Saturday, March 8, 2014

Technology Showcase (Elementary Style)

The Technology Showcase was a HUGE success. I couldn’t have run any smoother. All of the technology worked throughout the showcase. Again the 5th and 6th graders rose to the occasion and AMAZED everyone that came.
We set the gym up like a large exhibit hall. All of the 5th and 6th graders were paired up and assigned an app or interactive exhibit they were in charge of.  The pairs of students created a sign that represented what would be demonstrated at their booth. Each of the presenters was given a professional quality name tag (name has been changed on the tag)

The various apps and demonstrations that our students demonstrated were: iMovie, Keynote, Flash Cards, Book Creator, Explain Everything, Notability, Ever Note, Showbie, iBooks (Science Textbooks), My Homework, Simple Minds, Troubleshooting, Personalizing Your iPad & Troubleshooting, Cameras, Dictionary, Google Drive, OverDrive, School YouTube Channel, Google Forms, Trivia Jar with Internet Searching, News 2 You, GarageBand, QR Code Scavenger Hunt, Moby Max, and an interactive Guestbook.
The students that demonstrated apps or other technology learning tools were expected to show their visitors; 1) How to use the app 2) Explain how they have used the tool in their classroom 3) Show examples of their work and 4) Allow their visitors the opportunity to try the tool themselves.

Our Kindergarten through 4th grade classrooms joined in the Technology Showcase as well. They each took a turn in the computer lab demonstrating various tools we use for teaching and learning. Some of those tools were: NWEA Skills Checklists, Reading Eggs, Reading Counts, Study Island, and Typing Club. These classrooms also demonstrated various iPad apps that they use in their classrooms and showed off the high quality interactive lessons they use daily on the interactive whiteboards in their classrooms. Our music teacher took part by inviting everyone to observe an interactive whiteboard lesson involving the Tortoise and the Hare and Recorder Karate that she uses  to give our kids the foundation they need to keep our high school music program excelling at a high level.
Last but certainly not least we had two students that were assigned the task of “Live Tweeting” the event. These were did an AMAZING job. Check out our Storify to read the Tweets. The hashtags they used as great!

Parents, High School Students, Senior Citizen and Staff LOVED learning about the technology used at West Elementary from the student’s perspective.  As educators it is always exciting to step back and let your students shine. The students at West Elementary certainly shinned brightly at the Technology Showcase.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sentence Ninja

Category: Education
Released: Oct 01, 2013
Version: 1.0
Size: 314 MB
Language: English
Seller: Smarty Ears, LLC
© All rights reserved to Smarty Ears, 2013
Rated 4+
Compatibility: Requires iOS 5.0 or later and is compatible with the iPad.

What do Ninjas and Smarty Ears have in common? If you guessed the brand new app Sentence Ninja you are correct. This one just might be my favorite app in the Smarty Ears family. It contains a great combination of whimsical fun and old fashioned hard work on sentence structure.

On the opening screen of Sentence Ninja contains background music that can be turned off or on
by tapping on the music button on the screen. You are also able to access numerous other features on this opening screen. The Support button allows you access to more information about Smarty Ears and all of the apps in their family. It also provides a comprehensive video tutorial of Sentence Ninja. The opening screen allows you access to the Award Center. This area displays the awards the users have accumulated while working on the app. The final area on the opening screen is Select a Player.

Setting up users in Sentence Ninja is easy and can be done two different ways. The first way is by tapping on Add Player and filling in the users name and choosing to access an avatar, student photo or leaving the image section blank. You are also able to import users from Therapy Report Center one at a time or all of your students at one time.

The app can be customized to the individual users by tapping on the Settings button on the set up
screen. There are a number of things that can be customized or left at the default setting. The customizable things are:

  • How you would like to present the punctuation (with word or separately)
  • Display Hint
  • Auto Progression
  • Word Case for the First Word
  • Accuracy
  • Sound
  • Increase Level
  • Reward Audio
  • Color Coded Cue
  • Record Correct Answer
  • Speak Instructions
  • Displayed Colored Lines
  • Presentation of Phrases/Sentences
  • Modifying Exercises
After tapping on start on the Set Up screen you will progress to the Modifying Levels screen. This screen allows you to modify each of the activity levels they are currently on. Sentence Ninja contains the following six levels; Phrases, Sentences, Question Format, Negation, Advanced Sentences, and Complex Sentences.

