Amos the Astronaut by Van Winkle Studio LLC – Review



iPad Screenshot 1

What we love…

Fun brightly colored app that encourages problem solving in a way that encourages preschoolers and older to engage with the app to complete the tasks as get Amos on his way

What we’d love to see…

even with hints some of the items are hard to find, my son also found the “backwards” navigation a bit challenging at times.  I’d also like to see more content in the app – after the one adventure the app is done.

Summary

Fun app that encourages kids to problem solve to help fix Amos’ ship by working with locals to put the pieces back together.  I’d like to see more content in the app at the current price point.

Our Rating

Amos the AstronautAmos the Astronaut by Van Winkle Studio LLC is a universal app for iOS featuring the astronaut Amos and a journey he has to get his space ship flying again!  The interactive storybook format of the app has you with Amos as he searches for items to fix the broken space ship.  The app opens with a sequence of the ship crashing and then Amos starts searching the forest for various tools to fix his ship.  As you complete each activity then you are given additional places to go within the app.  As you gather items they are stored in the “inventory” or toolbox.  As Amos starts chopping down the tree he is captured by locals who put him in jail but lucky he’s is creative and finds a way out!  The locals then help him as he tries to fix his ship via a variety of tasks.  After gathering everything and working with the villagers, the adventure is solved and Amos flies off in his space ship.  This app is perfect for preschoolers and early elementary aged children. You can also read an “e-book” of the story here.

I liked the bright colors of the app as well as the word bubbles which helped my son as he’s starting to read so he could see them as well as hear them spoken (note they do not include word highlighting).    I also love that the app encourages problem solving – in a fun age appropriate way like finding a specifically designed egg or solving a problem like chopping on a tree. It provides sequential step by step – although at times it seems like you go “backwards” in your adventure instead of forward when you meet the villagers.  I also liked the various interactions on each page which encouraged kids to follow directions to help Amos make his fin.

In terms of improvements – some of the items were really hard to find even with the hints – my son especially struggled with the toolbox which essentially unlocked the app.  It might be useful to have a map that shows the locations of the various items.  Some of the animations like hammering the flint were not necessarily realistic – as the hammer is close to his head instead of his hand. Once the “adventure” is completed with the fin and Amos is on his way the app just ends – it would be fun if there were more adventures or a way to navigate around inside of his ship as right now the amount of content is a bit limited and once the adventure is solved there is nothing additional to do other than reset the app and start over again.

Overall, this is a fun find and seek app where you look for hidden clues to work and fix Amos’ ship.  There’s an underlying theme of problem solving where you find items to help complete the ship and work with local residents by making arrows, finding eggs, and working with the blacksmith.  There are no in app purchases or external links.


Amos the Astronaut
Amos the Astronaut
by Van Winkle Studio LLC

Category: Books, Entertainment
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74
Size: 250.21 MB

$2.99USD

Screenshots
(Click to enlarge)
Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)

NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.

VowelViz Pro by SmartPalate International -Review




iPhone Screenshot 2

What we love…

Visual feedback is an extremely helpful tool to shape vowels and vocalic /r/. Excellent potential for use with students with hearing impairments, apraxia, or for accent reduction.

What we’d love to see…

The ability to record speech attempts auditorily to provide auditory feedback on playback in addition to the visual feedback.
The ability for the SLP or parents to judge productions as right, wrong, or approximate as well as data tracking for individual students. Less inconsistency in the vowel mapping.

Summary

This app would be very beneficial to use in speech therapy with students with apraxia or hearing impairments. With a bit more fine tuning, this will be a truly wonderful app. The potential application for use in speech therapy is considerable and may be worth the investment especially if you have some tricky /r/ sounds to remediate.

Our Rating

Vowel Viz ProVowelViz Pro is a unique speech app that provides visual feedback to help shape vowel sounds. The app was created by SmartPalate International, LLC.
The targeting of vowel sounds can be a difficult endeavor as there really is no precise way to instruct a student in tongue placement or shape of the vocal tract for correct production. The production of vowels and vocalic /r/ has always been heavily dependent on the self-awareness of auditory feedback, until now. This innovative app provides the visual feedback that can facilitate the production of these sounds through real-time response.

iPhone Screenshot 4Using the device’s microphone, it maps out the user’s vowel production onto a grid called the vowel quadrilateral. The vowel quadrilateral is a visual representation of the position of the tongue during the production of vowels. The grid is designed to show the tongue’s height (high or low) in relation to its position from front to back of the mouth. For example, the top left quadrant contains the high front vowels /i:/ and /I/, while the bottom right includes the low back vowel /a:/.

The main screen allows you to select either vowels or vocalic /r/ to practice. There is also the option to “get training” where you can enter your email to receive tips and tutorial videos. I highly recommend watching these videos to ensure success when utilizing this app.

