Rhetoric Public Speaking by John Zimmer and Florian Mueck – Review
Rhetoric Public Speaking Game is an app developed by the creators of Rhetoric-The Public Speaking Game (John Zimmer and Florian Mueck). The original board game was released in 2012 and was a huge success. It was made to help those with a desire to increase public speaking skills. The creators have now released an app that reflects the benefits of the board game. The purpose of this review will be to write about how this app can be used by Speech Language Pathologists in therapy.
When I first looked at the app, my impression was that this is for much older players. The description was more about how to prepare for debates and public speaking engagements. As I explored and played through, I realized that there are many ways to adapt it for practicing expressive language and narratives. The app needs to be monitored and set up by an adult, which is actually a good thing, as it encourages interactions between the clinician and the student.
Game play itself is relatively easy. The game can be played by 2 to 8 people at a time. A great feature is that the game supports multiple different languages (English, Spanish, French, German and Catalan; with more languages to come). Default time is set to a minimum of 1 minute, but can be adjusted to 2 minutes. There are 2 styles to the game, competitive or not. In the competitive mode, the other players are the ones that determine the score. In therapy, this can be useful in teaching the kids how to give constructive criticism and even compliments.
Opening the app results in a black home page with no illustrations. 3 options are there: Rules, Play and About. Of course, it is really important to read the rules before even trying to play. If you go straight to play option, you will be lost. The rule section is long and somewhat complicated, as it explains each space on the game board. Right from this page, I knew that I would need to create a cheat sheet to have handy during play.
The game begins with an “audience” waiting to hear speeches. Each speaker has a marker, poised at the “entrance”. The players roll a dice, move to a space on the board, on which they are asked to participate in a speech task according to 4 categories – Topic, Challenge, Question, Reflection. The game continues until a player exits the “stage”.
When your marker lands on Topic, you pick a card that gives you the topic of your speech. Then you need to create your narrative to include one of 6 fields or tasks: Tell a story, Use a quote, Evoke the Senses, Draw an Analogy, Use Humor, Call to Action. Each of these is explained in the rules section (hence, the cheat sheet). If your marker stops at Challenge, you have to respond to that specific challenge (e.g. You are the host of a TV game show. Introduce the other players as the contestants).
When you land on Question, any player can ask you a question about anything and you have to structure your answer based on the result of your spin on the Wheel of Structure. Structures like ‘Good, Better, Best'; ‘Bad, Worse, Worst'; ‘Past, Present, Future'; ‘One, Two, Three’ and ‘Pros and Cons’ help you organize your thoughts and deliver an impressive speech. One last area is Reflection, where you can choose to talk about anything within the time limit.
Once the game starts, it is pretty intuitive, with the speaker just having to tap a card to bring you to the next “task”. Card selection is random, so you never know what will pop up. Subjects range from appropriate for younger kids, to rather older in nature (speak about something in the room to deliver your own eulogy). It would be nice to be able to customize the cards for the target population. Once you are ready to speak, the timer is revealed and when speech is completed you tap the check mark to end your turn. Play continues with the next speaker.
As you can see, once you are familiar with the different spaces on the board and the different tasks, the app can actually be a lot of fun. In therapy, I would delay the actual speaking part to help the student create a visual BrainFrame or use components of other narrative programs (SKILLS, SGM) to help organize thoughts and create a narrative. I would also limit the tasks that they can choose from, to make it more appropriate for the clients playing the game. An option that I would change to help with this idea, is to allow the speaker to use a field more than once. Recording the students while speaking would also be a great asset to therapy. The clinician can go back and review the elements of the narrative that were covered or missed.
Getting students to actually use expressive language in a structured activity is a difficult task at the best of times. The chance to incorporate this skill into a board game is an excellent addition to treatment. Students react well to electronics and the somewhat competitive board game nature of Rhetoric. There is also no real “judgements” made about the speech which is great.
I can also see the validity of working with adult aphasia clients that have been in therapy for a while. They too would probably like the game nature of this app. I would think the stress level of having to create narratives will be lessened by having topics and structures presented to them. If possible, recording the narrative to go back and review would be great as well.
There are a lot of things I like about this app (if used with the right demographics). The different language options is for sure a really big plus. The multiple player setup is great for group sessions. The simple design of the board game makes it easy to play and allows the clients to move ahead towards the finish quickly. There are multiple different options for narrative formation. The non-competitive version of the game allows for excellent client feedback and gives the clinician lots of opportunities for direct teaching of narrative formation.
What I would like to see is the ability to choose the topics for the speeches or even to make your own. Another option is for the developers to make a junior version. That would be awesome!!!! I would like to be able to skip a card if it doesn’t seem appropriate. The developers have mentioned that more languages and specific theme topics are coming soon so then maybe then it will be easier to choose. I would also like to see an option to record the speeches to review later.
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Rhetoric Public Speaking Game
by John Zimmer
Category: Games, Education, Educational, Board
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPodTouchFourthGen, iPad 2 WiFI, iPad 2 3G, iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini, iPadMini4G, iPhone5c, iPhone5s, iPhone6, iPhone6Plus, iPodTouchSixthGen
Size: 85.33 MB
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