Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Speech/Language Apps

Most of my posts review more of the non-traditional apps that I use for therapy; however, I own a large majority of apps that are specifically designed for Speech/Language therapy.  I guess, I assume that there is an abundance of S/L sites that review these apps, so I try to pick other non-traditional apps to discuss...especially those which might be popular for home practice or parent involvement. Here are some of the more traditional Speech/Language therapy-based apps that I use frequently.  For now I just listed them, and I will work slowly on adding some of my thoughts/likes/dislikes about each app. I won't type too much, there are too many apps!

Articulation Station Pro: By far, this is my favorite articulation has all of the phonemes and you can select the hierarchy level (word or sentence).  The sentences provide multiple targets. Pictures are great. Speech is discrepancy in volume like some of the other apps (not that I have noticed anyway). Very easy to use. This will probably be my recommended app to parents because they can purchase single sounds vs. the entire app.
Articulate It!:  I like this app, I use this one the most for students with articulation needs. I like that it has an auditory model if needed. My only concern is that the speech can be VERY fast at times...and the loudness varies depending on the speaker.  My students need a very reduced rate and consistent loudness.
Speech Trainer 3D:  I have used this several times, it's satisfactory for the price.
/r/ Intensive: It's ok, I tend to refer to my other articulation apps.
QuickVoice: I use this to record articulation practice to send for home practice, or for the student to listen/monitor speech sound production.  Great for auditory bombardment tasks too.

Language ( 'Builder' apps, general language skills, and other misc. language skills)
Language Builder (Deluxe): Love this app!  This is by far an app that I use weekly.  The students are able to listen to their sentences, which helps with self monitoring.  I use this app for grammar, increasing sentence length, articulation, on-topic sentences, etc. Hats off to the 'Builder' developer, he is great at creating lots of options in the settings area.
Sentence Builder: A nice app to address word order, grammar, and sentence-building skills.  For some of my non-readers, I wish that each word/phrase could be read aloud.
Sentence Builder Teen: This is a great app to have for my caseload as I work with many adolescents. There is a lack of apps for this age level.  My only 'wish' is that the sentences were even longer/more complex, or the option to have the words completely scrambled...that way the students would need to drag the words into the appropriate order.
Rainbow Sentences: 
Story Builder:
Let's Name Things Fun Deck: Just a different version of their card-based decks...nothing too fancy. It's nice to use this app for partner work, the students are more excited to use the iPad instead of my 'old cards'. 
Fun Outdoors: I thought I could use this for following directions, which I could, but it is not nearly as nice as some of the other apps, like 123 for $4, I was VERY disappointed with this one. =(
Categories Learning Center: I bought this for $9.99.  It has 5 levels of play: Sorting (1, 2); Where Does It Go?; Category Naming; and Category Selection. I like some features, but have some 'wishes' for other features.  I like that there is a quick play, sometimes I don't need to enter data and I just want to use the app.   In several of the levels, only portions of the task are voiced.  I like apps that allow me to turn voicing on/off.  That way, if my student is a non-reader, all of the names/items can be read to them.  In the case of this app, the category names are written but not read (Sorting - Level 1 and 2, Where Does It Go).  For the most part, the voices (children) are clear.  There are few items that needed to be repeated because the volume was too soft or the rate was too quick.   Overall, I like this app.  I'd probably buy it again; but ideally, I wish it had a bit more to it...for my students with more limited skills (non-readers), as well as higher level students.  I have many older students who still need practice with categorization, maybe sorting higher level vocabulary (states vs countries, etc) which might be picture or word-based.
What Are They Asking? Fun Deck:
What Are They Thinking? Fun Deck:
See.Touch.Learn (by Brain Parade): Free, or purchase the full version.  Great app for vocabulary and associations.  My favorite aspect is the ability to customize!

Vocabulary (homophones, synonyms, antonyms, etc)
Bluster: This is to target synonyms/antonyms...I wish it had more features/modes, but it is good for a basic synonym/antonym app.

Following Directions:
Lexico Cognition:  Awesome app, I only have the free version, but it's a great app for processing complex sentences with spatial concepts/critical elements.  One tip...I instruct the student that they get 1 try, if they guess incorrectly, they must listen to the direction again.  Otherwise, crafty students will just drag the picture around until it snaps into place. =)
Fun with Directions HD:  A very good buy. You can change settings, etc.
More Fun with Directions HD: Also a good app for following directions, you can change the settings, etc.

