Commuting Mom Travel Tech by iMum Alison

I regularly commute into the city with my “travel tech” and I thought I would share some of my favorite tech accessories that are always in my backpack other than my laptop and iOS devices.  Being a mom means that I have to have my travel tech packed and ready to go at a moment’s notice.  Some of the products below were provided by companies and if you purchase them our site may earn a small amount.  I picked all of these products based on my personal experience and usage of them over time.

LL Bean Quad Pack

quadI’ve had my LL Bean Quad Pack for several years and it’s stood up very well to the test of time and can hold pretty much anything I need since it includes an integrated laptop sleeve, designated spot for my iPhone, waterbottle and more!  There are a ton of pockets and places to store things – and using my clear bags from Mia Tui makes finding things a snap! RRP $79.99 for the Quad Pack from LL Bean.

Quad Backpack

Griffin Survivor for iPad Mini

Griffin Apple IPad Mini/iPad Mini Retina Griffin Survivor Case, Pink, Black (GB35920-2)I really love the durability that this case provides for my iPad Mini which I frequently slip into my bag to take places with me since it is small and portable.  I don’t have to worry about the screen getting scratched since the case features a protective covering.  I also loved all the color choices (including my favorite pink!) as well as the nice form factor for the case.  My iPad Mini has survived drops, falls, drool and more all while staying protected and no cracks!  For me, this is one piece of “insurance” that is totally worth it!   You can read my full review of the Griffin Survivor for iPad Mini.  Available from Griffin and Amazon for approximately $40 USD.

 

Mp2301 Performance Mouse by Kensington

MP230L Performance Mouse — Black

My next favorite accessory is my MP2301L Performance Mouse by Kensington.  This wireless mouse feels great in my hand, is small and portable and has great battery life.  One of the best features about it is the ability to track on almost anything – and that it takes standard batteries which are easy to find if they need replacing.  No cables, no cords no fuss! That means I can find a place to sit in the office or at a conference table and still have my mouse no matter where I am!  The reciever fits nicely inside the mouse so you don’t lose it when not in use!  $39 USD RRP. Available from Kensington or Amazon.

LogiTech Wireless Presenter

I also like to bring my Logitech Wireless Presenter as I have spoken at a few meetings recently and it’s so much easier to use a wireless presenter than having to walk over and click on the slide each time I need to move it forward.  One of my favorite things about this presenter is that it has a built in timer which allows me to know if I am spending too little or too much time on a specific slide.  It also has great range which means I can walk around the room while speaker rather than being pinned at a podium or in the front of the room. RRP $55 – 80 USD.  Available from Logitech or Amazon.

Griffin PowerJolt Dual Charger for the car

Griffin PowerJolt Dual Car Charger with Lightning Connector 12 WattSince many of my commutes involve travel time in the car, I also use my Griffin PowerJolt Dual frequently.  This charger includes a lightening connection as well as a second port where you can plug in an micro-usb or any other USB accessible cable.  That means I can charge my phone and tablet at the same time or two smartphones.  RRP $20.00 from Griffin or Amazon.

 

Mobile Hotspot for Wireless on the Go

JetpackA mobile hot spot is another must have, especially when you are not sure how good your internet access will be.  I sometimes use my iPhone as a hot spot, but really like this Netgear Verizon hotspot as a better alternative and it has great battery life.  I enjoy using my Netgear Hotspot from Verizon since I added it to my wireless plan. Easy to use hot spot that works both inside and outside of the United States, provides great battery life and connectivity for your devices.  You can either pay for the device and add the service on the go or put it on contract   Check out my review of the Verizon Jetpack by Netgear.  RRP without contract is $199 USD and with contract it’s $49.99.  Available from Netgear and Verizon.

