Between The Lines – App Review

Between The Lines – App Review

Developer: Hamaguchi Apps

Price:            $15.99

 

 

CC whose blog is entitled “If Only I had Super Powers” http://ifonlyihadsuperpowers.blogspot.com/ recently wrote a post on trying to teach social-pragmatic skills to children. I totally concur with her. “Social –Pragmatic skills are HARD to teach” and yet more and more children are experiencing difficulty learning and generalizing these skills.

Between the Lines by Hamaguchi Apps is designed for primary(elementary)  school students through young adults, who would benefit from practice interpreting vocal intonation, facial expressions, perspective-taking, body language, and idiomatic or slang expressions. There are three levels available – Level 1, Level 2 and Advanced.

The app uses real photographs, voices and short mini-video clips of a variety of social situations and expressions. This app provides a dynamic way to help learn and practice interpreting the messages that are “between the lines” and simply can’t be replicated with worksheets and static flashcards.

All three levels adopt the same format. Although Level 2 is slightly more difficult than Level 1, there is not much in it and the division between the two levels is largely due to the size of the app rather than the difficulty level. The Advanced is slightly more difficult, but I have been able to use this level with my primary school children (9-10 year olds) with success.

 
Format of App:

 

1. Listening

 

The user hears a voice speak a sentence, e.g., “Oh wow, I can’t believe he’s here!” A question is then asked, “Who said it?” The user is shown a series of photographs. Depending upon the settings selected, there can be 2, 3 or 4 choices shown. The user touches the correct facial expression that matches the voice.

Who said it?

 
 
2. Body Language

 

A very short video-clip is shown that depicts an interaction or situation. For example, a girl is sitting on a bench waiting for her friend. Her friend eventually strolls along and sits down and she exclaims “It’s almost 8:20! Hello!” Her body language suggests she is really exasperated. The camera closes in this actor and says, “What is she thinking?” The user’s task is to look at the choices of responses and select the one that matches the facial expression/body language. Depending upon the settings selected, there can be 2, 3 or 4 choices shown.

 

What is she thinking?

 

 

3. Expressions

 

A very short video-clip is shown that depicts an actor speaking a sentence that contains an idiomatic expression, e.g., “I feel like I’ve been run over by a truck.” The user is then asked, “What does that mean?” Depending upon the settings selected, there can be 2, 3, or 4 choices shown. Text can be read to the user by touching the sentences.

 

What does that mean?

 

Level 1 contains 204 tasks in total.

Level 2 contains 199 tasks in total.

Advanced contains 225 tasks in total.

 

Features:
  • All three levels can be played by up to 75 users or as a group.
  • The percentage correct is reported for each user’s performance on each of the three activities.
  • Individual users can select their own settings; the group must have the same setting selections for the entire group.
  • Settings include:

– Selection of the activities,

– Order of the activities (or random)

– Praise phrases and correct sound effect bell on/off

– Answer choices (group of 2, 3 or 4),

– How to display choices (automatically or manually)

– Automatic progression to next activity or manual progression using the arrow.

– Progress can be tracked, and displayed or not displayed.

– Reward animations are provided at selected intervals for a welcome fun and break including Dunk Tank,  Bull’s Eye (darts), and Knock ‘Em Down

  • Data can be saved, stored, printed and emailed.

 

Special Features

 

Although the App only provides a correct/incorrect reinforcement, each level has an Extension Activities sheet which provides specific guidance on how to extend the child and improve performance.