After a target vowel is selected, an auditory model of the sound can be played by touching the speaker in the top left of the screen. A flashcard with a word containing the target vowel can also be shown at the bottom. The student attempts to match the target sound by getting the orange tracking ball to land within the highlighted oval area on the grid. The mapping of the vowel is done in real-time allowing for immediate feedback and reinforcement of tongue position.

VowelViz Pro also provides vocalic /r/ targets. Anyone who has ever tried to get a child to produce /r/ with the correct tongue placement and tension knows what a challenge it can be. The use of visual feedback to help shape the sound is invaluable. In this module, the target is an oval shape containing the “R”. The trick is to get the orange ball to fall in the oval which would indicate the correct retroflex position. Tongue prompts such as “pull tongue back”, “raise tongue”, or “curl tongue” can be shown on the screen for additional prompting.

At the top right of the screen, you can find more information about the app. There is a pull down menu with basic instructions and troubleshooting help, an explanation of the vowel quadrilateral and vowel formants, a chart of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) and links to the developer’s website for support.

The settings tab allows you to adjust the following:

  • Live Vowel Tail Length and Input Sensitivity can be adjusted with a slider bar.
  • Show tongue prompts: on/off
  • Show flash cards: on/off
  • Themes: Default – Planets – Flowers – Spelling – Colors – Sports

The applications of this tool are numerous. This app would be very beneficial to use in speech therapy with students with apraxia or hearing impairments. It would also be effective for accent reduction in helping to fine tune their productions of vowels. Any child struggling to produce vocalic /r/ would likely benefit from the visual feedback provided.

I personally used this app to successfully elicit a vocalic /r/ from a student previously not stimulable for the sound. The visual feedback gave the student a target she could shoot for that auditory feedback alone couldn’t provide. She was able to make the necessary adjustments to hit the target on her own with very little prompting from me. The look of pride on her face when she saw that she had hit the target was priceless.

However, this app is not without its flaws. On attempts to produce the /i:/ sound, my voice was consistently mapped in the upper right quadrant rather than the upper left. I was only able to hit the target on this sound, by dropping the pitch of my voice significantly. But for the most part, I was able to land within the target oval on other sounds.

With a bit more fine tuning, this will be a truly wonderful app. The potential application for use in speech therapy is considerable and may be worth the investment especially if you have some tricky /r/ sounds to remediate.

iTunes Link Vowel Viz Pro

Vowel Viz Pro Vowel Viz Pro by SmartPalate International, LLC

Price: $49.99 USD

VowelViz Pro takes the innovative speech mapping app, VowelViz, and makes it even more FUN! VowelViz Pro implements fun, new themes, flash cards, and Vocalic R View to help further engage students in.

All the Different Colors by Jean Ruth – Review



iPad Screenshot 3

What we love…

cute story, good graphics, interactive

What we’d love to see…

forward and back navigations should go the the next part of the story, not just the next page.

Summary

A story about crayons that highlights friendship and purpose.

Our Rating

If crayons came to life, what would they do?  What would be on their minds?  What would they talk about?  All the Different Colors by Jean Ruth and Merripen Press imagines that scenario.  It focuses on the color Gray.  Every other color in the crayon box has been used except for Gray.  This makes him feel quite left out and invisible until one day when he finally gets picked and used for a very special purpose.

The story opens up as the crayons wake up early in the morning.  They are all inside a crayon box eagerly waiting for their boy to come and use them.  I love how the author gives crayons faces and personalities of animals that represent them.  Gray is a timid mouse, Green is a crocodile, Blue is a bluebird, Yellow is a duck, Red is a ladybug, Pink is a flower, and Orange is a Tiger. The colors talk about the things they have made with the boy.  Green is the one that has been used most and sure enough, when the boy comes, he chooses green first and begins to create a drawing of a Stegosaurus enjoying a sunny day.  One by one the colors get taken out of the box and used until only Gray and Red are left inside.  Gray was sure he would remain inside the box again, but to his delight and surprise, Gray gets picked and all the colors cheer for him.

My little artists enjoyed reading and playing this app.  The illustrations are whimsical and every page has a lot of interactivity.  Almost every object on the page has an associated action or animation.  My kids found all the interactivity exciting, and for the most part I thought it was good too.  The only thing that bothered me was that some of the interactive actions included revealing the next sentence or paragraph of the story, which means that if you miss clicking on that object before going to the next page, you would be skipping over part of the story. I think it would better if interactive actions are only used as a supplement to the story and not a direct part of it.  This way, children who simply want to read the story will not miss out on anything.