Cord Storage and Organization

mia tuiOrganizing all of my cords is a snap with my Mia Tui clear plastic bag/PVC bag.  These bags have a zipper top and make it easy to see everything inside so I don’t lose any small pieces.  They are far more durable than the Ziploc bags I was using, but are not totally waterproof.   I like that I can pull the medium size one out of my backpack and have my laptop cord, cables/plugs and chargers all in one spot.  RRP is $12.50 USD and they are available from Mia Tui.

cableCables!  Griffin Premium Braided Lightening Cable

This cable lives in my tech backpack and it has stood up to being plugged, unplugged, used abused and re-used!  Griffin’s cable is so much stronger than my traditional lightening cables for my iPhone due to the braiding on the cable which means that you won’t need to treat it as delicately! I love that you don’t need to fuss when plugging it in as it resists kinking and is stable so the connectors don’t break. They offer a wide variety of braided cables for iOS and Android. RRP $35 USD. Available from Griffin and Amazon

 

Pocket Size Bluetooth Keyboard

1byone pocket size mini folding keyboard

If I am attending meetings and I decide not to bring my laptop – this pocket size Bluetooth Keyboard is perfect!  It’s a tri-fold and folds up to about the size of my hand meaning I can easily slip it into my bag and use the keyboard to take notes instead of having to bring along my laptop all the time.  I have it paired to both my iPad and my iPhone 6 and finding keys on it is so much easier than having to use the on screen keyboard.  It lasts a long time too – I’ve used it multiple times and have not had to charge it yet!  The keys are a little bit smaller than a traditional keyboard, but honestly after using it for about ten minutes I didn’t notice it at all!  RRP $36.99 and it’s available at 1by1 and on Amazon.

Tech Armor Portable Power Bank

tech armour

With all of these devices, I’d be lost without a portable power bank to ensure that they had power.  I’ve recently starting using this power bank from Tech Armor and really like how fast it charges my devices with a small size!  I can charge my iPhone (if it dies unexpectedly) or give my iPad a boost so that I can watch a movie on the train.  This works with all devices that use USB chargers, and I’ve passed it around a few times to coworkers and friends whose cell has died. Avoid the dreaded “low power mode” that your iPhone goes into just before shutting off! RRP from Tech Armor and Amazon is  RRP of  $40 USD.

 

JayBird BlueBuds Headphones

jaybirdOn the train, these headphones are a must since others don’t want to hear my music, my apps or my movies!  JayBird BlueBuds X Premium Bluetooth Headphones simply put ROCK!  These Bluetooth earbuds pair to a variety of devices without the need for a cord to tether you to your device.  They include a filtering system which allows you to hear the music more clearly and feature playtime up to eight hours which means you can use them all week without having to worry about charging them.  These earbuds charge using a standard micro-USB connector and for those using Apple devices include a icon on screen telling you how much battery is left so you are not left without your earbuds at the wrong moment.  The earbuds fit either in the traditional under-ear which allows you to listen and take calls as well as the over ear which means it doesn’t even feel like you are wearing earbuds.  The package includes three pairs of ear tips as well as ear cushions, a micro-USB cable and a carry case to hold your earbuds and the cords.  Jaybird has introduced an updated version since my original review, but I still use these a lot and they stand up great!  Sold by JayBird and Amazon for RRP of $150 USD.

Apex Fine Point Stylus by Lynktec

apexWhen attending meetings, I love to use my Lynktec Apex stylus, as I can use my iPad Mini and the stylus to take notes instead of having to pull out a pen and paper! I can draw and handwrite my notes which is perfect in a meeting, plus everything is stored in one spot so I don’t have to worry about having the right notebook with me.  You can use it with or without Bluetooth – without it’s mostly for sketching or note taking within specific apps but if you want to jot down notes it’s best to link it to your device.  I loved the fine point and how it learned what I wrote using Notes+.  RRP $50 USD available from Lynktec and Amazon.