Level 1

http://hamaguchiapps.com/uploads/Extension_Activities_Level_1_Between_the_Lines.pdf

Level 2

http://hamaguchiapps.com/uploads/Extension_Activities_Level_2_Between_the_Lines.pdf

Level 3

http://hamaguchiapps.com/uploads/Extension_Activities_Advanced_Between_the_Lines.pdf

App Review Checklist & Rating Chart: Total Score   /20

Speech/Language/Education Apps

GENERAL INFORMATION & OPERATION   

5/5

Content is appropriate 1
No in app purchases required for use 1
Help/tutorial Available 1
Students can launch and navigate in the app independently 1
App is fairly priced and/or comparable to other similarly priced apps 1

FEATURES     

4/4
App can be customized for different users 1
App can be used for single user or groups 1
Content/data can easily be exported 1
User data is saved from session to session 1

APP DESIGN      

1 ½ /2
Design graphics/sounds are appealing 1
App is interactive, engaging & motivating for user 1/2

SPEECH/LANGUAGE USE     

9/9
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

TOTAL SCORE

19 ½ /20

 

 

Star Rating

17 – 20 Points  – 5 Stars

13 – 16 Points – 4 Stars

9- 12 Points – 3 Stars

5 – 8 Points – 2 Stars

0 – 4 Points – 1 Star

 

There is very little that I can fault with this App apart from the motivation games. The choice of three different games is great, but the games themselves don’t provide the user with any control of the game other than touching the “THROW” icon and hoping for the best. The children soon worked this out. As a result, the motivation to continue playing was dampened to some degree. There is also no limit to the number of times the child can press “THROW”  when they have a reward game, and even though there is no skill involved in the game, the children still enjoyed seeing the man dunked and it was occasionally difficult to redirect them to the task.

Never the less, I feel that this App is an invaluable source of targeting those difficult to teach social – pragmatic skills and it is not a bad thing to only work on one or two areas at a time in order to generalize these skills optimally.

 

Thank you to Patti at Hamaguchi Apps for providing me with Levels 1 & 2. The Advanced level was purchased of my own volition. 😀

The opinions expressed are my own.

Auditory Workout – App Review

Auditory Workout – App Review

Developer:  Virtual Speech Center

Price:             $19.99

 

 

 

 

Processing of Auditory information is a difficulty that affects so many aspects of language development and the ability to address this difficulty in an authentic learning environment is an ongoing challenge for therapists working with these children. All too often, the child performs well within the therapy context, but is unable to transfer these skills to the classroom setting.

Auditory Workout is an App that addresses this need.

Auditory Workout app includes hundreds of audio instructions and a BACKGROUND NOISE Feature that allows users to set background noise (classroom noise), so that learning is authentic.

The App allows children to follow increasingly longer and more complex directions which are divided into four categories

  • Basic Directions: 15 levels within this category ranging from “one-step directions with object” to “one-step directions with size, color, object, action, preposition, and object.
  • Quantitative and Spatial Directions: 12 levels ranging from “concepts and/or plus an object” to “the concept of first, second, third, and last combined with size, color, and object.”
  • Temporal Directions: 18 levels ranging from “the concepts of before plus an object” to “concepts of before/after combined with size and object.”
  • Conditional Directions: 15 levels ranging from “conditional directions with object” to “conditional directions combined with size, object, action, preposition, and object.”

Children accumulate basketballs as a reward for each correct response and are rewarded with a game when they accumulate enough balls.

App Review Checklist & Rating Chart: Total Score   /20

Speech/Language/Education Apps

GENERAL INFORMATION & OPERATION   

5/5
Content is appropriate 1
No in app purchases required for use 1
Help/tutorial Available 1
Students can launch and navigate in the app independently 1
App is fairly priced and/or comparable to other similarly priced apps 1

FEATURES     

4/4
App can be customized for different users 1
App can be used for single user or groups 1
Content/data can easily be exported 1
User data is saved from session to session 1

APP DESIGN      

2/2
Design graphics/sounds are appealing 1
App is interactive, engaging & motivating for user 1

SPEECH/LANGUAGE USE     

6 ½ /9
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 0
App has good potential for interaction between user and therapist 1
Response to errors is specific and results in improved performance 0
Targeted skills are practiced in an authentic learning environment 1
App offers complete flexibility to alter settings to meet students needs 1/2
App can be used across a variety of age/developmental groups 1

TOTAL SCORE

17 ½ /20

 

 