The app uses a typewriter font which is an unusual choice for children’s books.  I’m still not sure how I feel about it.  While I found it nostalgic, it simply did not catch my children’s attention.  The navigation is simple, just swipe left to go forward or right to go back. Or, you can use the forward and back buttons on the menu.  The menu can be accessed any time by clicking on the small rectangular icon on the top middle of the page.  The menu also allows gives you the option to jump to any page in the story as well as to toggle the music and sound in the settings page.

Overall, I liked the app.  The story itself is charming.  I love how the colors encourage Gray, and I love how Gray discovers he has a very special purpose.  The best part, however, was seeing my little artists smile and laugh through the app and then eagerly grab paper and crayons to make their own whimsical illustrations.



All Different Colors by Jean Ruth All Different Colors by Jean Ruth by Merripen Press

Price: $0.99 USD

A delightful little tale about crayons provides positive messages about self-acceptance and self-confidence for kids," says Best Apps for Kids. "4.9/5.0" - TheIphoneMom.com. Beautifully illustrated, .


Prairie That Nature Built by Dawn Publications – Review



iPad Screenshot 1

What we love…

beautiful illustration, informative primer, educational

What we’d love to see…

sounds and/or music, consistent layout, better audio for the narration

Summary

An app that is based on a book that helps children understand and appreciate life in the prairie.

Our Rating

The Prairie That Nature Built, by Dawn Publications, is an app based on the book of the same name by Marybeth Lorbiecki. It has 3 parts. The first part is the story, the second part is a matching game, and the third part is a primer.

The book was born out of the author’s love for the prairie. It describes, in poetry from, what the animals and plants in the prairie are like. It starts from the underground and works its way up to the sky. Suddenly lightning strikes and starts a fire. The rain that follows quenches the fire and then months later life in the prairie begins anew. The story does a good job of describing life in the prairie, and I loved how it ended with a little boy who we find out is the voice behind the poem. However, it felt a little tedious and did not hold my children’s attention very well. It was also inconsistent in form. It starts off as a cumulative poem but changes in parts of the book. The illustrations are beautiful and very vivid, and some were interactive. My children enjoyed looking at the animals and seeing if touching them would trigger movement. However, because it did not include any sounds, their interest quickly dissipated. Most of the illustrations were up close, which did a great job of helping children get a good and detailed view of the animals, but failed to communicate the vastness of the prairie. It felt crowded instead of expansive. I also did not like how the view switches from landscape to portrait in the middle of the book and then back to landscape again. The switch felt very strange and distracting to the flow of the book. The audio (narration) was also too loud. You can hear breathing and popping noises every so often. My children eventually decided to turn off the narration as it was more pleasant for them to read the book on their own.

The matching game revisits several pages of the book. This time it only includes the illustrations and a list of items to find. You drag a name from the list to its matching object. If the name matches the object, the name vibrates and stays with the object. If not, it goes back to the list, indirectly prompting you to try again. Other than that, the game provides no helps, hints, or answers. It also has no sound. Once again, it failed to hold my children’s interest. I think the game would make a lot more sense if the animals and plants were introduced in the story. This can be accomplished by displaying the animal or plant’s name whenever it is tapped. The matching game will then serve to test their memory of the plants and animal they came across. Also, it would be great if a correct match revealed a little more into about the animal or plant.

I think I liked the primer most of all. The audio was much better on this one. The pages were clean, easy to read, and informative. I also liked the author, illustrator, publisher, and developer pages. It is presented with audio and it is as though they were speaking directly to the kids. I have never seen it done this way before.

While I feel there is much improvement needed in this app, I appreciated how it seeks to inform and excite children about the prairie. If you decide to check this app out, I would suggest using it on an iPad since the font is much too small to read comfortably on an iPhone.



Prairie That Nature Built Prairie That Nature Built by Dawn Publications

Price: $3.99 USD

Special Introductory Offer—20% off!
There’s nothing boring about a prairie—especially in this book-app romp through the great grasslands of North America followed by a matching game. Nature in.

LuvYa Reader Recorder By Barcelona Multimedia – Review



iPad Screenshot 3

What we love…

fun way to share stories with kids via an iPad for either a grandparent, travelling parent or someone who may want to spend time with a child via a storybook

What we’d love to see…

parental gate to prevent accidental in-app purchases, introduction of a lower cost price model for new books,

Summary

Great app that includes Christian based stories, but it needs a parental gate to get a higher rating.

Our Rating

The LuvYa Reader Recorder and LuvYa Reader are two companion apps for iOS designed to allow someone to read a story and another person can then listen to it.  I can see this being perfect for a grandparent who wants to read their grandchild a story before bedtime but might live far away or perhaps a parent that travels so that their child would know they are thinking of them.  All of the stories have a Christian theme to them and you record them on a page by page basis.  The app includes 41 books, 15 Christmas titles and 24 devotions with new content being added daily.  There is a free book you can record online as well to try out the app.

