Sunday, 18 May 2014

Review of Vibe-lite switch from Switch-ed

The new Vibe-lite from Switch-ed is an 'all in one' switch and controller that can be used on the computer with your switch software and with battery operated toys and other devices. After unpacking your Vibe-lite, you'll need to install the two AA batteries that are supplied with the device and turn the device on with the slider switch on the base. I might be old fashioned but I still like an on/off switch. So many new wireless switches claim to turn themselves off but every time I go for them the batteries are dead. Turn the Vibe-lite off and you know it's off and the batteries aren't draining away!

The batteries power two special features.

Vibration: The switch can be set up to provide feedback in the form of vibration when the switch is pressed. You can turn this feature off if your student doesn't need this additional feedback.

Light: Choose from two illumination modes. The first will light up the switch every four seconds and provides a very effective switch prompt especially for students with visual impairment. The second lights up the switch for the duration of the timer.

The Vibe-lite has three modes of operation all of which fit in perfectly with the cause and effect levels of the Switch Progression Road Map (SPRM).

Momentary / Direct: Use this setting if you're using the switch on the computer or with battery toys that operate when the switch is held down. The toy will continue to operate when the switch is held down and will stop if the switch is released. See page 18 of the SPRM.

Timed: Using this setting you can define a length of time that the toy will play for when the switch is pressed. Choose from 5, 10, 20, 30, 45, 60, 90 or 120 seconds. The student activates the switch and the toy will play for the set time before stopping. See page 20 of the SPRM.

Latched: Using the latched setting, you set the switch up to alternate between turning the toy on and off. First press turns the toy on, next off, next on... and so on. This can be a difficult concept to grasp for some students. You can read more about using this setting and see some sample activities on page 24 of the SPRM.

Settings are adjusted using the eight dip switches on the base of the switch. It looks complicated but it isn't and there are illustrations showing examples of every possible setting you might want to use in the booklet that accompanies the Vibe-lite.

The Vibe-lite is well built and feels more than robust enough to survive even the busiest classroom. It costs £80 plus VAT and comes with a 12 month warranty.


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