Thanks to Kyle Tomson at the Mobile Education Store, I have been fortunate enough to trial another one of his fabulous apps, Language Builder. Kyle talks about why he designed this app on his blog by saying, "I designed language builder to be the first stepping stone for kids to learn how to make inferences. That in combination with the record feature, this is an effective tool to start teaching kids how to build narratives." Now, I will review some setting features, discuss how to play, and list some of my favorite features.
After you create a user name, you can switch the "hint" button on or off. While we are on the topic of hints, let's review the three levels of support. Level 1 provides you a sentence with two blanks for the user to fill-in. Once you select the "hint" button, you need to proceed with completing the sentence while recording it out loud. I like that once you select the hint, you no longer have an option to skip the picture. Level 2 gives you the first few two words or subject of the sentence and the user creates the predicate. At this point, the user should be independent with determining verbs and descriptive words to formulate a grammatically correct sentence. The final level 3 asks the user to construct a sentence using 1-2 target words. No written visual supports are provided at this level.
Once you determine the appropriate starting point for your client, you can select one or a mix of all 11 image themes from actual photos of winter games to hobbies or medical scenes. You may opt to select "Randomize All Themes" to sample the whole lot! Now, you are ready to play! You will be presented with one, actual photo at a time and given an opportunity to skip the image or select a hint. Once you chose "hint", you need to record a sentence that describes the picture image. After recording, you are given an opportunity to re-record or save the original. Under the archive tab, you will find a table of all sentences you selected to save. When you tap a saved sentence, the associated image will appear. This is a perfect opportunity for the therapist to rate the sentences, delete, or email them.
Level 1 Image
Level 2 Image
Some features that I particularly like about this app include the following:
~ After you record a sentence, you must listen to the recording before you can get another image. This encourages kids to listen and self rate their sentences rather than impulsively move to the next one. Reflection is always a good thing in speech!!
~ Actual pictures help kids relate to real life events when constructing sentences. It just seems more functional and logical to use an image that a child may have experienced, thereby helping him or her create a sentence that connects to a meaningful event.
~ Language Builder does not provide audio feedback as to which responses are correct or incorrect, which makes this app a useful screening tool. I am often searching for visual scenes to gather some background information about a student referred for a screening and it is so refreshing to have this material at my fingertips on my iPad!
I would like to see a feature added that allows the user to hear the "hint" read aloud. This would help the child be more independent and less reliant on the speech therapist to read cues, especially if the therapist is seated across from the child. Otherwise, this app is another must have from the Mobile Education Store!
For more information about Mobile Education Store's apps, you can subscribe to the newsletter at http://mobile-educationstore.com/signup. It's really easy and it's a good way to keep track of new things that the company is doing. Reportedly, there will be some MAJOR announcements coming in 2013, so don't miss out!
And here is your chance to win a code for Language Builder! Good luck!