Sunday, April 8, 2012

Bag Lady Be Gone. Super Duper Apps for Expressive Language.

I am a bag lady. Really, I bet you all are. Raise your hand if you have more than one work bag. I have my everyday work bag (always contains my computer, ipad, calendar, and random therapy items.) I also have my 'extra' work bags. For when I'm traveling between buildings or hauling things to preschools. I won't even get into my rolling cart of fun. That's what is so amazing for the traveling SLPs about the ipad. I have two kinds of apps on my ipad. I have apps that do things I could never do with traditional materials (like animated social videos in The Social Express) and I have apps that replace my traditional materials and help me lighten the load as a bag lady. That's the category that the Super Duper Inc apps fall into for me. Recently Super Duper reached out to me and asked if I wanted to become a reviewer of their apps. I didn't hesitate to say yes because I am TIRED of being the bag lady! I bet you are too. These 4 apps are all in my "Eliciting Expressive Language" folder in my ipad.

Super Duper provided me with a free copy of these apps, but the opinions in this review are all mine.

What’s Being Said? is the newest app released by Super Duper. Each photo shows some characters (animal or human kind!) that are in a conversation evoking situation. You can collect data right in the app and then email it to yourself at the end of the session. These open ended apps are my absolute favorite. I can use the app for prediction like the app is intended or I can use it to target a variety of other goals within the same session! This week I used it with a group of second grade girls. We worked on objectives for sentence creation and word order, pronouns, irregular plurals and using compound/complex sentences. I LOVE an app that not only relieves me of my bag lady status, but also let's me target multiple goals therefore saving some precious memory on my ever filling ipad! Currently $5.99 in the itunes store.

Let’s Predict is the other brand new fun deck, turned app from Super Duper. Prediction is such an important skill for our language impaired students. It's a skill I often work on with our kids who have difficulty with reading comprehension. I usually find that making a prediction based on a picture is a good place to start in scaffolding this skill. If I can teach a child to use the clues in a picture to make a prediction, then I can teach them to make a mental image or look for clues in writing to make predictions and inferences. The visual is always a great place to start and Super Duper makes it easy with this new app! It's another great app for getting the kids chatting and I like to use open ended apps like this for informal assessments for articulation, language and fluency. This app is currently $5.99.

Understanding Inferences is one of my favorite apps. Mostly because this app can elicit some of those 'kids say the darndest things' moments (inferences and idioms are funny speech days!) It's also one of those skills that can be elusive to a language impaired student. Making logical inferences is just tough for some kids so I use this app a ton. There are 52 cards in this app and each card gives a prompt that is specific to the picture. The verbal prompt coming from the ipad is much more entertaining than if I provide the verbal prompt myself! One thing I wanted to point out is that you can select which cards students see. So if you have a student having a lot of trouble, you can use mostly cards he understands and just 'fold-in' the new scenarios a few at a time. A great strategy for teaching new information and keeping the student feeling successful. It's currently $5.99

Story Starters is the last in my round up of apps for Expressive Language.  The 60 pictures in this version are perfect for the elementary aged student. They draw giggles and stories right out! The app is wonderful for working on skills such as Beginning, Middle, End, and idea generation/organization in preparation for writing.

Quick Overview:
+ Four apps that can be used in open ended scenarios to target a variety of expressive language goals.
+ Data Collection included
+ 52/60 Photos in each deck, gives lots of opportunity for practice
+ Price is manageable for apps that can be used broadly
-  Photos are those in the Fun Decks
-  No interactive component

The apps are available for Android users too! Fun Decks for everyone! No more SLP Bag Ladies!

Some of you might be getting a funny picture of my life as a 25 year old. I've now admitted to being both a Crazy Cat Lady (who doesn't like cats) and a Bag Lady. Anything for you guys!

Do you have a favorite Super Duper App? Do you have a favorite Fun Deck that you are wishing would be the next app? Leave a comment and let me know!