Saturday, April 13, 2013

Conversation Builder

Conversation Builder is compatible with iPad and requires iOS 4.1 or later.
·         $19.99
·         Category: Education
·         Updated: Aug 14, 2012
·         Version: 1.4
·         Size: 81.3 MB
·         Language: English
·         Seller: Mobile Education Store LLC
·         © Mobile Education Store 2012. All rights reserved
·         Rated 4+

The ability to have a conversation with others is a skill we all take for granted. For some students this is an extremely difficult task. They struggle to stay on topic, take their conversational turn, and to listen to the other person’s statements. These are skills that all educational speech language clinicians work on with students but it can be difficult to work on in naturally occurring activities. The Mobile Education Store created an app titled Conversation Builder that allows educational speech language clinicians to work with an individual student or a group on conversational skills.
Conversation Builder is one of the award winning apps in the Mobile Education Store’s family of apps. Users are easily added to the app by tapping on the Manage Users button. A dialogue box appears and you will be prompted to fill in the users first and last name, age, town you live in/by and an interest of the users.
The information that is provided here is used in places within the app to help personalize the conversational dialogue. In addition, you are also able to choose the topic of conversation from a
number of modules that may be of interest to the student(s). Next, it is necessary to determine what type of conversation will be practice. The choices are; 1 on 1 – 4 exchanges, 1 on 1 – 8 exchanges or group. It is also necessary to choose whether the student, peer, or random will initiate the conversation.

As the conversation begins in the single player mode, the user is presented with an image that is based on the theme chosen and three choices of possible responses to the topic of conversation. If the user makes a choice that is not the most appropriate, they will be guided to make a different choice via oral prompts. When the correct choice is made, the user will be prompted to record the response. Anytime during the conversational exchange the user can tap on the History link and the previous responses are shown. They can be heard by tapping on the speech bubble. When the selected number of conversational turns (4 or 8) has taken place, a dialogue box appears that allows you to 1)“Play” the threaded conversation, 2)“Save” allows you to save the conversation to a folder on the archive page or 3)to email the conversation. Conversations can be played, deleted, or emailed (image and audio file) from the archives page.  

Conversations in the group mode are very similar but they require the minimum of two participants. Students must be entered in the dialogue box. When that is complete, you will need to determine who will start the conversation. The first student will be presented with a picture. This image can be used or the speech language clinician can choose to use his/her own picture by tapping on the import photo button. A picture can be taken using the iPad or use a photo located in the photo library. The first student records a statement about the picture and passes the iPad to a friend so they can record their conversational turn. As the statements are recorded, speech bubbles appear above the image to allow the users to follow the conversation. (The speech bubbles are tapped on to hear recorded conversational turn.) The conversations can go on for as many turns as the students can come up with information to talk about. However, in order to save the conversation, there must be a minimum of four conversational exchanges.

The achievements page is a way to reward the student for all their hard work. It keeps track of the modules that the student has completed and provides a certificate with their name and date of completion.

What I Like About This App
·         Versatility of the app. I can address multiple skills while working on the conversational process.
·         It is a one of a kind app that fills a real need on the market.
·         Can be used for single users or groups
·         It uses real images instead of clip art
·         I have the option to enter my own pictures

What I Would Like To See In Future Updates
·         More modules added to the app.
·         Ability to keep data if students make the correct choice in 1 on 1 conversations mode.
·         More frequent rewards as some students need a quicker reinforcement cycle than provided.

Conversation Builders versatility makes it a main stay in my program. It is great for working on conversational skills but it also is a great tool for articulation carryover, reading expressions/emotions of others, expressing your own thoughts and ideas, tone of voice, introduction skills, etc. The list could go on and on. Conversation Builder takes away the pressure of learning these communication skills without needing to interact with others. It allows the student to build from themselves and the iPad to a group of peers and the iPad and eventually being able to communicate effectively with everyone they encounter in their daily lives.