Star Rating

5 stars             17 – 20 points

4 stars             13 – 16 points

3 stars             9 – 12 points

2 stars             5 – 8 points

1 star              0 – 4 points

 

I Like:
  • Instructions can be repeated as many times as necessary and if a child fails on a task then the item can be re-done. You must turn the Automatic Paging Feature to OFF in the settings menu in order to do this.
  • The app is easy to navigate and can be used by parents with their children for extra practice.
  • The Background Noise Level can be turned off or on and adjusted with differing intensity levels.
  • The App is very detailed and is well graded so that the child can progress through increasing levels of complexity.
  • Reports are specific and you can select a report based on the activity that the child completed or by the time/date that each task was done.

 

Areas for improvement:
  • It would be nice if the Background Noise Level could be adjusted without “ending the session” particularly if the child is having difficulty or there is “sensory overload.”
  • Although the incorrect answers are displayed (if this setting is selected), it would be nice if the response to errors was more specific. For example, when targeting the concept “BEFORE”, (Show me the candle before you show me the phone), and the child taps the phone first, both items are shown simultaneously and the concept of BEFORE is not highlighted.
  • A record feature would add an additional Expressive Language Dimension to this App.
  • It is quite expensive but I cannot find a comparable App and so at this stage it is good value for money.

 

Thank you to Virtual Speech Center for providing me with this App.

The views expressed are my own.

 

Syntax City – App Review

Syntax City – App Review

Developer:         Smarty Ears Apps

Price:                    $39.99

 

 

 

Syntax City targets a variety of grammatical elements in fun and engaging ways. It is suitable for children who have some knowledge of reading but with guidance and mediation it could possibly be used with a 5 year old child.

The theme sets the tone for children visiting a variety of places within the city. Each location within the city targets a different set of goals.

The following locations and skills  are addressed:

Gym: Do/Does

  • Level 1: do/does choice
  • Level 2: do/does/are(is)
  • Level 3: is/does/do

Beach: Third person singular agreement (one level)

Bakery: Was/Were

  • Level 1: Two options was/were
  • Level 2: Three options was/do/were; was/were/have
  • Level 3: Four options do/was/were/has

Ski Resort: He/ She

  • Level 1: Choice between he/she
  • Level 2: he/she/her; he/she/him

Farm: Past tense verb agreement

  • Level 1: Two options to choose from. Uses irregular verbs
  • Level 2: Three options to choose from E.g. bend, bent, bended; goed went, go

Grocery: Has/Have (one level)

Park: Is/Are (one level)

Zoo: Regular and Irregular Plurals

  • Level 1 – regular plurals
  • Level 2 – irregular plurals
  • Level 3 – Regular & Irregular Plurals

 

Each location contains 50 targets, adding up to a total of 400 targets within 8 different activities.

Each target phrase is also spoken aloud. Correct responses are rewarded with animations and collecting “treasure”  belong to the specific location.  The treasures are placed under the  child’s profile.

 

In the settings menu, the user can either choose to have incorrect responses indicated with a BEEP and the word is not inserted into the appropriate space or the incorrect word can be removed from the choices.

Data tracking:

Syntax City offers detailed  data collection. A set of graphs provides visual information on children’s skills and their progress toward mastery of specific goals. The data can be emailed, printed, or shared to other compatible applications.

When you click a student’s profile under “reports” you can access treasures or score reports.

App Review Checklist & Rating Chart: Total Score   /20

Speech/Language/Education Apps

GENERAL INFORMATION & OPERATION   

4/5
Content is appropriate 1
No in app purchases required for use 1
Help/tutorial Available 1
Students can launch and navigate in the app independently 1
App is fairly priced and/or comparable to other similarly priced apps 0

FEATURES     

4/4
App can be customized for different users 1
App can be used for single user or groups 1
Content/data can easily be exported 1
User data is saved from session to session 1

APP DESIGN      

11/2 /2
Design graphics/sounds are appealing 1
App is interactive, engaging & motivating for user 1/2