The graphics in the app were bright and I liked that the stories could be “recorded” and then “read” in a separate app.  The app includes “four free” titles when you first open it up which allows you to record the words on the page.  You can read the stories on a page by page basis or record them continuously until you get to the end.  I found that reading them on a page by page basis gave me a chance to take a breath in between pages similar to what you would experience when reading a real storybook.   There is not a lot of Christian content in the app store which is “true” to the bible and these stories were well written and illustrated so I think that the app fills that market niche.  The stories are non-denominational and based upon the bible, which means that anyone who is Christian can use them.  I also found recording in a quiet room gave me the best sound quality for the stories and devotionals.   I also liked that you could preview the titles before purchasing, which is important to ensure that the stories are a good fit, especially when they are as expensive between $1.99 and $4.99 each.

The app needs a parental gate to protect young fingers from buying content by mistake.  I’d also like to see the number of “shares” of the story removed before adding another fee.  This might be a good subscription based app (paying a flat rate per month of use of the app) or perhaps including the ability to purchase a few books together (buy three get them for x cost) rather than paying for them individually.  The books range in price from $1.99 – $4.99 which can be a long especially for one of the shorter books which can be recorded quickly.  I would suggest turning off in-app purchases on your device to ensure that nothing is accidentally purchased. Also of note, the recordings are stored on the cloud, so you must have wi-fi in order to use the app.  It would be nice to be able to save the recordings somewhere so you can listen to them in various places without needing wi-fi.

Overall, this is a nice way that a person who lives far away can share stories with your child or even if they might not be home for a bedtime at night.  With the addition of a parental gate and lower priced model for new books, I can see the app being very popular in the iTunes store.

by

Category:
Requirements: Compatible with
Size: 0 MB

$


101 Christian Books LuvYa Listener for Kids – Listen your recorded Children's Bibles, Devotions and Prayers
101 Christian Books LuvYa Listener for Kids – Listen your recorded Children's Bibles, Devotions and Prayers
by Barcelona Multimedia

Category: Books, Education
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74
Size: 13.16 MB

$FREE

Screenshots
(Click to enlarge)
Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)

NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.

Rose Milany at the beach by Jean-Marc Fillipi – Review



iPad Screenshot 4

What we love…

interactive storybook where children can watch animations and discover different items on the pages.

What we’d love to see…

ability to read the story to yourself, re-recording of the English narration in the story as well as the ability to turn off the background music.  I would also like to see the bathing suit color be consistent throughout the story

Summary

If reading this story in French or Spanish, this is a great app!  The English narration of the story was not a good match due to the accent and mistakes made when reading the story.  Overall, the storyline is cute as are the games, but the narration is a miss.

Our Rating

Rose Milany at the beachRose Milany At The Beach is one of a series of interactive books, from the Rose Milany Collection.  In this eBook, a young girl named Rose Milany spends the day at the beach with her little dog.  The reader is invited to interact with Rose Milany and to choose her bathing suit, sunglasses and even build a sandcastle. The games solicit sound and visual memory of the child”. There is an option to ready and play the eBook in English, French or Spanish.

The eBook contains approximately 20 pages; 10 with the ability to interact with the page.  Included are 3 games and a song. The 3 games are

  • Momoread: find objects from the story
  • The Stickers: Fill in the blanks from a written story with the stickers depicting the objects
  • The Beach: Help Rose Milany clean the Beach.

There are 3 versions of the story (English, French and Spanish). In all three, Rose Milany narrates her adventures at the beach.  On about half the pages, the children can touch and move the objects around to discover hidden elements and watch animations.  For example, the sun is depicted as a daffodil, and to empty her pail you need to shake the net beside her.  As well, in order to return to the home page, you need to tap a hat; I thought it was a way to change her clothes!  The pages that cannot be “played with” flip by themselves, rather quickly.  For most pages, each time you play, the animations and expectations are the same. For some pages you can rearrange the icons to different locations. Even if the child chooses a certain color bathing suit, it stays pink on all the other pages.

There are the same 3 games for each language. Common elements for the games are a question mark at the top to have the instructions repeated and background music throughout.  In the Momread game, the children as asked 5 questions about things they saw in the story.  I like this game as it really works on visual memory.  When my students’ played it for the first time, they asked to go back and read the story again, so that they could actually concentrate on the pictures.  The reinforcement for this game, is minimal, a “no” if they choose wrong and a “well done” when correct response is chosen.

The Stickers game is a visual copying game.  The kids are asked to read the story and fill in the blanks with the missing “sticker”.  There is really no need to read through the short paragraph; they just have to slide the object into the shadow of the sticker. The app does not let them place the stickers out of order and there is not verbal reinforcement.

