Solder On! Neovites Build Accessibility Aids for Makers Making Change

Neovation Learning Solutions believes that online content should be accessible to all learners and users. So the opportunity to participate in Makers Making Change, a Neil Squire Society program, was a natural fit. The Neil Squire Society is a Canadian organization that creates affordable assistive technology for people with disabilities. Enthusiastic participation was a no-brainer.

The Neovites’ first-ever Buildathon took place on March 26. Teams assembled accessible switches:

Two accessible swtiches: Short, cylindrical buttons, one with a green top, one with a yellow top.

These MMC60 Flexure switches can be used to control electronic devices and toys, such as an Xbox. These switches require very little force to activate. Together with its large surface area, the switch makes it easier to control technology devices and improves accessibility for users with little strength or limited motor control.

The parts could be printed using a 3D printer. An instructor guided team members through the first assembly, which required some soldering:

A screenshot showing the build of the accessible switches. In the top-right corner is the How-to step photo; in the top left is a man in goggles. The main screen shows a close-up of hands holding the small mechanical parts of a switch.

And the team was off! 

In addition to the soldering crew, Neovites who were not in "maker-mode" provided the Makers Making Change program with a different form of expert assistance — social media ad design and consultation — leveraging their skills where they could contribute the most. 

“Dan and the Neovation team have been and will continue to be incredible supporters of our work,” said Suzanne Winterflood, the Neil Squire Society’s regional coordinator in Winnipeg. “We simply couldn’t provide the devices we do to our community without incredible volunteers.”

After successfully building 13 switches, the team is excited about helping community members who will use them. And they’re even more excited about the next Buildathon in the fall!

  • Runs polls
  • Shares slides and the whiteboard
  • Watches the chat box for questions
  • Watches for learners using the “raised hand” icon to signal a question or problem
  • Monitors for technology glitches — remaining alert for any learners reporting problems on their end.
Poor Use with
Adult Learners
Effective with
Adult Learners

Games

Simple games layered on top of content

Scenario-based games that use the content

Leaderboards, competition

Fan excessive competition among employees or teams by offering large prizes for top performers and/or shaming those with lower scores

Challenge employees to beat their own past performance, or design a leaderboard that shows each employee only the four scorers above and below them

Points, rewards, badges

Award points or levels for completing sections of training or playing for a set number of minutes

Award levels, badges or points for recalling or applying content correctly, demonstrating mastery

  • Remember — bookmark, google, link, search
  • Understand — annotate, Boolean search, journal, tweet
  • Apply — chart, display, execute, present, upload
  • Analyze — attribute, deconstruct, illustrate, mash, mind map
  • Evaluate — comment, editorialize, moderate, network, post
  • Create — blog, film, integrate, podcast, program, publish