Syntax City – App Review
Developer: Smarty Ears Apps
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:
- Level 1: do/does choice
- Level 2: do/does/are(is)
- Level 3: is/does/do
Beach: Third person singular agreement (one level)
- 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.
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
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||0|
|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|
|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||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|
16 ½ /20
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. 🙂