I liked that the French and Spanish versions of the app encouraged vocabulary growth.  Each of the pages contains short sentences and easy to follow instructions with games to promote visual and auditory memory.  I also liked that the song throughout was catch and had rhyming.  Each of the games resets as you leave the page which means you can complete it over and over again.One of my favorite parts was a song sung by Rose Milany. I liked the catchy tune and the rhyming aspect of this little song, present in all three languages.  My students left the room humming the song!

iPad Screenshot 1

In terms of improvement, I would like to see the English narration improved.  The narrator has a heavy accent and it is difficult to understand.  As we progress through the book, there are many other inconsistencies, in English ( crayfish is a lobster, asked for 3 colors of sunglasses when there are 4, the instruction pages do not show the correct items to look for “she meets a crab so sweet”, the picture is a pail and shovel). Throughout the English version, the grammar of production both written and spoken is completely off. Punctuation is not consistent either.  I asked both a French and Spanish colleague to play around with the app, and they reassured me that none of these problems were present in their respective languages. The instructional pages have matching words, pictures and audible (pail and shovel pictures “she played with her pail and shovel” They actually found the app to be a lot more engaging and pleasing.  There are significant “technical” differences between the English version as compared to the French and Spanish.Rose Milany’s accent in the English version hinders intelligibility and correct modeling. The accent is not present in the French and Spanish.

If possible, I would suggest re-recording of the narration with a native English speaker who could help read the story more clearly. The app does not have a locked section and there is one external unprotected link to the internet in the settings area.  I’d suggest a gate to prevent kids from getting in here by mistake.  The final few pages show Rose Milany with sunburn from sleeping in the sun for too long.  I am not really happy with this message, although the kids found it cute that she was as “red as a currant”.  Final pages Rose Milany is in the bathtub, healing her sunburn.  The third game is one where the children are asked to help Rose Milany clean up the beach by putting finding 10 non-desirable items and putting them in the trash can. The items need to actually be put right into the can.  If the kids just moved it to the edge it bounced back, resulting in remarks like “but that is garbage!” This was their least favorite game!   I found the background music to overpower the audio.  It would be nice to be able to turn off the background music and just “listen” to the story.  Even when we wore earphones, the music was quite distracting.  Although the pages look the same, and the animations are the same in all 3 eBooks, there are issues with the vocabulary in the English version.

Overall, this is a well done storybook in French and Spanish.  The English narration needs a bit of work to be more usable for native English speakers as the current narration takes away from the story.  The interaction and games are fun and encourage children to engage and see what they can learn from the story.

Rose Milany at the beach
Rose Milany at the beach
by Jean-Marc FILIPPI

Category: Books, Education
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74
Size: 311.35 MB

$2.99USD

Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)

Look! Fruits by Babuda – Review



iPhone Screenshot 2

What we love…

beautiful photographs, easy to navigate interface that encourages receptive and expressive language, ability to record your own voice

What we’d love to see…

ideas on how to use the app with kids, directions, some sort of a mini game to keep kids engaged

Summary

Great for practicing expressive and receptive language, but it needs more features to feel complete. The illustrations are top notch, but the app seems “finished” after you rotate through the cards and record them.

Our Rating

Look! Fruits is a perfect app that encourages expressive language via photo cards.  The app features twenty three different fruits – Nectarine, Pineapple, Orange, Banana, Blueberry, Starfruit, Lemon, Fig, Raspberry, Strawberry, Cherry, Kiwi, Coconut, Cumquat, Lime, Mango, Watermelon, Passion Fruit, Pitaya, Pear, Rambutan, Apple, Grapes and each one allows you to record the name of the fruit which is repeated back to you.  Each of the fruits is illustrated with a photograph and navigation is done with a swipe of your finger which rotates the fruit into view.

I tried the app out with my son and had him name the fruit as well as describe it (for example, the raspberry was red with bumps on it) using the microphone.  Then I had him close his eyes and I flipped through the fruits we had recorded and had him listen to the recording and he had to guess which fruit he had described.  This is a great app for practicing both receptive and expressive language and the open ended opportunities are endless.  I also used the app to help describe to my son the different places that each of the fruits came from – for example, we were not familiar with the Rambutan which grows in Thailand and is used to make jam or jelly.  We did some research to learn more about it and turned it into a bit of a learning experience for both of us.  The interface of the app was easy to use, and each of the fruits was in a beautiful photograph which really capitalized on my iPad’s screen.  I also liked that since this app didn’t include language we could use it to practice naming the fruits in Spanish or another language as well. I really liked the ability to record your own voice in the app, which does set it apart from other flashcard apps in the market. The app does require use of the microphone in order to use it, which is an easy process accomplished by going into the settings -> privacy -> microphone and then choosing Look! Fruits. I also liked that the app had non traditional fruit included which interested my son.