Wireless Storage – by Seagate Wireless Plus

seagate

Do you have memory woe’s on your devices?  SeaGate Wireless Plus is there to help!  This small drive which is about the size of your hand holds a whopping 1 terabyte of data and works with a variety of devices and smartphones including iOS, Kindle Fire and Android.  It includes the ability to pass through Wi-Fi and you only need to connect your devices to the drive rather than having to connect to Wi-Fi which is especially handy if you are out and about or in a conference room at the office  and don’t want to connect multiple iPads, iPhones or other devices to the drive.  That means you can use your hotspot and not worry about if you are using your laptop, phone or tablet!  Read my full review about this “must have” accessory.  RRP $140 USD for 1TB (other sizes available) Available from Seagate and Amazon

Leitz Mini Bluetooth Speaker

leitz speakerHave you ever tried to do a presentation in a conference room only to find the tinny speakers on your laptop are not loud enough for others to hear?  I stash this small Leitz  Mini Bluetooth Speaker in my backpack for those moments!  You can connect it to your smartphone, tablet or laptop via Bluetooth and people won’t have to strain their ears to hear sound any longer.  It charges using micro USB and will last up to six hours of complete use.  You can even use it when you are using your smartphone as a speaker without sounding far away! I like it better for work rather than music! Compact design fits into your bag for on the go use!  RRP $35 USD.  Available from Amazon.

 

These are some of my travel “must-haves”, what are yours? I’d love to hear what products you use when you go to work or on the train.

Note: Some of the products included in this article were supplied by the companies for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received. Some of the posts may include affiliate links Their inclusion was the decision of the author, all opinions stated in the article are those of the author and have been offered honestly.  This post contains affiliate links, which means I may earn a small amount if you purchase the products.



Listening Power K-3 by Hamaguchi Apps- Review



iPad Screenshot 1

Summary

Overall, this is a very high-quality app for targeting auditory comprehension skills of elementary school children ages 5-10 years. It is obvious that much consideration was placed on the customization of difficulty levels and the selection of the targets themselves. The colorful illustrations and animations are engaging and motivating. The variety of targets and ability to customize this app to meet the needs of many different skill levels allows this app to grow with your child.

Our Rating

Listening Power Grades K-3 HDListening Power K-3 by Hamaguchi Apps is a wonderful app for developing auditory comprehension of vocabulary and concepts in elementary school-aged children. The developer is a licensed speech-language pathologist and has several other apps which target verbal expression, following directions, and pragmatic skills. We have also reviewed Listening Power Preschool and Listening Power 4-8+

 

There are five different activities in Listening Power K-3: descriptions (adjectives i.e. shortest, cold, green), meaning (vocabulary concepts), grammar (pronouns, verb tenses, negation), word memory, and stories (with comprehension questions).  The app provides 150 listening opportunities for each activity (50 at each difficulty level) so your child will be presented with a wide variety of stimuli (over 1000).

 

In the Listening for Descriptions activity, children need to identify the picture showing the correct characteristics. On the easy level, there are 2 descriptors to listen for (“Show me the green truck with white tires.”) The intermediate level has 3-4 descriptive concepts to distinguish between (“Where is the man with a moustache holding a red guitar?”) The advanced level has up to five critical elements (i.e. Find the girl with long black hair who is wearing a red shirt with long sleeves.)

 

The Listening for Meaning activity involves identifying the correct picture or definition for a vocabulary word (i.e. Easy level presents pictures: luggage, duckling, triangle; Intermediate: disappointed, perform, container; Advanced: envious, wealthy, patient). The intermediate and advanced settings only present information auditorily although text can be shown if necessary.

iPad Screenshot 2

 

In the Listening for Grammar activity, children must identify the sentence that contains a mistake (i.e. Easy: “He put on hims shoes.” Intermediate: “Her cat finded a mouse.” Advanced: “The women is having a meeting.”)

 

Listening for Word Memory requires recall of a certain number of words in the correct order from a field of 9 (Easy: 2-3 words; Intermediate: 4-5 words; Advanced: 6 words). There are unlimited combinations for this activity.

 

In the Listening for Stories activity, children are presented stories of increasing length and complexity and then asked comprehension questions about what they heard. The easy level has fictional stories with questions about who, what, and where. In the more difficult levels, non-fiction stories are included and the content and questions become increasingly more challenging. There is the option of turning on background noise to increase the auditory demand of the task. There are 25 stories for each level with 5 questions per story for a total of 375 unique listening tasks.

iPad Screenshot 4

The app is easy to navigate and has highly-customizable settings. The ease-of-use is enhanced by a wonderful demo video highlighting the settings and features of the app. Each activity has individual settings for difficulty (easy, intermediate, and advanced) as well as the ability to select number of choices (2, 3, or 4). This ability to customize settings allows for the accommodation of a wide range of skill levels.