Support for Conversation Builder is Located At:

Monday, April 1, 2013

Describe it with Art by Virtual Speech Center

  • $9.99
  • Category: Education
  • Released: Mar 26, 2013
  • Version: 1.0
  • Size: 74.2 MB
  • Language: English
  • Seller: Virtual Speech Center Inc.
  • © Virtual Speech Center Inc.
  • Rated 4+
  • Requirements: Compatible with iPad and requires iOS 5.0 or later.

The Virtual Speech Center is at it again! They have created another iOS app that works on a skill that is closely tied to school success. Whether it’s understanding the descriptive elements of oral direction, giving a demonstration speech or retelling a story, the ability to understand and use description is important. “Describe It With Art” is an app designed to be used with early childhood and elementary aged students.

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 “Add Student” button. A dialogue box appears to enter the student’s name and tap on “Save”. You are then be prompted to select the appropriate student(s) from the student list. After the student(s) have been selected, it is necessary to tap “Next” in the upper right hand corner. Then you will be prompted to make a choice of what “Describe It” or “Following Directions” activities to use with your student.

“Describe It” is an expressive language task. In the set up process, one of seven categories is chosen. The categories are; People, Animals, Objects, Places, Food, Clothes, and Transportation. Users are expected to be able to describe the brightly colored realistic picture that appears on the screen. A predetermined number of prompts are included to help the user come up with descriptive characteristics.  There is a record and playback feature built in so students can help evaluate their own speech.  Record keeping is also available. A green check mark represents correct and a red X incorrect. Also present is a percentage correct.

The “Following Directions” activity is a receptive language task. Students are presented with a screen filled with realistic pictures and they hear a prerecorded direction that contains descriptive language. The student is expected to tap on the picture that is described in the direction. Data collection is present and works in the same manner as mentioned earlier in this review. A playback feature is also present. It allows the users to hear the direction multiple times. Students are not allowed to answer until the direction has been completely given. This keeps the students from making impulsive choices without hearing the entire direction. The percentage correct is also listed.

As the screen changes you are greeted by a painter that encourages you to listen carefully and after you have accumulated enough correct answers you will be able to draw a picture.

After a predetermined number (5-10) of trials have been completed, the user is presented with a choice if they would like to draw a picture or continue working. If they choose the reward, they are presented with a blank canvas with drawing tools are
located along the bottom of the screen. Students have the option of drawing with a brush, colored pencil, or marker. They have access to a palate filled with nine colors. Just in case the budding artist makes a mistake they also have access to an eraser.

When your session is complete you can access a session report that lists the date, student’s name, skill worked on, and percentage correct. A more comprehensive report is available by tapping on “Reports” on the main screen. You will need to select the user and the skill for which you want data. Then you are able to view the data by activity or date. All reports are printable or they can be emailed.

Some customization is available by accessing the “Settings” features.  You can enable/disable the audio, turn the instructions on or off, turn on or off the reward (drawing activity), change the number of response necessary to be completed before accessing the reward, enable or disable randomization or select alternate counts for multiple students.

My students had mixed emotions regarding this app. They either LOVED it or didn’t really care for it. The kids that enjoy drawing and coloring thought it was great and worked really hard to be able to reach the reward. My students with weaker fine motor skills became easily bored with the app and were difficult to keep motivated.

What I Like About This App
  • Easy set up.
  • Data collection is available.
  • The use of real pictures in the learning activities.
  • Record and playback feature is available
  • The app taps into student’s creativity
  • The app addresses description in both the receptive and expressive modes
What I Would Like to See In Future Updates
  • The drawing section should have some coloring book style pages that can be accessed for the student that does not like to draw.
  • Addition of a paint bucket feature to the drawing tools. So students can add color to larger areas.
Support for Describe It with Art is Located at the Following Links

Mask Doodle by Shoe the Goose

  • $0.99
  • Category: Games
  • Updated: Jan 15, 2013
  • Version: 1.01
  • Size: 37.0 MB
  • Language: English
  • This app is designed for both iPhone and iPad
  • Seller: Shoe the Goose
  • Copyright © 2012 Shoe the Goose, LLC
  • Rated 4+
Shoe the Goose is a “Rock Star” in the app world. They create kid friendly apps that encourage creativity and exploration. Currently there are twelve apps in the family. The most popular are probably Cookie Doodle and Cake Doodle which are baking simulations that feature mixing up, baking, decorating, and eating spectacular treats without having a mess to clean up. They also have a few apps that feature embellishing various forms of apparel (shoes and shirts). Mask Doodle does virtually the same thing as the other doodle apps but this time you are creating masks that are printable.