In terms of enhancements, when you open up the app you are given the photo of a fruit.  I would like to see some directions or maybe information about what you should do.  I knew I should touch the microphone to record my voice, but wasn’t sure what to do after that.  I would suggest though that a mini game of some sort be incorporated – perhaps a tile game where you can match up the fruits to keep kids engaged after they record the fruit names.  I’d like to see an opportunity to learn more about the fruit and where it came from within the app to help engage kids more.

Overall, the app has a great concept and will be helpful for people trying to work on receptive and expressive language skills.  The graphics are beautiful but the content needs to be added to in order for the app to feel “complete”.  After you go through and record the different fruits, the app is “done” with no more to complete and I think there’s a missed opportunity here. There are so many more opportunities to engage the user with the app to encourage them to learn more. There are no advertisements, external links or in-app purchases.


Look! Fruits
Look! Fruits
by Babuda

Category: Books, Education
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone4-iPhone4, iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74
Size: 6.94 MB

$FREE

Screenshots
(Click to enlarge)
Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)

NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.

Real Vocabulary Pro by Virtual Speech Center -Review + Giveaway




iPad Screenshot 1

What we love…

Variety & number of targets, customizable, expressive & receptive options, colorful photographs, ability to add words, ability to record & playback.

What we’d love to see…

Easier to select answer buttons, longer highlighting of correct answer, less ambiguity in answer choices, easy option in reward games

Summary

This app was a very ambitious undertaking with its extensive inventory of targets and colorful photographs. However, many of the answer choices are ambiguous and there is a lack of reinforcement of the correct answer. Despite its shortcomings, the app is extremely versatile given the extent of customization ability.

Our Rating

Real Vocabulary Pro

Real Vocabulary by Virtual Speech Center is a comprehensive language program for elementary students which targets core curriculum vocabulary in an engaging and highly customizable app. Virtual Speech Center has many other speech and language apps including Articulation Carnival, Articulation Vacation, Auditory Memory Ride and Apraxia RainbowBee.

The app can be set to target concepts either receptively (with 4 answer choices provided) or expressively (child’s verbal answer is scored manually).  Tasks can be individualized by levels kindergarten-1st, 2nd-3rd, 4-5th across five different categories:

Antonyms: i.e. What is the opposite of narrow?

Synonyms: i.e. What is another word for ship?

Definitions: i.e. What is a natural resource?

Multiple Meanings: i.e What else can “light”mean?

Idioms: i.e. What does “out of the blue” mean?

Each category has 300 targets (100 for each grade level) for a grand total of 1500 distinct trials in the entire app.

There is a demo video highlighting the settings and features of the app found under the info tab on the main menu.

In the settings, you have the option to select sound effects for correct and incorrect answers, enable text and/or audio for the questions to be shown and/or read aloud, enable auto paging, or enable answers to be shown. For the rewards game, you can set the frequency as well as length of time for playing each of 3 mini games.  In the Pro version, you also have the ability to add your own words/images and recordings of additional targets for the ultimate customization.

The app also includes 3 reward games: Wobbly Waiter, Catch the Dish and Sling Challenge. In Wobbly Waiter the player has to balance as many dishes as possible on a tray before time runs out or the tray tips over. In Catch the Dish the player has to catch the correct dish from a variety of fast-moving spinning dishes falling down. Sling Challenge is an Angry Birds style catapult game. The reward games are quite challenging and may prove to be more frustrating than fun, especially for younger children or those with fine motor challenges, it would be nice to have an “easy” option added with slower moving objects and more help in aiming the catapult.

iPad Screenshot 3

I love the variety and amount of targets provided, 100 hundred trials per category for each grade level provides plenty of vocabulary-learning opportunities. The ability to customize across three separate grade levels allows the app to grow with students. Colorful, photographic images are interesting and engaging and being able to target both receptive and expressive language skills is a big plus. For the SLP discrete data tracking for each student with specific breakdown of correct vs incorrect responses is helpful in keeping track of an individual’s progress and targeting core curriculum vocabulary makes the job of a school SLP easier. I appreciate the ability to record and playback the student’s verbal response, and the ability to customize with your own targets makes this app completely flexible and versatile to meet a variety of students’ needs.

iPad Screenshot 5

However, even though I love the concept of the app there are some areas where I feel it could be improved. The answer buttons are very long and narrow with little separation between them which may make answer selection difficult especially for children with fine motor or coordination difficulties. When a wrong answer is selected, the correct answer is highlighted only briefly. This does not allow time for discussion of the concept and consequently does not aid in the correct learning of the target. I would like the correct answer to remain highlighted until I move on to the next question.