Another nice feature is that the choices are not made visible until the entire question has been presented auditorily. This helps the child focus on the verbal instructions and eliminates impulsive selections. You also have the option to make the text visible or only provide the auditory directions.

Additionally, only correct choices are reinforced. If a child selects the wrong picture, nothing happens although the data tracking will indicate a wrong choice. After the correct choice is selected, the target concept is restated which also helps to solidify learning.

Individual users can be tracked and in the full version you can even add members to a group while still keeping individualized settings and data tracking for each child. Data for each of the five different activities is also tracked separately to give an individualized overview of the child’s progress in each area. These are excellent features for speech therapy sessions.

 

Finally, there are two options for reward games. In the Door Game, kids need to open doors to find where the character is hiding. For Shoot the Basket, kids randomly make a basket when they press a button to shoot a basketball. These reinforcement activities can be set to occur at different intervals or turned off altogether.

Overall Impressions:

Overall, this is a very high-quality app for targeting auditory comprehension skills of elementary school children ages 5-10 years. It is obvious that much consideration was placed on the customization of difficulty levels and the selection of the targets themselves. The colorful illustrations and animations are engaging and motivating. The variety of targets and ability to customize this app to meet the needs of many different skill levels allows this app to grow with your child.

In terms of improvements: it may be beneficial to have wrong choices disappear as they are selected to help narrow down the choices. There were some wording errors i.e. mention of a “tire swing” when a regular swing was pictured; use of the description “red dress” when the picture showed a red shirt instead. These are simple fixes that can be implemented in future updates.

This app would be particularly useful for speech pathologists who work with elementary students in groups; but I would also recommend this app for any K-3rd child needing to work on attention and listening skills.

 

iTunes Link: Listening Power Grades K-3 HD – Hamaguchi Apps for Speech, Language & Auditory Development

Listening Power Grades K-3 HD Listening Power Grades K-3 HD by Hamaguchi Apps for Speech, Language & Auditory Development

Price: $19.99 USD

This app is the proud winner of the Academics' Choice Award for Smart Media! http://www.academicschoice.com/apps/listening-power-k-3.php

This is the app you’ve been waiting for! Listening Power.

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 redeem their code 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

 



PUZZINGO Puzzles (Pro Edition) – Animated Kid’s Puzzles by 77Sparx Studio, Inc. – Review & Giveaway



iPad Screenshot 1

What we love…

fun and jam packed with lots of fun

What we’d love to see…

few adjustments to the exit buttons and changes to the mini after games as well as a more “natural” ending

Summary

fun app loaded with lots of puzzles to keep the little entertained.

Our Rating

The Puzzingo Puzzles app by 77SPARX Studio is packed with engaging puzzles of different sorts. This app is great for children under 5 and will have little ones coming back for more.

Children will go ‘Puzzingo’ for all the puzzles this app has to offer, each contained within the 16 different games available. This app comes with hundreds of puzzle pieces in over 50 puzzles with new puzzles added constantly. Once empty shapes are filled with matching objects, you can feed a clown, race a car, fly a plane, decorate a dessert, feed or catch monsters in rewarding mini games.

My miss three is obsessed with puzzles so this app is perfect for her, she loves matching empty shapes with objects and the app has great audio and visual to teach her the alphabet as well as new words, shapes, colours and numbers. The added dimension of extra mini games once you complete the puzzles is very enticing and entertaining for little ones.

Our favourite games are the pets, dinosaurs, animals, princesses & fairies and core concepts and it keeps her very entertained which is great for road trips, trips to the coffee shops or a quiet play before bed.

My daughter finds it tricky at times to exit the games as it has a swiping option and then an exit door option but she is getting the hang of it. The only other downside is that the mini games keep going and don’t seem to end which can be a bit frustrating for little ones.

