Language Empires by Smarty Ears- Review



Review by Mary Mahon and Suzanne Berhow, SLP
iPad Screenshot 1

What we love…

8 different goals, some with more than one level. Bright, vibrant graphics, rewards that keep students interested and wanting to play. Data collection, up to 5 students per session, unlimited student data tracking

What we’d love to see…

Option to see a report only on goals worked on in the session, or putting all data from one day in one report. Narration of the possible answers.

Summary

Overall, this is a great app with a lot of versatility. We love that each student can work on their own goals, there are different levels of difficulty and that you can selectively target auditory or written comprehension.

Our Rating

Language EmpiresLanguage Empires  was developed by SLPs Barbara Ferandes and Rosie Simms of Smarty Ears. It was developed for elementary school children age  children and has an ancient civilizations theme.  It works on 8 goals: answering how, why, and which questions; inferencing, vocabulary; predicting; figurative language and sequencing. Each student can work on their own individual goals and some goals have 2-3 levels so each student can work at their own level as well! Up to 5 students can play at the same time, each working on  their own unique goals, but the app will track data for an unlimited number of students. Data from the app can also be reviewed on the Smarty Ears Therapy Report Center app.

To play each student is placed on an Empire – each Empire targets different goals, and students can visit more than one Empire in a game, and more than one student an Empire at the same time. Each Empire has 50 questions and there are a total of 400 questions in the app.

iPad Screenshot 2

The Empires:

Sequencing has three levels- sort 3, 4, or 5 items and two types of tasks. Some items sort sequences in an activity. Some sequences sort items by attributes such as hottest to coldest.

image_1

Predicting has three levels- 2,3 or 4 choices.

image_2

Why questions has three levels 2,3, or 4 answer choices.

Which has two levels – 2 or 3 choices.

Inferencing has two levels 2 or 3 choices.

image_5

Figurative language and How only have one level with three choices.

Vocabulary has two levels, both with four choices.

Although it is working on different goals and has a different theme, the app layout is very similar to Syntax City, which we have previously reviewed. For each question a photograph and accompanying short paragraph sets the scene, then the student has to answer a related question by picking from several possible answers. In the default setting the paragraph is both seen and heard, the answer options are only displayed in written form, not narrated; I would like the possible answers to also be narrated. If the student is working on auditory comprehension there is an option to hide the paragraph so they only hear it, not see it. If they are working on written comprehension you can switch off the narration. If a student gives an incorrect answer you can choose for them to hear a buzzer, or for the wrong answer to just silently disappear.

When students get an answer correct on the first attempt they earn a gold coin, once they have earned enough gold coins to master a given category they earn rewards in the shape of treasures from the ancient civilizations, these can be accessed in the student’s profile. The app also offers built-in homework sheets  for each target.

As with all Smarty Ears apps, Language Empire offers detailed data collection. A set of graphs provides immediate visual feedback (colored bars to help students see how well they are doing- green is passed, yellow is developing, red needs work). The data can be emailed, printed, or shared to other compatible applications such as iBooks or Pages.

We would like to see the data for every session in one day put into one report so that you can track all of the different goals in one report for each day while targeting one goal and then going back to target another goal. Not all students are ready to jump from one item to another and back to the first goal in one session. If that is not possible I’d like to see only the goals worked on in each session.

Overall, this is a great app with a lot of versatility. We love that each student can work on their own goals and that there are different levels of difficulty.  The app can also be used to selectively target auditory or written comprehension. Data collection is also a must for the busy SLP, and with Smarty Ears Therapy Report Center App data from all their apps can be collected in one report.

 

If you’d like to download Language Empires, ($24.99, iPad only ) please use this link so they’ll know who sent you:
Full version: Language Empires – Smarty Ears


Language Empires Language Empires by Smarty Ears

Price: $19.99 USD

**Chosen top pick app for educators by Fun Educational Apps**
Greetings from Language Empires! Although we are divided into many kingdoms we are united in helping all learners of language. Each empire.

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

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

Guest Post: Are Video Games Good for Children with ADHD? It’s Not a Simple Question

Are Video Games Good for Children with ADHD?

It’s Not a Simple Question

 

Child psychologists and pediatricians are often asked by parents if video games are good for children with ADHD. Some evidence suggests that excessive gaming can increase inattention, and parents often observe behavioral problems when children with ADHD are told to stop game play. While these concerns are quite legitimate, they do not suggest that parents should restrict their children with ADHD from video games and other digital media.

The reality of living in a digital world is that the opportunity to engage with screen-based technologies such as video games, television, the Internet, and cell phones will be necessary for children’s participation in their social, educational, and future vocational worlds. Educators refer to the need for “digital literacy,” which includes the capacity to understand digital information; the ability to access information effectively, evaluating, analyzing and using media; and the skill to apply technology as a core 21st century skill that students will need for college and the jobs of the future. So restricting children with ADHD from age-appropriate technologies is probably not a great idea.