SPEECH/LANGUAGE USE     

7 /9
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 0
Targeted skills are practiced in an authentic learning environment 1
App offers complete flexibility to alter settings to meet students needs 0
App can be used across a variety of age/developmental groups 1

TOTAL SCORE

16 ½ /20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                     

Star Rating

5 stars             17 – 20 points

4 stars             13 – 16 points

3 stars              9 – 12 points

2 stars              5 – 8 points

1 star                 0 – 4 points

 

 

 

 Positive   Areas for Improvement 
The target sentence is read for the child App does not read target words for the child. This would allow younger children to work independently
I like that you are able to repeat sentences as often as necessary by tapping on it.
Report is very specific for each target – allows therapist/facilitator to see exactly which structures require more work. Scores below 50% are highlighted in red. No specific feedback with incorrect responses
Is/Are and do/does are addressed in the inverted question form. Is he going down the slide? Do they think the water is cold? He/she activity – there is a full stop after the initial sentence, but the following sentence with he/she does not start with a capital letter
Therapist controls rate of game Child is able to click “NEXT” without completing the task although this is marked in the report as incorrect.
Each place in the town allows for vocabulary development related to that location.  Realistic pictures allow for discussion and extension language It’s a pity that the airport which is shown as part of the city doesn’t have an activity linked to it as it would make for excellent vocabulary development and practice
Past tense verb agreement – includes common errors made by children e.g. fight, fighted, fought Irregular plural task would be nice to include common errors as foils e.g. knifes, knives, knife

 

Syntax City is a great app that takes the tediousness out of working on common grammar difficulties.

However at $39.99, I feel it is a bit pricey and hopefully it will go on sale often.

Thank you to Smarty Ears for giving me this app to review! The opinions expressed are my own.

I did pick up a few bugs in the App, which HAVE/HAS been brought to the attention of the developers and will no doubt be remedied. 🙂

App Review: Tense Builder

App Review: Tense Builder

 

Developer: Mobile Education Store

Price: $14.99

 

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.

 

Features Include:

  • 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

 

Level One: 

Level 1

–  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.

 

Level Two:

Level 2

–       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
Speech/Language/Education Apps

GENERAL INFORMATION & OPERATION   

5/5

Content is appropriate 1
No in app purchases required for use 1
Help/tutorial Available 1
Students can launch and navigate in the app independently 1
App is fairly priced and/or comparable to other similarly priced apps 1

FEATURES     

3/4
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

APP DESIGN      

1 ½ /2
Design graphics/sounds are appealing 1
App is interactive, engaging & motivating for user 1/2

SPEECH/LANGUAGE USE     

9/9
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

TOTAL SCORE


18 ½ /20

 

Star Rating

17 – 20 Points – 5 Stars

13 – 16 Points – 4 Stars

9 – 12 Points – 3 Stars

5 – 8 Points – 2 Stars

1 – 4 Points – 1 Star

 

Positives
  • 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
Reading Raven – App Review

Reading Raven – App Review

 

 

Developer: Early Ascent LLC

Price: $3.99

 

Reading Raven is phonics-based engaging learn-to-read app that provides step-by-step reading lessons designed to help young children build a solid foundation for reading. The developer suggests this app from age 3 to 7 years, but I feel that 3 years is a little young and it is more suited for children from 4 ½ – 5 years.

There are five lessons included in the app, each working on a group of five letters (individual letters, plus words that start with those letters). All letters except Q and X are covered. The /th/ sound is also included.

 

Tasks include:

  • Letter Recognition: A letter falls, and the child has to match it to the same letter below. As it falls they hear the letter sound, once they correctly match it they hear the letter name, sound and a word beginning with that letter

  • Tracing letters & words: The app shows the letter outline and the correct letter formation and the child then traces the letter/word. The app allows them to go outside the lines, but they do need to touch dots at the start and end of each stroke. When they finish, the outline disappears and you see how they wrote the letter.