The concepts presented in the idioms section seem as though they would be too difficult for children in the kindergarten-1st grade level especially since the images shown represent the literal meaning of the idiom.  Many of the children utilizing this app are likely to have language delays which would make the comprehension of an abstract concept like idioms even more difficult. In addition, many of the answer choices are very vague and similar which may lead to confusion over the definitive answer.  For example, for the following question

“The plant is alive. What is the opposite of life?” the four answers provided include:

-Dead

-Death

-Living

-Nonliving

Based on the context, we can deduce that the most appropriate answer would be “death”. However, many could argue that 3 out of the 4 answers may fit as well. The vagueness of many of the answer choices leaves the correct answer open to interpretation and may cause frustration.

Overall, this app was a very ambitious undertaking with its extensive inventory of targets and colorful photographs.  The interface is sleek and easy to navigate.  The core curriculum vocabulary targeted is very appropriate for school-based SLPs.  However, many of the answer choices are ambiguous and there is a lack of reinforcement of the correct answer. Great concept, but not always the best execution.

Despite its shortcomings, the app is extremely versatile given the extent of customization ability. This app would be especially handy for SLPs working in the school setting or any parent wanting to give their child’s vocabulary a boost.

iTunes Link Full version: Real Vocabulary Pro – Virtual Speech Center Inc.

Real Vocabulary Pro Real Vocabulary Pro by Virtual Speech Center Inc.

Price: $29.99 USD

****What I really like about this app: The depth and scope of this app which allows so many different aspects of vocabulary to be targeted. The ability to add your own words and notes.(Nikki Heyman,SLP.

iTunes Link lite versionReal Vocabulary – Virtual Speech Center Inc.

Real Vocabulary Real Vocabulary by Virtual Speech Center Inc.

Price: $FREE

The Real Vocabulary app is a comprehensive and flexible language program for kindergarten-5th grade students targeting core curriculum vocabulary*.

The Real Vocabulary app includes over 1500 .

Giveaway

If you would like to win a promo code for this app, please enter via the widget below. Winners will be emailed and must contact redeem their codes promptly to claim their prize as these codes are short-dated. This giveaway is open to everyone, worldwide, and an iTunes account is required to claim the prize. Please ensure you have read and understand our Terms & Conditions. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

PrepPositions by Smarty Ears -Review




iPad Screenshot 1

What we love..

user friendly, Single or Multi user, customizable, real photos, different levels, text easy to read, clear voice, errorless learning.

What we’d love to see…

Different tasks to practice and a variety of reward games, less ambiguous photos, female voice option,ability to add personalized photos, reduce price

Summary

PrepPositions, by Smarty Ears is a great app to teach and reinforce many different prepositions, for younger and older students. The multiple choice interface is easy to use and with some adjustments allows for errorless learning. The photos are appealing although sometimes ambiguous.  The app is customizable for different levels of understanding and usage.

Our Rating

PrepPositions

PrepPositions is an app to help children learn and practice formulating sentences with prepositions.  The app is developed by Smarty Ears, a long time app developer in the area of speech and language, with over 50 applications geared towards all areas of speech and language development including articulation, syntax, auditory training, and specific language targets (as with PrepPositions).   The information section, for each game, is coherent and easy to follow. The support section has direct links to the developer, minimal explanation of the app and the option to restore or save to iTunes.

 

PrePositions is an overall pleasing application with bright and engaging graphics, in the form of real photos.  There are well over 40 different prepositions included in the 15 different levels.  The levels are customizable for each user.  This is a multi-user interface. ; On the first page, there is a question mark for obtaining information about the app, the developer and restoring or saving to iTunes.  This section is restricted to teachers (I would like it to say adults, not teachers). I should mention that I tried the support section a few times and got the same math equation each time. There really is nothing that damaging in this section except access to the Facebook page. Also on the opening page is the option for sound on or off. I like that each sentence or section is accompanied by a really appropriate male voice, indicating what the icon is for.  On the page to choose the user, the setting are available for many different options within the game (audio on and off, number of balls for attaining rewards, prompts etc.) or for the app as a whole.

iPad Screenshot 4

There is an option to use pre-set options or set your own.  The app allows for multiple users, up to 5 per session.  On each page of the game the active user is displayed.  When checking off individual levels, there is a presentation of the sentences that will be used and the adult can deselect or select the desired phrases and sentences.  On each page, a photo is presented with a phrase missing a proposition.  The child is instructed to drag the correct response to the missing space. There is a hint button, which eliminates one of the answers, for errorless learning.  The phrase is repeated with the preposition and the user is prompted to record the phrase before continuing on to the next page.  This option can be eliminated in settings or by double tapping the screen.