Semantic Relationships, Analogies, Associations:
Little Solver Preschool Logic:
Little Solver Figural Analogies:
ABA - What does Not Belong?
Clean Up:
ABA What goes together?
NLC Autism: Sorting items into categories, Free, so why not? 
Things that Go Together: Free.  Love it!
Little Matchups The Matching Game:   Free.
Categories Learning Center:  I described this app above (Language category).
See.Touch.Learn (by Brain Parade): Free, or purchase the full version.  Great app for vocabulary and associations.  My favorite aspect is the ability to customize! 

Word Order:
Question Assembly: So far, it's the only app that I have found that works on placing words in order at the question level.
Rainbow Sentences: Has multiple levels of play.  Students must drag words to correct order. Sentence fragments or words can be color coded. 

Verbal Reasoning:
Understanding Inferences Fun Deck:  Just a different version of their card-based decks...nothing too fancy.
Answering How Questions Fun Deck: Just a different version of their card-based decks...nothing too fancy.

Conversation Builder Deluxe: This is a good app for practicing conversation: looking at a picture and knowing how to start a conversation, etc.  
What Are They Asking? Fun Deck: Wish Super Duper would add the ability to record.  I bought many of these fun decks, but really they are the same as the actual cards.  Adding the ability to record answers would be a nice addition.
What Are They Thinking? Fun Deck: See my comment above.

Digital StoryTelling, Narratives, etc
Speech Journal:
Apps for Making My Own Materials
Phonics Genius: Love this app, it's free...but I make custom decks for vocab, synonyms, etc. quite often.
Custom Boards: Great app for building my own materials...I love that the student/I can build a board of their target sounds/words and send it to a parent for home practice.  It is definitely pricey though.
Speech Journal:
See.Touch.Learn (by Brain Parade): Free, or purchase the full version.  Great app for vocabulary and associations.  My favorite aspect is the ability to customize! 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Scribble Press

Scribble Press was featured as a FREE app on App Friday (Jan. 13th, 2012).  I installed it and have just begun to look at it, but so far, I see some really great features.  It has several modes:  "My Books" (books that you created and can create), "My Drawings" (drawing/note pad type of feature with lots of neat choices), and a "Gallery" (download other people's creations for free).   So what does this app have to offer?

--My Books:  You can create your own book by choosing from a multitude of pre-made options, or start with a blank book.  Pre-made options include: About Me, Aliens, Family, Fantasy, Holiday, Humor, Most Popular, and School. Within each of those categories, there are sub-choices. For example, within "About Me" there are the following choices: All About Me, If I Ran for President, If I Ruled the World, My Book Favorites, My Day at the Beach, and My Vacation.  To get started, you choose a category, and then a book.  You then are presented with a format, like a Mad-Lib, in which you add certain words...and you go from there.

--My Drawings: When you open a new drawing, you are given a piece of paper and 5 marker tools.  There is also a large box of markers, if you tap on this, you can choose from tons of colors. Select a color, and you are then prompted to pick a marker thickness or stamp marker. These markers will be added to your tool box. You are also given an eraser, a text icon (for typing), a camera, background colors, and pre-drawn pictures.  The pre-drawn pictures are similar to little stickers or characters...I really like this feature!

--Gallery: You can pick from a really large selection of books/pieces of work created by other adults/students.  You can download them and save them to your gallery.  

So, how would I use this app????????

--My Books: Great for creating narratives,  retelling events, creating social stories, doing a "How To..." project, etc.  You can use a blank book, add a cover and as many pages as you want.  Create your own artwork or choose from the pre-made artwork...or take a picture with the camera. I really like the artwork that they include. You can also choose from the pre-made books.  This feature would be great for a cloze reading activity in which students need to consider the theme and use sentence context clues to complete the store by filling in the missing blanks.  Don't forget that students can publish/share the books that they create!!!  They should then be viewable in the Gallery.  I haven't tested this feature yet...but I can only imagine how excited students might get to see their/their friend's books in the Gallery!  The developer also noted that in the future, you will be able to print created works.

--My Drawings: I like the idea of using this as a note pad for something like a graphic organizer, word bank, etc.  I could easily have the students list words associated with a topic/theme (ex: words describing winter).  They could then refer to the notepad as they write descriptive sentences, etc.  This would be a great app to pair with a smartboard; unfortunately, I do not have one!!!!!  But you could project the notepad onto the smartboard for brainstorming sessions, spelling games, math facts, studying vocabulary, etc.  Again, I like the pre-made could pick a clipart picture and have the students produce a sentence or story about the item. Again, a smartboard would be awesome with this!!!

--Gallery: This will be great for viewing created work.  I haven't yet found a way to 'search' the gallery.  You have to scroll through. It's great that there are so many stories to choose from for FREE!!!!!  I plan on using these for social stories, comprehension questions, retelling stories, sequencing, etc.