  • Letter Sounds: The child hears the sound of a letter and identify which letter (of several) makes that sound

  • Initial Sounds: this is similar to the letter matching, but this time the child has to match the falling letter to a picture of a word that starts with that letter.
  • Word Matching: A word falls and the child has to match it to the same word below.
  • Identifying words: The child hears a word and must pick the written word (of several) that matches it.

  • Building words: The child has to put the letters together in the right order to make a word.

  • Reading words/sentences: The child practices reading short words, then moves on to short and then longer sentences. As the child reads they move their finger along a bar under the words and their voice is recorded and played back to them.

 

  • Identifying Word Groups: The child has to recognize words that start or end with the same sound and teaches rhyming.

 

The words are 1-4 letters long and the sentences are 2-8 words long, some sight words and punctuation marks are also introduced. Each lesson has its own theme e.g. it occurs underwater or in the snow or in outer space.

The child earns stickers as a reward for doing the activities, and uses these to decorate Reading Raven’s tree house. The stickers illustrate the words the child has learned and the stickers can be moved around and resized.

App Review Checklist & Rating Chart: Total Score   /20

 Speech/Language/Education Apps

(Adapted from www.speechgadget.com)

 

GENERAL INFORMATION & OPERATION   

5/5

Content is appropriate 1
No in app purchases required for use 1
Help/tutorial Available 1
Students can launch and navigate in the app independently 1
App is fairly priced and/or comparable to other similarly priced apps 1

FEATURES     

1/4
App can be customized for different users 0
App can be used for single user or groups 0
Content/data can easily be exported 0
User data is saved from session to session 1

APP DESIGN      

2/2
Design graphics/sounds are appealing 1
App is interactive, engaging & motivating for user 1

SPEECH/LANGUAGE USE     

8/9
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 0
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

 

Total Points:  16/20 Points

Star Rating

5 Stars 17 – 20 points

4 Stars 13 – 16 points

3 Stars 9 – 12 points

2 Stars 5 – 8 points

1 Star 1 – 4 points
 

Positives

Most things about this app are great and it is difficult to single out any one feature. Some special features that I like include:

  • On any activity, you can have the full voice instructions repeated by tapping the listen icon.
  • You can skip ahead or replay any activity by swiping forward or backward on the Reading Raven character.
  • The app dynamically adapts to the user’s motor skills. If the child is going slower, then the screen adapts to the child’s pace.

You also have the option to work in normal (Abc), uppercase (ABC) or lowercase (abc), and to choose which of four font styles to use. The settings are child-proofed – you have to answer maths questions to access them.

Areas for Improvement
  • From a South African Perspective, the letter /Z/ is pronounced “zee” and the /R/ is pronounced as /err/ so a U.K. voice over would be nice (although I think that our kids are well tuned into the American accent.
  • The app cannot be customized for different users and I couldn’t find a way to “erase” all the previously earned stickers and start over in order to get around the lack of customization.
  • Although the app is easy to navigate independently, there are no progress reports for parents to check and see how the child is doing and therefore the app is probably better used with parent supervision.
  • I would have loved to have given this app a five star rating, but for use as a therapist the inability to customize it for different users, use it in a group and export data was a limiting factor.

For individual use this is a 5 Star App!

Teach your child to read by reinforcing many of the preliteracy skills required for the development of reading.

Get it while it’s on sale at $1.99

Writing TherAppy – App Review

Writing TherAppy – App Review

The iMums (one of my favourite reviewers) reviewed Writing TherAppy by Tactus Solutions.

The App is designed by a speech – language therapist for people with impaired written expression abilities. This includes adults with brain injury as well as children learning to spell. Grace (an iMum) reported “recently I found an unlikely spelling app that will help my 5 year old progress from his cutesy beginner spelling apps to handling future spelling dictation in a formal school setting.”

Developer: Tactus Therapy Solutions Ltd.

