Phonological Awareness Lab by Smarty Ears Review + Giveaway

Phonological Awareness Lab by Smarty Ears Review + Giveaway




iPad Screenshot 1

What we love…

Versatility of this app, four different elements and seven different tasks of varying complexity. Linking to the Therapy Report Center, which is incredibly handy for SLP’s.

What we’d love to see…

ability to turn the sound off within some of the activities.

Summary

I would recommend this app, for sure! I believe it could be useful within the therapy room or as a center in the general education classroom. It is a tool that would be beneficial for various students demonstrating various needs.

Our Rating

 

Phonological Awareness LabPhonological Awareness Lab, created by Smarty Ears, is an engaging way to improve phonological awareness in children. It is a multi-level game with activities focused on incorporating phonological awareness activities necessary for literacy. These activities include sentence segmentation/word counting; blending syllables and sounds; rhyming identification, selection, and matching; and syllable identification and counting.

 

Let’s start by looking at each of the activities. There are four activities total; however, each activity is broken up even further for the user.

 

Activity 1: Sentence Experiment: In sentence experiment, the user is asked to click on a dropper for each word they hear in a sentence. The sentence length varies throughout the activity.

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Activity 2: Decoding Room: In the decoding room, the user has the option of choosing blending syllables or blending sounds. As suggested by the names, the tasks are different based on the information provided. One is providing syllables and requires the user to blend the syllables while the other blends phonemes into sounds.

 

Activity 3: Rhyming Compound: In the rhyming compound, the user has three activities that increase in difficulty. There is rhyming identification, rhyming selection, and rhyming match.

iPad Screenshot 5

Activity 4: Syllable X-Ray: In syllable x-ray, the user is asked to select the word with the correct number of syllables. This activity can be customized to the user, giving the user the opportunity to choose the number of syllables and the number of pictures to choose from.

 

I found this to be a great app that was user friendly, customizable, and allowed for multiple players. Data is kept, which is an added bonus for educators and speech-language pathologists, but is also nice for parents to be able to track how students are doing in a given activity category. Each of the activities is fun and engaging for the users, keeping their interest with the various scenes and tasks available. Visual and auditory feedback is provided for correct and incorrect responses, which allows the user to know when they get an answer correct or incorrect.

I love the versatility of this app. The four different elements and seven different tasks of varying complexity make this an app that can be used with students at various levels sharing a common goal of increasing phonological awareness. Smarty Ears does a nice job of linking their apps to a Therapy Report Center, which is incredibly handy for SLP’s.

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I would like the ability to turn the sound off within some of the activities. When working with students who struggle with listening and retaining, the rapid output of answer choices leaves me having to repeat them anyway. Because I can’t talk over the device, I wait for the run through first, which takes up time. It is a great feature for students who are more independent, but it’s limiting for the students who need the words to be repeated individually. At this point, I would use this app to access knowledge in the area or to increase a student’s skill level in an area rather than using it for instructional purposes.

I would recommend this app, for sure! I believe it could be useful within the therapy room or as a center in the general education classroom. It is a tool that would be beneficial for various students demonstrating various needs.  It may be my personal issue with the voice output throughout the app, but I find it to be limiting. Because the auditory portion is necessary, the sound cannot be shut off to avoid that feature. Overall, great app, honestly no complaints!

Phonological Awareness Lab – Smarty Ears

Phonological Awareness Lab Phonological Awareness Lab by Smarty Ears

Price: $19.99 USD

Phonological Awareness Lab (PAL) is a fun, multi-level game specifically designed to improve phonological awareness in children. Designed by a certified speech-language pathologist, PAL incorporates a.

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 The iMums within 48 hours to claim their prize. 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

Courtney Decker is a speech-language pathologist working with students of varying needs. A good portion of my caseload is with students who have complex communication needs, which I find more rewarding than challenging. She loves reality shows focused on music, such as The Voice and The Sing-Off. When she has free time, which doesn’t seem to be often, she likes to cross-stitch, knit, crochet, and sew.
 Talk For Me by Talk For Me Limited – Review

Talk For Me by Talk For Me Limited – Review



What we love…

The flexibility of the app and translation capability (20 international languages).

What we’d love to see…

Pictures to be included.

Summary

This is an AAC app worthy of a 5 star rating but it would need more pictures to be pre-installed and the price to be more competitive.

Our Rating

Talk For Me, created by Talk For Me Limited, is an app that focuses on providing a way for individuals to communicate through pictures and voice output devices. This app has many functions that I am incredibly impressed with.