Once you tap Start on the Modifying Levels screen you will
access the app. In the center on the screen you see a picture displayed. There are torn pieces of paper that contain the words that make up the phrase/sentence. The user is expected to drag the words to the scroll that is on the bottom of the screen and assembly the phrase/sentence in the correct order. Once the phrase/sentence has been assembled correctly the user is expected to record the phrase or sentence to review with the therapist/parent. The current users name is on the top of the screen with stepping stones that the Ninja moves along as phrases/sentences are assembled correctly. On the right hand side, the level and accuracy are displayed. Since Sentence Ninja is designed to be a multi-player app the other active users in this session are displayed on the left hand side of the screen.

More customization can take place at this level of the app by tapping on the Settings tab. The first area you can customize is if a Hint button is available to the users. When this feature is turned on the users has access to a Hint button in the lower right hand corner of the app. The Hint can be accessed once for each sentence. It will place the first word in the phrase/sentence onto the scroll. If a user chooses to access the hint, their Ninja will not progress a stepping stone after the phrase/sentence has been constructed. The second area of customization is Auto Progression. When this feature is turned on the picture will automatically change after each phrase/sentence has been assembled. When it is turned off the picture needs to be manually changed by swiping the image from right to left on the screen. Two other areas that can be customized to meet the user’s needs are Display Accuracy and Record Correct Answer. When Display Accuracy is turned off you will not see users level of accuracy on the right hand side of the screen. When the Record Correct Answer is not on the users will not be asked to record the phrase/sentence they just built. The final area that can be customized is Background. You have choice of Standard or Basic. The basic level strips away anything that could potentially be distracting to the user.

A session can be terminated at any time by tapping on the “Done” button. Tapping on this button
will automatically take you to the Report Center. You tap on the user you would like information on and a dialogue box will appear. It will present you with three choices; 1) Progress Report 2) Adjust Player Level 3) Player Reward Hall. The Progress Report feature allows you to access data by session or level. All of the data can be printed, emailed or exported to the Therapy Report Center application. Adjusting the players level allows to change the level the user will be working at next time they access the app. The player reward hall takes you to the Belt DoJo. It displays each of the belts the user has earned by completing levels in the app. As belts are earned the user is also able to print certificates to take home.

Sentence Ninja also contains built in homework sheets. They can be accessed from the report center. Each homework page can be emailed, printed or opened in a variety of other applications on the iPad.

What I Like About This App

  • That it is highly customizable to meet a wide variety of students individual needs.
  • Data is automatically taken and I can access at a later time.
  • Contains a nice progression from phrases thru sentences
  • With the recent updates to Therapy Report Center the integration with Sentence Ninja is AMAZING.

What I Would Like to See in Future Updates

  • Continue to update the app as it gets older. It is always nice to see old friends get a fresh new look as they age. This will continue to make them appealing to therapists and students.
Support for Sentence Ninja and all Smarty Ears Apps can be found at:

Sunny Articulation and Phonology Test

Category: Education
Updated: Sep 09, 2013
Version: 4.0
Size: 138 MB
Language: English
Seller: Smarty Ears, LLC
© All rights reserved to Smarty Ears, LLC
Sunny Articulation and Phonology Test requires iOS 5.1 or later. It is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.

About the time school started this fall I received an email from Smarty Ears featuring Sunny Articulation and Phonology Test. With all the craziness of getting the school year started I set it aside and didn't think twice about it until about ten days. I was looking for some type of tool to do pre and post screening with students that require interventions through the RTI process. So it was time to challenge myself and move into using iOS technology in the assessment process. I am glad I've made the initial move with Sunny Articulation and Phonology Test. This is a great tool and has a place in the educational speech language pathologist’s assessment toolbox even though it is not a standardized tool that can be used for placement purposes.

An Information button is located in the upper left hand corner of the opening screen of the app.
Tapping on this button opens up a drop down menu of numerous options on where you can find out more information about Sunny Articulation and Phonology Test. The most important option on this menu is the Test Manual. It is very comprehensive. If you need further information on the how to use the test, a video tutorial is also located on this drop down menu.
Before you begin the assessment you have the option to customize the Sunny Articulation and Phonology Test to meet the student’s needs. The items you are able to customize are:
  • Transition Audio
  • Record Single Sound
  • Display Written Word
  • Include acquisition timeline on report

To begin the assessment process you will need to enter the following information; Student’s Name,
Birthdate and whether English is the student’s first language.
Sunny Articulation and Phonology Test has two options; Full Evaluation and Screening. The Screening test is made up of 30 words which target 65 different phonemes. Students are presented with a photograph of a real image. Item names are written phonetically across the top of the screen. Targeted phonemes are colored green. The SLP taps on the phonemes produced in error. Notes about the phoneme errors can be recorded by tapping on the notebook icon and typing it in. Finally the student’s production of the word can be recorded by tapping on the record option in the upper left hand corner. You can easily transition to the next photograph by tapping the button in the lower right hand corner. The student is praised for their production of the phoneme. At the end of the test, you are prompted to choose an overall intelligibility percentage.

