As part of the requirements for one of my assistive technology courses, I had to develop a list of ways to use fidget spinners as assistive technology, and chose to focus on three fidget spinner activities for low vision. Fidget spinners are a great tool for students who have trouble focusing in the classroom as a discreet accommodation, but they can also be brought out front and center to help students with various activities in the elementary, middle, and high school classrooms. Here is a quick list of three fidget spinner activities for low vision that can be used by sighted students as well.
Why use a fidget spinner?
So why use a fidget spinner for low vision? There are a few reasons why I chose to use a fidget spinner for these specific activities, including:
- Fidget spinners are inexpensive and can be purchased at mainstream retailers, given away at conferences for free, or purchased online in bulk so that every student can have their own
- There are several options for customization and adding additional features- I’m personally a fan of purple fidget spinners in my favorite color and would be more excited to use one if it had a cool design
- Fidget spinners can be stored in a drawer or other small container, and brought out as needed for activities
- Students are used to seeing others use fidget spinners and wouldn’t find it to be odd or unexpected in the classroom, compared to other more obtrusive types of assistive technology
- They are a large size and can easily be identified by students with low vision
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Fidget spinner wheel
When I was shadowing a teacher in an elementary school classroom, they had a spin wheel that was difficult for some of their students to use due to the weight and how small the arrow was. To make it easier to spin the wheel and create a smaller wheel that could be used by individual students or teams, we printed out a wheel template and added a fidget spinner with a colored segment on top that made it easier to determine where the arrow was pointing. We used a reusable adhesive like Blu Tack to place the fidget spinner in the center of the wheel, as our spinner wheel was made out of cork, but I’ve linked a free download for paper fidget wheel templates.
This strategy would also be helpful for adapting board games that use a spin wheel, or for review games in the classroom, as the fidget spinner can be used by students who have poor motor control.
- Free fidget spinning wheel templates from Erintegration blog
- Elementary School Classrooms And Low Vision: Designing Accessible Classrooms Series
Fidget spinner timer
I find it disorienting to watch things that are spinning, but one of my friends will spin a fidget spinner and use it as a timer to see how quickly they can brainstorm something or take a break to reduce eyestrain. Instead of staring at the fidget spinner and getting dizzy, I listen to the sound of the spinner and wait for it to stop, which works well for when I am studying in my dorm or need to take a break. Users can spin the fidget spinner in their hand or rest it on the desk.
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Fidget spinner graph practice
There are a lot of great graph and chart practice options that use fidget spinners to generate data, which is great for an introductory statistics lesson. Some examples of ways to use fidget spinners for graphing activities include:
- Timing the number of seconds it takes for a fidget spinner to stop spinning
- Using a fidget spinner wheel and counting how many times the spinner lands on a given section
- Make predictions on how long a fidget spinner will spin, and graph the predictions vs actual time
- Experiment with spinning fidget spinners on different surfaces and graph the different times
- How To Create Accessible Diagrams For Low Vision
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- No-Tech Solutions For Drawing Graphs With Low Vision And Dysgraphia
More fidget spinner activity ideas for low vision
- I avoid fidget spinners with flashing light effects as I have photophobia and photosensitivity, and find bright lights to be disorienting. This post was developed with the popular three-prong fidget spinner in mind.
- Instead of using flat stickers, some users may prefer to add tactile foam stickers to the top of a fidget spinner to serve as an arrow- learn more about tactile materials in How To Create Tactile Images With Everyday Objects
- Another interesting science project would be to create fidget spinners from different materials and determine which material works best- I write more about science projects in Science Fairs and Low Vision