Rhetoric Public Speaking by John Zimmer and Florian Mueck – Review

Rhetoric Public Speaking by John Zimmer and Florian Mueck – Review



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What we love…

Various options for narrative formation.

What we’d love to see…

Ability to choose/skip topics or make your own, option to record speeches for review, a junior version of the app.

Summary

A public speaking board game that presents lots of possibilities in practicing expressive language and narratives. Particularly useful for older children or adult clients in speech therapy.

Our Rating

Rhetoric Public Speaking Game is an app developed by the creators of Rhetoric-The Public Speaking Game (John Zimmer and Florian Mueck). The original board game was released in 2012 and was a huge success. It was made to help those with a desire to increase public speaking skills. The creators have now released an app that reflects the benefits of the board game. The purpose of this review will be to write about how this app can be used by Speech Language Pathologists in therapy.

When I first looked at the app, my impression was that this is for much older players. The description was more about how to prepare for debates and public speaking engagements. As I explored and played through, I realized that there are many ways to adapt it for practicing expressive language and narratives. The app needs to be monitored and set up by an adult, which is actually a good thing, as it encourages interactions between the clinician and the student.

Game play itself is relatively easy. The game can be played by 2 to 8 people at a time. A great feature is that the game supports multiple different languages (English, Spanish, French, German and Catalan; with more languages to come). Default time is set to a minimum of 1 minute, but can be adjusted to 2 minutes. There are 2 styles to the game, competitive or not. In the competitive mode, the other players are the ones that determine the score. In therapy, this can be useful in teaching the kids how to give constructive criticism and even compliments.

Opening the app results in a black home page with no illustrations. 3 options are there: Rules, Play and About. Of course, it is really important to read the rules before even trying to play. If you go straight to play option, you will be lost. The rule section is long and somewhat complicated, as it explains each space on the game board. Right from this page, I knew that I would need to create a cheat sheet to have handy during play.

The game begins with an “audience” waiting to hear speeches. Each speaker has a marker, poised at the “entrance”. The players roll a dice, move to a space on the board, on which they are asked to participate in a speech task according to 4 categories – Topic, Challenge, Question, Reflection. The game continues until a player exits the “stage”.

When your marker lands on Topic, you pick a card that gives you the topic of your speech. Then you need to create your narrative to include one of 6 fields or tasks: Tell a story, Use a quote, Evoke the Senses, Draw an Analogy, Use Humor, Call to Action. Each of these is explained in the rules section (hence, the cheat sheet). If your marker stops at Challenge, you have to respond to that specific challenge (e.g. You are the host of a TV game show. Introduce the other players as the contestants).

When you land on Question, any player can ask you a question about anything and you have to structure your answer based on the result of your spin on the Wheel of Structure. Structures like ‘Good, Better, Best’; ‘Bad, Worse, Worst’; ‘Past, Present, Future’; ‘One, Two, Three’ and ‘Pros and Cons’ help you organize your thoughts and deliver an impressive speech. One last area is Reflection, where you can choose to talk about anything within the time limit.

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Once the game starts, it is pretty intuitive, with the speaker just having to tap a card to bring you to the next “task”. Card selection is random, so you never know what will pop up. Subjects range from appropriate for younger kids, to rather older in nature (speak about something in the room to deliver your own eulogy). It would be nice to be able to customize the cards for the target population. Once you are ready to speak, the timer is revealed and when speech is completed you tap the check mark to end your turn. Play continues with the next speaker.

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As you can see, once you are familiar with the different spaces on the board and the different tasks, the app can actually be a lot of fun. In therapy, I would delay the actual speaking part to help the student create a visual BrainFrame or use components of other narrative programs (SKILLS, SGM) to help organize thoughts and create a narrative. I would also limit the tasks that they can choose from, to make it more appropriate for the clients playing the game. An option that I would change to help with this idea, is to allow the speaker to use a field more than once. Recording the students while speaking would also be a great asset to therapy. The clinician can go back and review the elements of the narrative that were covered or missed.

Getting students to actually use expressive language in a structured activity is a difficult task at the best of times. The chance to incorporate this skill into a board game is an excellent addition to treatment. Students react well to electronics and the somewhat competitive board game nature of Rhetoric. There is also no real “judgements” made about the speech which is great.

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I can also see the validity of working with adult aphasia clients that have been in therapy for a while. They too would probably like the game nature of this app. I would think the stress level of having to create narratives will be lessened by having topics and structures presented to them. If possible, recording the narrative to go back and review would be great as well.