The Full Evaluation contains 46 photographs/words with 103 phonemes targeted. The options inside the Full Evaluation are very similar to the Screener with the exception of a couple of additional options. Like the screening tool the Full Evaluation contains photographs with the word is written phonetically across the top of the screen. When a phoneme is produced incorrectly, it is tapped and the user has the option to indicate the type of error that was demonstrated by tapping on a menu that opens.  Like in the Screening portion of the test, Notes can be recorded by tapping on the appropriate icon and a recording of the student’s production of the phoneme can be recorded and saved. When the Full Evaluation is over, the SLP will be prompted to choose an overall intelligibility percentage too.

After completing the Sunny Articulation and Phonology Test the SLP is able to access a comprehensive report. The report looks at data in several different ways; Position, manner, voicing, words, and place. In the Full Evaluation you can also access data by error. By tapping on the + sign on the upper right hand side of the report you can review all of the notes you took while administrating the Full Evaluation/Screening, e-mail the results outside of the app, review the audio recording taking during testing, open the report in iBooks, Drop Box or Google Drive, or open the report in Therapy Report Center. The results of all Screenings and Full Evaluations can also be kept in the student’s profile in Sunny Articulation and Phonology Test.

What I Like About the App

  • Contains a Screening Tool and Full Evaluation
  • Ability to record student production of the phonemes
  • Comprehensive Report
  • A variety of different ways to access the report outside of the app
  • Easy administration
What I Would Like to See In Future Updates

  • Standardization
This is a great app. I am looking forward to using the Screening option as way to establish pre and post RTI Interventions. I’m looking forward to trying additional iOS assessment tools during this school year. They appear to be great tools for educational SLPs

Support for Sunny Articulation and Phonology Test and all Smarty Ears Apps can be found at:

Pines to Vines

  • $39.99
  • Category: Books
  • Updated: Sep 13, 2013
  • Version: 1.1
  • Size: 371 MB
  • Language: English
  • Seller: Mobile Education Store LLC
  • © Mobile Education Store 2013
  • Rated 4+
  • Pines to Vines is compatible with the iPad and requires iOS 6.1 or later.

Mobile Education Store has taken a step away from their amazing apps that work on improving
language skills to create what could be a game changer in the world on special education. Their newest app Pines to Vines is the first in the Crack the Books series of digital iTextbooks which are designed for upper elementary aged students.

According to the Mobile Education Store’s website “Pine to Vines covers a variety of topics, including forest layers, range and climate of forest biomes, plant and animal wildlife, adaptations,
benefits of forests, and forest threats. Students will learn about all major forest types including moist forest, tropical/subtropical dry forests, tropical/subtropical coniferous forests, temperate coniferous forests, temperate broadleaf forests, Mediterranean, forests, riverine forests, mangroves and boreal forests.”

Pines to Vines is a collaborative project between Mobile Education Store, Oregon State University’s Department of Forestry and a team of educators and specialists. The textbook contains adjustable reading levels from 1st through 8th grade which allows ALL students to experience the information without sacrificing curriculum.

What is so great about Pines to Vines and the other upcoming iTextbooks in the Crack the Books series is that they focus on comprehension and student engagement. The curriculum in Pines to Vines is delivered using amazing photographs, videos, fun facts, animations, interactive charts, tables and globes. Vocabulary
support is provided by providing hyperlinks to pop up windows containing definitions. The app also allows students to highlight text to create notes for presentations or to study. The iTextbook is customizable to support the learner in additional ways. Some of the customizable features are; text size, read text aloud, read test questions aloud, test image reinforcement, answer dictation, background sound effects and Dropbox Sync.

Student progress in Pines to Vines is measured through built in comprehension questions, chapter
tests, and a final exam. These assessments are all graded within Pines to Vines by tapping on done and emailing the quiz results to the teacher. This saves educators valuable “time” in their busy professional life.

