Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Conversation Builder Teen App- Review and Giveaway

At long last, the Conversation Builder Teen app by Mobile Education Store has arrived!!  If you are a caregiver, educator, or therapist who has a middle-school or high-school aged child in your life who is working on social skills, then this is the app for you!  The developer, Kyle Tomson, spent months working on Conversation Builder Teen and his efforts have yielded a phenomenal resource for pediatrics needing to strengthen pragmatic skills.  Kyle describes his app by stating, "ConversationBuilderTeen is a Conversation Simulator designed to help teenaged children learn how to have multi-exchange conversations with their peers in a variety of social settings.  The auditory pattern of conversation is presented in a visual format to help students recognize and master the flow of conversation."  After you read my review, be sure to enter a giveaway at the end of this post for Conversation Builder Teen!

When you first activate the Conversation Builder Teen app, you will directed to a settings screen (pictured below.)  You will quickly create a user by entering the full name and gender for the user: the gender selections helps gear conversations that are specific to the user's sex.  Next, select a 2-3 player or group mode.   Finally, pick one, some, or all of the following conversations:  bullying, summer, entertainment, sports, sarcasm, relationship, and school.  At this point, you should also set up parental controls, especially if you work in school settings, because you will want parent permission before discussing topics like drugs and sex.  So, go ahead and restrict these topics until you have consent.  Another tab on the settings screen will review the app in a clear, concise tutorial, which is a nice way to review the app with teenage users.

The main goals that Conversation Builder Teen app strive to address are making introductions, asking appropriate questions, topic maintenance, using observations, and changing topics.  The user will see an image of a peer while being given three conversation choices.  Sometimes, the user will need to determine how to start a conversation, while other times, the user needs to respond to comments and questions posed by the virtual peer.  The greatest teaching tool of this app is the instruction provided for incorrect answer choices.  Users may get feedback that the wrong answer choices "sound negative, obvious, or unusual."
The app goes one step further with explaining tone and sarcasm in good detail.  Another nice feature is the audio button for each answer choice.  It makes the activity seem more realistic when you hear teenage voices reading answer choices as opposed to hearing an adults voice reading selections. 

Boy Conversation Image

Girl Conversation Image
Users are given opportunities to record correct answer choices throughout conversations.  When the 'history' button appears at the top of the page and you click it, you will see a text messaged, written script of the responses.  At the end of the exchange, you can play back the conversation in its entirety.  This is a great opportunity to work on improving a user's tone and intonation to match different interactions.  In addition to listening to conversations, you also have options to save and/or email exchanges. 

If you select the group conversation mode, then mulitple users can interact with real life peers.  After one group member records a sentence or question, the iPad is passed to another player.  In this mode, you will not get answer choices, rather, you need to determine what to ask or say based on the visual image and peer responses. You can even use your own picture image to further simulate role playing.  Kyle even took it one step further and made the screen resemble text messaging for responses!  Just another teenage freindly feature! 

Group Mode Image

The progress link takes you to a page that it customized for each user.  Here, conversations are only considered 'complete' if the user answered each question accurately on the first attempt.

Progress Screen
I recently hosted a table at a Special Needs Resource Fair in Aurora, IL and I was so excited to spread the word about this app in particular, since it is so unique and functional.  Many caregivers were just as anxious to preview Conversation Builder Teen and I hope that this review lends more detail about this dynamic communication tool! 

Kyle Tomson provided codes to review this app and raffle below; however, all opinions expressed in this review are solely mine.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I have Conversation Builder and would LOVE this Teen version for my middle and high school students!!! So many of my kids need to work on social skills and conversation skills and this app is a great, interactive way of addressing this!

  2. I would lI've to use this app with my high school students who struggle with pragmatics because t looks like they'd enjoy it.

  3. I have a pt with Down Syndrome I would like to use this app with. I tried the regular conversation builder, but it was too young for him.

  4. I would love ConversationBuilder Teen for some of my upper elementary "tweens" that are in to the topics this app revolves around- my 5th graders will be going to middle school next year and it's a whole new world! These kids would really benefit from concepts such as intonation affecting what we mean etc. This would also be super to have as a resource for our loan device library.

  5. I'm a high school SLP & I would use this all the time!