When you initially open the Mask Doodle app you will be prompted to select one of the five mask
styles; animals, monsters, half masks, robots, and people. Once a mask style has been chosen, you will need to change the head shape, eyes nose and mouth. There are over sixty different features available across the five mask styles.The features can be broken down in the following manner;
  • 17 animals
  • 13 monsters
  • 15 half masks
  • 9 robots
  • 9 people

Now it is time to tap your creativity. Users have access to a wide variety of paint colors (56 presets and the option to include others by using the color wheel). In addition to the paint options, users can also access a palette of textures such as leopard prints, fur and scales to name just a few. Paint and texture options can be spread using one of the twelve available brushes. The options include:
  • Brush – create solid lines
  • Flower Lace - Tap once for one image or slide your finger around to make multiple
  • Heart Lace – Tap once for one image or slide your finger around to make multiple
  • Toothbrush – Small speckles
  • Flick – Combination of small and large blobs of paint
  • Slingshot – Large splatters of paint
  • Bubbles – Transparent bubbles
  • Bottle – Creates lines of various sizes based on your painting speed
  • Dropper – Creates lines of various sizes based on your painting speech
  • Straw – Random jagged lines
  • Glitter – Sparking paint
  • Marble – Tilt your device to roll the marble on the mask
After all the spectacular colors and textures have been added to the mask you can jazz it up even
further by accessing the “Jazz” feature. The “Jazz” feature contains over 100 additional accessories that can be added to your mask to make it stand out as truly unique. Some items in the “Jazz” feature include; jewels, feathers, flowers, facial hair, springs and bells to mention just a few. “Jazz” features are placed on the mask by tapping on the mask where they would like the jazz located.  Size can be altered by using the plus or minus button.

After all the spectacular colors and textures have been added to the mask you can jazz it up even further by accessing the “Jazz” feature. The “Jazz” feature contains over 100 additional accessories that can be added to your mask to make it stand out as truly unique. Some items in the “Jazz” feature include; jewels, feathers, flowers, facial hair, springs and bells to mention just a few. “Jazz” features are placed on the mask by tapping on the mask where they would like the jazz located. Size can be altered by using the plus or minus button.

Users can also add text to their mask by tapping the “Text” button and typing in their text and choosing a font style and color. To enter the text on their mask, the user needs to press the “enter” key. Size and location can be altered in the same fashion as the “jazz” feature.

Print your mask by tapping on menu and telling it to print to an e-print wireless printer. The masks work best printed on cardstock. After printing, users need to cut the mask out and attach elastic so it can be easily worn.

A wide variety of skills can be worked on using any of the “Doodle Apps”. Some that I have addressed are expressive language skills, following directions, vocabulary, articulation generalization, and associations. Mask Doodle has endless educational possibilities. It is well worth its low price of $0.99.

