management

1. Wallet app that comes for free standard on an IOS (iPhone or IPod Touch). Assist your client or student with getting organized using the free wallet app on their iPhone. It is compatible with voiceover and a great way for people to securely store personal card information such as loyalty cards, credit cards, apple pay. Once cards are stored in the app, individuals do not need to identify what cards that they have in their wallet because the information can be stored and accessed electronically with voiceover.

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An explanation of the wallet app link: Here

The Ultimate Guide to the wallet app link:Here

How to add passes to the wallet link: Here

How to incorporate the app into O&M instruction:

  1. Teach the individual who has vision loss to use the Seeing AI app and have the short text portion of the app read the card information to the person. The individual should have a way to record the information such as Braillenote, pen and paper, Braillewriter or tape recorder. Assist the person with following the steps listed in the Ultimate Guide to the wallet app link above with adding their information on to the app.
  2. Add the Starbucks app and link it to your wallet! Create a lesson that requires your student or client to get to Starbucks and purchase a drink using the wallet app. I also have my students use the Starbucks mobile app to order drinks while on a lesson just to incorporate a fun reward during instruction. The best part about the Starbucks app is that the person does not have to wait in line which is always a challenge.
  3. While going over the wallet app teach students or clients about banking and credit cards. Go over the vocabulary and explain what it means.
  4. Explore credit card and debit machines and explain how the wallet app works in lieu of these. After all credit card and bank card machines at stores are not always accessible. This way the person has control over what information is seen by the person handling the payment.
  5. Discuss personal information security and identity theft on a lesson.

Starbucks app bonus: Get App Here

Youtube link to how to add a card to Apple Wallet if you want to pay with Apple pay: Watch Here

Youtube link to the wallet app: Watch Here

Unfortunately the video does not explain what to do is only in text for the user to read.

2. TheassistEyes Wallet – Secure Notes for the Blind app is $2.99 on itunes. It was developed by a gentleman named Nick who is legally blind. The app allows the user to use it as a digital wallet that is secured. You can add your ID card, dentist insurance, medical information, credit cards and banking information. It is compatible with voiceover and you can change the color scheme and enlarge the font. You can set it up for extra security by making it passcode or touch ID protected.

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  • I added this app to my phone but I could not get it to work unfortunately. I am going to try to uninstall and reinstall it. If you have luck getting it to work, I suggest you incorporate it into O&M instruction similar to the wallet app listed above *

Assist Wallet explained at Here

App Store link: Here

3. NantMobile Money Reader app is free. It allows the individual to aim the camera and identify money denominations.

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App Store link: Here

Youtube video demonstration on how to use the NantMobile Money Reader app: Here

How to incorporate the app into O&M instruction:

  1. I have had great success with having my low vision students (many who have multiple disabilities) learn money concepts by incorporating the money folding system worksheet I created with the app! The app prompts them verbally with what denomination is and then I have my students fold the money according to memory or while using the worksheet.
  2. From there we work on placing the money in the wallet accordingly.
  3. Use this money identifier app to ensure your student or client that they are using the correct denomination to make a purchase.
  4. Have your student or client count the change they received after a purchased is made and have him/her step to the side and organize it in their wallet.
  5. Use the app to develop money concepts!

This app is also known as LookTel Money Reader app

LookTel Money Reader app explained: Here

Link to how to use the LookTel Money Reader: Here

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Youtube demonstration on how to use the LookTel Money Reader: Watch Here

4. TheEyeNote app isfree! It’s similar to the money reader app listed above.

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EyeNote

Link to the EyeNote app explained with a video. Here

App Store link: Here

How to incorporate the app into O&M instruction: You can incorporate this app just as you do the other money reader apps.

5. Spending Tracker is a free appwhich can assist your student or client with learning how to budget or track spending. It is available in the google play store and is voiceover accessible.

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Spending Tracker app explained in the google store and Video link to explain how the app works: Here

*Unfortunately the video is all in print and does not have a verbal explanation on how to use the app.