There are a lot of things I like about this app (if used with the right demographics). The different language options is for sure a really big plus. The multiple player setup is great for group sessions. The simple design of the board game makes it easy to play and allows the clients to move ahead towards the finish quickly. There are multiple different options for narrative formation. The non-competitive version of the game allows for excellent client feedback and gives the clinician lots of opportunities for direct teaching of narrative formation.

What I would like to see is the ability to choose the topics for the speeches or even to make your own. Another option is for the developers to make a junior version. That would be awesome!!!! I would like to be able to skip a card if it doesn’t seem appropriate. The developers have mentioned that more languages and specific theme topics are coming soon so then maybe then it will be easier to choose. I would also like to see an option to record the speeches to review later.

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Rhetoric Public Speaking Game

Rhetoric Public Speaking Game Rhetoric Public Speaking Game by John Zimmer
Category: Games, Board, Education, Educational
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone3GS-iPhone-3GS, iPhone4-iPhone4, iPodTouchFourthGen-iPodTouchFourthGen, 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: 85.86 MB

$6.99USD

 

 

Lisa is a Speech Language Pathologist who has been working in an inclusive school system for over 32 years. She works with children that have issues in all areas of speech and language. She loves her work and is always looking for ways to integrate technology.
TEXTNOW Wireless Phone Service – Affordable No Contract Smartphones #Backtoschool tech

TEXTNOW Wireless Phone Service – Affordable No Contract Smartphones #Backtoschool tech


Texting messages

Summary

An affordable cellphone option, with cheap Smartphones, NO CONTRACTS, plans from $18.99/ month, including unlimited texts, unlimited calls within the USA & unlimited 2G Data, 3G/4G Data varies depending on the plan.

I have been impressed with the TEXTNOW cellphone service and would recommend it as an affordable cellphone option for Middle School, High School and College students.

Our Rating

 

recommended-by-the-imums

As the mom of a new middle school student, a big topic of conversation with my fellow moms has been finding an affordable cellphone service for our kids. As our kids become more independent traveling home from school by public transport or on foot we want to have a reliable way to contact them, but don’t want to give them expensive handsets or let them run up huge bills.

One option is to add an additional line on to your family cellphone plan, but this risks them running up big text or data bills.  Unless you have an old handset to pass on to them, getting them a new one can be costly or can lock you into a long contract. Another option is to get them their own plan, and TEXTNOW has a variety of really affordable options for doing this.

TEXTNOW wireless plans are non-contract and plans start at $18.99 a month. They have a variety of Android cellphones available inexpensively, with their current sale some are under $5 or even free WITHOUT a contract. I tested out the TEXTNOW service using a Motorola Moto X.

TEXTNOW is a little different than most mobile phone carriers as it uses a combination of WiFi and Sprint to provide its cellphone service. If you are anywhere that you can connect to WiFi e.g. at home, library, school or coffeeshop it will use that as the preferred calling option and if that is not available it will use Sprint.

I live in Northern California in a rural area where in the past AT&T and Verizon have really been our only cellphone options, so I wasn’t sure how well the service would work here. I was pleasantly surprised at how well it worked, and having the WiFi calling does really help in areas where the Sprint signal may be weak. I did not notice any discernible difference in the call quality when made over WiFi vs over the Sprint network.

They have a variety of plans available, none of which require a contract, and they can all be cancelled at any time. Plans start from $18.99/ month, all plans include unlimited texts, unlimited calls within the USA & unlimited 2G Data, the amount of 3G/4G Data varies depending on the plan chosen. With teens using the phone I like that there are no hidden surprises, they can text and call their friends as much as they like without getting a shock when the bill arrives. The phone will try to connect to Wifi whenever it is available to decrease data usage. If they use up all their 3G/4G data there are no overage fees, instead you get asked if you want to upgrade to the next plan level, if you decline then their data is just kept at 2G until the next billing cycle.

I also like not having to worry that my kid will lose or break an expensive SmartPhone whilst still under contract. TEXTNOW have a good selection of affordable (or even free) handsets, the big carriers make these kinds of offers too but the difference is you need to lock into a (usually) 2 -year contract to get these deals. With TEXTNOW there is no commitment, if the kid loses the phone next week you can just buy another at the same low price. The handsets offered are typically not the newest models, but they are still very good phones. I used a MOTO-X which had a 4.7″ screen a 10MP camera and is a good quality Android phone, a perfect phone for my son.

