App Review: Tense Builder
Developer: Mobile Education Store
Aside from acting out verbs with children, I haven’t found another activity that provides a real understanding of verb tenses (and there is a limit to the number of verbs that you can act out) over and over again.
Tense Builder is designed to help students learn how to identify and use correct tense forms (present, past, and future) using an interactive movie format. This allows the child to see the verbs in action providing an authentic learning experience.
- 42 video animations for target verbs (with plans to expand to 58 by December 2012)
- Ability to choose which verb tense to target (or target them all)
- Ability to choose irregular or regular verbs (or target them together).
- Ability to select specific verbs to work on.
- Two different levels of play
- Receptive and Expressive tasks during play
- Store and track multiple students
- Ability to record, save, and email responses
- Data tracking through app stats.
- Built in Video Tutorial
– Receptive Task: The child watches the short movie and is then presented with a sentence and three picture choices
– The child has to touch the picture that corresponds to that verb tense.
– If the child makes an error, it says “that’s not quite right”. The App zooms in on the picture and explains WHY the picture is the incorrect choice. When the child selects the correct picture it reinforces by saying “that’s right” and explains the tense and what it means.
Once the child has selected the correct image, they are prompted to record the sentences, giving them practice with the targeted verb tense.
– The child watches the video and completes a ‘fill in the sentence’ activity for the correct verb tense.
– After the video it will give the child a picture from the video and 3 – 7 word choices (you can set the amount of choices in the settings) and they have to drag to correct verb tense into the sentence that corresponds with the picture.
– If the child drags the wrong word into the sentence, it will highlight their response and show a quick video reinforcer of the verb they chose. This will show the student why their choice was incorrect. If the student choose correctly it gives them verbal praise and they you can select next sentence.
Both Level 1 and level 2 offer the full video lesson tutorials. These can be a bit long, but necessary especially when first playing the app.
App Review Checklist & Rating Chart: Total Score /20
GENERAL INFORMATION & OPERATION
|Content is appropriate||1|
|No in app purchases required for use||1|
|Students can launch and navigate in the app independently||1|
|App is fairly priced and/or comparable to other similarly priced apps||1|
|App can be customized for different users||1|
|App can be used for single user or groups||0|
|Content/data can easily be exported||1|
|User data is saved from session to session||1|
|1 ½ /2|
|Design graphics/sounds are appealing||1|
|App is interactive, engaging & motivating for user||1/2|
|App is designed to target speech/language skills||1|
|App is designed to target auditory processing – phonemic awareness||1|
|App can be adapted to target speech/language skills||1|
|App encourages critical thinking and higher level language||1|
|App has good potential for interaction between user and therapist||1|
|Response to errors is specific and results in improved performance||1|
|Targeted skills are practiced in an authentic learning environment||1|
|App offers complete flexibility to alter settings to meet students needs||1|
|App can be used across a variety of age/developmental groups||1|
|18 ½ /20|
13 – 16 Points – 4 Stars
9 – 12 Points – 3 Stars
5 – 8 Points – 2 Stars
1 – 4 Points – 1 Star
- The short animated videos are engaging and funny.
- The movies can be paused at any point to allow for discussion and extension teaching.
- Narratives, attention to details, inferencing, humour and even articulation practice can be targeted using this app.
- The movies can be replayed if necessary
- Well defined levels of skill and complexity
- Level 1 does not allow the child to choose the incorrect response repeatedly and this curbs impulsivity
- Recording features allows additional verbal feedback and self-monitoring practice. Recorded sentences can also be saved and stored.
- Data collection occurs and multiple students can be made users for this app although it cannot be used as a group activity. The data can be printed and emailed.
Areas for Improvement
- It is quite expensive at $14.99 but in my view well worth it.
- Some knowledge of reading/word structure needed for the child to use it independently
- On Level 2, it would be nice if the sentence is read for the child once they have made a selection. This would allow for younger children to work more independently.
- If the child accidentally inserts the incorrect word, the app does not allow the child to make any corrections
- Although the videos are really engaging and funny, this is not a game App (nor was it meant to be), so the child does lose interest after a couple of practice verbs. However, in order to reinforce verbs, then it’s a good idea to only use a few at a time