Before we get into those, I do want to let you know that there is one concern I have with the app. The only way to have pictures included is to take them and pull them from your camera roll. As a busy Speech-Language Pathologist, I don’t always have the time to pull pictures to be incorporated into a device. That being said, there are some great functions to this app, so let’s get to them!

 

 

To begin using the app, the user must select the language that best fits them in the settings section of the app. This is the translation language, so whatever is typed into the dialogue boxes will be translated into that language. Even if you speak English, you will still need to select English in the settings. You will also need to select if you would like a male or female voice to speak for the user or for yourself. Once that is complete, we can move back to the “My Talk For Me” section of the app.

 

 

You will find many categories and subcategories available for you. These are pre-installed and can be added to or deleted at your disclosure. Similar to other apps, the swipe function can be used to delete. The “plus” symbol on the top right is used to add. I love the ability to add/delete from this app. I also love that there is an opportunity to create subcategories within the app. I think about the many activities I do with students and believe this is an app that would work to create that “fringe” vocabulary. Fringe vocabulary is the vocabulary that is specific to a specific activity, class, etc. Core vocabulary is the vocabulary we use on a day-to-day basis. It contains the concrete words that are necessary for communication to happen and the words are used interchangeably amongst topics.

Beyond that, the user can input categories that are specific to them and their given needs. Are you a child who loves to talk about horses? You have the opportunity to create a category specific to horses. Do you love to draw, eat fruits and veggies, play board games, or go to the movies? Yep, you can create categories for all of that too!

What if you want to go to the Mexican restaurant down the street? If you want to try your hand at Spanish, just change the translation to Spanish. It will speak what you have typed in English, in Spanish, and provide you with a visual. Pretty nifty, eh?!

This is a side-note, Speech-Language Pathologist to Educator or Parent. If you are using a device with a kiddo, please know that it is a foreign language to them until they have gained access to it numerous times. You did not learn to say “milk” until you were over a year old, I’m sure, but people in your life still used the word milk. Every communication system needs time to prove its value. Please look at the ability of your student/child and determine which app/system is best for them based on what that app/system can offer. Also, if you use an app/system to communicate, there may be more “buy-in” on behalf to the user. No one speaks to you in English and expects you to talk in Spanish, do they?! ☺

 

All that being said, I love that programming can be fairly basic at first, expanding into more complex capabilities as the user develops in their skill-set with the app. It’s pretty straight forward without a lot of bells and whistles that can be seen as a distraction. Beyond the lack of pictures available, I believe this is a great app with great potential for use across the globe!

I would recommend this app for facilitators who have time and energy to put into it. I have a million ideas as to how this could be used within the school setting I work in, but to implement would be tough. Given all the variables, I believe this to be a great app missing a key component. With pictures included, this app, in my opinion, would be up as one to beat!

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Giveaway

If you would like to win a promo code for this app, please enter via the widget below. 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

 

 

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.

Courtney Decker is a speech-language pathologist working with students of varying needs. A good portion of my caseload is with students who have complex communication needs, which I find more rewarding than challenging. She loves reality shows focused on music, such as The Voice and The Sing-Off. When she has free time, which doesn’t seem to be often, she likes to cross-stitch, knit, crochet, and sew.
 Spelling Hangman by Emma Mills – Review

Spelling Hangman by Emma Mills – Review



screenshot

What we love…

I love the ability to motivate children to practice through a game that has been loved for so many years. This is a game that is played to pass the time and this app makes it functional and entertaining!

What we’d love to see…

cancel” option. I would also love to see a popup with instructions that can be shut off through the settings.

Summary

Good app for practicing spelling words or “word study” with the flexibility of adding your own words makes it much more customizable than others

Our Rating

Spelling Hangman, created by Emma Mills, is a new, exciting way, to practice the spelling words given each week. I work in an elementary school and “spelling” is no longer the term used; however, a similar concept exists. This app allows a child/student to work on their given words through a more enjoyable mode.

Spelling Hangman allows the facilitator to record the words they wish to be practiced through a “Configure Test” option. This option allows the words to be set up under a given name such as “week 1”, or “ar words”, etc. As a speech-language pathologist, I believe this could be utilized within the therapy room as well. When working with a group of students focused on a particular sound (“r”, for example), the therapist could program in those words, allowing the students to try and guess words with “r” in them. Just an SLP’s twist on a general education app!

Another perk is the ability to see how well the child/student has done on each of the test through the “High Score” option. The current downside is that you cannot see how they have progressed in their ability. The only available score is the “high score”.