App Store link to get the app: Here

How to incorporate the app into O&M instruction:

  1. I used this app to demonstrate cost, budgeting and spending. The best part is that it is not linked to an account so the numeric amounts can be made up.
  2. I encourage anyone who is approaching college and in high school to learn about budgeting and bills by using this app to demonstrate cost.
  3. When students are sad about not driving I use this app to demonstrate how much they SAVE by not driving as I add up all the fees related to driving.
  4. When working on independent living skills as individuals approach an age where they may be able to have a job or collect social security, I discuss budgeting using this app.  
  5. Introduce the vocabulary to students using this app.
  6. Have a discussion about what it all means. For instance what is a mortgage? How do I pay my mortgage? How do I get a mortgage? What is the name of my local utility company? Who is my electric or gas provider? Where is that office located? How do I pay the bill? The list goes on in in ways you can discuss and incorporate this app into instruction.
  7. Explore the local places where your student or client needs to go to pay a bill. For instance go to your city hall and talk with the water and trash payment people.
  8. Teach you student to pay a bill (water and trash for instance) online, in person, using bill pay, auto pay or by mail. I do this by having my most trusted students pay my bills!
  9. I have even had my student pay my direct tv bill via text.

6. Bank of America App (Any banking app that is available can be used for lessons) is free.

This app is found in google play as well as on an IOS. I personally use Bank of America and know that it is voiceover friendly. I use the app to demonstrate how online banking works.

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App Store link: Here

Google Play Store with Video: Here

*Unfortunately the video is all in print and does not have a verbal explanation on how to use the app.

How to incorporate the app into O&M instruction:

  1. Teach your student or client about online banking by introducing each category and explain what auto pay or bill pay is.
  2. Teach the vocabulary.
  3. Have you student or client practice moving money around.
  4. Pay bills using your banking app.
  5. Explain the difference between online banking and an ATM.
  6. Go over how much easier online banking is.
  7. Discuss why going into the bank is necessary sometimes.
  8. Travel to the bank and explore it. Do an ATM lesson.
  9. Find out how many Bank of America’s are in your city. Add the contact information into the phone.
  10. Discuss reasons for why people choose the bank that they do.

7. US Bank App (Any banking or credit card app that is available can be used for lessons) is free. I use US bank for my mortgage, credit card, checking, savings and additional line of credit. It is voiceover friendly.

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Link to finding it at the app store with an explanation of how the app works: Here

How to incorporate the app into O&M instruction (the same as listed above for Bank of America):

  1. Teach your student or client about online banking by introducing each category and explain what auto pay or bill pay is.
  2. Teach the vocabulary.
  3. Have you student or client practice moving money around.
  4. Pay bills using your banking app.
  5. Explain the difference between online banking and an ATM.
  6. Go over how much easier online banking is.
  7. Discuss why going into the bank is necessary sometimes.
  8. Travel to the bank and explore it. Do an ATM lesson.
  9. Find out how many US banks are in your city. Add the contact information into the phone.
  10. Discuss reasons for why people choose the bank that they do.

8. Fold Your Bills

The folding system is a tactile method you can use to tell your different bills apart independently. For example:

  • Keep the $1 bill flat and unfolded.
  • Fold the $5 bill in half crosswise (with the short ends together).
  • Fold the $10 bill in half lengthwise (with the long sides together).
  • Fold the $20 bill like a $10 bill lengthwise, and then in half again crosswise, like the $5 bill

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Identifying Coins 

It is possible to identify your coins by touch. In the United States, coins have smooth or ridged edges and are different sizes:

  • Nickels and pennies have smooth edges, and the nickel is larger and thicker than the penny.
  • Quarters, dimes, and half-dollars have ridged edges, and the half-dollar is larger than the quarter, which is larger than the dime.
  • You can feel and hear the ridged edge by running your fingernail across it.
  • Dollar coins have their own distinct feel and are larger than half dollars; dollar coins now come in different sizes, so you may need help in identifying them. However, they are not in wide circulation.

Lastly, follow this link to recommended ways to incorporate money concepts into O&M instruction and daily life from the American Foundation for the Blind website.

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