Thursday, August 1, 2013

Describe It To Me ~ App Review

I've got a new review for you today with one of Smarty Ears' latest apps!  First, let me just say that one of the things that I like to target during RtI is vocabulary.  Research has shown that a child's vocabulary is related to their comprehension and can predict their abilities in reading later in life. {Yes, I've been reading Bringing Words to Life this summer}.

A part of vocabulary development is being able to describe and understand the all facets of the word or object.  Well, this new app is going to be perfect for that!  Check out Describe it To Me!  Great to use with your EET too.

This app uses a fun game show theme with lots of cute old-school TVs and announcer voices.  When you first turn on the app, you get this welcome message.  I thought I'd share it here, since it gives a nice overview of the app itself.  Click on the pictures if you need a closer view.

A few things that I want to point out on the main page:

After tapping "Play," you are brought to the student page where you can add students or import them from TRC.  You can select up to 5 players at a time for a game.

Now onto the game itself!  Once you select the players, click next to get started.

To play, the student highlighted on the spinner answers the question on the TV screen.  You can manually change the target category for the same object by tapping on the buttons at the top.  There are 6 target categories: category, function, parts, location, visuals, and extra.  

Each one has a question that goes with it for a deeper understanding of the objects:  
1.  Category - What category is it in?
2.  Function - What does it do or what do we do with it?
3.  Parts - What parts does it have?
4.  Location - Where can we find it?
5.  Visuals - What can I see?
6.  Extras - What else do I know?

The "R" and "E" buttons on the righthand side of the TV allows you to also change the questions from receptive to expressive.  The receptive questions allows students to choose between 4 answer choices, whereas expressive questions provides opportunity for students to come up with their own answers.

Tap "Done" at the top right to end the session.  Ending a session takes you straight to the Report Center, which you can also access from the home page.

At the Report Center, you can view data reports from the selected student, or the awards/points they've accumulated throughout their sessions.  They get a prize for every 10 questions they answer correctly.  The scores are divided into overall accuracy at the top and number correct of each category for both receptive and expressive.

At the top right section of the Report Center, there is a "homework sheets" button!  Tapping that will bring you to several ready-made homework pages that you can just print and send home with the kids!

You can grab this at on iTunes for $9.99.  :)

What I dig about this app:
  • It's researched based
  • The focus skill is one that I am constantly targeting in therapy
  • It's easy to use
  • Homework sheets are readily available
  • Reasonably priced
What could make it better:
  • I'd love it if there was some option to randomize the questions.  Maybe spin a wheel for the different target categories or something to keep kids more on their toes.  ;)
Overall, this is a fantastic app!  I know it'll be put to good use during my RtI and therapy sessions!  What apps do you like to target vocabulary?

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