There is an option to play the reward game either after a certain number of balls, or at the end of a session. The game is a circus cannon that shoots balls across a floor with multiple obstacles.  The aim is to shoot the ball as far as you can, and avoid the obstacles

iPad Screenshot 5

Level 1 is designed for emergent and beginning readers (suggested to grade 3).  The levels progress to level 15 which contains more complex prepositions (because of, close to, depending on). Some of the sentences at all levels are ambiguous and not clearly depicted by the accompanying picture (My mom has been ____work for 2 months: Out of).

iPad Screenshot 3

Like all Smarty Ears apps, this app is compatible with the Therapy Report Centre, but report cards are available after each session.  Users can be imported from and saved to the Center. Data collection is relatively easy and does not interfere with the actual game playing.  At the end of the game, the report page is exposed and results easily read.

iPad Screenshot 2

I have mixed opinions about this app. I like the overall concept and the multiple levels, however, the children I tried it with found it rather boring after 10-15 tries. They did like the reward game at the end and couldn’t wait to get there.

The ability to customize and record responses is an asset to the SLP and the student (for self-monitoring). The prepositions taught are developmentally appropriate, and accompanying photos are presented in a manner that is appropriate for the younger and older students. The feedback sounds are pleasant, and the “rate” of the game is appealing to the children.  The voice that reads the stimulus is clear and well-articulated.  I especially like that each task, whether in settings or in the game is accompanied by a voice over. I like that the sentence or phrase can be repeated, for those children that might have auditory processing difficulties and use the pictures to help them with language. I like the option that you can set the app to prompt for more items at a certain level of the chance to move on.

I would like to see a variety of different tasks to practice pronouns.  The routine of just filling in the blanks can get boring and cause the users to lose interest. The ability to add more personalized photos from a photo library to make the app even more individualized might help alleviate some of this, as the students can actually help choose pictures for the prepositions.  It would be enjoyable to be able to skip a particular page and return to it later.  A female voice, as an option should be considered.

I recommend this app to SLPs and to parents to enhance carryover of pronouns (receptive and expressive). It is a bit pricey for an app that is essentially only 1 task.  I rate this app a 3.5 overall.  If the price was a little less, I would rate it a 4

PrepPositions – Smarty Ears

PrepPositions PrepPositions by Smarty Ears

Price: $19.99 USD

Prep Positions
Prep Positions is a multi-purpose app specifically designed to encourage language and formulating sentences containing prepositions. With 15 levels, multiple sentences for each level.

Blue Planet Tales – History, Nature & Science Children´s Bookshelf – Review



iPad Screenshot 1

What we love…

beautiful illustrations, testing reading comprehension of the book

What we’d love to see…

implementation of a parental gate to prevent accidental in-app purchases; ability to purchase all the content of the app with a one time in-app purchase

Summary

Overall, good app to learn about historical events.  This app requires parental supervision due to lack of a parental gate.

Our Rating

Blue Planet Tales – History, Nature & Science Children´s BookshelfBlue Planet Tales Interactive Storybooks is a bookshelf type app that allows you to purchase additional content for your iOS device and teach children about a variety of history, science and other concepts.  For purposes of this review we will be looking at Apollo 11, Men on the Moon.  There is also a free book that is included so you can try it before purchasing additional in-app content.  To read the purchased stories, simply tap on the library and the book will pop up.  There are three play options, autoplay, read it to me and I have read it. The books are available in English and Spanish.

I thought that the Apollo 11, Men on the Moon story was historically accurate.  In addition the graphics were fairly accurate, although the text did cover up the illustrations at times.  One of my favorite things about the app was that there are questions within the story that test reading comprehension such as: who was the first human in space. who was the first president to support space travel.  For each correct answer you are rewarded with a “all right”.    There is some limited interactivity within the app on each of the pages, such as the ability to put the astronauts on the space shuttle with the actual sounds of the countdown.  The app does reinforce learning within the story to ensure that people understand the story.

iPad Screenshot 4

In terms of improvements, this app needs a parental gate to ensure that content is not purchased in error.  Currently, you open a book either at the bottom of the screen or in the menu and it provides a direct iTunes link.  For this reason, I would suggest turning off the ability to do in-app purchases on your device.  I would also like to see word highlighting for emerging readers to help them more easily follow along.  I also found at times in the autoplay mode that the text on the page did not match the narrator especially if you touched the page forward button.  I would also like to see a one time in-app purchase that would unlock all the content of the app.

 

Note:  There does seem to be a bug in the iOS 8.0 version but if you upgrade to iOS 8.1.1 it solves the crashing and need to restore the stories within the app.

Overall, this app does have great content which touches on a variety of historical events.  The lack of a parental gate concerns me, however, the content does encourage learning among individuals both young and old.  The illustrations are well done and the story pulls you in to learn more about historical events.

 

BPT - Educational Storybooks for Children (Preschool & Primary)
BPT - Educational Storybooks for Children (Preschool & Primary)
by Blue Planet Productions SL

Category: Education, Books
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74
Size: 23.41 MB

$FREE

Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)

NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.