From a social standpoint, it is probably helpful for children  with ADHD to have some awareness of popular television shows such as SpongeBob or to know about the latest and most popular video games that kids their age play (or should be allowed to play). The social components of video games, cell phones, and the Internet are a powerful, two-edged sword. Restricting children from age-appropriate technologies may isolate them from communicating in today’s world. However for children with ADHD who may have limited coping skills, such access opens a Pandora’s box to negativity, cyber-bullying, and emotional distress online.

Educationally, video and computer games can be extremely useful tools for learning academic skills such as math and science. On an informal basis, curious kids (and those with ADHD) can learn an incredible amount by going online and pursuing an interest, but can just as easily get distracted, become engaged with inappropriate material, or simply waste their time.

While the question of whether video games are good for children with ADHD is quite complex, there are a few simple guidelines to follow:

1. Set meaningful limits on the amount of time your kids are involved with digital technologies. A rule of thumb for children with ADHD is:

 

Preschoolers – limited and supervised time only

Elementary school students – one to one and a half hours a day, including television time

Middle school students – one and a half to two hours a day, including television and cell-phone time

High school students – two to two and a half hours a day, with negotiation based upon the use of technology for academic needs

 

2. Find out why your child with ADHD loves digital media. Talk to him about what he is doing with technology and how it might help him.

3. Model appropriate technology use so that your child with ADHD observes you having a balance of physical, social, educational, and family activities in your life.

4. Always engage in many other types of family activities that do not involve technology such as exercise, hobbies, playing board games, and being outdoors.

5. Set the expectation that technologies be used in a social fashion, rather than in a solitary manner, so that the majority of your child’s gaming is with other children.

6. Educate yourself about how to choose and use popular technologies at websites such as http://learningworksforkids.com/, which can help you identify the best games and apps to improve executive functions for your child with ADHD.

 

This post was authored by Randy Kulman, Ph.D. who is the President, LearningWorks for Kids.  This post was published in honor of ADHD awareness month.

Founder and President: Dr. Randy Kulman, Ph.D

Dr. Kulman is the founder and president of Learningworks for Kids. He coordinates our team of psychologists, educators, and digital designers in our quest to make video games good for kids. As a licensed clinical child psychologist, Dr. Kulman has been working directly with kids and families for the past 30 years, and has become a leading expert on the use of digital technologies for improving thinking skills in children.

One of Dr. Kulman’s most important roles is to lead our team of psychologists and educators in our ongoing research into game-based learning, the use of digital technologies in helping children with attentional and learning problems, and using videogames for teaching problem solving skills in schools.

Dr. Kulman became interested in the use of videogames for teaching thinking skills through his clinical work with children and families. After listening to hundreds of children and parents reporting how engaged kids were in their video game experiences, he began researching methods by which videogames could be helpful to children, and from there developed the framework for Learningworks for Kids.



Bugs and Buttons 2 by Little Bit Studio – Review



iPhone Screenshot 2

What we love…

18 excellent educational games, high quality graphics and animations

What we’d love to see…

Indicator for earning stamps, skill settings, ability to choose song in Music Match, some type of reward for completing the stamp collection

Summary

An excellent high-quality educational app for pre-school and early elementary aged children worth far more than its cost.

Our Rating

Bugs and Buttons 2 by Little Bit Studio LLC, is an outstanding sequel to the award winning original Bugs and Buttons.  Like its predecessor, Bugs and Buttons 2 has 18 educational, fun-filled games with beautiful graphics and life-like animations covering various skills such as counting, alphabetical order, sorting, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, shape recognition, music theory, matching, and finding differences.

My 6 year old tester loved all the games including RC Racing, Bubble Float and Flashlight Find, but her absolute favorite (as well as mine) is Music Match.  In Music Match, children must remember and play a sequence of notes on piano in the order they were presented.  The great thing about this game is that the notes aren’t random but are the notes for children’s songs. Playing this game will not only teach children how to play songs on the piano but also teach them what note corresponds to which keys on the keyboard.

Along with playing games, children will also enjoy collecting stamps.  There are two kinds of stamps to collect: insect stamps and country stamps.  Insect stamps are earned when specific points are met or earned in the game.  There are two insects stamps available collect per game.  Country stamps are acquired when children find Morty, a cute and friendly beetle, hiding in the games.  In order to keep track of where (which game) stamps have been collected from, stickers are displayed in the title headings of each game.  An ant sticker is displayed when an insect stamp is earned and a star with the letter M is displayed when Morty has been found.  At the moment, there is a bug in the game that prevents all 18 country (Morty) stamps to be displayed and counted correctly on the stamp book.  It only shows 17 even if all 18 stamps have been collected.  I contacted the developers about this who responded to me very quickly and assured me that it will be fixed on the next update.

