[Athen] Comparing iPAD magnification with a video magnifier

Deborah Armstrong armstrongdeborah at fhda.edu
Mon Mar 11 09:39:47 PDT 2019

I was asked this question twice this week, once by a parent and once by a counselor.

If a student wishes to magnify the whiteboard and the projector in class on a regular basis, which is better; to use an iPAD or one of the modern video magnifiers with a distance camera?

I have enough vision to see that something is being magnified, but not enough to actualy make an intelligent comparison. I'm looking for feebback here but what I've told students so far is this:

A video magnifier is like a GPS. Just as a commercial GPS is dedicated to giving drivers accurate maps and driving directions, a video magnifier has the single purpose of making it possible to see distant objects in the classroom such as the whiteboard and also magnifying close-up, for reading handouts and books.

On the other hand, there's probably a GPS in your phone. But because your phone can pop up notifications, let you take notes, play games and read books, it's not a dedicated mapping tool. A driver might find using a phone's GPS both convenient and distracting.

For occasional use, magnifying the whiteboard using a modern iOS can be handy. But you won't have the higher power magnifications nor will you be able to magnify from the distance that a dedicated video magnifier's distance viewing camera is designed for. You must remember too that the iPAD's ability to magnify what the camera sees is located under Settings-General-Accessibility-Magnifier; it's not a single button push to turn it on and people do tend to confuse it with Zoom, the feature that magnifies what's on the iPAD's screen. If you use magnifier often, you can add it to the triple-click home accessibility shortcut if you still have a home button, but it's not just a single on switch to enable it.

The iPAD can also snap a picture of the whiteboard, or an instructor's slide. There are high-end magnifiers that can save pictures too, but many do not.

On the other hand, a student's iPAD might always be with him, and iPADS are often loaned by disability services to students. So that convenience might override the hassle of using an iPAD for magnification.

If you think there are better or more accurate ways to phrase this, let me know.


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