Price: $19.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writing TherAppy has 4 learning modes and each has 3 levels of difficulty

Fill-In-The-Blank – the spelling word has 1 or 2 missing letters (depending on level of difficulty) and the student has to select the missing letter(s) from a limited choice or all the letters of the alphabet.

Copy – move the letters into the appropriate blank spaces to copy the word given.

Spell What You See (Naming) – spell the name of the pictured noun.  You can hear the word by touching the picture.

Spell What You Hear (Dictation) – spell the spoken word without any pictorial clue.

There are also hints on each level to allow success on each trial.

The spelling words are categorized into 12 categories: animals, body parts, clothing, colours, concepts, food, furnishings, numbers, objects, people, places and sports.  The categories can be edited and custom spelling words can be added so that the child can practice spelling words given by the school.

App Review Checklist & Rating Chart: Total Score   /20

Speech/Language/Education Apps


GENERAL INFORMATION & OPERATION   

4/5

Content is appropriate 1
No in app purchases required for use 1
Help/tutorial Available 1
Students can launch and navigate in the app independently 1
App is fairly priced and/or comparable to other similarly priced apps 0

FEATURES     

1/4
App can be customized for different users 0
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 0

APP DESIGN      

1/2
Design graphics/sounds are appealing 1
App is interactive, engaging & motivating for user 0

SPEECH/LANGUAGE USE     

6/9
App is designed to target speech/language skills 0
App is designed to target auditory processing – phonemic awareness 0
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 0
App offers complete flexibility to alter settings to meet students needs 1
App can be used across a variety of age/developmental groups  1

Total 12/20 points

Star Rating


5 Stars 17 – 20 points

4 Stars 13 – 16 points

3 Stars 9 -12 points

2 Stars 5 – 8 points

1 Star 0 -4 points

 

App Strengths
  • A British or American accent is an option in the settings which is great for our South African children. The sound quality is crisp and clear.
  • Self –checking is encouraged because the student is encouraged to tap the “Check” button in order to submit his answers.
  • The “hints” allow the student to go down to a lower level of difficulty whenever he needs additional help. There are two types of “hints”, depending on an activity’s chosen level of difficulty:  one is that it removes several foils and narrows the student’s letter options down.  Tapping on the Hint button can also put a letter in the first box of the target word, cueing the user with what letter the word starts with.
  • The Written Naming is an excellent activity to work on word retrieval
  • The Spell What-You-Hear allows the student to replay the word as often as he wants. The therapist/teacher can be alerted to auditory discrimination difficulties.
  •  Upper or lower case letters can be used.
  • You can adjust the settings starting from 10 trials and you can adjust the word difficulty based on length of the word.
  • Because the words are categorized into themes, it promotes good interaction between the therapist and client and allows for development of categorization and language skills.
  • You can create customized spelling lists that are specific to the student. (There is a downside to this)

 

 Areas for improvement
  • The app does not allow for data storage and transfer from session to session
  • Although you can grade the word in terms of number of letters in the word, you cannot adjust the word according to phonemic difficulty and the app would be far more valuable to children with spelling/auditory processing difficulties.
  • The Fill-In-The-Blank activity takes out random letters. An option for taking out specific letter positions would allow better customization to a child’s difficulty level.
  • Although the Written Naming can be used to work on word retrieval, by tapping the picture, the word is revealed. Phonemic (sound) cueing or a grapheme (letter) cue would add a therapeutic dimension to this activity.
  • It does not allow you to make a customized list without adding a picture. This is a problem especially if you are using your child’s spelling list
  • Although the pictures are clear and realistic, the children that I have used it with were not engaged or motivated by this app.
  • Even though there is quantity (in terms of the number of words), I feel that the price is a bit steep for what it offers.

I feel that this App is probably great for the children who are learning to spell and have no underlying difficulties or for adults who have had a brain injury.

However, for children who have auditory perceptual difficulties or difficulty learning to spell, the lack of gradation is a problem and I feel that it is rather expensive as a “Naming App.”

If you have found a useful spelling app, I would really like to know about it.