The Puzzingo Puzzles Pro edition includes all the puzzles from Puzzingo Puzzles Free edition not including in-app purchases which is great especially when there are so many games in the app. It does however come with a preview of the Wonster Words app which has a download option.  In terms of price, I’d like to see the price a bit more on par with the $10 range even though a lot of content is offered since I believe it would mean more people would purchase it.  Spending $15 on an app can seem like a lot, especially if you are not sure of the longevity of the app.

We love this app, it has so much to offer and is both educational and entertaining at the same time.

alison

Your child can spend hours exploring all of the different puzzles in the app and still not play every one of them. My son has used Puzzingo since he was three (when we first introduced the iPad and still enjoys playing it at 7!


PUZZINGO Kids Puzzles (Pro)
PUZZINGO Kids Puzzles (Pro)
by 77Sparx Studio, Inc.

Category: Education, Games, Puzzle
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, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX, iPad75-iPad75, iPad76-iPad76, iPhoneXS-iPhoneXS, iPhoneXSMax-iPhoneXSMax, iPhoneXR-iPhoneXR, iPad812-iPad812, iPad834-iPad834, iPad856-iPad856, iPad878-iPad878
Size: 402.74 MB

$24.99USD

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

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ConversationBuilder by Mobile Education Store –Review & Giveaway #BHSM



For Better Hearing and Speech Month 2015 we have 2 copies of this app to give away. We reviewed it in 2011, you can read our full review below.

20111105-172332.jpgConversation Builder is part of the Builder series of Language apps from Mobile Education Store, which was founded by Kyle Thomson, to create engaging language apps for children with high functioning Autism. In doing so he has created a range of apps that are not only suitable for children on the autism spectrum, but for any child needing to work on their language skills.

The app includes a very detailed instruction page, which explains all of its features and also includes a link to a video tutorial. Before you can start to use the app you need to create a user profile including name, age, city and interests, this information is used to personalise the app for the individual student.

The concept is simple – the student sees a photograph of a child engaging in an activity, and then has a conversation with the child based on the activity. At each turn the student has to choose from 3 responses, and pick the best one for moving the conversation forward in a natural way. If they choose an inappropriate response they are gently redirected to try again, once they have the correct response they can record themselves, and then hear a pre-recorded response. This pattern is repeated, and then the student gets to play back the whole conversation – and basically hears themselves conversing with the child in the picture. This provides incredible feedback – they just love to hear themselves having a successful 2-way conversation.

20111105-200111.jpgYou can continue on this level or increase the conversation length to 8 utterances (4 from the student and 4 pre-recorded). The app can also be used in a group setting, where instead of the app providing the responses it just gives a picture to start the conversation and then the iPad is passed from child to child for their part of the conversation, and then they can listen to the recording of the whole conversation. You can also save or email recorded conversations.

This is a wonderful app on many levels – it teaches the nuances of conversation e.g. how it’s often better to ask a question rather than just make an observation, how to stay on topic but also when it’s OK to introduce a new subject. It also helps by teaching ways to initiate a conversation and how to keep the conversation flowing naturally. Learning how to have a real 2-way conversation with your peers is a really important life-skill, but it can be hard to master. Trying to learn these skills by role-playing with adults or their peers can be a very awkward and painful experience, but by doing this with the iPad it becomes fun. Having the material presented in a visual as well is auditory format is also very helpful.

This app is very useful for special needs children who need extra help with their social skills, but it is also an incredibly useful tool for any child who needs help in developing their conversational skills. Being able to freely converse with their peers is a very important skill that many normally developing children also struggle with, and it is hugely important for helping to build and maintain friendships.

20111105-200120.jpgThe app includes 160 conversations. I highly recommend this app as it has really helped my own shy 7 year old with his conversational skills.

20111105-200120.jpg

ConversationBuilder™ – Mobile Education Store LLC

ConversationBuilder™
ConversationBuilder™
by Mobile Education Store LLC

Category: Education, Medical
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, iPad75-iPad75, iPad76-iPad76, iPad812-iPad812, iPad834-iPad834, iPad856-iPad856, iPad878-iPad878
Size: 123.45 MB

$19.99USD

Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)

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