Monday, September 23, 2013

So....what's new in the world of apps?

It has been a VERY long time since I posted anything on new, fun apps.  So, here are a few that I found during Summer:

Toca Boca Builders:  As always, Toca is wonderful.  This app allows you to build and create, each 'robot' or character has a different function (painting, dropping blocks, moving blocks, deleting blocks).  This feature alone is awesome for language!  Talk about the function and describing what each character does...and which character you need for a job!  This is great for students who need to verbally explain a process...tell them what you want built ("Build me a tall tower") and have the student verbally explain which characters they will use and what their 'plan' is.  Or, reverse roles, the clinician/teacher/parent is the builder and the child must describe what you are doing as you create.  You can also model the describing as well...tell your child what they are doing ("Ahh, I see that you are going to delete a block...").  This app would also be fun for Before/After directions, "before you paint 1 box blue, add 2 boxes", etc.
iPhone Screenshot 2

Toca Cars:  Toca has added an app, Cars! It is on sale for $.99, so grab it now! The app has two drivers to choose from and you can use Toca's roads, or you can make/edit your own roads!  Students can have fun driving on (or off) the roads.  Cruise through ice cream puddles! Knock things down, and then use the restore button to rebuild them!  This app would be useful for:

  • Describing: Students would need to describe the type of map/road they are using or creating. "I am making a map that has giant puddles of soupy, messy, pink ice cream!"
  • Sequential terms: Students could again describe their 'map', but would be required to use sequential terms that focus on the order of steps (First, second, next, third, last, etc).
  • Answering questions: The clinician and student could build a map together, the clinician could ask basic or higher level questions:

    • What do you think will happen if we add giant ice cream puddles?
    • What did we add at the beginning of the map? What did we add at the end?
    • What will happen if our car goes off the road?
    • What will happen if our car crashes into _____?
    • Incentive Game: This app would serve well as an incentive during other therapy goals as well.  If a student is practicing articulation, the student could produce 10 words and then work on their road or take a turn racing. 
iPhone Screenshot 1

iPhone Screenshot 2

iPhone Screenshot 3

iPhone Screenshot 4

Dr. Panda:  Which Dr. Panda? ALL of them!  My children at home LOVE the Dr. Panda apps, and we bought all of them.  The Dr. Panda apps are great for social interaction, role play, articulation practice, vocabulary, and just about any language goal. Some include: Hospital, Garden, Airport, Hair Salon, Supermarket, Handyman, Art Class, Garage, Teach Me, Daycare, Restaurant etc.
The link sends you to the Dr. Panda website...from there you can look at all of the apps vs. me listing the links for each one. You can get a good idea of what Dr. Panda is all about!  The one caution I would make is that Dr. Panda has more visual stimuli than something like Toca Boca.  There is a lot to look at and for some children, it may be too much visual stimulation.


I'll be adding more to this post in the next few days...I need to flip through the apps on my home iPads to remember what I like and what is new that I haven't mentioned!

It's Here! iOS7

Here are Some Tips for the New iOS 7:
Updates are great, but they can be overwhelming. Here is a short list, with directions,  of the new features of iOS 7.  I read a variety of blogs and articles, compiled what I thought was most necessary, and wrote these tips/directions.  Let me know if I didn't include something pertinent.
- Jenny C., M.S., CCC-SLP

Closing apps

In previous versions of iOS,  you needed to double click the Home button, which would reveal App icons on the bottom of the screen. Holding down a finger on them would make them shake and pressing the red cross closed the app.

In iOS 7, you:

  • Press the home button.

  • A ‘drawer’ opens up  that shows a smaller preview of each App window.  These are your apps that are open.

  • Swipe the app upwards to close it.  It is that simple...this is a nice time saving feature!

App Folders Have Pages
In the previous version of iOS, each folder could only hold up to 12 apps. This is no longer the case and each folder can now have multiple pages.  
  • Drag apps into folders by pushing down on an app icon until it starts wiggling.  
  • Drag the app on top of another app or into a folder from there.  
  • When adding a 10th app into a folder, the folder will automatically create an additional page.

Background App Refresh Helps You Save Battery Life By Disabling Apps From Running In The Background
Previously, a reason why the battery drains throughout the day is due to some apps that collect data in the background. Now you can block apps from running in the background using iOS 7. To access this feature go to:
  • Settings
  • General
  • Background App Refresh.
  • You can disable every app running in the background with one toggle switch or disable specific apps individually.

Swipe Up For Control Center
A new feature is called the Control Center, which lets you quickly adjust the volume, Bluetooth, brightness, Airplane Mode, and portrait orientation.  There are also icons to for: Flashlight, Camera, Calculator and Clock.  To use the Control Center:
  • Swipe upwards at the bottom of the screen, in the center.

Where is the Search Page?
In the older versions of iOS, you could find the Spotlight Search feature by swiping all the way to the left. It is no longer there.  With iOS 7:
  • Swipe your finger in the center or middle of the screen and pull towards the bottom.  The search bar will now appear, as will the keyboard.  NOTE:  You must swipe in the middle of the iPad...not at the TOP in the middle.

Adjusting The Text
Another feature of iOS 7 is the ability to  adjust text sizes and properties. Find this feature at:
  • Settings
  • General
  • Text Size
You can also made text bolder by adjusting the settings under:
  • Settings
  • General
  • Accessibility

Reduce ‘Motion’ or Make the Screen Look More ‘Flat’

By default,the wallpaper, icons, and labels will float and move around as you move your ipad. It can be a fun feature, but it’s a feature that may be a nuisance. To turn it off or deactivate it:
  • General Settings
  • Accessibility
  • Reduce Motion: Turn ON (Yes, this seems backwards, but the question is, do you want to REDUCE MOTION...YES, so activate this button).  If you turn it OFF or leave it in NO, the items will float around.

Always Updating

With iOS 7, you can avoid having to go to the App Store and manually update apps; however, while this is a great time saving feature (you won’t have to remember to update and end up having 100+ updates), it is a battery-draining feature.  To turn this feature off, which means you will need to manually update apps as you did before:
  • General Settings
  • Background App Refresh (Scroll down under General Settings, it’s under Usage)
  • Toggle to OFF, or ON if you want the feature turned back on at some point.

Turning off AirDrop
Turning OFF AirDrop will also help to save batteries. This feature constantly searches for other iPhones or iPads nearby.  If you don’t want your iPad/iPhone constantly scanning (and using battery), turn it off:

  • Swipe up to open the Control Centre (Control Center = located at bottom of iPad screen, in the center, slide it up)
  • Touch the AirDrop logo and turn it off.

Apple was Watching You…You Can Disable This

Prior, Apple wasad tracking with iOS 6. Your iPad or iPhone has a unique identifier that is used to track what you are searching or browsing for, and then target your pattern with certain ads. If you don’t want to be tracked for ads:
  • Settings
  • Privacy
  • Advertising
  • Limit Ad Tracking, Turn this ON...again, you must turn the feature ON so that YES it can limit the tracking.

What is that Blue Dot next to some of the app icons?
The blue dot that randomly appears signals that the app has recently and automatically updated due to the new iOS 7 ‘background updating’.

****If you still have some issues with the new update, just try googling the problem, chances are….someone else has the same problem and put the solution online for all of us!  -Jenny