Monday, January 28, 2013

Articulation Scenes by Smarty Ears- App Review

I had heard so many great things about the Smarty Ears App, Articulation Scenes that I couldn't wait to get my hands on it!  The generous folks provided me with a code to review this app, but all opinions expressed are solely mine.  Articulation Scenes has definitely lived up to the hype!  My clients and I had a great time testing it out at work!  Allow me to walk you through Articulation Scenes, just in case you have not had a chance to see it yet.

The entire app is designed around a movie production theme.  The first screen sets the pace by displaying an outside shot of a theatre.  To begin, you will need to tap the "Play" button displayed on a camera.  The "Lounge" button directs you to a page for statistics and the "Support" link allows you to select more information about the app among other links.  

After you select "Play",  you are guided to the players screen where you will need to enter the name and either a photo image or avatar for each player.  My students really enjoy selecting avatar images, so we use these to represent players.

When you finish created player profiles, tap the "Choose Scene" link, which will guide you to a screen full of target sounds.  I LOVE how the movie theme carries on every page!

The next set up screen prompts you to pick the word position for sound targets.  If you select /r/, you can choose among vocalic /r/ choices and blends!  Articulation Scenes really covers all the bases!

Finally, the last set up screen gives you a chance to select one of four activities for the target sound.  Theses include: finding the hidden objects, tapping and saying a picture, reading a story's after hearing it or developing your own story about a scene presented in a movie format, or reading something from the production room.

Most of my younger clients selected the hidden objects play and many of them had difficulty tapping images to get feedback; however, both myself and some of my older clients did not have this problem.   Target words are listed under the picture scene so you know which images you need to tap.  These words disappear as you successfully tap pictures.  I really liked that you can earn points as you find pictures!

Another play option is: tap and say it.  This fun little segment makes you feel like an actor as you get to rehearse and record the names of the pictures you tap.  Clinicians can rate the client's productions as:  missed it, almost and got it.  Playback mode gives clients a chance to self rate their own speech too.

The movie theatre play choice was one of my older clients' favorite options.  A curtain opens to reveal a movie screen with a picture scene filled with items containing the target sound.  The script, featured below the scene, is read aloud, and then you are given a chance to make up your own story for the scene or read the one just played.  Either way, you can record utterances for immediate playback.  I would like to see the developers remove reading the script from this activity because it seems a little redundant to offer the same activity here and in the production room.

The final play option, the production room, is much like the movie theatre choice, except you do not hear a pre-written script for the picture scene.  Instead, you are shown the same image as in the movie theatre, but this time you go directly to recording your own story.  Again, you get the option to read a script from the production room, as you did in the movie theatre.  I love how this choice is set up to look like a realistic, production room feed.  Every image in this entire app really connects to a movie production theme.  This makes all the play options so much more interesting and fun as opposed to having students just practice their target sounds while reading from therapy material books!

OPTION 1- Create Your Own Story

OPTION 2- Read a Script

I was delighted to see a homework link in this app that brings you to a picture page with the same images as your selected target sound!  How fantastic for carryover practice at home!  This is nothing short of genius!

Another fabulous treat is the 'lounge link' where you can see comprehensive statistics and hear recordings for each client.  Students can admire their trophy collection on a separate page at this lounge link.  Smarty Ears just thought of everything when they created this app and it has quickly become not only my favorite articulation app, but also that of my clients as many have requested it over the last couple weeks!

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