Friday, October 5, 2012

Magical Concepts

Understanding the meaning of concept words is critical to a students academic success in their classroom. As an educational speech language clinician, I spend lots of time teaching these skills to my younger students. This year I have a number of students that are working on increasing their understanding of concept words. After seeing the same apps on a regular basis, I decided it was time to find something different to provide some variety. Last weekend I purchased "Magical Concepts" by the Virtual Speech Center. Magical Concepts provides children with work on five different types of concepts. These concepts are spatial, temporal, quantity, quality, and social emotional.

The Virtual Speech Center has made Magical Concepts very customizable. The customization can be set by clicking on the settings button. App structures that are customizable are; automatic scoring, revealing the answer, randomization, automatic paging, showing stars, and the magic show. I have used automatic scoring, revealing the answer and randomization. Currently my students are required to receive five stars before seeing the magic show.

Your first step is to enter your students. Next you decide which of the sixty concepts that each student will work on. Once the concepts have been decided,  you click on "next session" and then step back, listen carefully and follow the directions you are presented with. The app presents the first student with three colorful "real life" pictures related to the concept.  The student is expected to touch the one related to the concept that was stated. Data is automatically kept and once the next page button is clicked and the student's next concept appears and the process repeats itself.

After the required amount of stars (set by you) are earned, Mago asks you if you would like to watch a magic show. The student has the option of answering yes or no. If they choose no they immediately go back to continue working on the concepts. When yes is chosen the magic begins. A drum roll begin and Mago appears on the screen. He will put something into his magicians hat and pulls something different out.

When the session is over the finish session button is clicked and the app brings up a picture of Mago on the magic show runway. There are three buttons present on this page. The buttons are main menu (that returns you to the main menu), View magic show (where the magic show returns and you see one trick), and view report (a comprehensive report appears that can be emailed out appears).

If the first week is any indication, this will quickly become my favorite concept app. There are many things that I liked about this app. When the concepts were being stated the pictures are faded out and will not react to touch. Great touch! Love the large variety of concepts presented and the huge data base of pictures that represent the sixty concepts. I also appreciate the realistic pictures. That also is a nice touch.

The only additional feature that I would like to see in future updates is the individual concepts categorized into the five categories. This would speed up set up and allow parents to use the app as homework.

I wasn't sure how my students would react to the app. The magic show can be a little corny but my students loved it. They give it two thumbs and I am fielding requests for the Magic Show on a regular basis.