Overall, I have been impressed with the TEXTNOW cellphone service and would recommend it as an affordable cellphone option for Middle School, High School and College students. Their handsets are very affordable, there is no commitment and no overage fees, and with plans starting at $18.99 including unlimited texts, US calls and 2g data it is very reasonably priced. Phones can be ordered from the TEXTNOW website.

 

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.

 

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).
 Autism Language Learning Series I: Actions and Series II: Yes/No Questions – Review and Giveaway

Autism Language Learning Series I: Actions and Series II: Yes/No Questions – Review and Giveaway



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What we love…

The video clips, the content, the visual and auditory component.

What we’d love to see…

Group data collection capability and custom module builder in Series II.

Summary

Two great apps that use engaging video clips to teach language concepts. With helpful auditory/visual cues, reinforcement and customization options, they make wonderful tools for speech therapy.

Our Rating

Autism Language Learning Series I: Actions and Series II: Yes/No were both created by a Speech-Language Pathologist, for use with children with receptive and expressive language impairments. Let’s start by looking at Series I: Actions.

Series I: Actions was created to assist in working on verbs and pronouns. It is designed as a hierarchy, focusing on verbs first. From there, it moves to pronouns, gaining in complexity as the user proceeds through the app. It is also great for targeting simple wh questions, possessive pronouns, and even past tense verbs. Each section of the app consists of video clips, demonstrating what each action looks like. This is huge for our students with ASD. As confirmed by research, visuals are imperative to their understanding of language tasks. That being said, the students receive a visual representation and auditory stimuli to go with it.

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Let’s talk about the auditory stimuli for a second! It is presented in a rhythmic way to improve the attention of the student. There is an option to mute the voice if the facilitator is able to produce the sentences and can engage the student in that way. There is also an option to record/play back. Hello, expressive language! I envision this app to be used for more than just receptive tasks. Once the receptive ability is present, which will vary from student to student, you have options! Turn off the sound, play the video, and have the student express what they see. Genius!

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Series II: Yes/No was created to assist in working on the complex concept of “yes” and “no”. This app is designed to work on establishing the ability to differentiate whether what is seen is accurate or inaccurate. There are video clips and still photos included. There are three modules that include common objects, actions, and common facts. Similar to Series I, the students receive a visual representation and auditory stimuli. They also have a visual representation of “yes” and “no” that is consistent throughout the app as well as an option to have visual prompting of the correct answer.

When looking at carryover, or other tasks separate from the app, it would be easy to re-create similar picture symbols with the colored backgrounds. Speaking of colored backgrounds, I really appreciate that that piece was factored in. This particular color scheme of green (yes) and red (no), allows for the student to begin the process of generalizing and making connections.

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Just like in Series I, the auditory stimuli is presented in a rhythmic way. There is an option to mute and record, but there isn’t a play back feature. Instead, the user can be “recorded”, but as soon as “stop” is pressed, the recorded portion is played. Once that portion is played, the “record” button shows up again. This limits the ability to repeat playback. When looking at reinforcement, Series II does a much better job! If the answer is correct, auditory and visual reinforcement is provided. If an answer is incorrect, an auditory prompt is provided, suggesting a different answer.

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I love the video clips! These are a great asset to the app and make it worth the price, for sure! I love the content and the breakdown in both apps, with 90 video clips in Series II to target 60 actions, 13 pictures and 43 video clips in Series II. An in-app purchase option is also available to allow users to add their own videos and voice in series I. I love the visual and auditory component that is evident in both apps. I love the ability to data tracking, though I would love to see a group data collection option. For the cost of the app, that would help to entice others to purchase it. At this point, it’s limiting in that way, mainly because most of us SLPs have limited time with individual students.

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Both apps are great for working with students who have receptive and expressive language impairments. As they focus on separate concepts, each utilizes video clips and still pictures, while providing auditory/visual cues and reinforcement. With the option to edit settings, features can be edited with the touch of a finger! I see great things with both apps and would certainly recommend both to co-workers/colleagues.

 

Normally $26.99 and $16.99 respectively, they are now discounted to $19.99 and $9.99 for Better Hearing and Speech Month!

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Giveaway

If you would like to win a promo code for Autism Language Learning Series II: Yes/No Questions, 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!

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

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.

 

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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!

 

 

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

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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.

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