What I Like About This App
  • Lay out is similar to the other apps on the Shoe the Goose family
  • An app that is applicable from early childhood to upper elementary aged students
  • Ability to print the mask
  • The wide variety of different “art” that can be created using the app.
  • Great help file
  • Taps the creativity of the user.
What I Would Like to See in Future Updates 
  • Ability to download the mask as a PDF so you can email the mask outside of the app to print if you don’t have access to an e-print printer.
  • Accesses to some “work schedules” in the app so I can have my students with autism spectrum disorders independently follow a schedule to create a specific type of mask. If some were included it would be a huge time saver for professionals. 
Support for Mask Doodle Can Be Found At

Book Creator by Red Jumper

  • $4.99
  • Category: Books
  • Updated: Mar 25, 2013
  • Version: 2.5
  • Size: 8.9 MB
  • Language: English
  • Seller: Dan Amos
  • © 2012 Red Jumper Studio
  • Rated 4+
"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go."
Dr. Seuss, "I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!"
The quote is so appropriate for the iPad app Book Creator by Red Jumper Studio. Book Creator allows the user to create their own amazing books that can be read in iBooks or shared with others using email, iTunes or Dropbox. If the book is so spectacular that you would like to get it published, try sending it to the iBookstore as it will meet all of Apple’s technical requirements.

Book Creator is the “go to tool” on my iPad in my professional life. It is compatible with iPad and requires iOS 5.0 or later. Red Jumper Studio is extremely attentive to their users’ requests. Just this year they have provided two major updates to the app to make it even better.

For just $4.99, Book Creator allows its users to create, share and even publish ebooks via their own iPad. This is all done with an easy interface that allows young children to do this with little to no adult guidance.

When you open the app you will be presented with a short “Getting Started” Tutorial. It does a great job of walking the user through the basics. A tool bar is located below the tutorial and it contains four important features. The “+” sign allows users to create a new book, duplicate a book or copy a book from iTunes. Next is the icon that lets the user know what outside apps are possible to import the book to. Third in line is the “inspector” icon. It allows users to Title the book, provide author information, and provides file size and display settings for when the book is published in iBooks. The last icon is for exporting.  It provides the possible options you have to export to email including how you would like the book printed if you choose to do that, how you like to send the book to iTunes or what format you would like to open the book in when you open it in another app.

If you choose the option to create a new book you will be prompted to determine what layout you would like for the book. The three options are; Portrait, Square, or Landscape. The first blank page that opens is the “Book Cover”. Users can choose to use photos from the camera roll or stream, take pictures using the devices camera, Add Text or sound. It is all done by using the drop down menu in the upper left hand corner that is marked with a + sign. The inspector icon in the same location allows users to change the cover/page color.

Text or pictures are easily added by tapping on the appropriate location on the drop down menu. Pictures are resized by touching on the pictures corner and dragging it to the desired size. Text can be added by typing the words on to the screen. Once the text has been entered onto the page, it can be formatted by tapping on the words and then the information icon. The dropdown menu provides options to resize the text, change font and color along
with changing things to bold, italics, or underlined text. Pages can be laid out exactly like the user wants by using guidelines and snap positioning to ensure accuracy. Additional pages are added to the
book by pressing next. Hyperlinks can be added to both images and text. In the edit text mode, hyperlinks are easily added by selecting the word or words to be in the link and clicking on the word link on the menu bar and typing in the page address you
would like to be accessible. Hyperlinks are added to images by tapping on the image, accessing the Inspector and pasting the hyperlink in the appropriate box.

Adding sound is an option on individual or all pages in the book.
The sound can be music stored on your device that you think will provide a more unique experience for the reader or you can tap the recording feature and provide narration or explanation of what is on the page.

A feature recently added to Book Creator is the ability to read your book on you PC or MAC. You will need to:
  1. Install Google Chrome
  2. Install the Readium App from the Chrome Web Store
  3. Add your books to the Readium App
Book Creator is an app with unlimited potential in the educational setting. It can be a wonderful tool for students from elementary school through college. This is a must have app in the 21st century classroom so that students of any age can read more because…….

"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go."
Dr. Seuss, "I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!"

What I Like About the App
  • Simple interface
  • Low cost makes it affordable to everyone
  • Allows for hyperlinks in both text and images.
  • Lots of export options for the finished projects
  • Ability to take pictures with the camera on your device without leaving the app
  • Ability to add video clip to books

What I Would Like to See In Future Updates
  • Nothing at this time but please continue to update as your users request.
Support for Book Creator Can Be Found At