The Crack the Books iTextbook series is going to open up new worlds for students with special needs. Science topics that have been off limits for students with disabilities because of the topics now with this iTextbook contain rich language concepts that students with disabilities couldn’t comprehend are now only a tap away and are based off of multiple learning styles.

What I Like About This App

What I Would Like To See In Future Updates
  • iTextbooks based on social studies common core standards too. 

Support for Pines to Vines is located at

Fun with R

  • $14.99
  • Category: Education
  • Released: Sep 10, 2013
  • Version: 1.0
  • Size: 195 MB
  • Language: English
  • Seller: Virtual Speech Center Inc.© Virtual Speech Center Inc.
  • Rated 4+
  • Requirements: Fun with R compatible with iPad and requires iOS 5.0 or later.

My initial reaction to Virtual Speech Center’s new app “Fun with R” was how in the world can you make “R” fun. This reaction is because “R” is one of the trickiest phonemes to work on with students who have articulation issues. After thoroughly going through the app and trying it out with a number of students, here are my thoughts and opinions about the app.
Set up is similar to the other apps in the Virtual Speech Center family. It is done by tapping on “Start” on the main screen and then the green “Add Student” button. A dialogue box appears that requires you to enter the student’s name and tap on “Save”. You will then be prompted to select the appropriate student(s) from the student list. Then you will need to select which of the three activities you would like to participate in. When that has all been completed, it is necessary to tap “Next” in the upper right hand corner. Then you will be prompted to select the target that will be focused on for each user. You are able to customize the users word by tapping on the “edit words” button located under each target.

The app features three activities; Flash Cards, Memory Game, and Bingo Game.  Flash Cards is a deck of electronic flash cards. Students are presented with an image that features the target phoneme. They are expected to record themselves saying the word and then play it back and rate their production as green/successful, yellow/approximation, and red/missed. It is easy to quickly move between the word, phrase, and sentence levels as well as what position in words the target phoneme is being produced. The app was also designed to be able to easily move between multiple users and multiple target phonemes per user in any of the activities. This is done by tapping on an arrow and selecting the new user or phoneme.

Like the Flash Cards activity, the Memory Game is pretty straight forward. It is like any typical memory game. Students are expected to find cards with matching images. Each card contains an image with the target phoneme and students are expected to say the word. They can record themselves saying the word and play it back to provide an accurate measurement of their production. This is exactly the same as the Flash Card activity where they tap the green, yellow or red button to rate their production.

The final activity is Bingo Game. Students are given a bingo card that features pictures that contain the target phoneme. On the right hand side of the screen a single image is presented and the student must check and see if the featured image is on their bingo card. If the image matches an image on the bingo board the student taps the image on the bingo board and it is blacked out. If the featured image doesn’t match an image on the board you can tap the next button to change the featured image. To get more practice, I had my group say the featured image and compete against each other to see who could get bingo first. The kids really enjoyed the Bingo Game activity.

When time is up, sessions can be easily ended by tapping on Finish in the upper left hand corner. After tapping on “Finish session” data appears. A more comprehensive look at the user’s data can be accessed by tapping on Reports on the opening screen of the app. You may email the data to others from either location.

Some customization is available by accessing the “Settings” features.  These features are:
·         Show Text
·         Correct Sound
·         Incorrect Sound
·         Approximation Sound
·         Custom Word List (great feature where you can upload your own images)

I used this app with students for approximately a week before writing this review. The kids LOVED the Bingo Game activity when we played it in head to head competition. “Fun with R” is another handy tool to have to work on that tricky R phoneme. It is always good to have lots of options.
What I Like About This App
·         Easy set up
·         Comprehensive data is available in the reports
·         The Bingo activity
·         Record and playback feature is available
·         The ability to create customized word lists
What I Would Like to See In Future Updates
·         I would like additional unique activities added. My students are tired of memory games. They suggested a sports theme of shooting baskets or getting to take a shot on goal against a hockey goalie.

Support For Sentence Workout and All Virtual Speech Center Apps Can Be Found At
·         Website

·         Facebook

Saturday, September 7, 2013

IPEVO Products

As a 21st century educator who wants to meet the needs of the digital natives in my classrooms, I am always in search educational technology that can improve the experiences in my classroom. Last spring I found an amazing company called IPEVO. The focus of the IPEVO Company is to create simple, intuitive and flexible technology that is compact and affordable. I have been impressed with every aspect of the IPEVO Company from their products to the people I have communicated with.