I want to provide a little insight: I had some troubles working through the app in regards to adding a new word into a test suite. Each attempt caused me to receive a pop up that that asked me to enter a new spelling. Unfortunately, the only way to escape that screen was to close to app completely and reopen it. What I found was that I needed to click “return” on my keyboard instead of clicking out of the keyboard. When I clicked “return” it allowed me the option to record; however, if I clicked out of the keyboard and pressed “done”, the action was not complete, so I received the error.

I love the ability to motivate children to practice through a game that has been loved for so many years. This is a game that is played to pass the time and this app makes it functional and entertaining!

In terms of enhancements, I would like to see  a “cancel” option. I would also love to see a popup with instructions that can be shut off through the settings. When I first started working through this app, I had to learn by trial and error. That’s okay for me, but may not be for others! I would also love to see the ability to create multiple users who would have access to the specific test suites, making this even more functional for those of us in the educational setting!  I would also like to see an “exit” if you open a test suite by accident. My one recommendation is to allow a facilitator to cancel an action. There is no way to avoid creating a new test suite if you click on it by accident.

I would recommend this app, for sure! I believe it could be useful within the therapy room, as a center in the general education classroom, or as a reward in a special education classroom, just to name a few. This is such a great tool to be used to functionally practice spelling words, or “word study” words as we call them! I feel this app has great potential and with the few things worked out, it would be a 5-star app! I was incredibly impressed with the app and had I known the few things I discovered, I would certainly have rated it higher!

 Spelling Hangman – Emma Mills

Spelling Hangman Spelling Hangman by Emma Mills

Price: $1.99 USD

Designed specifically for those spelling lists from school

Appymall - 'Spelling Hangman is a neat app for practicing spelling lists. Parents or teachers can add their own spelling list for children.

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Courtney Decker is a speech-language pathologist working with students of varying needs. A good portion of my caseload is with students who have complex communication needs, which I find more rewarding than challenging. She loves reality shows focused on music, such as The Voice and The Sing-Off. When she has free time, which doesn’t seem to be often, she likes to cross-stitch, knit, crochet, and sew.
 Miraculous Angel Encounters from Chicken Soup for the Soul ® by Oceanhouse Media – Review

Miraculous Angel Encounters from Chicken Soup for the Soul ® by Oceanhouse Media – Review



iPhone Screenshot 1

What we love…

I love the stories! Okay, I know that’s the premise of the app, but let me tell you, they are fascinating, uplifting, and encouraging! Easy to transition to for short periods of time

What we’d love to see…

more background on the included stories

Summary

App full of inspirational stories that includes narration and a journal allowing one to reflect on the true meaning

Our Rating

Miraculous Angel Encounters from Chicken Soup for the Soul ®Chicken Soup for the Soul has partnered with Oceanhouse Media to create a heartwarming series of stories relating to Miraculous Angel Encounters.  Let’s start by discussing what is available in this app, view able on the main screen. When the app opens for the first time, you will see a “stories” section, a “my journal” section, and a “soul work” section. The final slide gives you the ability to login via Facebook, or create a username. In order to access journal and soul work sections, a username must be created and in place.

In the stories section, you have access to stories with a serendipitous feel, stories relating to angels in disguise, and stories relating to angels seen everyday in every walk of life. Not interested in reading?! This app is still for you! There is an option hidden in a “secret” section titled “extras”. What is found in that section is sure to assist with an individual’s undesired request for reading. That section includes an audio version! The recordings are easy to listen to because the narrator utilizes a clear, inflection filled, tone!

Within the app, the stories are fascinating, uplifting, and encouraging! I love that there is an audio portion that can be utilized to listen to these stories if one prefers!   I also liked that the stories were easily picked up and put down, so that if I had a few moments I could look at them and then come back when I had more time.

In terms of enhancements, I would love to chat with the author to understand more about the background behind the stories.  I feel like the inspiration throughout the app limits what I would love to see because it covers such a broad base!

Do you like to journal? There is a journal section included just for you! The stories throughout the sections are packed with inspiration. Want to discuss the short entries with someone else or reflect on them personally? Oh, there’s a section for that, too!!!

A great app full of inspirational stories and ways to dig a bit deeper into the thought process that’s behind them and that surrounds them. From the stories, to the journal, to the ability to reflect on the specific stories through various questions makes this app one that is meant for all generations!   I feel like this app is a great app with a great array of tools embedded. The only downside is the limited amount of stories; however, this is a glimpse at some miraculous angel encounters that are full of inspiration!

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Courtney Decker is a speech-language pathologist working with students of varying needs. A good portion of my caseload is with students who have complex communication needs, which I find more rewarding than challenging. She loves reality shows focused on music, such as The Voice and The Sing-Off. When she has free time, which doesn’t seem to be often, she likes to cross-stitch, knit, crochet, and sew.

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