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.

 

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.

Memory Zoo – App Review

Memory Zoo – App Review

The influx of Educational Apps makes it very difficult to decide which apps are worthwhile and which are not.

Memory Zoo is an Auditory Memory app that is compatable with  iPod & iPad.

 

My rubric is based on www.speechgadget.com

Thank you Deb for all your hard work and for sharing!

 

App Review Checklist & Rating Chart: Total Score 20

Speech/Language/Education Apps

 

GENERAL INFORMATION & OPERATION   

5/6

App is easy to use & does not crash  1
Content is appropriate  1
No in app purchases required for use  1
Help/tutorial Available  0
App does not contain ads  1
App is fairly priced and/or comparable to other similarly priced apps  1

FEATURES

 4/6
App can be customized for different users  1
App can be used for single user or groups  1
In app data collection is available  1
Content/data can easily be exported  0
User data is saved from session to session  0
App provides useful feedback for user to allow for improved performance  1

APP DESIGN      

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

SPEECH/LANGUAGE USE     

6/6
App is designed to target speech/language skills/auditory processing  1
App is easily 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
Skill reinforced is connected to targeted skill or concept  1
App can be used across a variety of age/developmental groups  1

 

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 Review: Memory Zoo
          App Name:     Memory Zoo
          Developer: GrasshopperApps.com
          Price:                Free

 

Memory Zoo is fun memory challenge that can be customized to suit all ages.  The app comprises of three games in one which can be used to target memory in different ways. Although it is relies primarily on visual memory there is an auditory component too.

 

 

MEMORY GAME 1: ANIMAL HUNT

In this game, you are shown a series of animals on the screen. You have to remember the location of ALL the animals to advance to the next screen.  It starts off simply but every time you get something correct an additional item is added.

MEMORY GAME 2: FIND THE ITEM

Similar to the animal hunt game; you are shown a group of animals. However, this time, instead of remembering the location of all animals, you just have to be able to recall the location of a specific animal.  This can be done by listening to an auditory cue, a visual written cue or both a visual and auditory cue.

MEMORY GAME 3: MEMORY CARDS

This is an animal version of the classic memory card “pairs” game.


APP STRENGTHS

Game is easy to use and intuitive.

The settings allow you to adjust the difficulty levels and it can be used for children from about 4 ½ years old right through primary school. In fact, I really enjoyed playing with this app too.

Settings can be changed: This includes the reveal time of the target stimulus and board size.

Skill settings can also be adjusted to have audio or visual, or both cues.

The game can be paused to allow for discussion between turns. Memory strategies can be discussed and the child can be encouraged to try and use them.

App can be used with up to four players in a group.

There is both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. The children really want to try “one more time” to improve on their own score and they really want their name on the leader board for all to see.

 

AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT

The app does not allow for data storage and transfer from session to session (unless you appear on the leader board).

Settings cannot be adjusted during the game. This would allow the facilitator to mediate the game more appropriately for the child.

Although the app is intuitive, there is no help/tutorial and it took me a while to figure out what the hearts and the torches were for. The “torches” give you another look at the sequences and if you find a “heart” you get an extra life.

Some of the animals are not familiar to the South African population.

A bigger variety of animals would allow for further vocabulary development.

 

Recommendation:

Based on my app rating system, I gave Memory Zoo

17/20 points and

5/5   stars.

Well worth it!