There are several things I would like to see on future updates.  First, there is currently no way of knowing exactly when points have been met to earn stamps.  It would be great to either have this information for the parents in the parent page or have some sort of indicator that shows how many more points are needed to earn a stamp.  Second, I would like to have skill settings.  I have noticed that some games require a higher number of points for stamps than others.  Younger children may not have the attention span long enough for them to earn a stamp.  It would be great if parents  could either select or set the number of points required to earn a stamp.  Third, I would like to be able to choose the song in Music Match.  At this time, a random song comes up each time the game is played.  I would like for my child to keep playing the same song until she has completed it. I would also like to have the songs available on free play, but instead of having them match notes the keys would simply light up for them to follow along.  Finally, I would like to see some kind of animation played or special reward given for completing the stamp collection.

Little Bit Studio LLC has undoubtedly made another award winner.  Bugs and Buttons 2 is an excellent high-quality app whose value far exceeds its cost.  I recommend this without reservations to those with pre-schoolers and early elementary aged children.  It is hands down one of the best apps out there.


Bugs and Buttons 2 Bugs and Buttons 2 by Little Bit Studio, LLC.

Price: $2.99 USD

Bugs and Buttons is back with twice the fun! Bugs and Buttons 2 has 18 more games designed to entertain, teach and inspire. Beautiful, life-like 3D illustrations bring scurrying, fluttering and slithering.


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

Fides and her husband have been married for 16 years. They homeschool their 4 children: two amazing sons and two beautiful daughters. Fides likes to walk and jog outdoors everyday and has as very difficult time resisting a slice of paradise cake.


The Mighty League Vol 1 – The Terrible Taunting – A Blackfish Children’s Book by Customizabooks LLC – Review



Mighty League Vol 1

What we love…

Great story, fantastic job of explaining what being in the spectrum is like, customizable, highly interactive.

What we’d love to see…

Female narration when a female character is chosen, custom narration for speech bubbles.

Summary

An excellent book for everyone that promotes awareness of autism and Asperger’s Syndrome , encourages acceptance and understanding, and talks about tools that those in the spectrum can use to manage their day.

Our Rating

Geek Club Books, a company that specializes in products that promotes self-acceptance in children who are deemed different because they are in the autism spectrum, has done a remarkable job with their new book The Mighty League Volume 1: The Terrible Taunting. It is the first book in what will likely be a series of books based on the actual experiences of a boy who grew up with Asperger’s Syndrome. It is highly interactive and is presented in a comic book format.

There are many things noticeable in this book. The first thing you will notice, upon opening the app, is that it is customizable. You can choose whether you want the main character to be a hero (Jman) or a heroine (Jaycee). You can also record the narration using your own voice. Second, you will notice that it comes with a lively, upbeat music that goes amazingly well with the story. Third, you will notice that it beautifully illustrated. Finally, you will notice that every page in this book is filled with interactive items and interactive speech bubbles. Clicking on the main character’s hedgehog sidekick will bring up a notebook or journal that explains more about what having Asperger’s is like.

20131002-232954.jpgAs a mom of a boy with autism, this book is very dear to my heart. I think the best thing about it is that it is based on the real life adventures of Jonathan Murphy who grew up with Asperger’s Syndrome. The story is written by Jonathan’s sister Molly and is narrated by Jonathan himself! Some of the things the character goes through are similar to what my son goes through and I love that he can relate to it. It also gives us ideas on how to help him manage his day and how to handle difficult situations like stopping the school bully. This was good to read not only with my son but with my other children as well. My children already love their brother just the way he is, but this book gave them an even better understanding of what things are like for him.

20131002-233617.jpgThere are only a few things I would like to see in the future. Since the narration is done in the first person, I would like to see it narrated by a female when a female character is chosen. I also think it might be fun for the kids to be able to record their own voice for the speech bubbles. Lastly, I was a tad uncomfortable with the mom in the story never facing the main character. Her back was always turned even when addressing him. She was the only character whose face we did not see.

 

20131002-232203.jpg

Overall, I think this book is great and I highly recommend it to everyone. It promotes autism awareness , encourages acceptance and understanding, and talks about tools that those in the spectrum can use to manage their day. Be sure to also check out the Geek Club Books website. It is a full of resources and information on autism and spectrum disorders and is packed with lots and lots of love!

 

 

Website
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest

The Mighty League Vol 1 – The Terrible Taunting – A Blackfish Children’s Book – Customizabooks LLC

by
Category:
Requirements: Compatible with
Size: 0 MB

$

Fides and her husband have been married for 16 years. They homeschool their 4 children: two amazing sons and two beautiful daughters. Fides likes to walk and jog outdoors everyday and has as very difficult time resisting a slice of paradise cake.

Pin It on Pinterest