Virtual Finance Teaches Real Financial Skills in Second Life. Nathalie Caron of Game Forward writes of a Credit Union Island in Second Life which is designed to help teenagers learn about "real life financial decisions" such as taking out a college loan. While the Virtual Finance tutorial set up by Ohio University is not meant for people with disabilities in particular, something similar could help those with certain kinds of disabilities practice financial skills.

Xerte is a free, open source toolkit for creating quizzes, presentations and other learning applications. It was developed by the University of Nottingham. While Xerte's primary purpose is to make educational media, it's capable of making games (e.g. using Flash) as well. Xerte has many features to make applications accessible to people with disabilities. There's a choice of color schemes that provide good contrast between text and background colors and have been tested against many types of color blindness. It's easy to make applications controllable with the keyboard rather than the mouse, as well as to enable text-to-speech output.

7128 Software announces their top picks of websites for gamers who are blind, sites for gamers with mobility impairments and sites for gamers who are Deaf. (GameCritics is #8 out of 10 on the last list; though it lists our attention to games' accessibility for Deaf and hard of hearing gamers as "recent," GC has been doing it for years).

Tera Kirk

Tera Kirk

Tera Kirk grew up in a small Nebraska town called Papillion. Although she has a nonverbal learning disability that affects her visual-spatial skills (among other things), she's always loved video games. Her first game system was a Commodore Vic-20, which her mom bought at a garage sale for $20. With this little computer Tera learned to write Mad Libs in BASIC, to play chess and to steal gold from Fort Knox.

But then a friend introduced her to the seedy underworld of the Mario brothers and she spent her saved-up birthday and Christmas money to buy a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Her mom didn't like the Nintendo at first, but The Legend of Zelda changed her mind. (When Tera got Zelda II: The Adventure of Link one Christmas, she suspected it was as much for her mother as for her).

Though she graduated from Agnes Scott College in 2002 and recently learned how to find the movie theater restroom by herself, Tera still loves video games. Far from being a brain-rotting waste of time, they've helped her practice spatial skills and discover new passions. Her love of games like Kid Icarus and The Battle of Olympus led to a degree in Classical Languages and Literatures. She thinks games have a place in discussions on disability and other cultural issues, and is excited to work with the like-minded staff at GameCritics.com.
Tera Kirk

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John Bannick
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7 years 4 months ago

Tera,

Thanks for correcting my mis-assumption that GC had just recently begun adding deaf access to your reviews.

I based it on Chi’s October 2008 post about your new review format. It seemed at glance that you were just then adding that feature. In the press of time, I failed to look sufficiently closely at earlier GC reviews. Sigh!

When I get a chance, likely this weekend, I’ll change that statement on our list.

John Bannick
http://www.7128.com

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