Reviewed by Grace and Mary

Go-Togethers by Smarty Ears is a language app that helps students of all ages to develop semantic abilities which helps in comprehension, vocabulary development and word retrieval.  In this app, students learn about categorization and association of words.  They also get to work on expressive naming and reasoning skills by identifying, naming and describing semantic associations of 200 target words.

You can start using this app right away from the opening screen by tapping the white board but you should utilize the wonderful options in the Setting Rooms to customize the app to match your child’s abilities.  First you choose which level of difficulty you want to work on.  Level 1 caters to younger children with words familiar to them (Animals, Food, Clothing, Vehicles, Containers, Actions, Everyday Activities, Concepts, Rooms in a House, etc.) while Level 2 has more difficult word for older students (Land and Landmarks, Meals and Extras, Holidays and Events, Places, Buildings, Sports, Weather and Seasons, Concepts, School Subjects, etc.)  Within the same level, you can further select 1 or more categories, have up to 3 correct answers to be displayed on screen, choose the type of response you want for wrong answers and the activities to work on (Receptive, Expressive or a combination of both).

In the Receptive activity, the student is asked (with both audio and visual prompt) what goes with the target word and he has to tap and drag to connect the items that ‘go together’ with target word.  Alternatively, he can just tap on the correct answers and they will automatically be connected.  You can also skip any target words (if you wish) by tapping the ‘Next’ button.  I like to use the option where the wrong answer is removed from the screen so that the student only sees the correct word associations on a word map (think mind map).  This word map (visual input) together with the act of physically linking the semantically related items (kinesthetic experience) are both effective strategies to help the student remember and expressively recall the word associations.

Here in the Expressive activity, the student is encouraged to recall the words associated with the target word and to explain why they ‘go together’.  Playing this activity right after the receptive activity for each target word helps the student to instantly recall what he has just learnt.  When he gets better,  he can progress to just playing the expressive activity alone to work on expressive language.  You can keep score of the number of related items (I said what) and reasons (I say why) offered by the student in response to the question.

In both activities, a summary report is generated when you end the session by clicking the ‘Done’ button.  You can then email this report from within the app for record keeping as no data will be saved within the app.  Watch this video tutorial for more details.

[yframe url=’http://vimeo.com/38898065′]

What we really like in this app is that the app doesn’t move to the next question automatically when the student answered it correctly.  This allows the parent/SLP/educator and the student to spend some time taking in the information visually and discussing about the word associations before tapping on the ‘Next’ button.  The ‘Back’ button is similarly useful if the previous sets of word associations are related to the current set and you want to highlight their similarities e.g. when you’re working on a single category of words.

We also like that it is fully customizable with 2 levels of difficulty of words and activities, making it suitable for children at different levels of language comprehension and expression and it will continue to serve their needs as their understanding of abstract categories and expressive ability develop.  It would be ideal if there are also options to display the labels of the items and hear the labels spoken upon touching.  These will give additional support to younger children who may not be able to tell exactly what the picture represents.  Another easily fixed issue is to ensure that the same question will not be repeated in one session.

Overall, this app is a useful app for children who needs to be explicitly taught how to organize their vocabulary and make sense of them which in turn facilitates word retrieval.  So if you’re looking for an intervention app that targets these areas, make sure you check out Go-Togethers.

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Please use the App Store link provided below if you decide to get this app.  The cost is the same but a small portion of your purchase helps to support the iMums.  Thank you!
Category: Education

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad.Requires iOS 4.0 or later.

Cost: $ 9.99  Go-Togethers - Smarty Ears (114MB)

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