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