I am beyond grateful that the Mobile Education Store continues to allow me the opportunity to review and giveaway their award winning apps! This week, I have some thoughts to share about the original Conversation Builder Elementary app, which was released in early 2011. As always, let's begin by looking at the settings screen.
When you open the app for the first time, you will be prompted to create your first user profile. Besides typing in your name, age, and city you live in, you can also share a topic that interests you. I love that all of this information is incorporated into the play mode to personalize activities. Next, you can determine if you want to play as a single player with four or eight conversational turns or in a group. If you select the group mode, then you will need to pass the iPad around the room for a group exchange. If you select a single player mode, then you will also need to choose if you would prefer having the student, a virtual peer, or alternating turns to initiate conversations. Finally, select the themes for conversations. The standard conversation selection is the base option and there are six additional ones that you can also choose from: animals, water, holidays, friends around town, playground, and winter. Now, all of the conversation modules are included in the purchase price. I really like that you have an opportunity to let your clients pick some topics of interest.
Once you are set up, you can start playing. In the single player mode, an actual photo image appears with three answer choices. If you make the wrong selection, an audio clip provides a clue about the correct choice. I really like that this feedback is offered since so many students would just quickly hit another choice without taking a moment to process information. Select the right answer, and then you will have a chance to record the sentence. Like Conversation Builder Teen, this simple record features allows an opportunity to address so many vital areas of expressive communication to include fluctuating tones, reading with expression, using an appropriate speaking rate, and working on target sounds at the sentence level. I have used this app over the last couple weeks with clients working on: social/ pragmatic skills; articulation of target sounds at the sentence levels; fluency; and enunciating syllables in words. I can't say enough about the versatility of this app!
After you complete a conversation, you can play back the entire exchange, save, and email it. While many of my clients were reinforced by hearing their own recordings, some did indicate that they missed earning visual rewards. Understandably, rewards are something that they have come to expect with the majority of educational apps.
In the group mode, you will only be shown an image. Each member must record a sentence to create either a four or eight conversational exchange. This mode is especially helpful for those clients who no longer need choices for conversations, but still need work on generating responses and staying on topic. I like that this mode exists because it allows you to further challenge students, especially those in later elementary grades. You can even upload your own images from your iPad into the group conversations. Just hold the home button and top right button down at the same time: You'll hear a click like a camera. After you have the pictures, just sync your iPad with your mac and open iPhoto. It will show the photos on the iPad and you can download some or all to your computer. Below is an example of an image uploaded from an iPad.
Overall, I am very happy to have this app on my iPad at work and have already found myself using it daily with a variety of clients. I would like to see even more topics and rewards added, but otherwise, it is a pretty, great app as it stands! Please take a moment to enter the raffle below for a redemption code for Conversation Builder! It retails for $19.99, but you may get yourself an early Christmas gift by the end of the week!!