The Point 2 View document camera is the latest IPEVO product I have used. Like the other document cameras in their line, the Point 2 View was designed with the educator in mind. It has a 2.0 megapixel camera with resolution that is adjustable up to 1600 x 1200. It has an amazing ability to zoom in on the smallest details (2 inches away). You are also able to easily snap pictures of the images with just a single click of button. 

Specifications for this document camera are as follows:
  • True 2.0 mega pixel CMOS sensor
  • Full autofocus lens
  • Up to 2” macro focus
  • Up to 20 FPS live video capture (at 640 x 480)
  •  USb 2.0 Video Class (UVC) interface
  • Mac, Windows $ Chrome OS compatible
  • Max shooting area with extension stand: 17.17” x 13.4”
  •  L x W x H: 3.8” x 0.9 x  1.1
  •  USB cable length: 4.9 ft
  •   Color: Silver camera, white stand

As you can see in the picture, the Point 2 View is well constructed. It consists of a weighted base with three moveable joints that allow you to position the camera exactly where it needs to be (as close as two inches away). The camera can be removed from the base and manually attached to other objects with a clip that is attached to the camera.

Users need to install the Point 2 View software (which is included in the purchase price) on their computer before attaching the camera. The software allows the users to change the zoom on the camera, change the exposure, set a timer (time delayed pictures), mirror, and change camera resolution.
This camera like the others in the IPEVO line would be a great addition to any classroom. The clean simple interface makes it easy to set up and use. It is a steal at $69.00.

The Point 2 View document camera also has some AMAZING accessories that I am happy to review.

Scan Kit - $29.00
 The IPEVO Scan Kit was designed to be used with any of the document cameras produced by IPEVO. It is a sturdy well designed stand and allows for easier upright displaying of items that are being displayed under the document camera so they can be quickly exchanged. It consists of three pieces that can be easily assembled or disassembled for storage. The scan kit scanning board has a wide base to allow a tablet computer to safely rest in the base. IPEVO also thought to include a magnetic paper stop so you can
easily place smaller items on the scanning board as well. Finally the scan kit stand was designed to perfectly fit the weighted bases of each of IPEVOs document cameras. I LOVE this stand. It makes using the Point 2 View so easy.

Microscope Adapter Set - $29.00
Do You remember the excitement you experienced the first time you saw something under a microscope? IPEVO has taken that experience to an entirely new dimension. Today’s students are able to experience that excitement supersized. The IPEVO Microscope Adapter Set allows teachers to display these images on the interactive white boards.

The Microscope Adapter set consists of two “S-Type” adapters designed for microscopes with straight eyepieces and two “L-Type” adapters designed for angled eyepieces. Each of the four adapters comes in a 28 mm and 33mm diameter because these are the sizes of the most common microscopes.

The appropriately sized adapter is placed over the eyepiece of the microscope and the Point 2 View camera is placed in the other end. The images I viewed were unbelievably clear and allowed me to obtain high quality pictures that I could use later with students.

Wow, Wow, Wow! This simply affordably accessory to the Point 2 View Document Camera could be a game changer is the educational setting. One of the most exciting things I have seen in while. Check it out.

IPEVO Magnifying Lens –  $19.00 
If you own a Point 2 View Document Camera and have the need to project fine details, this might be the accessory for you. It attaches to the end of your Point 2 View camera and then all you need to do is place the magnifying lens directly on top of the area you would like to magnify. It produces images in 2x magnification.

The IPEVO Magnifying Lens is constructed of heavy duty plastic
and contains an LED light that can be turned on and off. There are three extra batteries include with the purchase. If you own a Point 2 View camera and have the need to display fine details this might be a great investment for you. 

These are just a few of the “GEMS” in the IPEVO family. All of the items I was fortunate to review are amazing educational tools. The sky is the limit for educators when these types of tools are present in the classroom. If you are an educator interested in the Point 2 View Document Camera and Microscope Adapter Set, check out IPEVO’s website and click on Wish Pool. These items are the featured give away for the month of September.

If you are not familiar with Wish Pool it is IPEVO’s giveaway program for educator. They believe so strongly in educators and their products that each month they feature a different IPEVO product and educators are able to make a wish. You are required to complete three sections of information: 1) About You 2) Your School 3) Your Story (How many of the featured items you need and why.). Then you wait and find out if you have been selected to receive the gift. I am anxious to give Wish Pool a try as soon as they feature a product that one of my programs could benefit from. Thank you IPEVO for caring about education and providing such a great program.